When I grew up relocating was a way of life, a way to advance your career. Relocating, and the perks that went with it, had long been the hallmark of six-figure executives.
Well it’s mostly gone away, along with the signing bonus. Today, the lack of relocation has become quite egalitarian, affecting even the executive suite. I suppose the exception might be a CEO, some specialized rocket scientist or bio-tech expert.
However, there is an exception to every rule, so if you are unemployed and someone does offer to relocate you, jump on it.
Why are relocation offers extinct?
I am from Armonk in New York State’s Westchester County. When I grew up there, Armonk was the global headquarters of IBM, which was then the equivalent of the Google or Microsoft today. Armonk was a corporate town, a smokestack-less company town, with a fancy school, where you were identified by the part town in which you lived: Windmill Farms, Whippoorwill — names like that.
If you wanted to get ahead at IBM, you moved, not just across the country, but across the world. Picture the AMC TV show “Mad Men,” but unfolding in the 1970s.
But during a recession, the offer to relocate for a job that you’re trying to land, or even one that you currently have, hardly exists anymore.
Why? Well, because of high unemployment, there are often so many quality candidates within a local geography that the expense and risk of relocating someone has become almost extinct.
When is relocation just not worth it?
In the end, it depends on what your spouse or partner is doing for a job. While it might be difficult to pull Buffy and Jodi out of the school they love and friends they know, the kids are better off making new friends and adjusting to a new house, than the alternative: going to the poor house.
Here’s one example: Harpo Productions is soon moving to Los Angeles. This is Oprah Winfrey’s production company. I have heard from several of her well-compensated executives, many whom are women who must decide in the next 24 months if they want to move from a Chicago-land suburb to LA. My advice is always the same to these people, like I would have advised Jed Clampett from “The Beverly Hillbillies” many years ago: “Load up the truck (SUV) and move to Beverly…Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars!”
Your spouse or partner will find another job. Harpo will help, or tune in to the Ladders to find more manager, director, VP and C-level jobs for your spouse than Oprah has homes!
But really, relocation, if you can find it, is almost always worth it.
Rarely if ever volunteer to relocate your job, unless there is some guarantee on a buy-out if the job does not work out.
Let me know what you think. Happy Hunting!