Your Job Will Come: Relocating for a new job

Being unemployed for 10 months, as I am, can lead an employer to think you're desperate for a job and are willing to move anywhere for full-time work.

Desperation should never be a part of any job interview, and the fact that you're thinking of leaving your home, friends, relatives and all the things you love about where you live, to go somewhere new and start a new life, doesn't necessarily mean you're desperate for the job.

And an out-of-state interview also shouldn't mean that you're willing to take less money because the cost of living is less in the new location, and heck, you've been out of work for almost a year, so wouldn't a job, any job, be worth moving for?

I don't think so. Not unless it's a job you really want.

I live in California and was in Texas a few weeks ago to visit my wife's family. We had a great time, and while I was there, I interviewed for an editor position at a newspaper near a city where my father-in-law lives. Immediately, my wife and I talked over the pros and cons of moving to Texas.

That's the topic for today's Blogtalkradio broadcast of "Your Job Will Come," a 15-minute weekly radio show where we discuss the job hunt.

Besides the heavy lifting part of relocating -- hiring a moving van, selling your home, driving across the country, setting up in a new home, and many other things -- we quickly discovered that the possibility of moving had just as many, if not more, psychological effects on our lives. Even discussing the pros and cons was overwhelming.

Even though I haven't been offered the job yet, the publisher did give me a salary range, and the numbers have danced in my head since. I'd earn enough money that my wife wouldn't have to work, we could buy a huge house with a pool, and we'd be comfortable.

I found an online cost of living calculator and found that my salary could drop by half in the small Texas city we were considering moving to, and we'd still enjoy the same standard of living. Housing would be 81% cheaper and overall it would cost 49% less to live there than where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Another online cost of living calculator found that of the major expenses in Texas, only the power bill would be higher than it is for us in California. With the hot summers, the air conditioner would be on constantly.

But other than seeing our money go further, having a better house, a good job and being near my wife's family, there were other relocation issues that are more important to us.

Here are some other relocation aspects to consider when considering a job, with a quick synopsis of how they affect our decision on Texas:

  • Selling your home. In today's housing market, selling may be difficult, so renting it may be a good short-term solution. We've made enough home improvements that we want to continue enjoying them, and we really enjoy our neighborhood, so selling would be difficult.
  • Weather. Can you handle the weather in the new location? I hate humidity, but could probably learn to live with it if I had a pool and could afford to keep the air conditioning on all of the time. We have great weather in the Bay Area, and wouldn't want to leave it.
  • Culture. If you enjoy cultural opportunities in your area, you probably won't find as many in a smaller city. The good news is that Texas has plenty of big cities that would be within an hour or two of where we'd live, but they wouldn't be as close as we are now to San Francisco.
  • Transportation. I enjoy having mass transit available, and it's usually nonexistent in small cities. Also, because the air conditioning in my car doesn't work well, a 1991 Acura, I'd either have to get it fixed or buy a new car for the Texas summers. And as we discovered during our vacation, Texas is a big state, so driving a few hours to get somewhere is common.
  • Politics. I enjoy a good debate as much as the next person, but I don't think I'd want to continually either hold my tongue or defend my views on many issues in a conservative city.
  • Friends, family. Leaving family members, even if moving to an area where other family members live, would be difficult. I'm sure we'd all make new friends, but as a lifelong Californian, there are too many I'd miss dearly if we moved.
  • Major League Baseball. This may sound minor, but think of the top leisure activity you enjoy. If it's not far from your home, you're set. But if you have to drive hours and hours to get there, it becomes a rare treat. For us, going to an Oakland A's game is it. We'd have to live in or very near an American League city, and while Arlington and the Texas Rangers are about three hours from where we'd live in Texas, that's too far for a game-day decision to go.
Those are just some of the things to consider when relocating. Some you may weigh heavier than others, and in the end, the necessity of finding work may trump all of them and cause you to go where you have to go to make a living.

But if possible, and without letting job desperation sink in, try to weigh them with how much you want the new job. Because if you're making good money but living in a city where you'd rather not be, then the cost is too high.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Listen on iTunes to his weekly radio talk on WalletPop about finding your job, and read about his job search at
Read Full Story