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Relocating To a New City

Updated on February 7, 2018
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Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) loves hiking in the mountains and good food. She works as a Project Assistant for an engineering firm.

The open highway can be an adrenaline rush. To some it means a brighter future and more opportunities.
The open highway can be an adrenaline rush. To some it means a brighter future and more opportunities.

Have You Ever Just Picked Up and Moved to a New City?

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Reasons to Start From Scratch in a New City

Perhaps there has come a time in life when you just need a change. You can feel it in your soul that you need a big change. Maybe you feel where you live is not offering enough opportunities, or maybe you feel “been there, done that” now it’s time to move on because you have lived in the same place for a long time, and you don’t feel the adrenaline anymore. Maybe you are wanting to explore the world and moving to a new location is one way to accomplish this goal. Or maybe you just went through a painful or dramatic divorce and you need a fresh change of scenery to start over. Or maybe you got a job transfer to a new city and are welcoming the change.

Whatever your circumstances, relocating to a new city brings an adrenaline rush, especially if you are the adventurous type and/or you don’t have kids or a spouse to worry about. If it is just you then it can be easier to just pick up and relocate.

Relocating To a New City Without Knowing a Soul

Preparing for the Move

If you are one of the fortunate people who earns a living on the internet, you can basically relocate anywhere you wish because it is very likely that the "daily commute time" or having to "find a job" would not be factors in your decision.

Not to sound like a Negative Nellie, but we all know at this time what the economy is like. People now would need to think long and hard about how they could survive after a relocation if they did not find a job right away. However, let’s say you have saved enough money that you could live off of (let’s say for at least one year) and didn’t need a job right away. Most of us are not in that boat, but if at all possible make sure you have enough saved up to live off if needed. If you have the opportunity to transfer with your current employment or are offered a new position in the new location, that is all the better for you.

In an “employees” market you could find a job in a matter of days or weeks, but currently it is not that way. Once you relocate and start looking for employment, it would be prudent to try to live beneath your means. You may want to learn how to really stretch a dollar if you feel you need to learn how to budget (helpful hints can be found at In other words you may not want to spend that $6.00 every day at Starbucks. Find a way to make fantastic coffee yourself at home. There are probably a lot of good coffee recipes on the internet.

If you are currently working, take some vacation time and plan to stay a few nights in the city you are considering. Make a list of the things important to you and investigate them. For me, the important things were:

  • Cost of living (could I find an affordable housing within my means). I would visit apartment communities to get rent prices and get their opinions of the town as well. I would start conversations with strangers who were locals and ask them their opinion of the city, and what things they like the most about the city, and was there anything they disliked about the city.
  • Employment outlook (how easy could I get a job if I moved here). I would make appointments in advance with local temporary agencies and recruiters and talk to them about my skills and what they believe I could command in salary and how easy it would be to get a job.
  • Cultural events and things to do (is there nightlife here, restaurants, museums to visit, bowling alley, horseback riding facilities, etc…). You could also visit in your new zip code to get an idea of the social functions and interests that are available.

Also finding a good church was important to me. I would visit websites of several churches beforehand and pick one to visit while I was there. People who have children may be interested in quality of schools. People who love outdoor sports may be concerned with the parks and recreation facilities the city has to offer. Make a list of what is important to you and check it out while you are visiting. You could even get local opinions off message boards such as city-data.

I would visit my target city during a scheduled vacation week and spoke to recruiters, visited apartments, went to church, and did the tourist thing. By the time I left to go back, I had a signed lease for an apartment and was registered at 3 different employment agencies. When I went back home I gave all my necessary notices to the apartment rental and my employer and started packing up, reserved a moving truck, called to have my utilities hooked up at the new place and disconnected at the old place.

A few months before my "Relocation Vacation" I would go through all my cabinets, drawers, and closets and make three piles: throw away, donate, or sell (less stuff to pack). Also while I was on vacation touring my new city, I set up a post office box to start having my mail forwarded, once I made the decision that yes, I’m moving here. I believe 2 times I had a voicemail set up just to have a local number, but turned out I didn’t need it.

Relocation to a new city for young professionals

Been There Done That and It Was Fun

I moved from scratch to a brand new city 4 times. Three of those times I did not know a soul in the new city and did not have a job lined up – but I did have an apartment to move into (at least I had a place to live, right?). But for me it was an adrenaline rush. This was back in the mid 1980s through the 1990s when the economy was much better than it is now. As soon as I arrived at my new place I started dialing the agencies to let them know that I had arrived and was available for contract work so I could get the cash flow going to pay the rent. I was able to get contract work to generate cash flow and fortunately each time a temp gig turned into a full time position for me.

I did notice during my last relocation in 2000 that it was much tougher to get a job than in previous years. I don’t know if it was one of the following reasons: a) there just are not that many administrative assistant jobs to go around; b) I had over 20 years experience and my rates were higher than companies wanted to pay; c) they want the bimbo eye candy types that will take the job for a lot less (yes this still happens in the South). I have come to the conclusion that in most instances, a) is the most likely answer.

In closing, in this current job market, make sure you have an honest conversation with a recruiter in the city you want to move to. Ask them if they can analyze your skills and give you an honest and realistic picture of your job prospects if you were to relocate there. If you don’t have to look for a job because you are earning a living on the internet then you have it made and would not even have to talk to recruiters or look for a job. Go ahead and buy that $6.00 Starbucks if you want to celebrate!

© 2012 Michelle Dee


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