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[P]
Your Experiences with Relocation

By Marcin in News
Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:00:59 AM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

Have you recently relocated to another state or another country, getting a new job in the process? Share your experiences, tips and hints, with an audience of the sort of people that are most likely to experience this in the highly mobile industry that is IT.


The IT industry has so many jobs available these days that it seems like a decently qualified person can basically pick any place in the world (immigration / visa type issues non-withstanding) and find a job there.

This is all well and good but what about the hassle of moving into a new job / new place? Personally I'm expecting to look for a new job interstate when I get back from an overseas trip in a few months and I'm still unsure exactly how to go about it. I don't want to move without a job and then find I have trouble getting one, but I don't know if there's an 'easy' way to find a non-local job without lots of expensive plane trips for interviews etc.

So I'd be intersted to find out other peoples experience with both relocating interstate / overseas and finding new jobs interstate / overseas. Maybe some of your out there are thinking of doing similar and are wondering how to go about it.

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Your Experiences with Relocation | 47 comments (47 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
When I graduated from college, I re... (none / 0) (#2)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:19:34 AM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

When I graduated from college, I relocated to Northern Virginia for my new job, site unseen. I recently wrote a tongue-in-cheek screenplay about my post-graduation difficulties for the sake of entertaining (and quickly explaining) why I was back maintaining Hobbes. It doesn't go into the fact that I was a damned idiot for not requesting to see the IP contract before moving out there, and I actually believed those jackasses when they said, on the phone, that their employment contract was very unrestrictive (which was a complete and total lie). I also couldn't very well turn down the job, since I was just staying in a hotel and had no place to live, and had foolishly taken two "friends" with me (but that's a whole other set of stories).

Always have a backup plan in case the first one doesn't work out. Always know what you're getting into before you even start to pack to move. Don't relocate and hope to get a job afterwards, either; then you'll just end up broke and desparate. Consider telecommuting. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: When I graduated from college, I re... (none / 0) (#28)
by eMBee on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:17:12 PM EST

indeed, reading the contract before you move is a very good idea.
on my phone and email contacts it was "all is GPL",
in the contract it was the standard, restrictive, company owns everything, i have no rights on my code...
i responded: not with me, change that paragraph.
they did. it now says, that all my code will be released under GPL.
the contract was signed before i bought the plane-ticket

as for moving, i left most of my stuff back in austria with my grandmother (i initially only planned to come to the US for 6 months)
as far as my appartment goes, i asked them to find me one, since i required to be in walking distance from the office, there was not much of a choice anyway.
a friend of mine who recently moved from germany to silicon valley, stayed the first two weeks at the place of his supervisor, giving him time to scout the neighborhoods...

as for finding friends, if you are active in some voluntary organisation or religious community you should find new friends easely, as a baha'i i had no problems, i was greeted with open arms by the local baha'i-community, and felt at home from day one.

greetings, eMBee.
--
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX
[ Parent ]

Will be good info for when I get ou... (none / 0) (#7)
by hurstdog on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:38:12 AM EST

hurstdog voted 1 on this story.

Will be good info for when I get out of college...

I've relocated often. I'd like to ... (none / 0) (#10)
by chris on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 03:22:19 AM EST

chris voted 1 on this story.

I've relocated often. I'd like to see this posted because it's a timely topic with us IT people.
-- Chris Snell <chris@bikeworld.com> Systems & Networks Architect Bike World of San Antonio http://bikeworld.com | http://weathertools.com | http://gpstools.com "Responsibility is a heavy responsibility, man." -- Cheech Marin

Grr... I hate relocations. Since p... (none / 0) (#5)
by PresJPolk on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:41:43 AM EST

PresJPolk voted 0 on this story.

Grr... I hate relocations. Since projects like KDE and Mozilla use dynamicly loaded code so pervasively, the slow code relocation process really bogs down application startup sometimes.

I suppose it's just the cost of modularity. Oh, well...

*whispering*

What do you mean, this is a culture piece, instead of a technology piece? Bah.



Might be interesting... ... (none / 0) (#6)
by Peureux et anonyme on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:59:35 AM EST

Peureux et anonyme voted 1 on this story.

Might be interesting...

I think this is especialy relevant... (none / 0) (#1)
by kraant on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 05:38:18 AM EST

kraant voted 1 on this story.

I think this is especialy relevant
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

Intresting im planning to go live i... (none / 0) (#8)
by Rich on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:40:27 AM EST

Rich voted 1 on this story.

Intresting im planning to go live in london next year for about 6 month (Im taking a "gap" year) and i also plan on doing a bit of IT work there :)
I Expect history will be kind to me as i intend to write is. Winston Churchill

Re: Intresting im planning to go live i... (none / 0) (#43)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jun 26, 2000 at 06:45:14 AM EST

hehe, I'm going to California in a few months from the UK to work as an intern for a year.... gk (ac_spm@dont.spam.me@backslash.co.uk)

[ Parent ]
I just went through this about six ... (none / 0) (#9)
by tflat on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:54:31 AM EST

tflat voted 1 on this story.

I just went through this about six months ago, I feel your pain man.

Personally I hate where I live (Sou... (none / 0) (#3)
by stimuli on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 08:48:54 AM EST

stimuli voted 1 on this story.

Personally I hate where I live (South Florida), but the effort it would take to pick and move has so far kept me here.

I keep hoping that I'll find one of those companies that will lay down a big wad of cash to get me to move to their state.
-- Jeffrey Straszheim

Relevance?! No, this can't be!... (none / 0) (#4)
by leshert on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 08:51:25 AM EST

leshert voted 1 on this story.

Relevance?! No, this can't be!

Make them pay. (none / 0) (#11)
by Alhazred on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:47:10 AM EST

Pure and simple go onto the various online job sites, call tech recruiters, call some businesses and the DET (or whatever acronym they happen to use). You should be able to get a few interviews, just tell the people that are interviewing you that you will be out on the Xth day of the month, until the Yth day of the month because you have "several interviews" and let them decide.

Remember, YOUR in the driver's seat! They need you more than you need them. Always go in believing that. Make them offer YOU a job, don't go begging them FOR one. Its all attitude. Ask if they will pay to fly you out for the interview. When you get there and they are willing to offer you a position, tell them you need a relocation bonus. Most companies will spring for 2-3k to help you move. Its trivial compared to what they will be forking out for your salary right?

Also, when you negotiate pay, always make them give you a number they will pay you FIRST before you tell them what you want. When they say 40k look at the floor, think of something really noxious and say "I was hoping I'd be making more out here...", hehe.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
Finding a job (none / 0) (#12)
by DontEatTheGlass on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 10:17:04 AM EST

I would suggest cold calling businesses you think would be interesting to work with. Write up a one page cover letter telling them why you want to work there and what you bring to the table. Attach a resume that supports and expands on your cover letter. Address it to the attention of Personnel or Human Resources. Bonus point if you social engineer the human resource directors name from the receptionist and address it to her.
DontEatTheGlass
/**************
If you understand, things are just as they are.
If you do not understand, things are just as they are.
**************/
Re: Finding a job (none / 0) (#13)
by Greyjack on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 10:31:32 AM EST

Almost a good idea---but going through HR is a great way to get as far as a manila folder in most organizations. Send it straight to the IT department. And yes, you'll need to research or social engineer the appropriate manager's name :)

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


[ Parent ]
AskTheHeadhunter (none / 0) (#14)
by Greyjack on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 10:41:56 AM EST

By far the best job-seeking advice site I've run across yet is Nick Corcodilos' ask the headhunter.

According to Nick, the best thing is to do some homework, make some strategic phone calls, then go ahead and make a trip out to the target city.

Not quite the answer you're looking for, I know, but as someone who's done hiring in the past, you'll find it damn tough to find someone who'll bring you on board without a face-to-face (although it's not completely unheard of). The trick is getting a prospective employer interested enough to foot the bill for the ticket :)



--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


Beware of employers that don't want a face-to-face (none / 0) (#17)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:37:48 PM EST

I worked at a job (no longer) that required relocation. They didn't seem to want a face-to-face -- they were satisfied with me from my phone interview, as the headhunter put it. Since this was a dry spell for me, I relucantly took the job. When I arrived for work, the company appeared to be in a low-class body shop. My shared office space was completely unheated (I started working mid-February, and this was in the northern section of the country). The company was not a new startup nor was I at their manufacturing facility, in case you might think that would be the case. Rather, it was an engineering firm that had been in business for some time.

While this alone wouldn't have thrown me, combined with other factors I might not have taken the position. It's tough to code when you're shivering constantly.

[ Parent ]
don't forget quality of life (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by kellan on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 11:20:50 AM EST

Having moved several times to join startups (3 years ago to San Francisco and most recently to Boston) I think finding a job is the easy part.

What has been hard is avoiding the trap of coping with the fact that I know no one, by getting overly involved in work. My (and many peoples I belive) natural instinct when starting a new job is to work really hard on it, try to come up to speed, try to impress your new boss etc. I would avoid this. Take your time, get a feel for the city, figure out where you want to live (very important to ones happiness I belive), and find a life outside of work. I think that first couple of months in a new city is critical to settling into a healthy diserve lifestyle.

I personally look for pick up frisbee games, community groups, and funky cafe/galleries with poetry readings, you should do the same.

Also consider moving into a house with people you don't know, especially if you are young, and moving to a city where you know no one, a house full of people is a great way to meet people, learn about your new home, and not spend lots of isolating nights at home, alone in your studio, watching television.

Kellan

Avoiding the job plague. (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by porovaara on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:23:25 PM EST

Another poster mentioned it, but be very wary of the job relocation. Why? You simply over compensenate for the lack of knowing anyone by investing all your free time in your job. The problem is of course since you just moved for the job and now all you do is work it, you have no ability to expand your social circles or your knowledge of the city you moved to. So what can you do?

Someone suggested roomates... can be good or bad. But at the very least it gives you some contact and forces you from having to stagnant a home life.

Tourist things? Why not. Its funny how its looked down on to do the tourist trap stuff in the city you just moved to. Do it anyways... hell people sometimes fly from around the world to look at your <X>. So why shouldn't you?

Find a local hangout. Much easier in places like SF and NY... but just be nice to the people at the local bar/coffee house/etc...

There is a ton of stuff you can do and its really not that hard. I've relocated a lot (usually every couple of years). It's worth it both in terms of job growth and in terms of what you learn about the world.

Re: Avoiding the job plague. (none / 0) (#30)
by kger on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:27:19 PM EST

I agree with this. Having moved twice in the last four years or so, we look back with regret at the places we didn't go to, the things we didn't see, in the places we moved from. Take advantage of it while you're there. Besides, when people come to visit, you will then know all the cool things to do and see.

[ Parent ]
Moving a Pet (none / 0) (#18)
by Skyshadow on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:52:44 PM EST

Okay, this is a really timely subject for me; I'm moving from Wisconsin to San Jose in about two weeks.

The main thing twisting around in my head: How to best move my cat?

I'm going to have the rest of my gear moved using United Van Lines, and I'm driving my new Mustang cross-country as sort of a mini-vacation. This leaves my cat. I've heard horror stories about people using the airlines to ship pets (and pets dying of heat stroke, being misrouted or just plain neglected, etc).

Does anyone know of a better way?

Here's what I've found (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:01:28 PM EST

Delta seems to be the only airline with a special program to get pets transferred safely. Dogs and cats are pretty resiliant but birds can die easy so most bird owners go through Delta.

My question to you is: why not put the cat in a carrier and drive with her? Fresh air and fun can be good for the feline.

Most respectable companies will make concessions for your relocation needs. When I joined Microsoft a while back, they did a great job of paying for any extras I needed to move my birds accross the country.

Good luck with your new job!

[ Parent ]

Re: Here's what I've found (none / 0) (#22)
by Skyshadow on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:28:59 PM EST

I'd love to take my cat with me -- he's normally just a great little dude to be with.

However, he does not like car rides. I've taken him on two longer car rides -- one about 3 hours and the other almost 7, and both times he cried the whole way.

If I had to put up with a meowing cat for three straight days, I think I'd pull a Thelma and Lousie and drive the whole expedition into the Grand Canyon. =)

[ Parent ]

Re: Here's what I've found (none / 0) (#23)
by atporter on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:45:19 PM EST

I've got a 16 year old cat that was born in NJ, has moved back and forth from the midwest 3 times and now lives in San Francisco. Talk to your vet. They have a wide range of sedatives that can knock kitty out fairly harmlessly. I found however that just having the cat in a carrier where she could see the people in the car, and occasionally giving some attention works a lot better than having a cat in a stupor for 48 hours. The biggest problem for me was convincing a cat to use a litter box in a strange place.

[ Parent ]
Re: Here's what I've found (none / 0) (#24)
by ehintz on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 03:29:17 PM EST

FWIW, I drove Los Angeles to Texas with my cat. He had an absolute fit for the first day, then mellowed. Day one I was afraid he'd hurt himself trying to get out of the cat carrier, and on the beginning of day two he was so violent that I stopped at a petshop in Flagstaff for a leash. Once I let him out, he mostly sat calmly on my lap for the remainder of the trip, and actually roamed around exploring the dash on day 3... I also made the return trip from Austin to Sacramento (about 2k miles) with 3 cats and a dog, and again they were hell on day one but totally cool thereafter... Just setup a catbox in the back seat or something and use airconditioning and the trip will likely be a fairly decent experience...

Regards,
Ed Hintz
[ Parent ]
Deja Vu (none / 0) (#26)
by rusty on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 03:52:05 PM EST

I'm in almost the exact same situation. Moving to SF for OpenSales, and driving cross country in the new car as a mini vacation to get there. We also have a cat, and aren't going to bring him on the drive. Partly it's because so far he's always hated car rides. Partly, because the car is a Miata, which just barely has room for the two of us, and our two backpacks. And partly because we'll be on the road for almost two weeks, and staying in hotels and whatnot, and we didn't think it would be fair to him to keep him stuck in a car that long. Not that he'd actually fit in the car anyway.

In any case, he's going to stay with some friends here for a month, since we have to fly back for my sister's wedding in August anyway. Some airlines will allow you to take cats as carry-on luggage, if they're in a carrier. So we'll get some sedatives and fly him back with us in August.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Deja Vu (2.00 / 1) (#31)
by jetpack on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 09:55:20 PM EST

I dragged my cat with me from Vancouver, Canada, to Houston, TX, about three years ago. Not a pleasant experience. She has always hated cars, and hated the plane even worse. And that was on sedatives. She tore at the door on the carrier until she'd ripped off a couple claws. Despite what another poster said about letting your cat be able to see people to keep her happy, the only thing that would mellow her out was to completely cover the carrier so she couldnt see anything at all.

Another point, and I dont know if this is true of all airlines but it was true of Air Canada, is that the only carriers allowed to be carry-on luggage are those that fit under your seat. They are very small, particluraly if your cat is fairly large like mine is.

I managed to acquire so much guilt over this experience, that if/when I move again, I'll spend some time taking my cats (I have three now :) on short trips to get them used to the car, and then drive them to my next home. And I haven't even bothered to buy a car yet. But you can bet your ass I'm gonna have a car for that trip.

Just a little nightmare scenario for you to consider. :)
--
/* The beatings will continue until morale improves */
[ Parent ]

Re: Deja Vu (2.00 / 1) (#36)
by palou on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 04:30:56 AM EST

Also many airlines have a weight limit for animals allowed to be taken on the cabin, and they only allow one animal in the cabin at the same time (with exceptions if two people are travelling together with two animals.) This is true in Europe as we encountered these issues when we moved from England to Barcelona with our two cats. Our boy would be bit too porky for that trip now! Ignasi.

[ Parent ]
Re: Deja Vu (none / 0) (#37)
by susanc on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 08:29:24 AM EST

Once when taking our cat home from the vet,(This cat has had to have quite a few trips to the vet over the years) the bus we were on had to take a detour for roadworks, and the cat howled non - stop until the bus finished the detour and rejoined the normal route.

So she knew the route! This reminds me of stories about how cats that have been moved across whole continents can find their way back to their original home through some kind of sixth sense.

As I understand it, you should keep your cat indoors for a few weeks untill he/she gets used to their new home and so doesn't get homesick and leave!

[ Parent ]

Re: Moving a Pet (none / 0) (#38)
by Stele on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 09:17:00 AM EST

We moved from Wisconsin to Massachussettes and just took the cat in the car. After about an hour of crying she shut up and eventually came out of her cat-carrier and actually sat in the passenger seat for awhile. We got a little tray for litter and the carrier came with tiny food trays which snap on the side. Although she was pretty constipated for the 2 days so she didn't need the litter. Didn't even bother looking for cat-friendly hotels - just let her sleep in her crate or on the bed, whichever she preferred.

[ Parent ]
Moving two cats from Michigan to California (none / 0) (#42)
by cevans on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 05:21:00 PM EST

I relocated to San Francisco about a year ago, and brought two middle-aged cats (8 and 10 years) with me with no problems. I shipped them both as air cargo on Northwest Airlines, and they made it just fine. I flew out to San Francisco and found an apartment, and then had a friend ship them to me, and I picked them up at the airport. I had to get them certified healthy by a vet before shipping, and they both were given sedatives before being sent off.

Northwest (and most other airlines) will ship animals as air cargo without an accompanying owner, as well as taking them on as baggage. The airlines will refuse to ship your animals if the weather is too hot or too cold at any of the transfers or stop-over points of the flight, and they might refuse to ship at the last minute if there isn't room on the plane, but otherwise it is pretty cheap and easy to ship animals (less than $200 to ship two cats from Michigan to California). Most airlines have a special live animal air cargo shipping rate where the airline will have someone watch your animal during stopovers or flight transfers, but I didn't get this because I got my cats on a direct flight.

The best advice I can give is to talk to your vet, and then talk to the airlines. I called the air cargo shipping line for Northwest and got lots of help, as they deal with animals all of the time and have a good idea of what the risks are.

[ Parent ]

Local references VERY important (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by Skippy on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:01:28 PM EST

Warning: the following comment is NOT from personal experience, but second-hand. I'm very happy where I live and moved enough as a child for an entire lifetime.

A lot of people go to a city they are relocating to for a week sometime before they move with the express purpose of finding someplace to live. This is a good idea BUT it doesn't go far enough. While looking at a place in person is better than doing the apartment guide or website thing it still isn't enough. Try to find several people who live in the city to talk to. Many cities have similar neighborhoods (the Art district, ethic-town, the historical section, etc.). Find out where they are in the city ahead of time as the living arrangements around them are often similar to the city you are in. This gives you an idea about the layout of the city and who lives where.

Other things to look for. Ask which neighborhoods are growing, which are in decline, what section of town has bad roads or bad connectivity to freeways etc. If you are interested find out what areas are covered well by public transportation or taxis. Find out where the public parks are. Get a weeks worth of the local paper delivered to you and read the entire local section (newspaper websites MAY be ok for this but the hardcopy version is usually bettter).

Many people don't take things like this into consideration when relocating. They go and see what looks like a nice apartment and sign a lease only to find out the first week they live there that the crime in the neigborhood has been on the increase or that it takes 20 minutes to get to the freeway for a 3 minute drive on it to work.

Good luck, Skippy
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

Play hardball with the movers (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by Max Hyre on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 02:03:32 PM EST

This applies if you're hiring an interstate moving company instead of a U-Haul. The moving company can be well worth it if you have much stuff at all, but...

  1. Get a back issue of _Consumer_Reports_ (some years ago, IIRC) talking about the interstate moving biz, and how to deal.

  2. Prepare for a game of chicken in listing the items they pack for you. They'll be as general as possible, and put a ``Condition Unknown'' sticker on any piece of equipment they can. You must insist that each item is correctly listed on the manifest, and that they stand by while you prove that your stereo, computer, refrigerator, etc., were working when packed.

    The hot setup is to prepare a detailed inventory well ahead of time, including serial numbers. It's also great to have when you need to make a claim on your renter's or homeowner's insurance.

  3. They get paid by the pound---try to have someone go to the weigh station before and after loading to make sure they don't have an extra driver or someone else's goods in the van the second time, nor that they offloaded stuff after the first weighing.

  4. Try to have someone help you watch the unloading. We lost an oriental rug (a wedding gift) that way. My wife saw it in the van while it was being unloaded, but it never made it into our house. It was a major hassle getting the money for it, because we hadn't been sufficiently specific about what sort of rug it was (see rule #2), and the sentiment was irreplaceable.

    That said, not all movers are gonifs, and take it from someone whose ownership of a large truck got him involved in many a move---having someone else do the grunt work is well worth it at such a stressful event.

Moving Overseas (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by mnot on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 03:41:03 PM EST

I moved from the US (Baltimore) to Australia (Melbourne) about five years ago, and then moved back (to SF) a bit less than a year ago. The first time, I didn't have a job lined up, and this time, I moved over for a job.

If you have family or friends where you're moving, it can make a *big* difference, especially if you can crash at their place while you're looking for a job or a place to live. If you don't, you'd better either have a lot of spare cash, or a company with deep pockets helping.

Coming back here, we didn't know anyone in SF, and it was *much* more expensive that I planned for (even knowing that it's absurdly expensive here). Why? Because I hadn't lived in the States for so long, I pretty much didn't have any credit. I needed a deposit for the apartment, first month's utilities, and of course temporary housing until we found someplace (it's VERY hard to find in this area). The exchange rate doesn't help either.

I also didn't have a driver's license, which complicated things somewhat in the first few days (public transport is nonexistant out here).

We moved a cat, which actually turned out to be easy; just used a service which is worth every penny (jetpets.com.au). However, going back isn't so easy, because of the quarantine (6month us->au, none au->us). I understand that you can speed that process up if you do the right things.

I'd really recommend moving overseas to anyone that was interested; it's good for you and broadens your mind. However, the fiirst few months can get very trying/boring/lonely/homesick, and you really have to put an effort into it. I would not recommend it unless you had family on the other end, or a company with a big signing bonus.

One common thing that I see is that Australians (etc) move to the states to get a geek job, and they bring their wives with them. THIS IS VERY RISKY; especially living in the valley (which IMHO is a cultural wasteland). I was lucky because I'm a US citizen, and therefore my wife can work here, but if you come over on a visa, she won't be able to, and gets very unhappy staying at home every day with nothing to do.

As far as finding a job, just go to a few conferences, it all follows from there.


Re: Moving Overseas (none / 0) (#40)
by soren.harward on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 08:08:40 PM EST

As of this afternoon, the company my dad worked for last month (Champion Paper) no longer exists. He came home this evening and said, "What you guys think about moving to New Zealand?" Though this isn't really an issue for me since I'm a college student and will be living in the USA, I've got siblings/parents who may be moving from Cincinnati to Aukland in the next few months. Can you email me with any advice to pass along to them about living down under (yeah, I know you were in AU, not NZ...)?

[ Parent ]
Other things to be wary of... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by hadashi on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 04:06:46 PM EST

Aside from the comments above (beware your wife, SO, etc. becoming bored) and the comments about carefully watching the movers - both of which are a good idea - I have these to add:

We shipped my "toy" car, a 1979 Lincoln Mark V, with an auto shipper. Beware of these people; most of them have a nasty reputation for damaging your car and then weaseling out of any claims; they don't mention that, even if it is their fault, you must buy extra insurance with them or they won't pay. Thank goodness I have comprehensive insurance on that vehicle.

Also, make sure that you have a good handle on the environment you will be working in. While it is a nasty surprise to take a job to find out that you hate it, it's even worse when you move all the way across a continent to discover this. The bay area job I took was positively awful; the job duties were cool, but management was clueless and more than a little mean (not to me, actually, but it could have been).

I know, poor me. No, not really. I have a much better job now, and I'm no longer regretting my move. Most of these things are common sense, but it's easy to lose track when you have all of the excitement of a new job and all.

--
Most technology exists to thwart Darwinism - seen on The Scary Devil Monestary
-- If the .sig fits...

A wannabe Relocatee (2.00 / 1) (#29)
by Maclir on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 06:22:48 PM EST

Well - this came at just the right time for me. I am seriously considering a move from Australia to the US - Dallas (Richardson) - for purely personal reasons. The key thing I will need is an employer that will get me a H1B (until I qualify on other grounds for residency / greencard).

Does anyone have experience on that front? I dont want my cv spammed to every possible company in the DFW area, but I intend being there for about 4 to 5 weeks from Mid-September, to check things out and talk with potential employers, with the intention of moving permanently at the end of this year. Can anyone recommend a good headhunter? (OK - since you ask - I am looking for a senior manager in IT development / systems integration / whatever) Any war stories on good / bad employers?

And, of course, anyone with offers of employment gratefully received to rayk@transport.nsw.gov.au (he says hopefully).

Ken

Re: A wannabe Relocatee (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by ramses0 on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 11:26:34 PM EST

You're in luck, I live in exactly Dallas, TX (Richardson), and just started working at a dot-com startup. I'll try and track down some information about moving and visas and all that stuff.

Suffice it to say, the DFW area is pretty hot for technology jobs and such. If you're really looking, try signing up for http://dallas.techies.com/ ... it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to register at first, but the quality of the job picks that you receive is really worth it.

Please bug me with an email, otherwise I'll forget to do it!

--Robert (ramses0@yahoo.com)
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Switching Gigs (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by jetpack on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 10:43:05 PM EST

Well, I've run this gauntlet once, so I'll relate my experience. I moved from Vancouver, Canada (eh) to Houston, Tx (y'all) about three years ago.

On Getting a Job

IMO, you should not get a job through a headhunter. Sure, you might get lucky and snag a decent job, but from what friends have told me, almost all the jobs they have acquired using headhunters sucked. I managed to snag my current gig by hanging around on a Megadeth chat site. A couple of guys that work at my current job frequented the place, and one of them wrote the code for the site. He and I spent quite a bit of time geeking out, started swapping code, and eventually, they wanted to hire me.

I suppose there are other ways to network, like going to LUG meetings or conferences. Whatever vector you choose is probably unimportant. The important thing is that you actually get to know some of the yo-yos that you may potentially wind up working with/for. It will give you a much better feel for the environment in which you would be working. Turned out pretty well for me.

On Moving

There's been many useful suggestions in this thread, so I'll only add one thing; if you find a job before you move, you can probably convince the company to expense your moving costs. With me, I was so damn broke (working at a university and paying school loans, and a few other things) that there was no way I could have moved all my junk down here without them paying. The only slight hitch was that if I bailed from the company before six months was up, I owed them the money they forked out to move me.

On Work Visas

For those of you planning to move to the States from either Canada or Mexico, here's the deal: If you are getting a computer related job, and you have a Comp Sci degree, you're in like Flint. To get a TN visa, all you need is to get a bunch of info about the company that is sponsoring you (get their lawyers to dig it all up and send it to you). Make sure your passport is in order. Get to customs/immigration whereever your point-of-entry is (either at the airport or the border crossing). Fill out a couple of forms, get your passport stamped. Budda-bing, you've got a TN visa.

I'm not entirely sure about H1 visas, but IIRC, you have to do a fair bit more legwork up-front to get them done. You can't just pick it up at the border.

As for H1 vs TN visas, an H1 visa lasts for three (I think) years, and can be renewed once. A TN visa is good for 1 year, and can be renewed (theoretically) indefinitely.

AFAICT, if you don't have a Comp Sci degree, or you job title doesnt exactly match the job titles listed in the INS regulations, you are shit-out-of-luck. Please correct me on that point if I'm wrong, because I've got a friend in Mexico that would like to take a sysadmin job here, but doesnt have a degree in Comp Sci. :)

Whelp, that's about it. Hope it helps.
--
/* The beatings will continue until morale improves */

Re: Switching Gigs (2.00 / 1) (#33)
by simon on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 11:24:44 PM EST

I had no trouble getting a TN for a coding gig with an (honours) degree in math and physics. I don't know how flexible they are in general, though. I do know that the granting of the TN is *entirely* up to the border patrol droid that you end up talking too. If you convince them that you are qualified for the job (and the job is qualified for a TN) then you are in, otherwise you are SOL.

About the H1, in this case most of the legwork is done by the company hiring you...

S.

[ Parent ]
Re: Switching Gigs (2.00 / 1) (#34)
by jetpack on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:08:44 AM EST

Interesting. The INS rules that I found (unfortunately, to which I no longer have links) stated quite clearly that your degree had to match your job description. Then again, they didnt give me any static at immigrations, so maybe that's why you had to convince them (assuming they gave you a bit of grief at the border). But it's interesting that you point that out. Maybe my friend has a chance in hell after all.

About the H1, in this case most of the legwork is done by the company hiring you...

That maybe true in some cases, but in my case neither the company nor their lawyers had any clue how to get me in on a TN or H1. I did most of the investigation myself. I expect that if I'd have gone for the H1, I'd have had to do most of that myself, too. YMMV, i guess.
--
/* The beatings will continue until morale improves */
[ Parent ]

Re: Switching Gigs (none / 0) (#46)
by forgey on Tue Jul 04, 2000 at 02:53:40 PM EST

For an H1B visa you need either a 4 year university degree, or 3 years of experience for every 1 year of univeristy that is missing. The fun way around this is to get an Immigration Lawyer to give you an education evaluation (this will cost you money). If your Education/Certification/Experience is equivalent to a 4 year university degree (in their opinion) they will do an official Education Evaluation which you can use to get your H1B. H1B's cost a bit of money and there is paper work that must be filled out and filed by the company hiring you. If the company you are talking to has no idea about immigration tell them to talk to an immigration lawyer (not just their staff lawyers). You should also call an immigration lawyer yourself as I have fould you will be more tenacious in trying to find a way to get a visa than most companies will be ;) In the end the company should take care of this and pay for all legal bills. You should also get a receipt for any bills as you can use those bills as a deduction on your taxes in the US. For a TN if you haven't got either a University degree or a 2 year 'associates degree'+ experience you are out of luck. For a TN it also has to be a specific job title, if it isn't you will get refused at the border. Phil Renouf NOTE: I am not a lawyer, all the information I have was garnered from various Immigration Lawyers pertaining to my own immigration from Canada to the US

[ Parent ]
Re: Switching Gigs (none / 0) (#47)
by forgey on Tue Jul 04, 2000 at 02:54:17 PM EST

For an H1B visa you need either a 4 year university degree, or 3 years of experience for every 1 year of univeristy that is missing. The fun way around this is to get an Immigration Lawyer to give you an education evaluation (this will cost you money). If your Education/Certification/Experience is equivalent to a 4 year university degree (in their opinion) they will do an official Education Evaluation which you can use to get your H1B.

H1B's cost a bit of money and there is paper work that must be filled out and filed by the company hiring you. If the company you are talking to has no idea about immigration tell them to talk to an immigration lawyer (not just their staff lawyers). You should also call an immigration lawyer yourself as I have fould you will be more tenacious in trying to find a way to get a visa than most companies will be ;)

In the end the company should take care of this and pay for all legal bills. You should also get a receipt for any bills as you can use those bills as a deduction on your taxes in the US.

For a TN if you haven't got either a University degree or a 2 year 'associates degree'+ experience you are out of luck. For a TN it also has to be a specific job title, if it isn't you will get refused at the border.

Phil Renouf

NOTE: I am not a lawyer, all the information I have was garnered from various Immigration Lawyers pertaining to my own immigration from Canada to the US

[ Parent ]
Relocation package (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by bigdogs on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 12:32:06 AM EST

Assuming that you're looking for a job first, and you haven't finished negotiating with your future employer, here are suggestions for pieces of the relocation package that the company can offer you. I received all of these (twice - when I first joined the company, and again when they moved me to a different state), so consider any of them negotiable.

  • Paying for a moving company to pack and unpack you.

  • Paying for a house hunting trip

  • Paying for temporary housing while you find a place to live, and reimbursing your groceries while you're there

  • Money for miscellaneous expenses

  • Paying for your closing costs (assuming you buy a house)

  • Paying for your belongings in storage if you end up in between permanent homes

  • Covering any costs from breaking a lease early. I didn't do this, but they offered it.

  • Have them guarantee a minimum sale price of your old home, and buy it out at that price if it hasn't sold within a certain timeframe.

    While most companies won't go near to doing all of these things, they might do some of them.

    One thing to keep in mind about any of these payments/reimbursements: Our beloved IRS considers all of the above to be income, and thus subject to taxes. If you're given just a flat amount of money to spend as you see fit, then you can write off your costs as unreimbursed moving expenses. (I heard this second hand - YMMV)

    In case you're wondering, no, I'm not a manager or a suit. I'm just a grunt like most of us on k5. This particular company happens to offer a very comprehensive package. They are outside of a metropolitan area, so perhaps they feel they have to offer something this extensive to entice people to work there.

  • Research of German-land (4.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Anonymous Hero on Thu Jun 15, 2000 at 07:33:36 PM EST

    Ok, just relocated, here are some observations, some of which would apply elsewhere. (And yes, I notice that I'm using more commas than before...)

    One hundred thousand DM/year will immediately get you the greencard (Arbeitserlaubnis). You perhaps should get as much taken care of as possible beforehand; ask your embassy. Don't be insulted by the annoying attitude of bureaucrats (in ugly buildings; I've observed that good buildings have happy, efficient bureaucrats) when you get your visa; the idiots seem to parrot the line that you should only get a job if you're not displacing good German folk. Of course, that's BS; get a strongly worded letter from your prospective employer that you ARE NEEDED, goddammit. Irrelevant if your pay isn't that bloated 100K, you are regardless needed, or do they want the American Empire to take over?

    They will generally ask you first for a figure. Don't lowball, be reasonably aggressive. Or catch them offguard by asking their 'honest' opinion. After all, the currency is half the strength of the dollar. It is impressive to see how few programmers they have; it seems the only strategy is to surround their programmers with other support people, to maximize their value.

    Few will offer stock options, ever notice that? Therefore you earn more money than you would otherwise ask.

    Go to a lot of interviews, look for the interesting job you will genuinely be happy at. If you deal with people who seem under the gun, you might one day feel like that way as well. Check out (I think) job or jobs.de; one is crap, the other isn't.

    etc. Nite.

    Hong Kong to US Relocation in process now (none / 0) (#44)
    by Anonymous Hero on Sat Jul 01, 2000 at 06:00:07 AM EST

    This is just kind of a rant about my experience with relocation (and I'm in the middle of the whole thing right now). If anyone has comments, or observations on anything I've said below, by all means, I'd love to benefit from your experience. Especially you, fluffygrue, I'm about to read your soon-to-be-published motion picture about a crappy animation company that you should never work for!

    I gave my 2 weeks notice to my employer in Hong Kong yesterday. Actually I'm an employee on an overseas expat contract for 1 year. The job was offered for a 2nd year but it's boring as hell now (not when I got here), and the working atmosphere sucks. The locals don't talk to me or want to do anything social (even though I've made an effort to learn their language and culture... I fricking majored in Chinese and speak it fluently, shame on me for learning mandarin and not cantonese). My "expat" friends all feel the same way as well. So it's locals vs expats, but that's another story.

    I've been looking internally with the company for another job, and have not found anything in the states where I want to return to, so I verbally accepted a 2nd year in Hong Kong a couple months ago, or I thought I'd be out on the streets.

    Anyhow, getting back the present, I "Verbally" gave my 2 weeks notice yesterday, and my boss was pretty cool about it and understood. . . probably didn't need me in that role anymore anyhow.

    So here's the thing. I'm not sure if the company "owes" me the re-patritation back to the US or not if I leave the company. I would think so... but I will not let them know I'm looking externally because I don't want them to say that they don't cover the moving/shipping/lumpsum/hotel/housingassistance stuff if I leave the contract. I've read my contract many times and can't understand what happens if they know I leave the firm after completion of the contract. I'm even afraid to ask HR, because this will let them know I'm looking externally as well, and I'd be forced to stay in Hong Kong until there is a company that wants to hire me bad enough they would pay to bring be back internationally. (I may have found one though, but no offer yet ;)

    So far, things are looking pretty good. My wife and I and our 2 cats will fly back to our hometown in a couple of weeks. (The company may not cover the shipping of cats back to the US because we adopted them while on assignment in Hong Kong) I have one offer with a company that I have not met anyone face-to-face yet. . . which I guess is a really bad sign from previous posts! I Besides, the recruiter I dealt with is a total asshole, calls me in HK at 2:30 am, asking me what sorts of benefits I would like. He calls me every evening asking me on my "feelings" and wants a status report from me asking which way I probably "leaning". He tried to get me to verbally agree to accepting the job at 2:30 am! What a prick!!! The CTO of the company (who I'd be working for) is even telling me that he doesn't want another "no show". How could I be classified as a "noshow" if I haven't even accepted an offer yet?!?! Their offer letter states something strange as well:

    "you understand that this letter, if accepted by you, will not constitute an employment agreement between you and the company and that you will be, as all company employees are, an "at will" employee of the company"

    Does anyone know what this means? Could they just change their minds after I relocate back to the US?

    Anyhow, I'm going back without having accepted an offer yet, and will hopefully get my current company to foot the bill with a hotel in my hometown while I job hunt. When that runs out, my wife and I can live with my parents until I get a job.

    Thanks for any gems of advice, tidbits or anything anyone wants to comment on in advance. Time to read Fluffygrue's motion picture script!

    Know what you (don') like about where you live (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Anonymous Hero on Sun Jul 02, 2000 at 03:57:19 PM EST

    I relocated about a year ago and while the job has been fair, I'm pretty unhappy about the town. The problem is that I didn't follow my own rules about what I wanted in a town I lived in and now I'm paying the price.

    If you like good coffee and funky coffee shops - be sure they are there. If you like cool dance clubs and freaky club kids (or you are one!) - look for them when you visit. Don't get sucked in by the novelty of a new place and different surroundings. Where I live would be a great place to vacation but I wouldn't want to live here. Problem is: I _do_ live here.

    If you don't know what you like or dislike about a town, think about what you like to do. Even if your life currently sucks, think of the things that provide you enjoyment and make sure that those things will be available. New places can change you but you are more likely to change in your tendencies than to be completely re-invented.

    Your Experiences with Relocation | 47 comments (47 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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