I moved back to my home town when I graduated from university. But while it was great to be near my family and school friends again, my experience of living away had whetted my appetite to move again. I also realized that I could get a much better salary if I relocated to a bigger city. So, after a year of working locally, I got a job in London.
Although the actual move itself was stressful, it was straight-forward enough. But what I remember most clearly was the culture shock. For a start, I was in an apartment rather than a house. I'd never done that before, with people living above and below me. I'd been in a three-bedroomed house before that, but the rent for my London one-bed was almost twice as much! (Although the much-improved salary made up for that.)
The apartment had no garden so, if you wanted to sit out in the sun, you had to walk half a mile to the nearest park. It was on a busy road, so you couldn't open the windows without it being noisy and smoggy. I distinctly remember how the air smelled so dirty compared with back home.
I didn't really know where I was, either! I'd moved into the best-value property as close to the center as I could afford, but I wasn't familiar with my surroundings or how to get anywhere. There was a London Underground station nearby, but it seemed so scary and complicated. The "Tube" could whisk you away to all these places I'd heard of, and seen on TV – Covent Garden (which I called "The Covent Garden," much to my new colleagues' amusement), Greenwich and Canary Wharf – but never actually been to. I didn't know where to start!
One of the biggest differences compared with back home was that there were people everywhere. The supermarkets were busy, the high street was jammed, there were people living in apartment blocks all around me – hundreds piled on top of one another – many of whom were from different cultures and spoke different languages… It was fascinating but, at times, overwhelming.
I remember being late for my first day at work. I'd decided to get the bus to make the three-mile journey, and left my apartment in plenty of time. However, the roads were gridlocked, and I soon realized it would have been quicker to walk (which I did thereafter). The people there were great – I had colleagues from South Africa, Australia, India – but the work was intense and the hours were far longer than I was used to.
It took me a long time to get used to my relocation, and there have been many times I've wanted to move back home. But it's also been exhilarating, and there's no way I would have worked alongside such diverse people, done such varied work, or had so many fabulous opportunities (drinking champagne at the top of the "Gherkin" building springs to mind!) as I've had in London.
Today's article is all about the things you should consider when relocating for work. You might be moving because your organization is relocating its office to another city, state or country, or you might want to move closer to family members, or maybe you plan to marry someone whose family lives elsewhere.
If you have a "significant other" or children, you'll have to take their job, education and childcare needs into account. You'll want to get a good feel for what it's like to live in the location, including its climate, safety and culture, and so on. You'll also have to pay close attention to the expenses associated with the move, and you'll need to figure out whether you can afford the cost of living.
If you have any top tips for relocating for work, or experiences you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts below!
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