Moving tips when relocation looks like you’ve made a mistake

You just moved to a new city to take advantage of a career opportunity. Now, just a few months later, you’re writing home to say, “I made a BIG mistake.”

Maybe you are right. I am convinced that the biggest expense of any move is not the moving van. It is discovering that you do not fit in with your new home. You end up with a lot of therapy bills and maybe get back to where you started. Or you sabotage yourself at work (or at home) until you finally get the message: “You don’t belong here. Let’s go!”

Here are 5 tips to help.

(1) Invest in family counseling before you move to fulfill a family member’s dream.

I often get calls from clients who moved to be closer to family or to find a new social life. These movements can be dangerous.

Don’t be surprised if you discover that you love your family more thousands of miles away. Don’t be surprised if you resent your spouse who leaned over to you to move in for retirement, your game of golf, or your career dream.

It’s easy to say, “Well, I’ll be close to family, so I’ll find a way to earn a living.” The truth is, you may not be able to duplicate a career in a different city, for all kinds of reasons.

When you are resentful of whoever persuaded you to make the move, you will feel miserable. You will know. Your friends will know. And too often, your boss will know.

(2) Expect to wait six months to three years to feel settled in your new home.

Ignore those cheerful people who say, “You’ll feel right at home in no time.” Listen to objective researchers. They say it will take up to three years, sometimes more, to feel at home.

If you still feel disconnected after three or four years, you might consider reviewing your experiences and reevaluating your values. Sometimes a life coach or career coach can be helpful, especially if they have experience with the challenges of relocation.

(3) Do short jumps, not jumps, in the early stages.

If I could share only ONE idea, this would be it.

When you are new in town, you are fair game. All professional organizations, clubs, neighborhood groups and leisure activities will want to work with you.

Don’t be surprised if you are treated differently after joining a group and attending a few meetings. Now you are just a new face and you have to prove yourself.

(4) Create a personalized support system.

Most of the time, two things happen after you move out.

First, the people you left behind, the ones who yelled, “Don’t go! We will miss you forever!” – stop returning calls. They will maintain friendship through posts and tweets on social marketing engines.

Second, the people in your new town who said, “Oh please move here! We’d love to see more of you!” they will be busy with their own lives. If you are lucky, they will help you get settled. Then you’re alone.

Either way you have to make new friends and find new connections.

Okay, maybe your experience is different. Don’t count on that.

(5) Take advantage of what’s available.

Almost every city, town, or even small hamlet has unique sights, features, and opportunities that you won’t find anywhere. Get the most out of it while you can.

One of two things will happen.

You may find that you like living here more than you thought. Now you don’t want to move.

Alternatively, you will be in a better mood, which means (psychologists say) that you are likely to make better decisions. And when you move in, you will carry memories of these experiences with you forever.

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