How to Navigate a Move That Benefits Your Career
Sometimes, we’re able to make choices for our professional lives that pack a punch with relatively little action. Many have been able to succeed by small thoughtful changes; many successful careers have been built by slowly yet consistently moving up the local career ladder.
But sometimes, it takes more than that; sometimes, it requires moving much further than just into a new office on the same floor. At some point you may find yourself having to make a decision regarding whether or not to pursue a position in a location that requires a move.
If you’re considering a move for your job, there is certainly far more to consider and work through. But it’s likely that if you’re at a point in your career where this is an option, you’re also totally capable of managing the challenges that come with it.
Should You Relocate?
Whatever reason you find yourself drawn to a new city, whether because there is potential for your career brand to change for the better, or because you like the culture/scenery better, etc., there are serious questions to ask before you make any permanent decisions.
Data shows that 67 percent of employees who decline relocation do so because of their close family ties. So even if you’re considering a move because you’re hoping to bolster your career, it’s important to think about the non-career related aspects. If you’re close to your family, are you comfortable with the change in relationships that is sure to take place if you move? Technology saves us from being completely isolated from friends and family, and yet things certainly won’t be the same.
If you’re considering a move to a location that is drastically different in climate, have you considered how you’ll be impacted by the weather? If you’re moving north, do you have the gear necessary to drive and live in cold weather? If not, are you prepared to invest? Conversely, if you have pets that are used to cool weather all-year long, will they be able to handle drastic heat?
If you’re contemplating a move it’s likely because you’ve thought through the reasons it’s favorable, but it’s also important to think about why it will be difficult. Consider the positive aspects of where you are and whether or not you can seriously give them up.
First Questions to Ask About the Job
One of the key ways to ensure that you have a successful job hunting experience is to remain as much in control as possible. The job applicants that don’t miss-out or get short-changed are those who know exactly what their rights are during the hiring process. So make sure you’ve done your homework.
You also want to make sure that you are ready to ask the kinds of questions that will prepare you to make an informed decision before accepting the job. To make a smart choice you need to learn as much as you can about what your life will look like if you were to transition.
So, when it’s your turn to ask questions get your pen and notepad out and ask the following:
What will my workday typically look like?
What is the time-off request protocol like?
What kind of training and/or education can I expect?
And, if you’ve been offered a position you can ask:
Can I see a copy of the benefits package?
When do you need a decision by?
Making Sure It’ll Be a Good Fit
When you’re in the midst of negotiating the terms of employment for possible future employers it’s crucial that you’re ready to represent your interests well. There is a common idea that they have all the power, but see that for the misrepresentation that it is. There are some critical components to ensure your compensation negotiations are smart and effective.
Make sure you pick a strategic time. Wait until after the job offer has been extended. Otherwise, and especially at the first meeting, you may appear as if the only thing you care about is compensation, moreso even than your commitment to the job.
Assess the compensation package critically. In some cases, the base salary may be lower because of assets within the benefits package. It’s important to make sure you understand the total financial value of the compensation package.
Be balanced in your tone and language choice. Amy Gallo, writing in the Harvard Business Review, recommends using language that is positive and solution-focused. The goal is to negotiate for the best possible job situation, long-term, and that can mean a variety of things.
Remember it is a negotiation. If you refuse to have a back-and-forth, open-minded conversation with your prospective employer, it won’t be productive. Shoot above what you’re hoping for, be ready for them to suggest below that high point, and remain committed to your minimum bottom line. Also, consider including the details of the benefits package in your negotiation.
Beyond your compensation, consider what the culture of the company is like and how you will be able to fit within it. Cole Mayer from Fiscal Tiger notes, “Cultural fit correlates to job satisfaction. If you aren’t happy with the workplace culture, you probably aren’t happy with the job.” In other words, it’s really important.
You have to consider how the department is organized and prioritized. The ways that they structure their leadership and promote change, the way that they facilitate feedback and growth are all crucial things to look at.
If you get this far in the process, you’ve gotten through the hardest part. So think about how you want to proceed, do some simple follow-ups, and then take a breath and relax, because it’s out of your hands now.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.