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Are You Willing To Relocate?

Licensed under Creative Commons from http://www.flickr.com/photos/themuuj/2224917035/sizes/s/in/photostream/I've recently been talking to people looking for DBAs and one of the questions that always gets asked early on in the conversation is "Are you willing to relocate?". It's an easy question to ask but not always easy to answer.  I suspect most people would easily give a yes or no if asked in a casual conversation, but if you put more thought into it the answer becomes more of a maybe (or "it depends" for the DBAs reading this).

My current situation has afforded me time to figure out my own answer. I listed out all of things I thought I should consider and found that I was able to group them into two general "cost based" categories: financial and emotional.

The financial considerations included the obvious, e.g. salary and opportunity for career growth, and the not so obvious, such as: cost of living compared to where I live now, what it costs to move, and even the potential commute (my friend Andy Warren (Blog | Twitter) recently wrote an editorial on SQLServerCentral.com about this that I recommend reading).

I think the emotional considerations are even more important, though, because money alone doesn't lead to happiness. For example, I have friends who moved from Toronto to Orlando for a fantastic job and a very comfortable life but after a few years moved back because that was their home where they felt most happy. I can relate; my wife and I are both Florida natives, and with three kids plus siblings and parents within driving distance I realize how emotionally difficult it would be for my family to move far away from that.

So all things being equal, my preference would be first to stay local, then relocate elsewhere in the state, and finally move "somewhere else" (admittedly I'm not entirely sure where that somewhere else would be). That's not to say I would turn down an opportunity that requires relocating over something local, but it would have to be something special. Special is something life altering - maybe even historic - like launching rockets into space or solving world problems. Special is something unique, meaning you're the only place doing what you're doing. Special is a once in a lifetime opportunity that can't be passed up. In other words, if I can find a job close to home doing roughly the same things you're doing halfway across the country, I'm probably not going to be motivated to move. That's not a knock against you - it's just what I've decided is best for me right now.

Alternatives

More recently, especially in the technology industry, companies are starting to open up to telecommuting. Steve Jones (Blog |Twitter) and Robert Pearl (Blog | Twitter) recently shared their thoughts about it in You Can Telecommute and Telecommuting - Hype or Happening?. With what I've heard about how hard it is these days to find quality DBAs I don't think it's unreasonable to consider telecommuting if you think you've found the right person for your team. However, I also understand there's no replacement for in person meetings, so maybe a good middle ground is to be onsite for one work week each month. It seems reasonable to me, at least.

Are You Willing To Relocate?

I think it's a good idea to ask yourself this question from time to time because things can - and do - change. Maybe it's the unexpected downsizing that lies ahead, or more optimistically it's the next great job offer that you get after meeting someone at a SQLSaturday or the PASS Summit (or whatever conference you happen to be at).

I encourage you to take some time to think about what it would take for you to relocate for a job. It's a good exercise to go through, and you'll find yourself in a much better position to give an answer you're confortable with the next time someone asks.

Comments

Posted by Robert Pearl on 1 September 2011

Great post!  Indeed there is a lot to consider.  I totally understand the factors.

Posted by Alan Cranfield on 1 September 2011

I have relocated from Cape Town => London => Shanghai !!

There is a lot of opportunity out there.  Do it while the kids are still young. You wont regret it.

Posted by MG on 2 September 2011

NYC --> NJ --> FL --> CO --> TX --> Fl --> TX - Whew! I think I'll stay put now. I like it here :)

Posted by -=JLK=- on 2 September 2011

I've never found reloaction to be that difficult, 15 years in the US Army prepared me well, and the last 15 years as a civilian hasn't changed things much (4 jobs, 3 towns).  Now I live and work near all my wife's family so she would be less "happy" about a move, however, when it comes to choice between working and "not" working, the choice is easy even if the execution is difficult.  One of the things I've had a hard time understanding with the current employment conditions in the U.S. is how someone can be out of work for a Year or more and still refuse to relocate to where a job does exist, even lower paying, lower benefits, its still beats no job at all.

Posted by Mala on 2 September 2011

I can totally relate to difficulties in moving a family...as far as extended families go though some of us have faced very hard decisions..most immigrants live thousands of miles away from extended family of any kind. When I moved to the States from India 14 years ago my only consideration was survival. I still miss my extended family and home a lot but am also used to life here too, just would find it hard to re adapt.I am not a greedy kind of person but would like to retire in my 70s atleast and living here gives me better savings. I wish you the best in finding the choice that is best for you and your family.

Posted by fmudau on 2 September 2011

may be, for me weather is the only thing that may hinder me from relocating. i hate cold places.

Posted by Vinicio Aizpurua on 2 September 2011

After moved to Florida from Venezuela where I lived for 32 years of my life in the same city and just travel for business purposes,. I left home, friends, family and after all of this, thinking of relocating seems to be easy for me. But, after living in Miami, FL for the last 17 years, having this wonderful weather all year round(Except sometime for Hurricanes!!) It is so nice to live here and work here. I am used to this weather and living all my life in the same weather like city, and having the freedom to be every day playing tennis is I want to after work and on weekends, go to the beach in December or January, etc. Those are my work related perks, some folks might have other kind of perks. So, whenever you ask to be relocate, you might be have in mind or plan where, when and how.  It also depends on your personal financial or geographical location. Remember that home is where your heart is.  

Posted by Alan Vogan on 2 September 2011

I live in paradise, so relocating would be difficult, though not impossible and would have to entail something very 'special' as Kendall stated. The timing would have to be extremely good too as far as where/what the rest of the family is up to. So, 'it depends', but it's going to take a big carrot (salary, career/life altering job) or a big stick (getting fired).

Posted by jcroft on 2 September 2011

As Cranfield said, do it while the kids are young. As my wife will tell you, we've lived in seven states and two foreign countries and she's cooked in 17 different kitchens. When our oldest started high school things slowed down and we've now been in the same house for sixteen years. The kids will always remember running around castles in England and skiing in teh Alps.  But they also still visit with their high school friends at least yearly and my wife will not move away from our grandchildren.

Posted by steven.tomlinson on 2 September 2011

Unfortunately the real question for many of is actually, "can you relocate?".

At least in my case as a howeowner, selling my house would be impossible in this market.

With 20 years experience, and having been involved in some fairly significant successful and projects (within their respective industries). I've been contacted by many recruiters, done some interviews for the more promising ones, and received offers. However, without a relocation package that buys me out of my mortgage.

One company even stated they paid a "standard" relocation package $2,000.00 ... WTF?!, on the other hand probably a blessing as I immediately knew what kind of place or at least department it would have been to work at.

Now my first question when contacted is, "what if any relocation is offered?".

Posted by pkrudysz on 7 September 2011

NY to Amsterdam to Poland.  Being a DBA rules.  You can easily find good jobs in a lot of interesting places.

Posted by brijeshs on 15 September 2011

It IS Good question.the answer may differ person to person.

some may give prefrence to money, others stability.

It unique opportunity is there ,each one shoud ready to grasp it.

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