Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you have probably recently accepted a position in a new city. While this is an exciting time, it is likely a stressful time as well. At Stryker, we have many employees who have moved their lives across country and even abroad. We connected with these employees and asked them to share their best advice for someone who is about to start their relocation journey.
1. Leverage your employer’s resources
Your employer likely has resources available to assist you with relocation. Be sure to ask your recruiter or hiring manager about this. For example, at Stryker, in addition to relocation benefits, we also provide information about fun things to do in the area, housing options, and commute times from certain towns.
2. Talk about the future
Is that a short assignment? Long term? You don’t know yet? Some visa processes can take a very long time, so make sure you understand the expectations for the future.
3. Set expectations with your manager
Talk to your new manager about any flexibility or time off you may need based on the impact of your move. Some moves are more complex than others and require you to make appointments, such as with the social security office, during business hours.
4. Consider a 3-month lease
Think about renting a place to live for 3 months. This will allow you more than enough time to get an idea of the area, neighboring cities, culture, etc. before buying a home or committing to a full-year lease. This will also give you time to find a roommate if you need one.
5. Understand your transportation options
Are you moving to a city or a suburb? How will you commute to work? What are the local transportation options? Determine the best way for your new get around your new hometown. You should also check to see if your office has a shuttle (for example, we offer a shuttle from San Francisco to our office in Redmond, Washington).
6. Ask for recommendations
Reach out to your new team and ask for recommendations about local realtors, places to live, doctors, supermarkets, schools, gyms, restaurants, etc. You should also consider connecting on Facebook pages or community pages to obtain local knowledge on the ground from very similar people in similar situations.
7. Know your office amenities and benefits
Many Stryker offices offer on-site amenities such as fitness centers, subsidized gym memberships, local daycare discounts, dry-cleaning services and more. Before you commit to anything, make sure you become familiar with what is available at your local office.
8. If moving abroad, research your host-country tax regulations
For an international assignment, Stryker will typically offer a tax equalization plan (i.e. you won’t pay more in taxes while working abroad than you would if you had remained in your home country). There are additional steps when filing tax returns for multiple countries and Stryker’s partnership with PwC is to your benefit! Understand your responsibilities and how the process works; it will better prepare you for your annual returns. For international relocations (i.e. permanent), do the calculations to understand how to balance your home budget based on the different tax rates. Often, if you are paying higher taxes, there are more local/national benefits. Try to proactively plan out your spending so there are no surprises during your tax returns!
9. Plan your move
Moving is stressful without going to a new city and starting a new job, but you’re doing all three! Be sure to plan ahead to help avoid any last-minute things you may forget. There are many moving checklists online that you can leverage like: The Ultimate Moving Checklist, and the Moving Abroad Checklist.
10. Understand your new healthcare benefits and proactively identify your physicians
It’s never fun to be sick and be told that there’s a 5-month waitlist to get into a doctor’s office. Set yourself up for success and establish yourself as a patient with a physician sooner rather than later. Anything from general practitioners to dentists to dermatologists, it’s in your power to save yourself some frustration if you’re ever in need of medical attention.
11. Appreciate the differences and stay curious!
If you’ve relocated internationally, there’s a good chance you’ll experience new cultures, social norms, and languages. It’s easy to be enchanted at first only for it to turn into frustrations with the daily differences. This is the time where curiosity can help keep you in a positive mindset. Assume positive intent, ask questions, and the world will open up for you to explore!
12. Be patient and know that it takes time to build relationships and daily routines
It’s a new city and new opportunities surround you! There are places to discover, friends to meet, and it won’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and build out your lifestyle and social circle day by day. Meet new people by joining a gym, attending local meet-ups, and hanging out with new co-workers after work.
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