Mid-life career changers frequently consider relocation as part of their career planning. Sometimes they want to move to be closer to family, they wonder if they can find jobs in a new location or they are just seeking new avenues for personal growth. Others experience layoffs and industry changes.
Moving can give your career a boost if you plan ahead. In fact, if you are considering a major career change, moving makes a lot of sense. Often it’s easier to reinvent yourself when nobody remembers you, especially if you are making a major shift. For instance, friends who remember you as a buttoned-up corporate executive may have trouble viewing you as a laid-back life coach.
Unfortunately, many people decide to move before they are ready. They get out a map, choose a destination that sounds good on the Internet, and take off. Often they anticipate the biggest expense will be the moving van. In fact, your greatest expense will involve relocating or even moving back if you realize you’ve made a big mistake. Here are some tips to keep that from happening.
– Do as much research as possible before selling or renting your home. Narrow down your selections to lifestyle and type of town, rather than state.
– Take several short trips while you are still working at your current jobs. The travel costs may seem high, but you will make a wiser decision when you’re not under pressure. In the long run you will save far more than you spend. Visit at least three places before making a commitment.
– Investigate job opportunities at your destination city. Your opportunities and options vary depending on your industry and your level. As a rule of thumb, the higher you are in an organization, the more you need to plan ahead.
– If you’re going to seek a job or start your own business, you’ll need to study the local culture. When I lived in a small town in New Mexico, many newcomers were surprised at the formal and informal customs regarding business and jobs. Some enjoyed exciting opportunities; others became frustrated and left, realizing they paid a high price for learning.
– Considering starting a portable career, such as an online business. These days you can’t assume that any career field will bring opportunities; even if jobs are available, local culture will influence working conditions.
– If you’ve saved enough for at least two years of living expenses, and you’d like to travel for a year or so, then consider the time off a sabbatical. You can always decide you won’t come back.