We've all been there. You find a great job opportunity, the interview goes well, it's work you'd love to be doing and they make you a pretty nice offer. The only problem is this job is nowhere near where you live and you'd have to move across the country if you want it.
There are a lot of factors to consider before uprooting your entire life to pursue a new career opportunity. Will you like it there, what's the weather like, how's the cost of living, do you have a family to consider, etc. But from a purely practical standpoint, moving is expensive. And relocating to a brand new place far from where you're currently living can turn into a hefty tab. To that end, many companies offer relocation assistance. But what if your soon-to-be employer refuses to pitch in?
As always, our salary and negotiation expert Jack Chapman has answers to all your tough questions.
Dear Jack: I recently applied for a job 1,400 miles away and was interviewed over the phone and in person. During both interviews, the subject of relocation came up with questions asked about whether I rented or owned, etc.
When I was offered the position, there was no mention of relocation assistance. I requested the company split the estimated $10,000 cost of moving with me. I was told there would not be any relocation assistance but they encouraged me to join the team and reminded me what a great opportunity the job is.
My question is, should I push for a one-way plane ticket and temporary housing for two weeks, ask for a relocation "advance" or simply walk away? I cannot afford to incur this cost by myself and it is a great opportunity.
ANSWER: I am making an assumption that when you say, "it is a great opportunity" you mean you can make a lot of money now, or the experience will make you a lot of money later. If that's so, then you must be making good money for your employer, too.
If it is really good money, then they can get away with "take it or leave it." Your objective, then, is to push. Try one more time for direct up-front assistance, then try to get them to pay later. Maybe something like this: "Mr. Employer, I want you to know I agree with you and see this as a great opportunity. I've asked and you said there is no relocation assistance. I'd like to ask one more time, is there any part of the relocation you can help me with either as an outright partial reimbursement, or as an advance against my earnings?"
If it's still a no, don't worry. You still have options. Try saying "Could we set up a performance bonus? If I help the company make good money, and we measure it and set a goal, maybe we could have a bonus that would help me defray the costs of moving?
But that's about as far as you can take it. I sincerely hope it is, indeed, a "great opportunity." Good luck.
All the best, Jack Chapman
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