QAfter going to college and starting my career in my hometown, I'm going to be relocating to take a new position. What steps should I take to make this a smooth transition?
ARecreate some familiarity and be open to new opportunities and experiences.
The inner game
Take stock of your frame of mind. Nervous? Excited? All of the above? Recognize that it's natural to have a wide range of emotions, and seek to embed them in an underlying calm so that your feelings don't get the better of you. Then spend some time thinking about where you've been, and what's ahead.
Reflect back on your life in your hometown, considering the aspects you'd like to re-create, and aspects where you'd like a change. In particular, think about three key areas: home, activities and people.
Think about the type of neighborhood you'd like to live in -- it may be similar to your past or your chance to try something new. Weigh the factors that are most important to you in terms of community and amenities, such as parks, restaurants, church, nightlife, quiet, schools, etc., to establish your vision for an ideal new home. Consider any differences in cost of living that may affect your choice.
Also consider the activities that you like to do outside of work. Maintaining sports or other hobbies in your new home will help you adapt quickly and, depending on the activity, will help you create a new circle of friends and acquaintances.
Connecting with people is the other key area. If you're close to your family, consider ways to maintain this connection despite the distance. Also know your goals for making new friends. Some people prefer a few close friends, while others like a large circle. Be clear on what will make you happiest as you make your new start.
The outer game
Start with some research. Use social networking to find people who can provide some insights on your new town. Draw on professional networks as well, and tap into college alumni groups. Look for information related to key interests: for example, running newsletters or arts publications. These can also be a source for people to talk to. Remember, people are flattered to be asked for their opinions, and most are happy to help. Then visit. See your options for yourself so that you can assess what feels right, especially for finding a place to live.
Once you've moved, keep active. Engage in activities that you enjoy, and push yourself to build in some opportunities outside of work for social connection. No matter your interests, you'll likely to be able to find volunteer opportunities. Or choose an activity that is usually more solo for you, such as biking, and try riding with a local group. Try Meetup groups, or events for newcomers to the area.
Connect with co-workers too, particularly if there are others who are also new to the area or have similar interests. And stay connected with family and old friends; that'll help you feel anchored.
The last word
Stay upbeat and enjoy the new opportunities as you create a successful new environment for yourself.