In this article, I want to share with you my first-hand experience by mentioning 7 things to consider when relocating for a job.
1. Is it really worth it?
Why I’m starting from this point?
I strongly believe that no matter how great the opportunity might sound, no matter how long you have waited for your dream role, you should always do 2 things: calm yourself down and make a list where you’ll write down all pluses as well as minuses that need to be taken into consideration before you say “yes” to relocating for a job.
Rushing might make things worse and lead to some unexpected consequences that could make your entire expat experience worse than you expected.
Don’t take things for granted – just because you know people who have relocated for a job and like it in the new country, doesn’t mean you don’t have to make your own list which will include things that are important for you/your family.
2. Do the research
Life is much easier now when we have the internet and can check many things online before we actually decide to relocate for a job.
You can do research by speaking with your friends, being part of an online community (look for Expat groups on Facebook or other social media), and checking various websites.
Before I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft, I was part of the Microsoft EMEA Engineering Recruitment team, so you may say I did have some understanding of the costs of living.
But I didn’t limit myself just to that! I spoke with a lot of people who made a move, read many articles (for Czechia I’d recommend you to visit https://www.expats.cz/) as well and did calculations using information from e.g. Numbeo: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/ (website which provides details on costs of living worldwide).
3. Understand your work contract
This part is in my opinion, one of the most important ones as your/your family life abroad will depend a lot on the conditions that are mentioned in your work contract.
Are you sure you understand all of the points?
Do you know what type of work you’ll be doing, what will be your responsibilities?
Do you know what are promotion criteria?
Will the company help you with the move (by providing a relocation package or a lump sum – some amount of money) or you’ll be relocating for a job all by yourself (if so, what will be the total costs)?
If you’re joining one of the Big Tech – make sure you understand your total compensation package. It might include your yearly salary (usually gross), stock options, and a sign-on bonus.
If you receive company stocks, ask your Recruiter how they work, especially take time to learn the differences between vested vs. unvested amounts.
I noticed many people tend to not understand what are stocks and how they work, focusing entirely on yearly salary amounts – don’t make that mistake!
4. Talk with your family about relocating for a job to a new country
You might be moving alone or with your family.
In my case, I was moving with my family (husband and kid) and we talked a lot about how they feel about it, as it would require all of us to find our way in a new country.
Relocating for a job in a new country means you have a job, but what about your spouse/partner?
Will it be easy for them to also find a job?
Do they need to know the local language? If yes, then it will be hard for them to find something and their options will be very limited (that was the case for my husband who didn’t know the Czech language and was limited in his job search to only international companies where they use English on a daily basis).
5. Money, Money, Money…
Living abroad is expensive, as you need to find a new place for yourself/your family.
Renting a flat can take a significant amount of your monthly salary.
Relocating for a job with kids? Then you might have to pay additional costs for education and healthcare.
Make sure you take into consideration all possible costs of living and expenses.
You might find yourself in a situation where initially the offer looked really good (a lot of things look good only on paper 😉 ), but once you start calculating, you’ll realize…it doesn’t actually make sense for you as you’ll spend much more money abroad than staying in your home country.
6. Have a “Plan B” ready
The pandemic (and after the pandemic world) showed that even Software Engineers cannot be 100% sure about keeping their role.
Many companies were hiring like crazy during the COVID-19 times, businesses experienced a boom, only to start firing thousands of people later.
Before you relocate for a job, think about the “Plan B”: what will happen if I lose my job? Will I have enough savings? If yes, how long will I be able to live before I need to get a new job?
Keep in mind that if you need to have a visa and/or work permit in order to be able to work in another country, then you need to check what are the conditions of your/your family’s stay.
7. Moving back to your home country
The truth is that when you’re relocating for a job, you can never know if it will be forever or just few years.