WORKING ABROAD / DEC. 10, 2015
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Why Moving for a Job Is Never As Glamorous as it Sounds

You’re ready to break out of that town and hit the big time somewhere else. Or are you?

From coworkers who are ice cold to a bank account that only seems to reduce in numbers, there’s more to relocating for work than a great new city and a grand new start. There’s really one brief phrase that can sum it all up: starting over sucks.

Still, it can be helpful to understand some of the exact reasons that relocating is so tough.

When you start to tally up all the smaller things, they could make you question why you decided to relocate after all.

See Also: 5 Questions That Will Help You Decide If You Should Relocate for Work

1. That Signing Bonus? Gone Like the Wind!

Unless you’re the type to wisely scrimp your pennies for a rainy day, chances are that the staggering costs of moving are going to whip you in the face long before you even move your belongings to the new locale. In other words, moving period – whether it’s across town or across the globe – costs a LOT.

Before you leave, there will be the costs of shipping your stuff. There are boxes and packing materials to buy, and a place to put them all booked. If you’re booking a moving van or truck, the high cost of the one-way move may have you contemplating buying your old beater pickup instead.

If you’re breaking a lease to suddenly up and move, you may not get your deposits back, which means you’ll be shelling out cash for deposits on a new place. And that’s not to mention deposits for utilities, cleaning, and household stuff you’ll need in your new home, and hotels or other accommodations while you look.

There is one light at the end of the tunnel: the signing bonus. You might otherwise know it as relocation reimbursement or covering the moving costs. Personally, one of my employers once offered me a signing bonus in the thousands of dollars. I gladly took it, thinking it was sure to cover the costs of my relocation. Wrong! It did help a lot, but the money I thought would hold out for the days before my first paycheck came in did not exactly hold out.

So, if you thought your glamorous new job with its fabulous signing bonus is so great, remember this story and think about renegotiating for more.

2. Your New Coworkers Might Not Like You

You’ve hopefully moved to a place where you know a few people, but if you haven’t, it’s going to take a while to break in. It’s pretty normal not to have a lot of friends when you move to a new place, but some people make the mistake of assuming their workplace will be a strong source of friendships. Sadly, though, that’s not always the case. People at work may not automatically warm up to you, and that can be tough when you’re feeling so lonely.

Don’t take it personally, however. It’s tough to suss out the situation when you’re coming from a remote location – do people get along in the office, are they mortal enemies, did someone in the office want the job you ended up getting?

3. You’ll Have to Put Your Entire Life in a Small Trailer

Unless you’re the type who’s okay with simply giving up all his worldly possessions and starting completely over, chances are that you, as an adult, have accumulated quite a load of things by now. Even if you spend the months before your big move getting rid of things, having yard sales, and seriously paring down (which you should – who needs all of those parasols, fedoras, or feather boas?), the things you decide to actually bring with you are going to be many. You may even go so far as to hire the big moving truck to get it all there, but let me tell you: some things that you hadn’t anticipated are not going to fit. When you’re in your new place, thinking fondly of all the memories you made in the old one, you may just pine for that collection of boas.

4. You Might Get Culture Shock

There will be lots of ways that your new arrangement is not like your old one. Cities all have different vibes, even ones that are relatively close together. What worked in one place might not work in another – everything from the car you drive, the clothes you wear, and what you like to do for fun. Really into cycling? Your new town might not have a single bike lane. Love Broadway shows? Your new city might never offer them.

Likewise, the culture at your new company might be really different. Some workplaces thrive on working as a team and everyone works in the office at all times; in others, people are allowed to roam a little and do their work where they will. If you’re not careful and you don’t ask the right questions during the interview phase, you could end up making a big gamble on a far-off company that is truthfully 100 percent wrong for you – and since it already cost an arm and a leg to get there, you may not have the financial resources to do anything but stay for a while.

In other words, you could feel like a fish out of water both at work and away from work for a very long time.

5. You Could Live in a Bad Hood

Step one to being a bona fide citizen of the new city in which you’re about to start working: finding a place to live. And since you’re doing all of this in haste – or at least doing it remotely from the confines of a friend’s sofa or from an expensive hotel room – you don’t want the search to last long.

The trouble is that it can be tough to find really choice living quarters in a lot of cities around the globe. Having a real estate agent or rental agency help you look can make it easier, but that, of course, is going to cost you. In a lot of cases, people end up scrambling to find a place – any place – when they relocate for a new job. They have to start work in a relatively short amount of time, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for painstakingly scoping out just the right place.

You just might end up living in a bad neighborhood – or a less-than-stellar place – at least for a while.

See Also: How to Modify Your Resume

So, let’s recap. Starting over can be a challenge on your finances, make you feel alienated socially and professionally, and could force you to live in a slum, at least for a while.

Then again, you might find that you’ve been a fish out of water in your old city all this time, that your new job is way better, your coworkers way cooler, and your new place is far more beautiful than your old one. Still, aren’t you glad that you understood the risks?

Have you had to relocate for a new job? Was it really glamorous or was it simply horrible? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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