Sunday, 21 April 2019

Before You Relocate for Work, Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

Starting a new job is a nerve-wracking endeavor even under the best of circumstances. It's incredibly common to feel a flood of emotions, including excitement, nervousness, relief, regret and even panic. Adding a potential relocation to the mix only heightens these feelings.

Moving is universally cited as one of the most stressful experiences a person can face. It's right up there with divorce, loss of a job and death of a loved one. So, whether you are a seasoned professional considering a promotion or a recent college grad starting out in a new city, it's worth taking the time to determine if moving for a job is the best option for you.

Candidly asking yourself these key questions before taking the jump can give you some clarity about the value of a potential move.

1. Is this job and company a good fit? When it comes to you dealing with any opportunity, you need to thoroughly research your prospective employer. It would be devastating to uproot your life and move to a new city only to find on your first day on the job that your boss is a tyrant and the company is on its last leg. Before moving, take the time to look into the company's track record and investigate its potential for growth.

"Remember that what you see on its website and even in your interview may not be the entire truth," said Dr. Toni A. Haley, certified executive coach and CEO of Williams Wellness Group. "The company is trying to sell itself to you as much as you are trying to sell yourself as a candidate."

Glassdoor, Great Places to Work, Comparably and a host of other online resources can provide you with in-depth employer reviews, as well as compensation and company culture information. Haley advises digging even deeper by having dinner with your potential co-workers during the interview process.

"Be friendly in your conversation," she said, "but do not be afraid to ask pointed questions concerning work-life balance, job satisfaction, access to child care and healthcare, and general quality of life in your prospective city."

Even if you are staying with your current employer but transferring to a new location, make sure the local company culture is a good fit. In a new city where you have few to no friends, workplace culture becomes that much more important, said Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO and co-founder of SquareFoot.

"The people in the office are going to constitute a huge part of your social life," Wasserstrum said. "If you feel at home in the culture and genuinely like the people you work with, that's going to help your quality of life substantially."

2. Will the employer cover relocation expenses? Here it's more important than ever to find out if your new employer will help you cover the cost of picking up and moving. Prior to 2018, you could deduct relocation expenses from your federal income tax. That deduction has now been eliminated for everyone except those in the armed forces. This means that whatever salary increase you scored with your new gig may very well be eaten up by the expense of resettling in a new city.

The level of relocation assistance varies widely – with smaller employers less likely to cover it at all – and can include moving expenses, temporary housing, help selling your current home, sponsored house-hunting trips or even a lump sum of cash to be used as needed.

Without minding the offer, it's important to get it in writing and see if you can negotiate additional coverage, according to Jill Santopietro Panall, owner and chief consultant of 21Oak HR Consulting.

"Trips … to look at the new location can be costly," Panall said. "Employees should be sure that any partner/spouse and any family/kids are allowed to come on at least one of the trips while scouting out the new location."

Furthermore, pay close attention to the fine print of your relocation contract. Some relocation agreements require you to repay expenses covered by the employer if you leave the company within a certain timeframe. You need to determine in advance if you are ready to reimburse your employer for the move if you decide to walk away from the job for any reason

3. What's the job market like in the area? When considering a move, many people don't think about what they will do if the job does not work out. Cheryl E. Palmer, founder of career coaching firm Call to Career, recommends finding out if your line of work is in high demand in the new area.

"You should know ahead of time what the job market looks like for people in your field so that you have a reasonable assurance that you can find another job if you ... have to look for new employment in a new geographic location," Palmer said.

And more, familiarize yourself with the job market in your desired location by checking local job listings for your field, identifying companies that have their corporate or regional headquarters in your area, and visiting websites, such as, that offer detailed information on employers in specific areas.

4. What's the cost of living? Before you move, compare the cost of living to your current situation and determine if your new salary will adequately cover your expenses.

Timothy Wiedman, retired associate professor of management and human resources at Doane University, has made five job-related relocations over a 41-year career. Wiedman once turned down a promotion because his employer wanted to relocate him from a low-cost location in the Midwest to Washington, D.C., without any allowance for the cost-of-living difference.

"I did enough research to realize that my standard of living would drop quite a bit, unless I could negotiate a raise," Wiedman said. "When those negotiations failed, I had to decline the promotion."

But even the promise of a higher salary shouldn't automatically sway you to move until you take stock of all of your expenses. If you are relocating to a more expensive area, your money – even if you have more of it – won't go as far. You may have to decide if you are willing to modify or sacrifice some aspects of your current lifestyle for the new job.

"Remember, $200,000 a year may equal comfortable living in one city but just barely getting by in another, especially when you account for family size or if you are the main breadwinner," Haley said.

While housing will take the biggest bite out of your budget, you will need to consider other expenses, such as groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and taxes. You can crunch the numbers with free online tools like BestPlaces, which lets you compare the cost of living between locations, and PayScale, which provides salary profiles for positions around the country.

5. How will my quality of life be affected? Identifying what you can and cannot tolerate is a major key to making a decision you will not regret.

"Evaluate your current lifestyle, and identify aspects you value most which may be affected by a move," said Lauren Herring, CEO of IMPACT Group.

For example, if you are a person who needs constant cultural stimulation, Herring suggests looking for a community with adequate access to concerts, sports, theater and shopping options.

Now for people concerned with high gas prices or the length of their commute, a deciding factor may be easy access to public transportation. For a parent, the safety of a neighborhood and the quality of schools and day cares in the area are priorities. Others may have to ask themselves if they will be happy living in an area prone to extreme weather conditions, such as long winters, tornadoes or hurricanes.

Make sure you always research and, if possible, visit the potential new city to see if it meets your needs and expectations, advises Wanda Gravett, academic program coordinator for Walden University's Master of Human Resource Management. "Consult people who have lived or are currently living there, and look at what else there is to do besides working.

6. How will this impact my family? It's so necessary to determine if your family is supportive and excited about the potential change or apprehensive about the move.

"The majority of failed moves that I have seen over the years happened because the spouse or family is unhappy in the new location and either don't fit in or can't find work and feel bored and alienated," Panall said.

So on this note, getting a move to work for everyone is messy and does not always leave all parties feeling like they are getting what they want. You will need to have candid conversations with your spouse or partner about how this change will impact their life, career and relationships. Together, you need to decide whether one of you is willing to deviate from your career trajectory for the other. If you have children, you will also need to consider if the move is in their best interests.

7. Will I have a social support system? One big aspect of relocation that is always overlooked is the role that social networks play in our lives and well-being. While moving closer to family and friends may be a motivating factor for someone looking to relocate, moving away from an existing support system may be a bigger price than some job seekers are willing to pay.

"Some people enjoy moving to an area where they don't have established ties because they enjoy making new friends," Palmer said. "Other people prefer to start with a network of people that they know and branch out from there."

If you are in the latter group and the job is taking you away from friends and family, you need to evaluate if you see yourself thriving in a location without a built-in support system. If you generally have a hard time making new friends, you may feel untethered in a new environment and overwhelmed by homesickness and loneliness.
Thanks for reading.....

Four things the Pixel 3a and 3a XL need to become Google's hero phones

After two years of focusing on Assistant, Android, and AI, Google is teasing a return to hardware announcements at its I/O developers conference. In a promo page tie-in with Avengers: Endgame posted on its storefront late Monday, Google made it known that “something big is coming to the Pixel universe” on May 7, which just so happens to be the same day as the I/O 2019 keynote. So unless Google is pulling a massive head fake here, it will be launching a new Pixel line at its conference this year.

On this note, there have already been rumors about a so-called Pixel 3a and 3a XL—including an accidental reference on the Google Store menu—and all indications are that these will be budget versions of Google’s flagship phones, with less-premium materials (plastic vs glass), an older processor (Snapdragon 600 series vs 800 series), and a lower-resolution screen (1080p vs 1440p). But if Google’s new phones are going to succeed where the flagship Pixels didn’t, they need to nail a few things right out of the gate.

Without going too far, here are six things the Pixel 3a needs to make Google’s new phone the one to buy.

1.A way lower price The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL begins at $799 and $899 respectively, a hair below Samsung’s and Apple’s most-expensive phones, but still very much at the high end of the market. Both Samsung and Apple offer affordable versions of their own handsets that start at $750, but Google is going to have to do better than that with the Pixel 3a.

Ideally a budget Pixel would begin at half the price of its premium counterpart: $399 for the Pixel 3a and $450 for the Pixel 3a XL. Google’s "budget" phones will have way more competition than its flagship models, and to make any headway, it needs to offer an attractive price. Basically, anything over $499 just won’t cut it, so forget about the $750 sweet spot carved out by Apple and Samsung.

2.The same camera as the Pixel 3 On this note the Pixel has made its bones on its superior camera capabilities, and the Pixel 3a can’t skimp in that department. It needs the same camera hardware as the Pixel 3 and 3 XL and, more importantly, the same features, including Top Shot, Night Sight, and free unlimited online storage in Google Photos. The best reason to buy a Pixel has always been the camera, and Google needs to bring that same mentality to the new model. Most lower-priced Android phones seriously skimp when it comes to the camera, so the Pixel 3a could set itself apart by bringing a premium shooter.

3.More carrier support Regarding that the Pixel phones have always been sold unlocked through the Google Store and technically work with any SIM, the first three Pixels have been solely offered through Verizon. That means anyone walking into an AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint store won’t be able to buy a Pixel—or even know it exists. So, if Google wants to compete with the sea of budget and mid-range phones out there, it needs to expand the Pixel 3a’s availability beyond a single carrier store. Rumors are starting to swirl about T-Mobile selling the new Pixel, so here’s hoping the exclusive shackles have finally been removed so anyone can find one.

4.Expanded color options This next is to the iPhone XR and Galaxy S10, the Pixel 3’s color options—black, white, and pale pink—are extremely dull. If the Pixel 3a is going to stand out, it needs to up its color game big time. I’m thinking Extremely Blue, Immensely Red, or Terrific Yellow. A new palette alone could make the Pixel 3a way more desirable that its peers.