During your military service you probably moved a bit. Resources were in place to help ensure the process was as smooth as possible. You ventured off to new, uncharted territory and called it home for a little while. Each time you arrived, a system was in place designed to help you get in, get settled, and get to work.
Along with your orders to move, you most likely were assigned a Sponsor to help answer your questions about your new duty station. You probably also received a Welcome Packet packed with valuable information like: base directory, brochures for local sights, menus to top restaurants, Moral Welfare and Recreation activities, base maps to give you a sense of where things are on the military installation, e.g.. But, what is relocating like when you become a Veteran?
A lot of times you might have to coordinate the move yourself. Some companies hire transition assistance companies (usually tied to any relocation programs assuming your new private sector job includes a physical move that’s paid for by the hiring company) that do all the legwork for you. They provide temporary housing, home search assistance, a real estate agent, and other nice amenities that are part of a full relocation package within your job offer.
The good news is that you’re already somewhat familiar with all of this, if you’ve moved a few times during your military career. But, what’s different now is that you may need to do a lot of this on your own, depending on the way you arrive into your new job as a Veteran.
Here are some ideas on where you might find the additional moving resources you may need for a non military move:
1. Do your research online: Find a Relocation Packet for a specific city and find lots of cool information online. While some of these might be tied to a Real Estate Agent’s website, you can find some helpful information in form of articles, videos and forums. You can learn more about schools, top businesses in the area, entertainment, and senior living, to name a few.
2. Tap into your network by posting on social media: Since most people list a city on their social media profile, you can reach out to friends who live in the area you’re interested in. Send a quick message asking about the area or maybe pick up the phone afterward to learn more in a LIVE conversation.
3. Watch those Homebuyers shows! Start watching one episode on a Saturday afternoon, then next thing you know it is Sunday morning. Those shows are quite addictive to some people, but if you check the “Info” guide on your television you can find out if they’re house-hunting in your desired location. A lot of times you get a quick overview of the sights and sounds of the city featured on the show.
4. Check the Chamber of Commerce. Find the local Chamber and check out all they have to offer. You can identify major employers and take advantage of the vast amount of information found here. Seeking employment? The Chamber might be helpful in locating potential Employers based on size or type of industry. Starting a business? Look for information or classes provided by the Small Business Administration.
5. Leverage the Convention Center & Visitor’s Bureau. Since the masses flock to various cities for meetings, most cities wish to capture the attention of these guests after the meeting is over. So, they put together these elaborate websites that showcase fun stuff to do and see in their city. You can get a feel for what living in a particular city might be like by visiting these offices or their websites.
6. Check Crime Statistics. Since you need to stay safe, your choice of where to live is important. You have websites that allow you to look up crime stats within a particular zip code in seconds. Why guess what’s happening in a particular neighborhood when you can learn about the location, location, location.
7. Check the Weather. If you live in a warm location now and plan to move somewhere cold, you can plan your clothing purchases accordingly. As your prepare to meet the local dress code standard (and keep warm), keep in mind that a weather-related website can help you decide what’s best to add to your wardrobe.
8. Hospitals. In the private sector, Hospitals get rated all the time. Since your military experience did not normally offer you many choices in terms of picking a hospital , you might find this website helpful for making that decision: https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html
9. Child Care. Need to find out more about that child care center that’s close to work? A quick search of the information found on a website such as this might be helpful: https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/child_care/search_texas_child_care/
10. Sign Up for alerts. You can sign up for Google Alerts of other similar services that can let you know once something of interest happens in a city you’re interest in relocating to. Set an alert and forget it. (At least until you get an alert!)
Moving can be an exciting time, it can also be stressful. Don’t forget to lean on the HR contact and your hiring manager at your new company for other questions you may have. I hope this information helps you prepare for your next move outside the military.
What things have you done in order to make a smooth move?
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