They say that among life's most traumatic events, moving ranks right up there with death of a spouse, divorce, and loss of a job, so there's no question you're facing a tough decision.
A job offer that requires relocation forces two life-changing decisions on a candidate. Not only must you carefully evaluate the career move itself, but also consider the enormous impact of a change in living environment, which extends well beyond geography to include variables such as lifestyle, culture, standard of living, and a host of other factors.
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For example, if you have enjoyed the quality of life in Dallas with big homes, lots of land, and Southern friendliness, think carefully before accepting the "perfect position" in the Northeast, where you will find much less house and land for your dollar and a culture that is usually more reserved and formal.
As you interview for a position that requires relocation, don't just ask about the lifestyle of the company's employees and the community's culture and living standard - research the area from top to bottom. When traveling to an interview, read the local papers, pick up the city or state magazine at a newsstand, and tack an extra day onto your visit to rent a car and drive around. You should also check out regional or national real estate Internet sites to learn about the housing market and what your dollar will buy in the area.
But the most important thing you can do when considering relocating is talk to people. Let everyone in your network know where it is you are considering relocating and ask for contacts and information regarding the location. Find as many people as you can that have some knowledge or experience of the locale so you can build a picture of the area and determine whether or not you fit into that picture.
Best of luck to you,
Dave Opton is CEO and Founder of ExecuNet, an online career services center for executives. For more information on executive career management visit www.execunet.com. Questions can be sent to Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org, he can't answer each individually but look for yours in an upcoming column.