By: Jessica Holbrook Hernandez
In a job market where people often can't look around and simply find an identical position at another company, the question of relocation frequently comes up. Well-meaning friends ask on a regular basis, "Have you looked outside the area?"
With the modern conveniences of planes, trains, and e-mail, the idea of picking up your life to take a job in another city is often appealing. The problem is, relocation really isn't for everyone. Recently, I have talked with several friends who admitted that they were miserable because of their decision to relocate for the sake of a job. One woman had moved from a large city to a small college town, only to find that her new neighbors shunned her because she was in her late 30s and still unmarried. One couple found themselves desperately searching for work 1,000 miles away, back in their home state, after discovering that their single friends in their new town weren't especially interested in helping them care for two small children or helping them renovate a historic home.
If you feel that your situation will require you to relocate, it's important to consider the lifestyle changes that will occur when you move. You may find yourself with new expenses, such as paying to board your dog, or paying for a babysitter if friends and family help you with these tasks now. If spending major holidays with extended family is important to you, your new salary will need to be high enough to cover travel expenses several times a year. If your new job will support these added costs, then relocating might be a great decision in order to advance your career. But, even if you're considering a position with a salary that will not allow you to comfortably take on additional expenses, there are still options for you.
More and more companies are encouraging telecommuting and hiring employees that live far from their offices. In addition, an increasing number of virtual companies operate solely through electronic and/or phone communications. Situations like these provide a fantastic solution if you're unable to find work in your hometown but are hoping to stay connected to a well-developed network.