CareerChange

Q. I’ve been offered a job in San Francisco, but that requires my husband and I to move from the Midwest where we’ve lived our entire lives. Family and friends are here, but this would be a huge career move—jumping several pay levels. But it’s scary to start over in a new city and we only know a couple of people in California. Plus, my husband will need to land a good job if we do this. Do you recommend geographic career moves? What should we be asking ourselves? -PB

A. If you check out my early career, you’ll already know my answer—Just Do It! I moved six times during the first 15 years of my career—mostly between the Midwest and East Coast. You are absolutely correct that physical moves often allow you to climb the career ladder faster. Making the move with your spouse makes the move easier since your best friend is along for the adventure.

Here are five things to consider before moving across the country:

  1. Do your own SWOT analysis—list the pros and cons for the move. If one side of the T-graph outweighs the other, you’ll have your answer. CareerIntelligence.com provides some key questions to consider when doing your personal SWOT analysis.
  2. Scout out job opportunities for your spouse before you arrive in San Francisco. The Top 10 job sites list thousands of opportunities in the Bay area.
  3. Realize that this move isn’t necessarily your last career move or relocation. Millennials will average 16 career changes during their lives.
  4. It’s harder to make a move when you have school-age children, so make geographic moves early in your career. But don’t rule them out at any point of a developing career.
  5. Social media can help build new friendships and maintain relationships with friends in the Midwest, and cheap airfares also help.

Look at the move as a long “vacation.” You’ll enjoy discovering new places and creating memories that will remain with you forever. I’ve now been on “vacation” in Chicago for the past 30 years.