Your partner lands his or her dream job in a different city. Step one is to celebrate your significant other’s big win—obviously. And if your partner decides to take the job, step two is probably going to be a little more difficult: deciding whether you’re going to stay put or move as a couple.
It’s one of the biggest work-life balance challenges out there. Of course you want to be in the city that offers you the best opportunities to build your career, and if you feel like you’re already there it might be hard to imagine moving. But depending on the seriousness of your relationship, being close to your S.O. might also be pretty important to you, too. Levo got career and work-life balance experts Andrea Meier and Charlotte Weeks to weigh in on this tricky situation, and we’ve come up with four things you should consider before deciding relocate:
1. “What are my partner’s expectations?”
By moving to a new city with your partner, you’re affirming that his or her career is important to you. So, before you move, it’s important for you to feel like your partner values your professional development just as much. Would your partner relocate for your dream job? “It’s rare that two people can focus the same amount of energy on their career at the same time,” Weeks says. “But it’s important to be really clear on expectations so there doesn’t end up being resentment from moving for one person’s job.”
[Related: 7 Easy Ways to Support Your Partner’s Career]
Maybe your S.O. shows support by being understanding when you have to travel frequently for work, or pulling a little extra weight on household duties when you have to stay late at the office. That’s easier said than done—but apps like SimplyUs and Couple allow you to share calendars and to-do lists with your partner, which might make it easier for him or her to keep tabs on how they can help you out.
2. “Can I do my job somewhere else?”
If you like the job you have in your current city, brainstorm ways you can continue working for the company if you were to move. Does the company have an office in the city you could potentially be moving to? If so, you might be able to relocate, too. Or, if working from home is something you’d be comfortable with, both Weeks and Meier say it’s a good idea to talk to your boss about the possibility of telecommuting, and maybe only traveling back to the office for really important events or projects. But if you haven’t been with the company long enough to have that bargaining power, or if those options aren’t possible in your line of work, you might have to recognize that moving means starting a job search in a new city. If that is the case, don’t be afraid to try freelancing sites like Upwork and Guru while you look for your next full-time gig—you’ll make some money and it will probably motivate you to keep your skills fresh while in between jobs.
3. “Will I be OK with building a whole new network?”
Sure, you could probably stay in touch with your mentor through social media or a periodic phone call, but you probably won’t be able to go out for coffee once a month like you do now. Same goes for any family and friends you’ll be moving away from, too. Think carefully about whether you’ll be OK with that. Don’t be shy about asking people in your network if they can connect you to professionals who are in your industry and live in the city you and your partner are headed to—they might be able to help you develop a new network or tell you about local job opportunities. “The people in your current network know, like, and trust you,” Meier says. “That’s an informal vetting to a new job somewhere else.”
And don’t forget about Local Levo! We’ve got offline communities in 30+ cities around the world, and they’re a great place to meet new people and connect with likeminded members. (They might even be willing to share their favorite coffee shop or brunch spot!)
4. “Can I afford to be without a job?”
If you’d be moving before you have a job lined up in the new city, Weeks says it’s important to make sure you either have funds saved up to cover your living expenses while you job search, or your partner is able to support the two of you for the time being. Financial decisions you and your partner make could also vary quite a bit depending on whether you consider the move to be permanent or temporary—for example, the decision to rent or buy housing. And before you move, you can use the handy dandy Cost of Living Calculator from Bankrate to see how the new city’s prices compare to those where you currently live. You can compare everything from the price of orange juice to the average home price. Knowing that information will definitely help you when it comes to negotiating your salary with a potential employer.
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