In today’s still-recovering job market, college graduates are finding they need to look beyond their current home city when seeking the best entry-level sales jobs. But moving to a new city requires a lot more advance work than just lining up a U-Haul and hitting the road.
Here are five things to consider before decamping to work in a new city:
What’s the city really like?
Cities are not always what they seem from afar, so you should do more than rely on your impression of a place, whether or not you like its sports teams or even what you read about it. You should spend some quality time in the city – at least a few days – just bumming around at all hours. Go to restaurants, parks, grocery stores, libraries and museums. Sample the nightlife. Drive on freeways during rush hour. Walk through neighborhoods you can afford. Try to get a feel for what residents of the city – as opposed to visitors – experience. If you have children, check the data on neighborhood schools. If the city is in the Sun Belt and you’re not used to extreme heat, experience a hot summer day, if you can. Or a wintry day in the upper Midwest, for that matter. Extreme weather can make a home city unbearable.
Chances are, what you find will differ from what you thought you knew. A place you thought was boring might have rich cultural traditions you never could have seen on an overnight trip. A place you thought you’d love might turn out to be overpriced and shallow. You won’t know until you invest some time. Many companies are willing to pay for a long weekend in the city if you ask for it.
Will you mind living away from family and friends?
Sure, it drives you nuts now that mom and dad are just around the corner and they stop in all the time unannounced. But what if they lived 1,500 miles away and you could see them only once a year? What about your siblings? What about your circle of friends? You’re not just leaving a city when you move away; you’re leaving everything and everyone you’ve known. Maybe this entry level sales job is not forever, but you never know. Moving might mean putting down permanent roots somewhere else – even if that’s not apparent yet. Before cutting the cord, be certain you appreciate how much all of that will mean to you in the weeks, months and years ahead. Otherwise, you’ll hate yourself while eating Thanksgiving dinner alone in a strange city.
Can you afford to live there?
We all love San Francisco and New York City. Who wouldn’t? But can you afford to live there? Before moving to a new city, take the time to investigate the key financial metrics. How much is a gallon of gas or milk? How much is rent in a preferable neighborhood? Is there a state income tax or other taxes to consider? Will living there entail other transportation costs, such as parking fees and tolls? If you have kids, how are the schools where you can afford to live? If they’re awful, you might have to pay for private education.
Will your significant other or family members like it?
Don’t underestimate this consideration. Maybe you love it, but if your boyfriend, or spouse or children don’t, you’ll be miserable in quite short order. Bank on it. Consider not just school quality but also the job market for your loved ones and even soft factors such as whether they can continue pursuing hobbies or favorite sports. And, personal preference. If your spouse is a “country mouse” maybe New York City is a lousy idea. If he or she is a “city mouse,” maybe Omaha won’t work out. It’s your career move (or your first job out of college), but don’t forget their happiness.
Who will pay for the move?
Moving even a small household any distance can easily cost $10,000 or more. Don’t forget to bring this up before accepting the job. Most companies will include a capped stipend for moving costs, but some do not. Know