Don’t Be Afraid to Relocate

by Erin Kinney, Senior Assistant, INALJ Wyoming

Don’t Be Afraid to Relocate

ErinKinneyMy husband and I are both originally from San Diego. He grew up in Nebraska, and I spent time in the Four Corners area of Colorado. We wanted to get back to that general area after graduating from library school in Florida, so we targeted our job searches in those big square states in the middle of the country. Through networking and some serendipity, we landed our first library jobs in Cheyenne, Wyoming. People in Florida thought we were crazy for relocating to some place so far away and so foreign to them. They would say “Why? It is so cold and snowy, and how do you pronounce “Cheyenne” anyways?”

A position came open on Alabama’s Gulf Coast one winter. Back in Wyoming it was -30F and we were doing leashed potty walks in the ice and snow with our 155 lb. Pyrenees mix after her knee surgery. We thought “What the hay, apply for it. If it doesn’t work out, that’s fine.” He made the initial cut and we flew down for his interview in March. He got the job and we started the process of moving from Wyoming back to the Gulf Coast. Our friends in Wyoming would say “Why? It is so humid, and there are hurricanes, not to mention the bugs, and how do you pronounce “Mobile” anyways?”

I have moved cross-country a half a dozen times since graduating college. Sometimes it was with just what I could fit in my car, sometimes it was with movers, multiple cars, and our menagerie. Here are some tips for relocating for a job:

• Stay organized and frugal

o Logistics in any move can be stressful. To stay organized, I used Evernote to keep track of to do lists, and contacts of utility companies and movers and realtors. I could use it on my phone, tablet, and on my work or home computers. Moving can be very expensive—movers, car transports, vaccines for your pets, boxes, rental and utility deposits to name a few items. Keep track of what you spend during the move, and your mileage, as much of it may be tax deductible (see IRS Topic 455 – Moving Expenses).

• Research and plan

o Know the cost of living in the new city. I have seen positions that don’t pay enough for you to live in the same community as the library. If you have children, research the schools in the area you want to live. Take time to get to know your new environment before you move. If you are moving from Florida to Montana, or vice versa, you will have to purchase a completely new wardrobe. Recognize these hidden costs.

• Don’t make any long-term commitments

o Renting is a great way to settle into a community and see which neighborhoods may suit your lifestyle better than others. Or, perhaps the job doesn’t turn out quite the way you hoped and you don’t want to be tied down to a mortgage.

• Build a social support network

o You will feel more at home and happier with your decision to move if you build a support network. Use online services like MeetUp, join clubs or team sports, or take community classes. Don’t forget to factor in the needs of your family when it comes to support networks.

• Take advantage of employer support

o If your employer doesn’t typically offer relocation assistance, ask for it. Some libraries may not be able to pay for your relocation, but perhaps their Friends group can help out. Even if the library cannot financially help you, they can assist you with locating a place to live, numbers of utility companies, and recommend businesses.

• It’s OK to ask for help

o Moving and starting a new job is very stressful. Add to that that you are leaving your support network and you may feel lost. It’s OK to ask for help of family, friends, and new co-workers. Don’t turn away any help, whether it is a home cooked meal, or babysitting, or someone to watch your dog while the movers are unloading the truck.

As with any major life decision, relocating requires careful planning and research, which we librarians are great at doing. Set yourself up for success by being proactive, organized, and systematic about your big move.

Erin Kinney was born and raised in San Diego, and has lived in six states, ranging from Alabama to Wyoming. She graduated from Florida State University with her MLIS. She relocated to Mobile, Alabama, from Wyoming with her husband and their three dogs. Erin is a past president and webmaster of the Wyoming Library Association. Her professional interests include digitization and providing access to rare materials. Erin’s hobbies include photography, knitting, and gardening. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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