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To Relocate or Not to Relocate

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By Marshall Loeb

RISMEDIA, July 31, 2007—(MarketWatch)—So your employer has asked you to move to another job in another city. Resist saying yes immediately. Instead, find out precisely what’s being offered to you. It’s easy to underestimate the adjustment that a move will require.

Here are four questions to ask before agreeing to relocate:

Will you face a significant cost-of-living increase? Before you pick up and move, do the math. Will the raise you’re being offered really net you more money or will the extra income be eaten up by higher costs of living? The sacrifice you’re making for the company should be reflected in your paycheck. If it isn’t, it’s time for you and your employer to sit down at the bargaining table. Agreeing to move to a lower-cost area could, of course, work in your favor.

How will moving affect your quality of life? Would relocating allow you to afford a nicer house? Does the neighborhood have better schools? Is your new home closer to your extended family? It may be worth accepting less in the way of remuneration if you and your family stand to benefit from the move in other ways.

How will the move impact your family? If you’re married, keep in mind that the area you’re relocating to needs to offer good employment opportunities for your spouse as well. Your children may also be less than delighted with the idea of changing schools and leaving friends behind, so determine whether disrupting their lives is likely to pay off in the long run.

Do you like your new job? Before accepting the new position, it’s important to understand the precise nature of your new job. What are your duties? Who will you report to? Do you get along well with your colleagues? Keep in mind, if the chemistry is off between you and your immediate supervisor, the new position is unlikely to help your career.

Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.

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