hitchhike.jpgLast August, Angela Coletti left economically depressed Detroit for a job in Los Angeles as a field marketing manager for an automotive company.

“I love the sunny weather in Southern California, but miss the warm friendliness and reasonable cost of living of the Mid-West,” she laments.

Coletti is one of many workers out there who found they had to look for greener pastures if they wanted their careers and lives to flourish. But she faces a problem many employees today face — she still can’t sell her home.

“Regrettably, I am renting now in Santa Monica, CA. I have a condo in suburban Detroit that has been on the market for the last eight months. Approximately 95% of my current income goes towards my Detroit mortgage and LA rent. There is very little disposable income at this time. Renting in LA is not a choice, but rather a necessity. I would prefer to buy and enjoy the benefits of home ownership in LA, but the market is simply too inflated and beyond my reach as a single member household.”

Unfortunately, Coletti isn’t alone. I address the issue of relocating in today’s job and housing market in my MSNBC.com column today.

So how do you know if you should start packing your bags?

Roberta Chinsky Matuson of Human Resource Solutions offers these questions to ask yourself:

1. Do I have enough money in the bank to support myself in case my search
takes longer than expected? If not, what is my plan to earn money while
looking for work?
2. Do I really want to live in this part of the country? It is important
to think about how well you will fit into your new environment. I know many
southerners who flew back home after one winter in the northeast.
3. Is this a move my family is willing to make? It is one thing to pick up
and move when you are single. It gets a lot more complicated when other
family members are involved.

One of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your life is move. Trust me. I have moved many times when I was single and then many times after getting married, and then having kids. IT WAS HELL!

I don’t regret any of those moves, even though they were so difficult. Sometimes you have to get up and go, for work, for family, for a better life.

Believe it or not, my husband and I are contemplating yet another move next year.

I’m not tied to any one location. That may be the way my parents brought us up. My mother and father both were forced to leave their homeland of Istanbul, Turkey, and come to a totally unknown place, for them, the United States.

My father always said it was the best decision he ever made even though it was probably his toughest decision.

The main thing is to make the move with intelligence. Do your homework. Make sure the town is right for you. Find a job you’ll love, or at least sort of enjoy.

And think about the economics of moving before you rent the U-haul.

Coletti is happy she made the move but she would have done some things differently:

“Although I did receive a modest relocation allowance, I wish I would have pressed the issue of my home in Detroit. My company has a policy of providing limited relocation assistance to new hires, but if I had to do it again, I would have asked for a conditional arrangement. Perhaps to revisit a home repurchase option after 6-8 months of employment, contingent on my performance reviews, which fortunately, have been very favorable.”

So don’t rush to split your town. Use the Internet for all its worth..research, network, compare towns, etc.

And don’t be afraid to move on, even though, as Coletti points out you’ll endure some pain:

“Like my European ancestors in the 1920s, I feel like moving for the sake of opportunity requires a personal sacrifice of leaving behind family and friends.”

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