A recent search on ClearanceJobs.com for “virtualization engineer” jobs returned 3,359 results. The locations of these jobs were not just in the D.C. area, either. Almost every state had at least one listing. The idea that you have to be within the D.C. area to find a cleared job that suits your skill set is false. With so many opportunities throughout the United States and overseas, it is virtually guaranteed you’ll receive an email or call from a recruiter asking you if you are willing to relocate. Recruiters do not know your situations intimately; it is up to you to decide how you proceed with a recruiter who asks if you are willing to make a move.
Depending on where you are in life, this decision can be complicated.
Say you are single and you want to experience another part of the U.S.; if there’s nothing else holding you to your current location, then go for it. If you are married with children…pump the brakes. There are many things to take into consideration before uprooting the family and moving away. Is the pay enough? Are there good schools for the kids? Is there a relocation bonus? All of these questions are a good start to understand when it is a good idea to relocate for a job. Here are some points to consider when approached with this question.
1. Are you Unhappy?
Most people looking for a new job are unhappy with their current position and want to make a change. Some of those people are also unhappy with where they live. If you fall in both of these categories, you are much more likely to be intrigued by a call from a recruiter asking you to relocate. Living in an extremely cold location when you are not a cold weather person, can make the decision easy for you to move. On the flip side, if you can’t stand the heat in Phoenix, moving elsewhere will be intriguing. Understanding if you are happy or unhappy in your current situation is the first step in deciding whether or not pursue relocation.
2. Is the Pay a Major Increase?
At times, recruiters will sell the position as a major pay increase as well as a relocation bonus to entice you to move. Pay increase and a bonus should not be your number one concern unless you are experiencing major financial stresses. With that in mind, if you are currently making $120,000 annually in Atlanta, and a recruiter offers you a job that pays $185,000 annually in Rockville, MD, that might sound exciting. Again, pump the brakes: a $65,000 pay increase is not that much in a move from Atlanta to Maryland. Cost of living should factor into your decision. If you live in Fairfax, VA and have been offered a job in Colorado Springs with a pay increase, that is a much better situation to be in.
Relocation bonuses have become more and more available over the past 5 years. Companies are willing to pay you anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the position they need to fill. It is important to figure out your moving expenses and if the amount offered will cover all of your expenses. Relocation bonuses also generally come with a one year commitment to that position, where you would have to reimburse the company if you quit within a year. If the pay is right and you are unhappy where you currently are, then you are a step closer to making the decision to relocate.
3. does it offer Better Benefits than your Current Job?
If your benefits require you to regularly dig up hundreds of dollars for out-of-pocket medical or vision benefits, it might be time for a change. This is especially true when you have a larger family. Kids are expensive, whether it’s braces, eyeglasses, or broken limbs; it can get expensive.
Chances are, if you are unhappy with your current job or location and you’re offered a position with good pay and benefits, then it’s a green light to relocate. There are many companies out there with positions listed on ClearanceJobs that even offer 100% paid medical for family and employee – that is hard to beat.
4. Does your Family Want You to Be Closer?
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, your family may want you to move closer to them. In the 20 years I have worked in the cleared IT community, I have moved cross country from D.C. to Arizona four times. We had our first child and then moved away to Maryland. After the birth of our second child, our family wanted us closer so we moved back. This went on for four different moves, with the last landing us away from family in Idaho (Ok, only 12 hours away).
It can either be a good thing – or a difficult thing – to be close to your family and extended family. In the situation your family wants you closer (and you want to be closer), chances are you can find a good-paying cleared job near them. The opposite situation is also true: some of us just need to be a little further away for the sake of our independence.
Whatever your decision, take time to think about relocating; do not let a recruiter pressure you into a job in a different state that you do not feel comfortable about.