I have had the pleasure of providing career-coaching services to several engineers recently who are considering a geographic relocation in their engineering careers.
Therefore, I decided to write a series of two posts to assist those engineers out there that might be making (or considering making) a geographic relocation in their career. This first post will give some tips for a successful relocation and for the second post I will interview an engineer who recently relocated from North Carolina to Alaska.
I have never personally relocated in my engineering career, however I have talked to many engineers who have and formulated these tips/strategies based on their advice and recommendations:
- Like Your New Location – A CEO of a large company once told me that one of the keys to his career success was always choosing to work in a geographical location that he liked. For him, warm weather was a must so he would never even consider taking a job in a cold weather region like the northeast. While this may sound obvious, many people will take an offer based on salary and just take the approach that they will learn to live with the cold weather.
- Visit the City Before Relocating – Be sure to visit the city that you plan to relocate to prior to making your final decision. This may also sound obvious, but people do make decisions like this without doing this! Don’t think you are going to like a city because everyone says it’s a great place to live. This is a life changing decision; you want to be sure that the place you are moving to is right for you and your family.
- Include Your Family – Since this is a life changing decision for the entire family, include them in the decision process as much as possible. If you have kids and can afford to take them on a pre-decision visit to the city you are considering, do so, otherwise teach them about the city by showing them photos and information online. Make them feel like they are part of the process, not just along for the ride.
- Consider Commute Time – Commute time can have a huge impact on work-family balance and your overall stress level. When relocating from one part of a country to another, the seemingly small detail of your daily commute time can get overlooked. Keep this in mind when searching for your new residence.
- Get Involved in the Community – Try to get involved in the community as soon as possible. Join the local engineering society, and also other community groups like the local chamber of commerce. Also try getting your family involved as well, to help ease their transition.
- Have a Back Up Plan – What if you pack up your family and relocate and in 6 months for some reason, you lose your job? Ensure that there are other engineering companies/opportunities in your new location just in case you need them.
- Professional Licenses and Certifications – Consider the impact that a geographic relocation might have on the licenses or certifications that you have or are currently pursuing. For example, if you have a PE license in one state and are relocating to another state, just be sure to find out what process you will have to go through to get licensed in your new location. You may want to do this ahead of time so you are ready to practice when you get there.
For those of you out there going through this decision process, I hope these tips are helpful. Part 2 of this series, which will include the interview mentioned above, will be coming soon.
Please comment below and provide any other tips that you can share from your relocation experiences.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success