548.3 miles. What should have been closer to 9 hours turned into a 13+ hour journey from North Carolina to Florida in the summer as I journeyed to my new home. I was moving out of state for a new job in Housing and I was nervous about moving to a new town. No matter the fact that I had already made a similar journey when I left New Jersey for college in North Carolina. Although this only happened for me a year ago, it has been really nice to reflect upon my out of state search and transition as I celebrate just over 1 year in Florida. What are some things I wish I had known?
Starting with the search, here are some things to keep in mind as you consider searching out of state:
- Cost of Interviews - While we might like to think all employers that are doing in person on campuses will cover the cost of travel to/from an interview, the accommodations (either in a hotel or on campus), and food, that is unfortunately not the reality 100%. Just be mindful of this when you begin applying cross-country and think about the financial implications of accepting a final stage in person interview before you accept.
- How to Show Willingness to Relocate - While relocating is more common in some functional areas than others, there are some schools that may typically be looking at a local or more regional pool and fail to consider candidates with addresses hundreds of miles away. I would encourage you to include a statement “Open to Relocation” on your job search materials - I put mine in the header.
- Proximity to Support System - Some may be fine living far away from members of their support system (family, friends, loved ones) while others may need to be close to at least one member. I recommend you do some self-reflection on your own needs and use this to narrow down what states you would be open to moving to.
You’ve got the job! Time to actually transition to your out of state job:
- Cost of Moving - For me, the biggest stressor of an out of state search was the cost of physically moving my things from one place to another. I had been fortunate enough to receive a moving stipend when I accepted my first professional job but then I was only moving within town in NC. Now that I was moving multiple states away, the cost of moving was becoming a harsh reality. For me, I did things the cheapest way possible by hiring help on either end of the trip to load and unload a UHaul and relied on a family member to help me drive the UHaul. That worked out well for me since I already had furniture to move. For others, you may be able to get away with loading up an SUV or car and calling it a day. Others still may need or be in a position to hire full-service movers. My advice on this topic is just to do your research and be prepared for some additional cost no matter what. While some schools may provide moving stipends, it is increasingly less common for entry-level professionals and even mid-level professionals to have their entire moves covered or even a partial allowance.
- Establishing Care in a New State - Another thing to consider is how to re-establish new providers in your new state. By this, I mean starting over with new doctors, dentists, chiropractors, counselors, and more. I was really fortunate to have some colleagues in my department willing to share recommendations on this topic. It took some time but now that I’ve been here a year, I am almost completely connected to all the providers I need.
While this post is not exhaustive of all the things that you need to consider before movin’ out and making an out of state transition, I hope this list has at least helped you to start thinking about some things that should be considered before you make that big decision.