Job loss is tough – but especially after you’ve just accepted a geographic relocation to take the job. Awhile back I heard from two people, in two different industries, at opposite ends of the US. Here’s a synthesis of their questions:
“Last year we decided to buy a house. We fell in love with a home that’s a 30-minute commute from where I work. I went to my boss. I explained that we were buying a home. He assured me there was no reason to worry about my job.
“A few months later I got a horrendous performance review. Now I’m on track to be terminated. If I take another job, I’m facing a 2-hour commute or we will have to sell our dream house.
“What went wrong?”
Of course I can’t read your boss’s mind. But I have the following suggestions for anyone who considers buying a home:
(1) Make sure you have funds to cover at least 6-12 months of living expenses in case your job is unexpectedly terminated.
(2) Do not to discuss personal affairs with their bosses. The only exception might be maternity leave or legally-mandated family leave, and then you go through HR and dot all the i’s.
You’ll never know what feelings your announcement will create among your bosses and colleagues.
Maybe she’s thinking, “They’re buying a house in Gardenville? Hmm…I can’t afford to live there. Must have a rich spouse.”
Or maybe he just notices you more. Now he’s thinking, “I notice Lilianne seems to miss meetings a lot.” Or, “Manuel needs to improve his writing skills.”
Or she thinks, “Why is Helene so concerned about her job? Maybe she’s covering up…”
Of course your boss might be genuinely happy for you. But most of us can’t control our subconscious, not-so-nice feelings. We’re not even aware of them.
(3) Want some assurance of job security? Talk to a lawyer first. Find out if your boss’s email to you (“Nothing to worry about! Congrats on the new home!”) has any legal standing. I am not a lawyer. I am not giving legal advice. But my experience says you can’t take those assurances to the bank, let alone the courtroom.
If you’re a lawyer reading this post, please add a comment.
Verbal assurance? Forget it. Unless your boss makes a big announcement on tape, or you’ve got credible witnesses unconnected with the company, it’s your word against his.
A contract? Now you’ve got a new ball game…and the lawyers are the ones who pitch, throw and catch.
Finally, apart from the job, think marketability. When you move to a location where you’ll have trouble basing a new job search, you’re losing marketability. Believe me, I’ve been there!
If your current employer is the only game in town — and maybe in a 25-mile radius — you’re taking a risk. Nothing wrong with risks. But when you go out on a stormy sea in a leaky boat, you’ll wear a life preserver. You won’t wait till you get out on the ocean to decide if you need to pack one or not.
My readers are smart. You get the drift.
Check out my ebook on relocation: Making The Big Move: How to transform relocation into a creative life transition. You’ll find hard-hitting, practical tips as well as guidance to deal with stress.
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