In 2012 I took what I thought at the time was a huge step to relocate to Somerset from London. I left a good job with a great recruitment firm in the centre of town to start a new life in the sticks. My motives were personal but my desire to grow my career within recruitment remained the same.
My nature is very much act first think second. It has caused me a few challenges along the way but I love the feeling of stepping outside my comfort zone and trying new experiences.
My move to Somerset coincided with the launch of Purple Monkey Recruitment. I was very fortunate to have the support of my now wife Emily throughout this whole journey and to be honest without her I’m sure PMR wouldn’t be where it is today. More importantly I’m not sure the relocation would have been as positive as it has been.
Being a Londoner born and bred the thought of starting a new life in the country was very daunting. Turning my back on the opportunities London had to offer, especially as I was focusing on recruiting within the digital world, seemed at the time hugely daunting and of course a fairly big risk.
Starting to rebuild my career in the SW back in 2012 was tough. I found out pretty quickly that I was the only specialist digital and eCommerce recruiter in the region past Bristol, now I know why! Thankfully digital and ecommerce in the SW has boomed since then and now, in my humble opinion, can hold its own with some of the major digital hubs across the UK.
What this digital boom in the region has meant is that more and more people are relocating to the area, partly for the draw of what the SW has to offer; fantastic countryside, amazing coastlines and also quaint villages, but also it offers what London doesn’t. The ability to buy a house, to have a life and to balance this with a career within digital.
Relocation into and away from London is becoming more and more common. Our world is shrinking, and businesses are growing across the whole of the UK, creating fantastic opportunities within digital along the way.
Having placed c10 relocators in roles across the SW in the last few years I have seen how this can be the best and worst decisions people make. When you don’t have personal connections to the area you are moving with sole reliability of doing your own research, understanding the drivers for relocating and exploring the potential pitfalls can’t be understated.
I recently got to spend some time with Steven Curran, COO of MuscleFood Ltd who has relocated for new opportunities on numerous occasions. Here are his thoughts on a recent move:
What were your drivers for relocating?
I led the acquisition of another online retailer based in London and decided to re-locate the business that I was leading to simply the UK operation.
Where did you relocate too?
I relocated to Hertford, Hertfordshire from Glasgow, Scotland.
When you relocated, what was your general impression of the overall experience?
Overall the experience was extremely positive, I was supported by the parent company with moving and sourcing accommodation and spent my first few months travelling home to Glasgow at the weekends to gradually relocate and maintain relationships in both countries.
What could an employer do to make a relocation as easy as possible?
Employers have a duty of care to ensure that any move is as comfortable as possible for the employee, there must also be a focus on ensuring that the employee is supported through the decision making process to ensure they are relocating for all the right reasons.
What pitfalls have you experienced/can you envisage when relocating?
Relocating, especially when single, can be initially rather lonely so it’s really important that every effort is made to integrate both within the business and more importantly socially. Volunteering can be both a really rewarding pastime but also provide opportunity to meet new people and expand your social circle.
Do you have anything else you can add that someone who is considering relocating should consider or be aware of?
Plan time to go back to where you came from, often. Relocating shouldn’t be a cut and dry, plan to go back as often as possible and where possible plan ahead to ensure you have time to meet with friends and family when you return. Make sure you move for the right reasons and you take time to find the most suitable place to live. After all it’s not all about work.
What Steven brings to light is the importance of creating a network both inside and out of work as quickly as possible. Whether you are single, a couple or relocating your whole family. The sooner you feel a part of a community the quicker you will start to feel at home.
Equally the responsibility sits heavily with your new employer to go out of their way to ensure new employees relocating to the area feel at home. I have very recent first-hand experience of where this didn’t happen and unfortunately the expected happened and the relocation fell through meaning the company lost a great employee.
Relocating anywhere new can be as exciting as it is daunting. It can lead to new friends, new opportunities and hopefully the start of a new chapter in your personal journey. Ensure that if you are thinking of relocating you have done your homework, you are prepared and you are committed to making it work because I can personally say it was 100% the best decision I ever made. So much so that I now feel like a tourist when I am back in London. A trip on the top deck of a big red bus is as exciting for me as it is for my three children.
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