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Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

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Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Priya.S » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:40 pm

Hi everybody,

Just to give you all some perspective: I started in this role about 5-6 months back. I like (not love) my job but more importantly, I value the flexibility this role has offered me and absolutely adore my colleagues. This was meant to be a short stint (~2 yr), and I was hoping to move on to a more lucrative role along the lines of medical writing/editing later on (atleast this was my grand plan).

My spouse has been on the job market for a few months and was strictly focussing on local jobs (due to my recent employment). However, he was recently approached by a recruiter for an exciting role in a big biotech in a different city/state. After the usual phone screen, he wa sinvited to an on-site interview, he recieved a call the very next day because everyone gave him a thumbs up and they wanted to move on to background verification and reference checks. All that is done (took a week) and now he has an offer. They are moving pretty fast and would like to fill in the role ASAP.

Honestly, we didn't expect everything to unfold this fast. We have a great offer (negotiations are on) on the table and a week to decide. My dilemma is

1) I would prefer to relocate with my husband/kids? But how will a 6-month positon look on my CV?
2) Would it be better if I stayed back for a few more months, while my husband relocates first? This way they can find someone to fill my position, and I can train this new person.
3) Lastly, I have a huge guilt issue because I really like my colleagues. I had no clue when I joined that I might need to relocate to a totally different state. But it is a great opportunity for my spouse and we can't let this pass. The company has offered to arraange something for me as well. They are going to put me in touch with the a few people.

If any of you have encountered this issue or if anyone has general advice, please feel free to share.
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby J.B. » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:52 am

I recommend that all scientists treat their jobs the way that professional athletes do. That is, look out for yourself and no one else. I realize this sounds cynical, but if the past few years of cruel and massive layoffs haven't impacted you in this way, you are overly optimistic. This is an industry where the inventor of Lipitor was fired. Stop and think about that. $12 billion a year, the most profitable drug ever; fired. Why do you feel any need to show loyalty to the company at all? They won't return the favor.

My recommendation is to stay there while you look for another job. But if your spouse's company is offering to help you find a new position and they give a generous relocation, I don't see any problem in giving your 2 week notice right away. The 6 month thing won't be a big deal, contract positions have become so common I don't imagine they would raise an eyebrow. You could address this in a cover letter, though some may say that giving away your marital status can be risky. I don't know enough about that to know if it's true.
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Priya.S » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:18 am

Thanks JB. Very honest and pragmatic reply.
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Ana » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:31 am

Hi Priya,

First of all congratulations to your husband for the offer.

Priya.S wrote:1) I would prefer to relocate with my husband/kids? But how will a 6-month positon look on my CV?

I think it should not be a problem if it is followed by other position, and you have an excellent reason why this happened: your family got a great oportunity and you guys took it. It is not like your contract wasn't renewed due to poor performance. You can say this in the cover letter if you are concerned about it.

Priya.S wrote: 2) Would it be better if I stayed back for a few more months, while my husband relocates first? This way they can find someone to fill my position, and I can train this new person.


I think this is not your problem. You could do the relocation in two steps if that helped you getting your housing and schools sorted out before you follow your husband, that would be a good reason, but I don't think doing it "for the company" would be a good reason.

Priya.S wrote: 3) Lastly, I have a huge guilt issue because I really like my colleagues. I had no clue when I joined that I might need to relocate to a totally different state. But it is a great opportunity for my spouse and we can't let this pass. The company has offered to arraange something for me as well. They are going to put me in touch with the a few people.


I can see this and that's why you feel you might wanted to stay for some time to train a new person. Your feelings are normal. It is a great opportunity for your family so at a personal level your colleagues will probably be happy for you. At a professional level it is the company responsability to find a new person and train her.

It is great that your husband's company is willing you help you find something. I agree with you, you can't let this pass!
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Jim Austin » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:23 am

Prya.S,

I'm motivated to reply mostly by a desire to forcefully (but respectfully) disagree with one piece of advice you've received here. Don't be cynical--and certainly don't be overtly cynical.

There are practical and principled reasons. First the practical: I hope you will not be offended--I do not know you after all--when I say that probably you are not Lebron James. Which is to say, you probably are not recognized as one of the top 2 or 3 in your profession in a highly profitable business. You simply don't have the leverage of a professional athlete. And that means you can't afford to be perceived as crass and selfish.

Don't misunderstand me. I realize that these times are different from a few decades ago. I know companies will lay off long-time, loyal employees without hesitation. I know most employees will gladly leave a company they've been happy at for a little more money. Still, if you act in a cynical way, you'll acquire that reputation--and your message makes you seem anything but cynical.

That gets to the "principled" part. Your loyalty to colleagues is great. It's harder to be loyal to a faceless institution, but there's nothing wrong with that either.

Still, my recommendations would not differ much from that other poster's. Express your sincere regret, to colleagues and bosses. Thank people for the opportunities they've offered you. Explain the circumstances so that they can understand that you're not playing them or deceiving them. Then give them notice--if they need more than 2 weeks to help them replace you, work with them--and then move on to this opportunity that's too good to pass over.

Let me also add that even though you're the "trailing spouse" in this instance, that doesn't mean that you can't excel in your new context. I'm aware of a couple of instances--though this is in academia--where trailing spouses ended up being the more successful. It's not a contest; I'm just pointing out that this could end up being a great opportunity for you as well, as long as you go into it determined to make the most of it.

Best of Luck.

Jim Austin, Editor
Science Careers
http://www.sciencecareers.org
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Priya.S » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:06 pm

Thanks Jim and Ana for the great advice.

I am certainly very determined to make the most of it.

I have identified a few roles in the company based on my fit and career goals. Most of them are for more-experienced people, but I expressed my interest/excitement anyway whether they will consider me or not. I tried to explain how I could contribute greatly to these roles. Have to wait and see how everything unfolds. Thanks again.
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:18 pm

Priya,

I can't tell you how many times I have seen companies make promises to the spouse of a person they want to hire . . . "We'll find a spot for you," or "We'll put in touch with some people here," or "We'll help you in the local job market."

99.9% of the time that help does not materialize. It is swept under the table. Once your husband is signed up and on board, all is forgotten. Just remember that -- sounds like a great opportunity for him, but don't start relying on them to help you. It won't happen.

Dave
“The world isn't fair, Calvin."
"I know Dad, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?”
― Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Priya.S » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:19 pm

Hi Dave,

I am completely aware that nothing might materialize, but I am just playing along and putting my best foot forward.

My director (at my current job) has offered to let me work remotely till I find another job. My colleagues have been incredibly understanding and supportive and we are trying to come up with a situation that will benefit both.

Thanks again and will keep you guys posted.

Priya
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Re: Have to relocate after recently starting a new job

Postby Laura P.G. » Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:45 pm

I, too, quit an excellent job for my husband's relocation. I regret it sometimes. I would sugest you secure a job first and then give your notice. It is extremely difficult to find a good job while unemployed. I had multiple young kids at the time and I felt that I didn't have any options. Good luck!
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