Monday, December 17, 2012

So It’s a Little Farther Away - What’s the Problem?

For whatever reason, perhaps the available jobs in your local vicinity are either not suitable or there may be few available. Let’s say, hypothetically, there is a job you are considering, you like them and they like you. They are willing to pay more money, but there is a two hour or longer one-way commute on a clear weather and good traffic day. However, it is a good job and the kind for which you have been looking, so you think beyond the commute issue, instead considering the good things and benefits for you and your family.  

I’ve witnessed this sort of situation and, most often, accepting these circumstances is rationalized by focusing on the good or because of need, although I do warn candidates of the negatives to which they should give more credence. Everything starts out well, but often it isn’t long before I receive a call from the candidate who accepted the job, telling me they are unhappy, never home and the increased money they are earning is swallowed up by fuel and occasional hotel costs, when there is a snow storm or a late night at the office.  

This distance of the commute could be such that it does not make sense to sell your house and relocate with all that includes, such as uprooting children, etc. A long commute can take its toll in many ways you may not have anticipated; not least of which is the total time you are commuting to and fro, combined with the time at work. This could mean, as an example, a four hours or more total commute time added to your work day, which is likely more than just 8 hours. If you’re lucky, you are still looking at a minimum of 12 hours per day and that doesn’t even account for bad weather, highway construction delays or spontaneous traffic snarls.  

If you find yourself in such a situation, you must give equal consideration to the negative aspects of such a lifestyle change. It’s easy to justify the good things. I also assume most people recognize relocation should be the logical conclusion, once you’ve settled into the job. Indeed, I know some people who do the long distance marriage thing and see each other on weekends, if their company will pay the expense or pay enough to make that an option. We’re all different, but most people cannot live like this long term without it impacting their personal relationships. If you’re single, perhaps it isn’t a big deal, but you should not overlook the financial costs vs. benefits and remember that your time has value that is measurable, both in monetary and quality-of-life terms. 

Considering relocation?

If you are young, single and mobile and would consider relocation, now is the time to do it, before you are weighed down with responsibilities that increase as we age and progress throughout our careers. If you have a family, before engaging in an interview process and absolutely before any final decisions, have a discussion with your spouse and your family. I recall early in my recruiting career, when I was working with a candidate who had shown interest in a position requiring relocation from Minneapolis to Atlanta. The opportunity was with a good multinational company selling medical capital equipment to hospitals. The first interview had gone well and there was interest in inviting the candidate back for a second meeting. When I asked him how his wife and family would feel about moving to another part of the country, he replied it would not be a problem. Upon the successful completion of the second interview, the hiring manager informed me this candidate was his favorite and they wanted to invite him back for a third round. If that went well, they were prepared to make the candidate an offer, although, beforehand, they would need to be sure the candidate would indeed relocate if the job was offered to him. Up to that point, I hadn’t yet been able to definitively pin down the candidate’s commitment on the subject, and the most I could get from him was that when the time came, his wife and kids would move with him. That still was not the answer my client required. So, I agreed with the hiring manager there would be no written job offer until we could clear up this issue. I needed to establish if he was serious and with real intent – or was he jerking us around? I decided to call him again about it, but instead took advantage of an opportunity when his wife answered. She thanked me for representing her husband, and said he was very excited about the potential new job, and that she fully supported her husband’s efforts. So I asked her how she felt about moving to Atlanta. There was long silence before she confirmed what I had suspected; her husband had not told her relocation was involved and that she absolutely would not support a move away from her family or her childrens' grandparents! I thanked her for her time and from that moment the deal was dead. Fortunately for me, I switched to a secondary candidate I was also representing who won the selection process and relocated from eastern Pennsylvania. If there are other people who will be required to accompany any relocation you might consider, then it is never a solitary decision. 

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