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Family Relocation Fears

The good news: you’ve found what you believe to be the perfect job. The not so good news: the job requires relocating, and you have to make sure the whole family is on board. Because let’s face it: a lot is being asked of a family when a decision has been made to uproot everyone and move into a totally different environment. Concerns are inevitable, however they need not be insurmountable. An important thing to keep in mind is that you should bring up any issues with your family before—not during and certainly not after—you pursue a job which requires relocation. One reason for doing this is to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on (such as accepting a relocation offer only to find out afterward that your partner greatly dislikes the new area).

Another reason is that before a company puts in all its efforts to relocate you and your family, it wants to be reassured that any trepidation your family may have, has been resolved. The following steps can help you do this.

Making Relocation Work for Everyone

Devising an Action Plan for Your Partner
The potential for a smooth transition is enhanced when your partner knows that opportunities exist for him or her as well. If you have contacts in your targeted area, now is the time to capitalize on them. Get some copies of the local newspapers and check out the classified section. You may be able to do this online as well. And don’t forget that when you work with an FPC recruiter, your partner may be able to get job searching assistance from a recruiter in the FPC network who specializes in his or her industry.

Articulating the Benefits of Moving
Bring up to your family the benefits you will all be gaining by making this move. A roomier house with a yard, a higher salary that translates into being able to afford college for your children and other goals down the road, a lower crime rate, a better quality of life—all these are excellent reasons to point out. Focusing on the long-term picture can help your family to see that yes, while there may be some short-term sacrifices, they are well worth it to reach the family’s long-term goals.

Being Realistic About the Move
There’s no point in painting a Pollyannaish picture of the upcoming move. After all, the prospect of leaving behind friends and relatives and everything that is familiar can be daunting. Allow worries to be expressed and remind your family that you will all be going through this transition together. Ask if the company has a family relocation assistance program, which can help to ease the transition for you and your family. Plan as many trips as possible to the new city—for example, while you’re interviewing, your family can take the opportunity to explore the city. Familiarize yourselves with the surrounding (see list of resources below) so it won’t seem so unknown and “frightening” once you are there.

Capitalizing on the Available Resources
Learning about the targeted area not only impresses the company you want to relocate with, but it also helps you and your family feel more comfortable about your potential new home. Whether it’s information about the crime rate or the climate in the new locale, resources are plentiful:
  • Look online, read travel and reference books and subscribe to the local papers
  • Friends, colleagues or family members who live (or have lived) in the region are also wonderful sources of information
  • Contact members of your alumni network who live in the targeted area
  • The local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with essential job information
  • Professional associations, whose local chapters can provide invaluable tips— everything from job growth, to the school system, to the best sushi restaurant in town
    With all this knowledge at your fingertips, you and your family should have a clearer idea of how the new place will fit into your life.

    Wrong Moves to Make (What Not to Do)

    Concealing From Your Family That the New Job Involves Relocation
    Tell them as soon as you know where the potential job is located to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on. Don’t just assume that your family will “love” the new area; know it by having a discussion first. “It would be viewed as highly unprofessional if you were to get an offer and then turn it down solely on the fact that you have to relocate,” cautions Sue Kanrich, Sr. Operations Consultant of FPC. “That is something that you know when the company tells you where you will be working (or when you started looking to relocate), and the relocation decision needs to be made then.”

    Discouraging Concerns From Being Expressed
    As tempting as it might be to forge ahead with the relocation job search and avoid any discussions or concerns that your family might have, don’t. This is a formula for trouble as it will most likely lead to resentment and unhappiness down the road. Relocating is stressful enough; why add to the stress? So just sit down with your family, go around the room and give everyone the chance to communicate any doubts, fears or misgivings. From these conversations important issues that were overlooked could arise, and it might even turn out that some of your family’s apprehensions may easily be resolved. Remember that one family discussion is often not enough, so keep the lines of communication open at all times.

    Setting Unrealistic Goals or Having Unrealistic Expectations
    As with all moves, but especially ones that involve moving to an entirely different locale, there is much that needs to be done. From packing and then unpacking, to deciding how you want your new home to be decorated, to locating doctors in your new environment, finding out about babysitting or nursery school options, and so forth, your plate will be full. Setting out to do everything at once is a recipe for disaster. Instead, make a list of what needs to be done immediately, what is of secondary importance and what can wait until you are actually settled in your new home.

    Also, don’t expect to take to your new surroundings immediately. Regardless of how much you researched the area and ultimately decided that you and your family will like it, it takes time to acclimate to a new environment and to feel truly comfortable. Remember too that as the new kids on the block, it is up to you and your family to find ways to meet people. While this can certainly be done through your new job, there are other ways to make new friends too, such as volunteering, joining a social club or a gym, and becoming active members of the PTA at your children’s schools. And don’t underestimate the effect of something as simple as smiling and introducing yourself to your new neighbors—oftentimes that can be the start of a great friendship.

    The Final Word: How FPC Can Help
    As you can see, your family plays a pivotal role in your decision to relocate. While some resources are listed above, another resource that should not be overlooked is FPC recruiters. Through FPC's relationship with preferred vendor, Recruiter Relocation, your FPC recruiter offers the complimentary services of a Relocation Coach that is dedicated to helping you and your family research, plan and manage your potential relocation.

    With FPC’s nationwide network of recruiters, you get assistance not only with all the information on relocation for your new career opportunity, but also for family members who may need a new job for the family to make this move. When you work with an FPC recruiter, you can become knowledgeable about all the factors in job relocation. And, your FPC recruiter will work with companies to negotiate any sensitive topics that may arise, such as agreeing on a time to move that is beneficial to both the company and you and your family.

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