In the unmanned and robotics field, one thing we all know is that your next job may not exactly be where your current one is. Relocation is huge in our industry, and while the vast majority of work takes place in a few specific areas – it isn’t uncommon at all to transition between those areas every few years.
Which means that moving for a job is kind of the norm for those committed to this field.
But even given that, there can be a lot of anxiety for those who are taking the relocation route for the first time. So here’s what you need to know if you’ve just been job offered a position that will have you leaving home.
  • Commit to Nothing Sight Unseen: Sure, you’re committed to your career and willing to do what it takes to move to the next level. That’s admirable, and I fully support you in that drive. But I still encourage you not to accept any job before visiting the area and having a real face to face with those you will be working with. Because the reality is, no matter how committed you may be, you also have to be happy in order to be productive – and not everyone will be happy in every location. Even beyond that, you don’t know what you are getting into with a corporation until you actually walk through their offices and get a true feel for their corporate culture. Hopefully they want to bring you in for an in-person interview before extending that final offer anyway. But if not, book your own ticket and commit at least a few days to getting to know the place that could be your new home.
  • You Can Negotiate: Because relocation is so common in our industry, most corporations have some sort of relocation benefit program to help you with your move. Relocation expenses can cover anything from movers to a down payment on a new home. Some companies remain flexible, giving you a stipend and allowing you to spend it on whatever you want, while others may be more rigid in how they extend those benefits. Either way, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in order to make that transition as smooth as possible – up to and including an extra week or two to settle in, or assistance in finding temporary housing. Remember to keep your requests reasonable, though. Most companies don’t offer a “Cadillac Relo Plan” anymore. They won’t come in and take over your mortgage payments, make your down payment and pack your stuff with white gloves on. Yes, you can negotiate, but always keep your expectations in line with the position you are being offered and the current business climate.
  • Map out Your Logistics: Even with great relocation benefits, there is likely a lot to do on your end as you prepare for your move. At the very least, you will have to find new housing. And pack. And deal with all the tiny details of moving, like filing for a change of address with the post office and dealing with travel arrangements. You may also need to sell a house, get rid of excess “stuff” and hire movers. Before you get too overwhelmed, write down all your to-do’s and then list them in order of priority. Having that list will keep you on track as you prepare and organize.

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