Dear New Shrink,
I have been on the job market for several months and despite numerous calls and interviews, I have yet to land something local. Last week I interviewed with a company based in Texas and enjoyed meeting with their executives. I received an offer yesterday to join their team in Dallas and now am faced with a difficult decision. I have lived in Los Angeles for the past five years and have enjoyed my time in this city. It is hard for me to think of leaving the great weather and friends, but with slim job prospects I’m wondering whether I should consider moving.
Relocating for a new opportunity is a difficult decision and one that you should consider carefully before reaching a conclusion. There are several facts to consider in making your decision.
What led to your decision to apply for this position? How does this opportunity relate to the other positions you’ve come across in your search? If this is a unique opportunity that will allow you to gain a new skill set, expand your network, or grow in your career, it may be a risk worth taking. If this position were in Los Angeles, would you jump at the opportunity?
You mention that this is a Texas-based company, but do they have other locations throughout the country? Are there locations that are of interest to you? While your initial offer might be to join the Dallas office, you will want to consider the possibilities of growing with the company and transferring to other locations. If you have not already asked about geographic mobility, now would be the perfect time to gather this information.
Similarly, it is also important that you consider the growth opportunities within the company. Is this current role a position you would hold for a short time with the opportunity to move up? You should also spend some time exploring where previous employees have gone after their time with the company. A keyword search on LinkedIn may give you a sample of where some of the past employees have ventured. You might also search for people who are currently working for the company to get a sense of how long they have worked for the firm and their career experiences prior to their current position.
Spend time considering the financial aspects of your prospective opportunity. Once you have a formal financial offer from the firm, begin exploring the cost of living for your new location and salaries offered by competitor companies for comparable positions. Explore the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for specific salary ranges by geographic region. There are several cost of living calculators available online as well. You could try a site like bestplaces.net/col to get a comparison of cities.
You mention concerns over leaving great weather and friends, so also spend some time reviewing the Farmers’ Almanac to get a sense of what the year ahead may look like. You may also review sites to get a sense of what the social scene is like and avenues for you to meet new friends. If you are part of a college or university network it might be worthwhile to search for fellow alumni living in the area to get an unbiased review of the city and opportunities to meet people and enjoy life outside of the office.
Spend time considering what will happen if you are dissatisfied with this new role. Will you have the resources available to move back to Los Angeles or another preferred location or could you see yourself staying in this city for other job opportunities?
You do not mention your family or marital status in your inquiry, but if you have a family or partner you need to take those additional factors into consideration as well. What are the job prospects like for your partner? If you have children you should also spend time investigating the local schools, community programs, and social activities and the costs associated with each element.
Relocating to a new city is a big decision, but it is also a prospect full of potential new opportunities. Avoid rejecting a great opportunity out of fear of the unknown. Stretching yourself and trying something new will help you to grow as a person and a professional.
KATRINA DAVY, M.A., Ed.M, is a Santa Monica-based professional career counselor. She holds degrees from Columbia and Cornell universities. Visit her online at http://www.kdcareer.com.