Relocation is an opportunity for reinvention. I often share this concept with clients – both the companies who engage our services and the relocating families with whom we work.
I speak from experience when making that observation. When you live in the same place for a long time (I lived on the East Coast for 30 years), you are to some extent who you’ve always been, especially to the friends and colleagues who “knew you when”. It makes it difficult to create personal change.
We all have several variables that make up who we are – especially self-concept and social identity. Our self-concept is how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world: “I’m the manager of the local bank”, “I’m the president of the PTA”, and so on. Our social identity is how we are reflected back by those who know us, how they perceive us: “a great friend and neighbor”, “an invaluable asset to the company”, “a mover and shaker”. Both depend to a great extent on our “context”, on where we live and work. A move to a new community provides the greatest challenge to our self-concept and social identity…and the greatest opportunity for reinvention.
A move to a completely new environment with a new job (or, in the case of the accompanying spouse or partner, no job or defined role) can really shake things up. Add children (especially teenagers) to the mix and things can get complicated – but an attitude of embracing the challenges as opportunities can make the difference between a difficult or a successful relocation.
Treat your new city as a vacation destination. Explore the parks, restaurants, theaters, concert venues and other locations as you would if you were seeking to learn what makes the city “tick”—because you are. Engage the people you meet; ask them to tell you what makes their city special. Ask them where people go for fun. It’s easier in some places than in others, but everyone is proud of where they live, and usually are happy to offer advice to a newcomer. (I mean, really, who doesn’t like to be asked for their advice?)
There are many ways to make a new place YOUR place. If you’d like to know more, contact us. As always, we’re here to help you and your new hires “come home”.
708 36th Street,
West Des Moines, IA 50265