Moving with your employer to another state or country used to be good all around. The reason was the transfer often was the result of a promotion and the opportunity for more responsibility. In addition, there was a decent amount of employer loyalty left in the marketplace so that you knew if you transferred, you could get back. Plus, a lot of personal circumstances were better in the past.
Now? Not so much. A lot has changed with businesses and our personal circumstances.
Here are some factors in deciding to take that transfer to another state — or country:
Purpose of the transfer
Companies today are moving operations to different cities because the pay scale is different there. In essence, you could be asked to transfer to a “lower cost” area. Companies that are doing these moves now rarely pay for an existing employee to move across the country because it places a “higher cost” employee in a “lower cost” area. That’s bad from a lot of different levels.
On the other hand, a promotion with a move package still is a good thing. And, if you are high enough on the corporate ladder, some companies will let you stay where you are but travel weekly to your new spot. Rare, of course, but possible.
Housing is totally different now
The inventory on the market right now is about a ten month supply of homes, one of the highest inventories in years. Two years ago, people were turning houses in days — sometimes hours. People would confidently say “I’ll just sell my house and move out there in a couple of weeks.” And it was true.
Not now. Now your house can be on the market for months and months. This ties up your cash and really interferes with the tremendous logistics involved in a move like this. Plus, getting a new house in the new location is tough — not because it is hard to find the house; instead, it is the difficulty of getting any financing. Especially if your house isn’t yet sold.
Given the uncertainty, factor in the two mortgages or mortgage and rent plus all the additional living expenses that come with being in two places at once. It’s not a small number.
Where is your network?
When the Bell System broke up (you know…the “old” AT&T), the company put a lot of functions in Denver, CO and moved a lot of people there. The people were basically told that they had to move or they would lose their job. Denver? Or unemployment? Most buckled down and took Denver.
A year later, they closed down the Denver operations and all those people that moved there were stuck in a Rocky Mountain high. All of their close network contacts and, for most, their families were all located somewhere else.
It is difficult to find another job in an unfamiliar city without a network in place. Imagine what that would be like if you were working in a different country.
Companies are no longer loyal with people they transfer. Consequently, your network is your asset to find the next gig. Make sure your network is either there or built very quickly in a new location.
Cost of living
You’ll need to determine cost of living in the new area. Moving to another city where your costs are higher and your income stays the same is not a winning situation for you.
You will need to evaluate taxes, food costs, housing costs, and quality of life for the proposed city.
For example, right now if you were offered a job in the European Union from the United States, you’d be hard pressed to take it — your dollar is only worth about half as much as a Euro right now and transferring on your current income means a 50% pay cut in the EU.
People with children will need to understand the school system and level of educational opportunities in the new location. Schools do make a difference.
Some people like large cities and others like small towns. Some love the winter and some hate it. Some people get energy from where they live and losing it would be tough. Each of us have our own preferences here and they need to be taken into account.
The problem with these transfer opportunities is that they are often dropped on you with no time to spare. Can you move to Texas? I don’t know, how long do I have to decide? Oh, let us know tomorrow…
Having this sort of checklist will help you quickly evaluate a transfer opportunity.
What are other things you’ve considered in being offered a transfer?