How to Move to a Bigger City for a New Job

Congratulations! You've just landed an awesome new job. Now you must deal with quitting your old job and moving to a bigger city. Moving and changing jobs are two very stressful things and now you've got to deal with both in a matter of weeks on top of starting a new job. Here are a few tips to help make the transition stress-free and a little easier.


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    Keep quiet! You may be tempted to scream your good fortunes from every roof top in town but it's important you keep quiet for a few days. Don't go blabbing just yet. There are a few more things you must do before everything becomes common knowledge. The next few weeks need to be choreographed like an Olympic synchronized swim team to make this all happen without a hitch.
    • Get your new job offer in writing. Don't quit your current job until you have a signed offer in hand from your new job. Most people would be shocked to know how many companies make verbal offers or say the "letter is in the mail" or "being emailed today" and the offer never arrives. A phone offer won't do. Insist that you receive something in writing. Make sure the offer is very specific and includes the details you agreed upon regarding your compensation, benefits, etc. Some states have laws that will protect you if the new boss or company backs down between the time you accept and the time you start. You may still be out of work but the new job may be responsible for reimbursing you or even giving you a severance package.
    • Research the area well before you accept a position. They may take advantage of your small town background and not offer you pay on the same scale as others in your position. They may not be offering you enough to survive on in your new town.
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    Discuss the move in detail with your spouse or partner. Also discuss it with your parents or other adult family members who might be affected by your move. You still have time to back out should you learn your parents have something medical going on and moving is not advised. This is not the time to mention it to your kids or casually discuss it with co-workers. You don't want to tell your boss until after a few more things are in order. Now is not a good time to find out that your boss's kid sits next to your kid in art class. Wait a while until your ducks are in a row.
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    Call your landlord or a realtor. Tell them when you are moving. Schedule a home inspection. You'd rather deal with an issue while you're in town than try to deal with it when a sale is on the line and you're miles away and starting a new job.
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    Make a schedule for your move with your spouse or partner. If you have pets, consider how they will be moved. Ideally you have given yourself at least 4 weeks, preferably 8 weeks to quit and get moved. If you only have 4 weeks you should take the first week to plan, give your notice the last Friday on the first week, work your two weeks but at night and on weekends work on packing, getting rid of junk and taking unwanted items to charity. The fourth week you will have about two days in your old home before you'll need to hit the road.
    • Some companies will not require you to provide two weeks notice but you should still offer one. Don't base any time line on an employer's history of asking people to leave the day they give their notice. Depending on your position, other staffing situations you may be unaware of, etc., you may be working your entire two weeks.
    • If you are close enough to your new location, you can use your weekends to move small loads with your car. Consider taking up cleaning items and getting a head start. When you arrive, you can move right in with your stuff since the place will be clean.
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    Keep track of your moving expenses. Moving isn't cheap. Hopefully your new employer is helping but if not you should start liquidating assets, figuring out if you can tap your 401K or asking for a loan to get you the cash you need to relocate if you don't have it in savings. More and more companies are not offering relocation. Before you accept any offer you should have an idea of how you can afford to move, get into a home and survive until you get your first paycheck without moving assistance. Make a folder and keep it handy. Label it "Moving Paperwork and Receipts" and keep all confirmations, paperwork, receipts, deposit details, etc. If you are being reimbursed, you will need it. If you're footing the bill you can keep this file for tax purposes. It's also a great way to keep everything organized and see how your budget is being used.
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    Get your current employer's Employee Handbook.
    • Find out what requirements are necessary to quit
    • Are you paid on sick leave? Only vacation?
    • When does your insurance coverage end?
    • Should you schedule medical appointments for you and your family? Better to do it now than wait until you are knee deep in boxes. It's especially important if you will lose your coverage on your last day of work.
    • Check for non-competition rules. Be clear that you are released from any non-compete and get it in writing. You don't want to start your new job only to be served with cease and desist papers. If you're moving to the big times you'll be playing by more corporate rules.
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    Use your personal days before you give notice. Take those days to visit your new city and find a new place to live. Many companies will not let you call in sick or take ANY time after you have given notice. Get maps of the area, the immediate neighborhood, the public transportation routes. You can start planning your new life with right information. However, your boss might not like finding out that's what you were doing on your sick days (see Warnings).
    • Pick up a travel book from your local book store before you go. If it's a big city you can probably find a travel book on it in the travel section. Read up and you can apply many of the tips for tourist to yourself your first few weeks. Learn when and when not to travel certain areas in certain ways, what restaurants are over priced, free events, and so on. It's a great way to learn more about your new home.
    • Good places to live are hard to find in bigger cities. If you find something you like and can afford you should sign the paperwork and be prepared to give them a deposit.
    • Don't try to move into something so expensive you'll need a roommate. You may have trouble finding one in a big new city. It's better to get something cheap and move up later on when you've found a good one.
    • When you find a new home you should take a camera and take pictures of each room from different angles. Take a tape measure and measure each room and closet. You'll probably lose square footage if you are moving from a small town to a big city. It's better to find out while you still have time to get rid of things than when you've moved and can't fit it all.
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    Start cleaning junk and personal items out of your desk before you give notice. Don't be obvious but do little things each day or stay later to do it discretely in the evenings. Clean personal information, passwords, etc. off your work computer. Don't forget pictures, emails, contacts, and so on. As a general rule you should get everything personal from inside your desk and any items that could be overlooked or missed from your walls or outside your desk should your old boss or security pack it for you. Don't forget to take copies of your handbook, any complimentary or praising memos about you, etc.
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    Turn in your two weeks notice at work now that you've had a week to do the above steps. Make sure to keep it as professional and respectful as possible. This is not the time to air dirty laundry or tell them you're leaving because your boss is evil.
    • Be prepared to receive a counter offer.
    • Be prepared to experience guilt.
    • Be prepared to be shunned and abused. Just roll with it! You're almost out.
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    Work very hard your last two weeks. Your last two weeks can make up for a multitude of sins or ruin a long, reputable work relationship. Work hard and be productive. Consult with your supervisor and ask what else you can do to help with the transition. Help them make the transition as pain free as possible. Take extra time with junior employees. You will be under a microscope once they find out you're leaving.
    • Use lunches to pick up moving supplies.
    • Use lunches to haul unneeded things to charity stores.
    • Use lunches to meet with co-workers instead of getting together after work when you need to be packing.
    • Return borrowed items to any co-workers and ask for any items that were borrowed from you to be returned.
    • Post an ad on the bulletin board with any items you are selling.
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    Put your car up for sale if you won't be needing it. Some larger cities offer tax breaks on hybrid vehicles or allow you to travel in the HOV lanes. Check with the DMV. If you want to have a car you should consider switching to a hybrid. Remember, gas is almost always more expensive in bigger cities. If you were planning to buy a new car, research the sales taxes and other costs in your new state. You may be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars by buying before you go or waiting until you get there. See how the areas differ. Consider using public transportation, a bicycle, a scooter, a moped, etc.
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    Keep your new employer posted. Although things will be busy, you should speak to or email them fairly regularly during your last few weeks at your old home. Keep them updated on finding a new home, notice turned in, etc. They can also be helpful in learning about your new town. You don't want your new employer to be out of touch for too long. If they don't hear from you they may think you've changed your mind. Make sure you have given your future employer a realistic timeline for your move and start date! If you must change the time line you should do it now and not the day before you were supposed to begin. If you were going to ask for one extra day you should go ahead and ask for three. Chances are, if you are behind schedule now, you will be more behind later and you won't have to continue calling and changing. However, asking your new employer for too much time to relocate can be disastrous. Try asking your new boss when they need you and work together to create a fair and reasonable timeline.
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    Iron out the details.
    • Contact utilities. Find out if there is a deposit and plan for the extra money needed.
    • Contact schools: register, withdrawal, get copies of anything you may need.
    • Check out the Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) website for requirements in your new town. It should have a wealth of information regarding fees, taxes, inspections and getting a new license or ID.
    • Many larger cities have unions. If your current position is unionized you may need to join before you can begin. That may require fees.
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    Get to your new city several days before you begin your new job. Unpack and get settled. Take public transportation to work and from work to home the week before you start. Make a dry run at at the actual times you would be commuting. Get a feel for the system. Keep a map with you at all times once you get to your new town. If you get off at the wrong subway stop or get turned around on your way home from the store you won't be completely lost with the map. If possible, call your new boss to let them know you've made it to town. Resist getting sucked in early. You still have to get things hooked up and transferred. And don't forget to take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations on a fresh start!


  • Start a travel fund. Stick some money from each paycheck aside for any emergency trip you may need to make back home. Don't forget to allow for pet boarding. Figure how much it will cost if your whole family needs to go. If there is an emergency and you must go home for a few days it shouldn't bankrupt you. Chances are, things will be tight until you get used to all your new expenses.
  • Change your outgoing voice mail on your cell. Let people know you're busy packing, no longer with the old company, or otherwise busy. This will give you a little extra time to return those phone calls. It will also give old work contacts a chance to call someone else and not leave a message for you to deal with.
  • If you're losing a bedroom or don't have a place for a guest, you should invest in an inflatable mattress and pump. You'll be shocked with the people from your old town who will want to visit. Just store the mattress and pump in the closet.
  • Remember the party at grandma's or your cousin's wedding that's coming up this year? Now you'll probably have to take a few days off and go home to attend. Make sure you discuss any time off if it may be needed before your vacation kicks in.
  • Some companies in bigger cities may have a more stringent dress code. Do some shopping in familiar stores in your old town so you're not running blind trying to find what you need when you get there. You know where the deals are at home. (However, you may be better off waiting until you get there to shop for climate specific needs--you won't find decent snow boots in Florida.)
  • Sometimes with a few days notice you can take a few personal days. Some companies allow for mental health days. If you are booking a flight you may want to be sure you won't have your request denied. Don't try to take a few personal days and when denied you call in sick! You know your boss and company structure so make a decision for what would work best.
  • Try to shop for essentials you might need before you move. Chances are it will be more expensive in a bigger city and you may even have trouble finding it until you learn your way around. Smaller towns often have less sales tax.
  • If your home state is known for a special treat (salt water taffy, peaches, etc.) you should pick up some and put on your new desk or take some for your new neighbors. It's a great conversation starter. You can also keep some for yourself in case you get homesick.
  • Contact your utility companies in your hometown. Ask for a reference letter. Most provide this on request. Stick it with your moving paperwork. It may save you a deposit when you are signing on with new utility companies. Ask for it early so you'll have it when you make arrangements for your new services. It's harder to get discounts retroactively. Give them your forwarding address for your last bill and any deposits they may owe you.


  • Parking is difficult and expensive and can also be damaging to cars in big cities. Talk to your new landlord or neighbors to get suggestions. You may want to trade that Range Rover for a smaller vehicle.
  • Most states give you 10 days to update your drivers license and car registration. If you are caught beyond 10 days, the fines can be steep.
  • Although you are dealing with big city companies and competition may be intense, you should always give at least two weeks notice to your old job. If your new jobs tries to pressure you to skip out on your old job you should beware. What other ways could they ask you to be unprofessional? Take the high road and be a good worker to everyone.
  • Expect your new co-workers to move at the speed of your new city. It may take time to adjust but try not to appear slow or lazy.
  • Don't burn bridges. Other than trying to use your sick time (be reasonable) you should really be on your game at work. Clearly you should not risk calling in sick if you do not have adequate sick time, have trouble with being dishonest in this way, or could risk your job. Resist the urge for "Short Timers Syndrome". Show up, be on time, do your work and do it well. Now is not the time to burn bridges. Your new job can back out at any time and you may need job to come back to. You may also need this reference if something should happen with your new job within the next 12 months. The current job is where the next employer will probably look for references.
  • Keep a close eye on expenditures. Your new job may be paying more but things cost more where you are going. Don't overextend.

Things You'll Need

  • Employee Handbook
  • Moving truck
  • Moving supplies
  • Moving assistance
  • Money
  • Schedule

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