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Handling a Cross Country Move? 188

Posted by Cliff
from the things-to-ask-your-boss dept.
Tarin.n asks: "For the past 2 years, I have worked remotely from the East Coast for a Silicon Valley company. The company is now considering moving me to the west coast, so that I can be closer to their headquarters. I'm trying to make a list of questions to ask of the company as we discuss this transition, as well as a list of items to take care of personally for such a move. What experience have others on Slashdot had with a cross-country move? Specifically, what should I ask and watch out for?"
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Handling a Cross Country Move?

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:33AM (#14866963) Homepage Journal
    One thing that they might not be to open about (or even aware of) is the cost of living differences. Living on the east coast with the salary you're making might make you feel wealthy. Moving to the west coast with the same salary might put you in the poor house.

    Be aware of the cost of living differences between two markets (even within the same metropolis on occasion!).
    • Be aware of the cost of living differences between two markets (even within the same metropolis on occasion!).

      In that same vein, make sure to ask them about assitance in finding housing, if you haven't done so for yourself already. Some companies work with local realtors to help find employees affordable housing in the areas they are moving to. If the company doesn't, ask them to look into it for you. And make sure they pay for the full move.

    • I'd say this guy hits the nail on the head. Unless you're living in DC or Manhattan, the Bay Area in California is going to be a unpleasant surprise, cost wise. A tiny house that needs to be torn down still sells for well over half a million just because the land it's on is so valuable. This in turn drives up the costs of other goods and services here.

      I've moved cross country a few times, and one of the big non-material things you have to consider is whether you're the type of person who can live in a new

    • Also consider that the state taxes in CA are on the higher end, and when you're making more, you also pay more. Property Taxes through the roof!

      Keep this in mind when asking for salary adjustments.
    • Too often people use the CPI (consumer price index)to compare two markets. While this is a good start it does not present the entire picture. I recently moved from Harrisburg PA to Tampa FL (3.3% higher CPI in Tampa) but reality is that I can afford to live in Tampa, but I will never build any real wealth as I could in Central PA.

      From the BLS ( http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifaq.htm#Question_4 [bls.gov])

      Is the CPI a cost-of-living index?
      "The CPI frequently is called a cost-of-living index, but it differs in importan
    • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @12:44PM (#14867730) Homepage
      I lost my job, and a friend of mine found me work in Pittsburgh, and so I moved from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, PA. I'm afraid I still haven't recovered from the culture shock of being in Pittsburgh. I now plan to move to the Philippines instead of staying in Pittsburgh because the place is so depressing to me. I'm going to keep my cost of living very low so I can make a startup venture work, but above all because I think I'll find a better life there.

      In moving to the Bay Area or Los Angeles, you can be assured that your destination isn't depressing, but it will look horribly expensive. Food's actually cheaper (and higher quality) thanks to intense competition, but housing makes up for all that and more. However, the fact that you won't have to pay much for heat helps a lot. Heat in the east is more expensive even than air conditioning in Los Angeles. Real estate taxes are high, but lower than you might think based on the value of the homes. A $150,000 house in the Pittsburgh city proper actually has higher taxes than a $428,000 house in Los Angeles.

      I'd recommend checking out http://www.craigslist.org/ [craigslist.org] and http://www.realtor.com/ [realtor.com] for your destination city to get a handle on the cost of living adjustment. Check out the housing sections for Craigslist.

      Don't find your mover via Craigslist, though. The one I eventually used was unprofessional and did a poor job with my stuff. The actual worth of your stuff is likely to be very close to the cost of moving it; unfortunately, that's not true of the cost of re-buying it new. In other words, if you have a desk that you bought for $1,000 you'll be lucky to sell it for $200, but moving it will cost $300. If you're patient and can find something equivalent for $300 at your destination, then you're better off selling your stuff than moving it. If it's something that will be difficult or expensive to find at your destination, then you're better off moving it.

      If you're driving your own car, ignore the advice I saw elsewhere and cram as much in it as possible. I took most of my computer equipment that way, and boy was I happy to have it before I got the rest of my stuff!

      In the end, unless you have really strong ties where you are, you'll probably like the west coast more than the east. The cold-weather East, at least to my eyes, has been an exceptionally drab and depressing experience and I will be very glad to leave it.

      Good luck!

      D

      • by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @01:28PM (#14868221) Journal
        I finally ended my excile and returned to Las Vegas last summer, with two more children and much more stuff than when it started.

        #1. Don't use U-Haul. The web pages about disaster experiences aren't exagerations. Your "reservation" is issued automatically, without even a cursory check as to the availability of trucks. They finally found me one an entire day late--90 miles from where I should ahve received one. The average age of their fleet is significantly older than all of their competitors.

        #2. Throw it away. Unless you're absolutely certain that you'll actually use it, toss it. Then do it again. Then toss everything, and only take out what you *really* need. Then throw a bunch more away.

        #3. Don't use U-haul. Few people have had positive experiences with them., and the horror stories are common.

        #4. Avoid U-haul at all costs.

        #5. Be *entirely* packed and living out of suitcases and a couple of plates a full week before you leave. You *will* run over.

        #6. Did I mention not to use U-haul?

        #7. Film your old rental housing for when your former landlord comes up with "interesting" charges. Insist that the landlord do a final walkthrough with you--but the place needs to be empty for this.

        #8. Most importantly, don't use U-haul.

        #9. If using a rental truck and there are any mountains in your path, or even those little bumps that the easterners fancy to be mountains, you want a diesel and not a gas engine. The difference in fuel consumption is significant, but the diesels are much better on grades.

        #10. Don't use U-haul.

        #11. Consider alternate starting and stopping points. Rates are based upon the amount of trucks going each way. By going 60 miles further east to pick up a truck and overshooting Las Vegas for Orange county, I knocked more than a third off the rental price. Everyone was leaving my part of PA, whle everyone goes *to* Las Vegas, and everyone is fleeing California. There's a discount for bringing a truck *to* California, and a surcharge for leaving one in Vegas.

        #12. Pay the damage waive ron the truck. Really. It's a dumb move on a car, but you're driving something big that's easy to bump and scratch. I'm, umm, well ahead of the game on this one. It also helps when the equipment malfunctions and damages itself; there's no issue of them charging you (On my previous move, the hitch failed on myU-haul trailer and rammed the truck, ruining much of the equipment on the tongue).

        Now, for an unfortunate, sad, fact of life: Only uhaul rents large closed trailers one-way. This is why I ignored my past experience and used them last summer. What I *should* have done was rent a Penske truck and a U-haul trailer, slapped a hitch onto my van (which has Class IV towing), and moved it to the Penske at the house. There hav ebeen many reports of U-haul refusing to hand over trailers to those who show up in competitor's trucks, claiming that that model doesn't appear on their list of approved vehicles (5,000 pound towing capacity needed).

        Aside from being over a day late, our u-haul broke down three (3) times. After a thousand miles, it threw the trailer off the hitch. According to the repairman who came out, the hitch was properly attached (besides, we *had* travelled 1,000 miles by then), and couldn't have come off unless the ball was undersized.

        Then, coming over the first major downgrade on the Rockies, the transmission *selector*, not the transmission, broke, leaving me stuck in thrird gear. Massive damage to the brakes (completely smoked), and the truck sp0ent a week in a Uhaul depot waiting for a part (again, old trucks).

        Once it was ready, it turned out to be massively overweight, and we had to rent a Penske to offload 5,000 lbs. With the U-haul and Penske approximately equally loaded, we attached the trailer to the Penske. Even with the trailer, it would blow past the U-haul, even uphill.

        Finally, approaching Vegas, the uhaul started overheating. We ended up dumping it in Vegas, as it wouldn't have made it to Orange county, anyway.

        hawk, who never wants to move again.
        • Great advice about U-Haul. I'd rather buy my own box truck and sell it after a week than deal with those bozos ever again (this is after about 4 bad situations).

          I prefer to pay professionals a professional rate for moving. When I moved out of my condo and my broad moved out of her apartment, we hired professionals to hit both our pads as well as both our storage sheds, and move everything to our house. They did an amazing job, but for the thousands I spent I'm assuming most people wouldn't have bothered.
          • >FYI, your website doesn't work. Parked?

            Nope. Go-daddy'd.

            They somehow managed to foul up my direct credit card charge almost every month. I'm not sure when they stopped serving it up, just that they charged me for months afterwards. Now they want me to commit to a year in return for not charging me for restoring from tape, so I'm looking for a new host. (And, I need to get around to filing a compliant with the attorney general).

            hawk
            • I've had excellent service with them, including a billing foul up on MY end recently. I use one of their resellers (HostingDude) because I'm cheap. I'm considering setting up my own server though with some other provider, maybe we should look into getting a few slashdot users with "blog" style sites to throw in together...
        • Good advice up there. And remember to pay extra special attention to points 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10. And remember, don't use U-Haul. They truly do not understand the concept of a "reservation."
          • Not only does U-Haul not do reservations well (if at all), but some of the equipment they rent has issues due to age/neglect, and using U-Haul equipment isn't that inexpensive if you end up moving a thousand miles away or more between milage charges, fuel cost, etc.

            My wife and I rented a pair of U-Haul trucks (one 17-foot and one 24-foot) and two car trailers for our move from Minneapolis to Atlanta in September 2004, and while we did get down here intact 2 1/2 days later, the move was not without issues (m
        • Even the stretch of interstate 24 just north of Chattanooga proved to be quite a challenge for the 24-foot U-Haul I was driving.

          My wife's little truck didn't have an issue with the grade, and it doesn't seem like much at all when driving a car, but the big one was going walking speed for quite a while on the uphill side of the big hill, and it was an interesting ride down the other side. At least they had a couple of side ramps for runaway trucks in case there were any issues.

          Driving a 24-foot truck for a
        • One thing you forgot to mention...don't rent from U-Haul, ever.

          I have also had repeated lousy experiences with them. There is a good chance you will not get your truck/trailer when or where you want it, don't let a silly little thing like a reservation convince you otherwise. I've never had a problem with a trailer, but the quality of the trucks is consistently dismal, especially if you get them from third-party agents ("Joe's Heavy Equipment Rental, Sandwich Shop and U-Haul") as opposed to a U-Haul com

          • Shoddy equipment is an understatement. Fortunately my move from Orange County to Phoenix wasn't too eventful, except that U-Haul didn't have my equipment ready on time. I also ended up being "upgraded" to a slightly larger truck - good thing though as I needed the space. Going from a 50mpg Prius to a 7-8mpg U-Haul (gasoline :-() was a shock! $150 in gas just blew me away - only to move most of my wordly junk and posessions into Storage for the next 9 months while my new home was built (stayed w/ in-laws to
        • ...the country. How could anyone think they could save money doing this? Just the truck rental, mileage, and gas would be more than paying a mover, let alone hotel bills, food, and doing all that work yourself.

          Renting a U-haul trailer would make more sense.

          But...

          The best solution is to get rid of all your stuff, especially the big stuff. If it still won't fit in your car, rent a minivan. Or buy a cheap van or pickup, and sell it when you reach your destination.
    • ...say there is. Food, utilities, property taxes, and almost anything you buy in a store is cheaper on the West Coast. But figure 3-4 times the cost for housing in the Bay Area compared to Pittsburgh, and driving at least 20k miles a year. No salary calculator I've seen even comes close to this reality. In fact most of them are a joke.

      OTOH, if the housing bubble hasn't burst, you can do what most Californians have been doing for the last several years -- buying any property they can, with an interest-on
  • by Grayden (137336) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:37AM (#14866988) Homepage
    Watch out for tunnels in the Rocky Mountains. They are pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue. Or a Balrog. Either way not fun.
  • stuff to ask (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChazeFroy (51595) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:37AM (#14866991) Homepage
    - One-time relocation expense reimbursement
    - Bump in salary if new location is more expensive than old location (salary calculator [homefair.com])
    - Assistance with finding a house or apartment

    More important is how this will affect your family. Being single will make the decision easier, but being hitched with kids will make this truly a life-changing event.
  • Get it in writing! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:40AM (#14867023)
    Make sure to get a list from them in writing of all expenses that they will cover. This includes gas/mileage/meals/hotels for the drive. Also make sure that temporary expenses are covered for your arrival (eg, 1 to 2 months apartment rental if you're looking to buy a house). If possible, try to get a chunk of this upfront. If they won't do that, ask them how long reimbursement will take. Some places won't reimburse you until you've worked there for 6 months or a year. This is to make sure that you don't have them cover your moving costs and then bail on them. Oh yeah, and did I mention to get the whole agreement in writing?
    • by coyote-san (38515) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @01:04PM (#14867949)
      Don't forget IRS regulations. Their money to YOU is also THEIR deduction for business expenses, but the IRS has regulations regarding the minimum amount of time you remain employed with them, etc. I think it's 12 months, but could be mistaken.

      HR departments are also aware of the statistics on failed relocations. They tend to fail within the first six months, they're more likely to fail with employees with fairly short time with the company (I think it's something like 30% among employees with less than 6 months at the company), etc.
      • The only company that paid my relocation did so with a "forgivable loan" which would be forgiven after 1 year of service. Beyond that, the terms of the loan were not outlined. Downside is they treated said loan as a starting bonus which was taxed left and right. I didn't know at the time (first real job), and didn't ask for extra to cover taxes, and ended up coming up a bit short.

        I did stick it out for a year, but only just. When they "awarded" me with a 3% raise on a solid year (this was dot-com era), but
  • by Schezar (249629) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:40AM (#14867032) Homepage Journal
    You're probably much better off selling/giving away all of your large things (beds, wine cabinets, couches) and purchasing new ones at your new home. I moved from one end of New York State to the other a while back, and the cost of trucking my worldly possessions downstate was only slightly less than buying new worldly possessions. Consider the cost of a large enough truck, diesel fuel, time, food on the road, et cetera, and it adds up.

    As for the rest, pack your bags as though you were going off on a long trip, and ship everything else.

    Now, if you can't divest yourself of your current furnishings, or have large, difficult-to-move things that you -must- retain, you're pretty-much boned from the start. Being mobile in the modern world means travelling light, not amassing tons of "stuff," and generally being willing to lose it all and move on.
    • It all depends. I have moved from Austria to Australia with little more than a few bags and some stuff shipped after me and then from Australia to Canada with a full container with everything in it. The only thing we left behind was probably the car. The reason we did it is that shipping was paid for by the employer where as buying new stuff was not. More importantly buying a full house hold of stuff takes a lot of time and we did not want to bother with shopping. Packing it up was easy. manfred
    • Shouldn't be an issue. Every employer I have ever known that was relocating has a system setup where they take care of the packing, the truck, the unloading...

      Many will set you up in a corp. apt. for a while as you find out the area. Give that a couple of months to figure out where you want to live, what the comutes are like, etc. I wouldn't bother to rent a place - as that just sets you up for having to move AGAIN, find where you want to live, and move in.

      That said - they should pay for a house hunt

      • pay milage on a car if you drive it across the company

        I don't think that mileage is deductible or reimbursable.
        • I have no clue about IRS tax codes in the US to know if it is deductible - but reimbursable is company policy - every move I have done came with a x cents/mile reimbursement on the car - or paying to have it shipped.

          Oh - and if things are "deductible" make sure that they "gross up" which means they figure out it will cost you 1000 dollars, so they "pay" you 1000 dollars so they can deduct the 500 dollars in taxes - and you get your 1000. Trust me - a good relo department knows how to play all of the corr

  • When I moved, I did so very haphazardly... in retrospect, I should have picked a storage place that would help facilitate moving whatever I placed in storage. If you're going to have things put in storage, pick a storage-locker-place that'll help with the shipping of said items to a place near your new home. And when you store things away, make sure you do so as if you were packing them up to be moved.

    Other than that... ask your employer for reputable realtors/apartment managers in your new area, as well as
  • by Garion911 (10618) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:46AM (#14867077) Homepage
    I recently moved cross country for a job six months ago.. (NorthEast to SouthWest)

    Insurance... Verify with your home owners/renters insurance that your stuff is covered during the move... My GF's mother is an insurance agent and figured out that the stuff that is offered by the moving company (PODS, decent experience, except that the stuff was late, due to Katrina) was useless.. We then inquired our home owners, and at least with mine, I was covered.. Otherwise... Your stuff may not be covered during the move..

    Do not buy a place right away.. Rent first to learn the area... Make it known that you will be renting.. Otherwise everyone and their cousin will be telling that someone they know is a realestate agent in the area you are moving too..

    Order of operations... First, fly out there to pick out a house/apartment.. Same trip/Next trip, stay in new apartment, --buy a new bed--.. Its a new start, might as well start over.. Dont go cheap.. Plus if your stuff shows up late, at least you're not sleeping on the floor.. This was our saving grace..

    Make sure you get a decent salray adjustment.. You will spend more money than you think on the move, maybe over budget.. I know I did..

    I'm sure others will have good advice...
    • ...and keep your receipts and remember to take the tax deduction!!!!
    • What's wrong with sleeping on the floor?!
      • You can get a good inflatable mattress for about $50, and it makes sleeping on the floor *much* nicer. When I've moved across country, I've driven one car and taken some vacation time, so we were able to bring the air mattress, cats, a few houseplants, folding chairs, important financial records, vet paperwork for the cats (drove through Canada on the way), some cooking pots and supplies, stereo (this was pre-PC), etc., so we were all set when the moving vans were late. If you're flying, you've got more c
  • Expenses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @11:46AM (#14867079)
    Assuming that you're happy with compensation, benefits, etc... in a perfect world, you want:

    - You stuff moved by professional movers
    - Some cash to handle incidentals (rent deposits, hotels, various fees for starting utilities, etc)

    If they aren't paying for anything, then get as much money as you can, sell whatever you can part with and stuff all of your crap in a POD (www.pods.com) or something similar.

    I wouldn't move for a company unwilling to pay for relocation, unless I was two years out of college and didn't really own anything.
    • I wholeheartedly agree with parent poster about professional movers. There are a lot of horror stories popping up in this discussion about which rental vans/trucks suck, how they broke down in the Rockies and were stranded for 3 days while replacement parts were flown in from Australia, etc. Get professional movers to move your stuff. They will be 1 billion times better at it than you.

      If the company is asking you to move, then you should definitely be asking for them to pay for it (moving expenses). Als
  • moving your car (Score:2, Informative)

    by philmack (796529)
    Dont go for any of those deals where they load it onto a truck and carry to your location. A friend of mine working for Boeing had a car get *totaled* because they droped another car onto hers during the unloading process... 6 weeks after she last saw the car. Thats when it was scheduled to arrive, and boeing paid for a rental car for the entire time she was waiting for her car, and while she shopped for a new car, and didnt have to pay anything out of pocket save for her time and trouble. I have 7 other fr
  • First, compare the true cost of living with their COL adjustment (if any).

    Then look into what it will take to live the way *you* want to there. If you're moving from say, NYC to SF, it's probably not drastically different. But if you're moving from somewhere like Augusta or Raleigh (or to some extent Atlanta), and want to live anywhere near the country, or have a decent sized place, you're in for a shock.

    Check into transportation issues (parking, mass transit, etc). Consider local laws (gun ownership, ve
    • Then look into what it will take to live the way *you* want to there. If you're moving from say, NYC to SF, it's probably not drastically different. But if you're moving from somewhere like Augusta or Raleigh (or to some extent Atlanta), and want to live anywhere near the country, or have a decent sized place, you're in for a shock.

      This is very true. I've found that these "cost of living" figures don't necessarily accurately represent *your* cost of living change to live the way you want. Average ho

  • In an attempt to keep the moving van's cost down ($25,0000 for 15,000lbs), I crammed 14 vanilla box PC computers into the back of my SUV prior to being shipped via auto-freight truck (the kind that holds 8 cars) from east to west.

    When the SUV finally arrived (3 weeks later) on the very top and back of a multi-vehicle carrier, RIGHT where it is perched dangerously downward and backward from the auto-freight upper deck, the driver opened my SUV's tail door and all my worldly and precious stuff came crashin
    • by NevarMore (248971) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @12:24PM (#14867496) Homepage Journal
      "I crammed 14 vanilla box PC computers..."

      You bring up a point that I needed to address simply to move across the state.

      "Do I really NEED this?"

      I've moved 4 times in 6 months, its about to become 5. I'm a college student doing work at other schools in the state and the next one will be out to Germany. Each time I've moved I have found things like old computers, empty shell casings, "project enclosures" (old liqor bottles and neat metal boxes, old notes from classes, clothes that don't fit, clothes that I never wear, sex toys from ex's that were angrily thrown somewhere, pots/pans that were totally redundant, glassware (I was living alone and had nearly 150 glasses, mugs, and cups), the list goes on.

      The thing is, I donated, recycled, sold, and disposed of nearly 70% of my posessions. I still have the things that have value to me, either useful value or sentimental value, but I don't have all the clutter and the 'stuff'. Open space, and not having a self-stor unit crammed to the gills with scrap is incredibly liberating.
      • Do I really need this 14 vanilla PC boxes during the interstate move?

        This is SLASHDOT! News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters.

        These PC stuff DO matter to this nerd, dude! My livelyhood... My babies...

        You testing my geek-status, aren't ya?
    • Dude, painful way to learn.

      Our auto-transporter specifically told us to ship empty, or they wouldn't take it. I guess this kind of thing happens all the time.
  • by The Fun Guy (21791) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @12:06PM (#14867308) Homepage Journal
    I moved to the Philadelphia suburbs from Michigan several years ago. At a volunteer function, somebody was going to make run over to a sandwich shop to get lunch for everybody. I ordered an Italian hoagie.

    "With oil or mayo?", asked the person who was making the run.
    "Neither. I'd like mustard on my sandwich. Brown if they have it, otherwise yellow is OK."

    I swear to God, all conversation stopped and everyone stared at me. These were all people who had grown up in the Philadelphia area, locals for at least 5 genereations.

    "Mustard? On a hoagie? You want me to ask them to put mustard on a hoagie?" She sounded like I'd asked for a crunchy frog with a side of anthrax ripple.

    Asking for mustard on a sandwich was apparently such an outrageously bizzare concept that, it took me a minute or two to convince them that I was serious about it, and did not want oil or mayo, but mustard. This was such heresey, that one year later, at this same function, this woman's son referred to me as the guy who wanted mustard on his hoagie.

    This, in a place where they put mustard on pretzels, and eat it with a straight face.

    Your biggest problem won't be computer, work or salary related... it will be cultural.
    • Sounds like when I went to MacWorld'98 in New York. I'm in alabama... Finding iced, sweet tea wasn't exactly easy up there. Hell, finding a coke wasn't simple either. Down here when you ask for a coke, you are asking for a "Coca Cola Classic, red can, headquartered in atlanta, made in every large city in the south" Up there I'd ask for a coke and there was no telling what they'd bring.

      Oh yeah, and for all the COL threads. I compared Mobile incomine to LA... 43k here = 80k in LA. Whew. I love watching
      • > I'd rather deal with a Hurricane over a blizzard

        Seriously?

        By spring the snow has melted, do uprooted trees magically pop back into place?
      • And I'd rather deal with a Hurricane over a blizzard or earthquake any day!

        Blizzards are nothing if you use a little common sense, while earthquakes and hurricanes can completely erase your house and everything in it (including you and your family).

        No thanks!

        Now, here in Atlanta a single snowflake can be dangerous due to the resulting stampedes of people driving to the nearest supermarket in their SUVs to stock up on bread and milk, but that's a whole 'nuther ball game... :-)
      • $500k would get us 4k-6ksq' in town or a few hundred acres if we wanted to live in the country.

        That's just sick :-)
        We just paid $500k for a 2 year-old 3000sq ft house (on top of a hill == fantastic sunrise views!) on 10 acres here in MN and I was laughing at my friend back in CT. Looks like you could be laughing equally hard at me :-)

        OTOH, if I wanted to extend my commute by another 20 minutes or so, we could have 30+ acres for the same price, so...

    • You have a good point. People in the US forget how big the country really is and how different the cultures are. Depending on where this person is moving from it could be huge. It will not just be the culture but the weather. A California Christmas may be odd to someone from Maine.
      When I was working in Detroit I couldn't get over people calling sodas pop and subs grinders. Being from Florida which seems to have a little of everything I have seemed to have an easier time adapting to different locations than
      • No kidding. I grew up in St. Louis (poor boys and soda), moved to Chicago (heroes and soda pop), then to East Lansing, Michigan (grinders and pop), then to Philadelphia (hoagies and soda).

        Salary, housing costs, public transportation issues... all of these things are big picture that you can address ahead of time. It's the little stuff that gets under your skin and will determine wether you are comfortable in your new surroundings or not. Culture shock will be a far greater adjustment than anything else.

        I've
    • ...to people in the East. You just don't deviate from normal patterns and expect to get away with it. There's a cultural freedom in CA that we take for granted until we go elsewhere. The rest of the world is not like that. Dare I say it, it's a big reason CA has been such a font of innovation. People feel free to try anything, without a bunch of naysaying from the peanut gallery. In CA, doing new things, or old things a new way, is encouraged, rather than disparaged.
  • Other considerations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by woobieman29 (593880) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @12:07PM (#14867324)
    Others here seem to have nailed most of the work related things that you should talk to your employer about, I have a few that you may want to look into for personal reasons.

    1) Make sure that you are cool with downsizing your place. Not sure where you are coming from, but in almost every case you will get a smaller house/apartment for the same $ out here in Silly Valley.

    2) Find out about opportunities and resources to participate in the things that you love to do in your time off of work. In most cases you will find that this area is great for all sorts of pursuits, but make sure.

    3) Make sure that you enjoy interacting with an incredibly diverse cultural group of people. This is one of the coolest things about living in California. I have however seen a lot of instances of people that move here from out of state and have trouble relating to the diverse ethnic groups (generally this does not seem to happen with east coast transplants - it seems to be more of middle-america thing). One of my favorite things about the Bay Area is that in most areas you are virtually unlimited in the new types of cuisine you can try on a daily basis. It's kinda cool to be able to eat your way around the world without leaving your own town.

    4) Make sure that you like to drive. Unless you are in the middle of SF, public transit is only useful in very specific cases. It just isn't deployed widely enough to be a full time option for many people, so traffic is a part of life. This brings up another related point - when you are plotting out how much more pay you will need in order to make the move, be sure that the increase includes enough to be as close as possible to your office. In California a lot of people are moving farther out into the central part of the state and driving huge distances to get to work due to the availability of (somewhat) cheaper housing. Try not to be one of these people. :-)

    All in all, this is a wonderful place to be. Hopefully these items will help you to decide if it will be the right place for you.

    Good luck!

    • by mellon (7048) *
      Depending on where on the east coast you live, chances are that you won't be able to find a place that costs the same as what you're paying now at any size. The only exception would be if you're living in New York, but if you're living in New York, the shock from the drop in population density will nearly kill you. Before you agree to this move, go out to the Bay Area and do some house hunting, and get a good feel for what things cost and what's available.

      If you do decide to do the move, consider living
    • >Unless you are in the middle of SF, public transit is only useful in
      >very specific cases. It just isn't deployed widely enough to be a full
      >time option for many people, so traffic is a part of life.

      It's not the deployment that's the problem, it's the way the population is spread out. SF is about the only city west of Chicago with dense enfough population for most mass transit to practical.

      hawk
  • A couple of recommendations:

    -- While some relocation expenses are tax deductible, a lot aren't. If your company is paying for them, they'll tax you on anything they pay out. Consider asking for a bonus to cover these expenses.

    -- With any movers try to get something in writing which guarantees delivery by a certain date with penalties for not making that date. Especially with auto movers. Auto movers made my life a living hell for over a month. During a hectic time such as a relocation, it's just not worth t
    • Auto shippers are the very Devil!

      We ended up using T`NT - they did OK, for a decent price. The car arrived on time with only some damage. We lost the front license plate to windshear and I think debris damaged our rear differential, causing it to leak - which led to an expensive repair 6 months later.

      So, if you have an expensive car (like, worth more than $10K), make sure they'll pay for shipping, and have it shipped in a closed carrier, and put plastic wrap on it.

      • The other alternative is to just drive the car yourself. Although then you have to factor in the costs of accomodation/food/gas on the way. But if your car is worth a lot to you (in market value or sentimental value), it might be worth it just to make sure it gets there in one piece.
  • Having been moved by jobs on 3 different occasions, every time across the country, there are a couple things that I have learned. First, it will cost more than $5k to move, if you include a car. Every time I've moved it has ended up costing me between $6k-$8k. Second, I won't take reimbursement anymore. I take money up front, and never reimbursement. The problem with reimbursement is that you will have a lot of expenses that need to be paid up front. Its quite annoying to have to front that money your
    • AHaving been moved by jobs on 3 different occasions, every time across the country, there are a couple things that I have learned. First, it will cost more than $5k to move, if you include a car. Every time I've moved it has ended up costing me between $6k-$8k.

      Wow, that's a lot of money. I think it probably depends mostly on if you have a family or not, and how much stuff you have. I've moved across the country many times as a single guy with about a 1-bedroom apartment worth of stuff, and I've cert

  • We got a great deal on a house here in Michigan because the previous owners signed a contract with a relocation company. Among other services (actually moving your stuff, helping you find a new place to live, etc) they also help you sell your old home. The essential deal is that if you can't sell the house within a time frame, they buy it from you. This seems good except for two problems:

    They buy it significantly below your asking price.
    They do not accept offers with contingencies (ie, if someone wan
  • You want the following in your move package:
    1) Some portion of the price differential on an equivalent home in an equivalent neighborhood. You'd like 100%, but will probably have to settle for 50%, or less, depending on how desperate they are.
    2) Home sale and purchase costs. You probably have to pay a realtor on both ends, and you want the company to pay for this.
    3) Salary adjustment to the new area.
    4) Moving costs paid with a minimum and a maximum. The minimum makes sure you don't get screwed out of the
    • Bad form to reply to myself, but I forgot to point out that much of this negotiation is a two way street based on trust. However, the need for that trust can be eliminated by contract terms with ease:

      First of all, you're pulling up roots, moving across the country. What happens to you if the company lays you off the day after? You're trusting the company not to do this, but what if they get in dire financial straits and effectively have no choice? Are you sure their CFO isn't one of the apparently many
  • I did a cross-planet move recently to Hong Kong (and back again). Some of the lessons we learned might be appropriate.

    1) Moving fees. Does the firm pay a cash amount or the actual expense. This can come into play in that you might be tempted to cut corners and save some of the cash, or go to town and get the best movers you can find (i.e. who do the packing for you). If you are a busy or disorganized person, you may want the kind of movers who show up and pack everything right out of the closets so you
  • Ask your company to hire a relocation company to manage the move for you. It will save you many headaches, and is possibly cheaper than your company reimbursing you directly for moving expenses (Relo cos. get special rates on tons of stuff).

    If you aren't getting reimbursed, talk to your tax accountant, or get one if you don't already have one. If you're moving more than 60 miles, the expenses are tax deductible -- but not all of them.

    Depending on your salary, you may even want to hire a relo company f
  • I don't know how you approach this, but I know of an individual who had such a move proposed to them a while back. The move was from East Coast to Central Plain states. The individual was considered a top performer by all definitions (insert Subject Matter Expert in multiple fields here). Because the corporation was making changes and the local East Coast group was not happy, the manager losing the individual gave a "lowest rating" for him on departure. As a result the individual who was helping the cor
  • Dateline and similar news magazines have covered moving horror stories repeatedly. You should see if you can find information at their websites.

    Some of the pointers I remember are:

    0) find a reputable mover. If unsure:....

    1) pack it yourself. The problem is that they charge for materials used... and you'll find yourself paying for two, no three, rolls of bubble wrap being used to wrap your alarm clock.

    2) get a binding weight before you sign off on them leaving. A common abuse is to quote a cost at 10,000
    • I haven't seen any reports post-PODS, but I think it addresses many of the problems reported with other movers.

      My POD move went fairly well, but I can give some advice on POD moving.

      1. You must have ample space for the delivery of the POD at both locations. This means space for the POD, plus the length of the delivery truck, plus room for the truck to maneuver, plus room for the lift system to move around the POD.
      2. You must pack the POD so nothing moves. I followed the POD instructions and tied everyth
  • 1997 Montreal to Chicago (international)
    2001 Chicago to Dallas
    2003 Dallas to Toronto
    2004 Toronto to Seattle

    Things to watch out for:

    1. Cost of Living. You did do a cost of living analysis (including differences in income and other taxes, insurance, housing), right? Because, no amount of relocation assistance (unless it is extreme) will make up for some place you can't afford to live.

    2. Moving Expenses. Are they footing the whole bill, or reimburing you to some limit? I've done it both ways, and gett

  • Essentially your company is asking you to make a lot of commitment and invest a lot of effort. The least they could do is finance the whole thing.

    I recently moved to Finland (from the Netherlands). This was my third international move and I have some experience in this kind of thing by now. Basicallly you are going to run into a number of problems:

    - finding an appartment in a place you don't know to which you have limited access until you move there. Sort of a chicken egg problem. You'll need all the help y
  • This concept of "cross country moves" is stupid. A lot more people move across bigger countries with a lot more people, and most of the world has to move over 8000 miles to find employment, yet you've been brainwashed into thinking moving over 3000 miles and 290 million people is considered a big deal.

    Living in Silicon Valley to work in software is the reality of the business. Luxury living in exotic locations like Arizona and North Carolina was a 90's excess. If you don't need to be in the location, you
    • While a cross-country move is often less substantial than a move between countries or across the planet, that doesn't lessen the fact that a cross-country move can involve many different issues and should not be taken lightly.

      You might be surprised to learn that most software is written in-house at various companies and is thus located outside of the "Silicon Valley". I suspect that's also true of retail software -- Redmond ain't in California, for example. :-)
  • Avoid driving through Iowa. I got lost whenever I drove through it.
  • You should choose a transfer protocol which is reliable, though it need not be ordered. If you select a connectionless transfer protocol you should make sure you have a good error detection and recovery plan in place.

    The RTT will be high, but that's acceptable. The Interstates have high bandwidth, but U.S. highways often have fewer collisions and hops with nicer food. Make sure you set your TTL high -- frequent hops make collisions less likely.

    I suggest using physical private key protection for your cont
  • When I had to move from Ohio to Idaho to start a job in 2000, the company was offering a full service relocation package which included about everything--packing and moving, transport cars, house hunting trip, cash allowances for leaving current lease in the old place and for setting up in the new place, etc. Or the other option was to take a $13,000 cash option and move ourselves.

    So ask the company if they offer a cash out choice and how much that would be. Then it is up to you to evaluate how difficult
  • And I found a couple of things:

    If you have a set amount of relocation money, remember that when you get your hands on that money, the IRS is going to tax the hell out of it. It sounds weird, but when your first paycheck is 4500 dollars, including the relocation money, the IRS looks at that and says, "wait a sec! this person is going to make a buttload of money this year!". It turns out that 45% of my relocation bonus went to taxes. I ended up slowly getting out of that debt (went to credit cards), an
  • Having spent five years in California (3 in LA, 2 in SD), I can say without a doubt it is the most obnoxious place in any country you can live in on this continent. Nobody knows how to drive, read or think for themselves, few speak English (it wouldn't surprise me to learn more people speak English in Tijuana than San Diego County), the weather blows goats for bus money then walks home (80+ and smoggy 350+ days/year), traffic is perpetual and save for a very small portion around San Fransisco, there is no
  • 1. Get rid of everything possible.

    2. Pack almost everything into storage crates and ship it to the destination city, to be placed in storage.

    There are two companies I know of that do this: PODS and DoorToDoor / CityToCity. I went with DoorToDoor, http://www.doortodoor.com/ [doortodoor.com], as they were much cheaper and their containers were smaller, so you could tailor the size of order more closely to the amount of crap you have.

    3. Keep back enough stuff to survive on for a few months. Some clothes, a laptop, and so on. M
  • I was moved from the East Coast to the Midwest for a new job. New employer paid for everything: I even filled out expense reports for the meals I ate living in a hotel while searching for an apartment. The only catch was that I couldn't quit for a year or I would have to repay the $12k+ in relocation costs. That was reasonable.

    So understand what you may be getting into.

    Other points:
    - Focus on making the move as painless for *you* as possible. I assume you're being moved professionally? Just pack up a few t
  • I'm going to assume that you have some leverage with your employer when you start negotiating the transfer. If they approached you with the idea of moving, you must have some skill or talent that they really value. Relocating an employee isn't cheap, and the number of formerly stable employees who quit their positions within six months of a relocation is surprising.

    Much of what you'll experience will depend on the size and age of your employer. Larger, diversified companies that relocate employees as a m
    • Everyone seems to be assuming that you're single/unattached. Well, I guess this *is* Slashdot. If you have a spouse and/or kids, things get more complicated. They should come along on the initial scouting trip. If your spouse works, your company may or may not offer help in finding them a new position.

      Anyway, good luck and send us a postcard.

One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor... is to discourage... from expecting too much from mathematics. -- N. Wiener

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