Did you get an offer to move to a job across the country?
Taking a job across the country was one of the most terrifying things I’d done as an adult.
While the prospect of greater career advancement, more money, and a nice benefits package — including more vacation time and better insurance — made the move worthwhile, leaving family and friends behind to pursue career gold nearly 2,000 miles away was a scary and stressful idea.
I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned along the way. If I can help to reduce stress and anxiety during one of your most difficult tasks, it makes sense to share what I know in order to assist a few of you along the way.
What do I need to bring?
The answer is dependent on a variety of factors.
- Is this a long-term move or a short-term gig that may lead to a change of location in a few months?
- How much stuff do you have in the first place?
- Is there anything that might not be appropriate for the new location (surfboards in Colorado, downhill skis in Florida, etc.)?
When I was purging things from my house, I asked myself how frequently I used this particular item. Only once a year? Make a donation!
Obviously, if you live in a three-bedroom house with a wife and children, you will have more decisions to make than a single person living in a studio apartment. Simply take your time, begin early, and go through each item to see if it has a place in your new home.
What Will My Address Be?
This is another source of concern and anxiety. For some, housing will be provided as part of the relocation for across the country, or the job will connect you with a realtor they know and trust. Others, like me, are somewhat on their own.
For myself, I looked through local Craigslist listings to see what I could afford and where I could live. In order to check out potential neighborhoods, I looked at neighborhood reports, crime statistics, school data, and took a quick “drive” through Google Street View.
I can’t give you advice on where you should live, but I can tell you what you should never do. Never put down a deposit on a place you like that you found on Craigslist.
There are numerous scams that involve people in situations similar to yours, and when they arrive in town, their new rental is already occupied, foreclosed, or the landlord is nowhere to be found. You can save yourself the trouble.
How do I get my belongings there?
Looking into long distance movers was really the only option for me. I had a small car and had no intention of driving a large truck across the country by myself while towing my car.
Your situation may differ, and depending on what you take, it may or may not fit in your car or SUV. I was bringing a lot of my belongings because this was a permanent move, and this option just didn’t work for me.
How Do I Socially Integrate in a New Area?
This was yet another source of discomfort for me. Friends at work were a great place to start, and the Craigslist activities section was also a gold mine. I started playing volleyball and going to a local park for yoga every morning with some amazing people.
The fear was unfounded. I was settled in within a few weeks and have made some wonderful new friends.
What if I dislike it?
Then you’ll have to make some decisions. I can’t help you much here, but I can tell you that hating a place and deciding to leave is pretty low on the “tragedy” scale.
Most people tend to overlook how minor some of these issues are in the grand scheme of things. Maintain a positive attitude and look for your next adventure.
While there are no absolutes when it comes to large-scale moves, following these simple steps can certainly help to lighten your load. Remember that it is only stressful at first.
You’ll eventually settle into your new life in a new place, and everything will seem relatively normal. Best wishes!