Job Relocation Advice From People Who’ve Been There, Done That

by Cynthia J. Drake on


Every year, thousands of people relocate to new homes across the U.S. and abroad, and moving for a job ranks as one of the top reasons. One survey found that employees who moved for a new job in 2013 rose by 35 percent compared with 2012.

Although a new job usually is cause for celebration, moving doesn’t come without its challenges. We talked to people who’ve successfully relocated (including two people who moved outside the U.S.) to get their tips on how to make the transition.

In conjunction with National Moving Day, which in 2015 falls on May 26, SpareFoot is sharing various stories about people who’ve moved amid life-changing events. This story focuses on people who’ve relocated for work.

1. Do your homework.

Before we left, I looked at maps of the area and had an idea of a circle on the map based on driving distance from work. When we got here, we started looking at houses, writing down pros and cons and taking photos. It was helpful to write down things about the house and take photos so we could compare at the end.

— Lisa Grup Steinacker, a librarian who relocated to Belgium last year with her family

Spend at least one week visiting the new city. Visit the local chamber of commerce or the main library of the new location to learn more. The Internet has a lot of information, but talking to people who live and work in the community shines a different light on where you will be living. You can ask more questions and have access to information that is more sincere and realistic.

— Kanesha Baynard, a life coach in Denver, CO, who has relocated several times

Lisa Grup Steinacker with family
In 2014, Lisa Grup Steinacker moved to Belgium with her family.

I went to England for one weekend about a month before I moved—without knowing what my take-home pay was going to be—to look for a flat. I ended up looking at four properties that I thought I could afford, but found that they were not exactly habitable. I ended up in a flat in a not-so-great area, but was smart enough to sign only a six-month lease. That gave me time to look around in the area I wanted to be in and also gave me time to figure out exactly how much rent I could afford.

— Carrie Suhr, a senior quality engineer at Philips Healthcare who moved to the United Kingdom two years ago

I hate to say it, since we are in the business of selling homes, but you should rent. If the job doesn’t work out, you have the option of moving on to the next job, wherever it might be.

— John Thomas, president of The Moving Force Inc. in Atlanta, GA

2. Get organized.

Purge. Get rid of anything you don’t really need. The less you take, the less you have to unpack when you get there. If you are paying per pound, then it is less you have to pay.

— Steinacker

When you start packing, be sure to downsize each area of your home by at least 40 percent. This will make moving all your items more manageable. If you are too busy or unable to have a garage sale to downsize some of your things, use

— Baynard

moving man

Put like things together, and not necessarily based on the room they were located in originally. When we move overseas, we don’t know what our house will look like. As the layout will most likely not be the same in your new place, putting like things together makes unpacking and redistributing much easier.

— Steinacker

3. Simplify the move.

If your company offers a relocation allowance, try to negotiate the moving service by weight versus by the size of the moving truck.

— Baynard

Pack your unmentionables and any other things you don’t want a bunch of strange men touching into small boxes yourself. The movers will then pack them into larger boxes. Keep in mind where those smaller boxes are and label them so that when they get to the destination, you can unpack them yourself, instead of some strange men in another place unpacking them for you.

— Suhr

4. Be realistic and calm.

On the day of your move, take a deep breath and realize that things might not go the way you planned them to. You have to roll with the punches and keep a positive attitude. Keep an eye on what is happening and how the movers are packing your stuff. It is your stuff, and you need to speak up if you think they are mishandling it.

— Steinacker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.