January 3, 2017

Deciding to Move

Newcomers Network Deciding to Move

By Sue Ellson

Newcomers Network Deciding to MoveBefore you make your decision to move, you are going to need to consider a variety of issues, options and people.

Most people when they read this article will find themselves somewhere in the middle of all of these questions. Even the most well prepared, intelligent, financial and easy going people can find moving difficult. Moving is a common experience, but no two reactions are ever the same.

If the decision to move to your next location has already been made, don’t worry. Perhaps your next move can be made with some additional strategies and the wonderful tool of hindsight.

1. Invite all members of your current relationship (partner and/or children) to be involved in the ‘moving discussion’ and decide how the final decision to move or not move will be made

Even if children do not want to move, being included in the discussion is very important (perhaps plan how you will talk about this before you start the conversation).

Employers should be encouraged to invite partners to be a part of the assessment for a potential posting, particularly when it is to a ‘hardship’ location (and to advise if there are support services like job search assistance or appropriate schooling for children). Most relocations will fail as a result of difficulties associated with family members not adjusting well to the new location.

Ask yourself if other significant people in your life, like co-parents and step children, will be included in the process. Find out if you will be able to move (can you get a visa and you are willing to obey the laws or written agreements in your current or future location before you move?).

2. Consider other issues in your life at present

Have you suffered a recent loss or a dramatic change in your life? Do you have a good relationship with your partner? Do you have elderly parents that will soon need additional health care? Do members of your family have special needs?

These issues can all be dealt with if you have enough time to make contingency plans, learn new skills, seek additional help or find suitable resources in the new location (preferably before you leave). Do not underestimate the grief that may be triggered by a move…..it can often bring about other unresolved grief to the surface and make it even more difficult to settle on arrival. You won’t have your usual support network around you either. Moving house doesn’t always move you from a problem…

3. Do you want to move?

This may sound like a simple question with a simple answer. But there is often one person in a relationship that is not keen to move. Respect the other person and their feelings and make every effort to understand their point of view and work together to find appropriate solutions. For the person who did not want to move, it can take longer to find new friends or interests because the extra energy associated with the excitement of a move is just not there. Be patient….every location has some special features.

4. How will you really cope?

Have you gone through a mental checklist of issues that could arise in the new location? If so, you could make a more informed decision about whether or not to move in the first place. Perhaps you have a medical condition that will be unbearable in the heat or cold? Will you be able to form new support networks? Do you have adequate financial resources for emergencies? Have you set a time limit? Is it a permanent move or will you just stay for 12 months and see how it goes? If you need to return, can you? Preparing a ‘pros and cons’ list may be useful.

5. What is the real risk or opportunity cost for you?

Strategies can help make the decision making process more effective. Your own values, judgements, culture and assumptions will affect how you eventually decide whether or not to move. Personally, I like to manage risk. What is an acceptable level of risk and what isn’t? What can I cope with and what can’t I cope with? If I make this decision, will it be at the expense of some other decision? Is there more opportunity available here that I haven’t recognised? If I could change one thing tomorrow, would that make my current lifestyle complete (and therefore not necessary to move?). Will moving give me the impetus I need to change my future in a positive way?

Sometimes circumstances force us in to a move. Other times, we decide, “well, there are a lot of variables and unknowns, but hey, let’s do it anyway”. I particularly admire people who once they have made the decision, just keep on trying to work things out. They expect it to be challenging, so when it is, they are not overwhelmed and when it isn’t they can cope well.

6. Have you thought about the practicalities?

Employment opportunities differ from country to country and city to city. Despite your qualifications and work history, are there positions available in your field of expertise? You should find local, reliable research on the local job statistics and opportunities – perhaps compare the total population number and employment vacancy ratios.  Also find out whether your favourite foods are locally available – many people end up both homesick and ‘foodsick’ in their new location.


Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed by a potential move or settling in, we would strongly recommend that you seek some professional assistance…do not battle on until problems start occurring. There are a range of confidential free and low cost services available in local communities or you can consult professional service providers on a fee for service basis. Ask yourself, have I taken better care of my furniture than me when I moved the last time?

All the best with your move/s!

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