89

My husband recently got a new job that he really wanted, but the office is in a different city (more than several hours of travel from where we live now), so he has to relocate. I'm going to start looking for a new job in that city soon, because I don't want to see my husband only on weekends.

I'm sure I'll be asked why do I want to quit my current job.

Would it be okay to just honestly answer that I like my job, but I have to relocate because of my husband's new job? Or should I say something generic like "I'm looking for new opportunities" instead?

I asked my friends for an advice, and some of them said that potential employers might think that I value family way more than my career. Also, a lot of couples live in different cities because of work, so my reason might not look valid.

Would it make me look bad if I say that I'm looking for a new job because I need to relocate? If so, what would be better to say instead?

  • 70
    "a lot of couples live in different cities because of work," I'd be interested to see stats on that. I know it happens but wouldn't have used "a lot" to describe it. – cdkMoose Aug 7 at 21:32
  • 1
    Does your current job have another office closer to where you are relocating to, such that you could move sites? (Obviously, not possible with all roles and/or companies) – Chronocidal Aug 8 at 9:13
  • 4
    It's an easy let-down, and it's honest. (And your future interviews: "Not only am I interested in this position, I was looking for work in this area as my partner has relocated here." - gives it a sense of permanency). – Mikey Aug 9 at 14:52

10 Answers 10

389

Tell them that you are relocating, there is no shame in this. No reasonable employer will form a negative opinion of you due to the fact that you are relocating to be with your husband. Any employer that has a problem with you prioritizing your family over your career is not a employer worth working for.

  • 81
    It might even look good, unless you have a pattern of relocating regularly. You didn't have a problem with your job, your employer didn't have a problem with you, all was good and the change is simply due to external circumstances that are part of a normal stable life. – David Spillett Aug 8 at 10:16
  • 4
    There might also be the option to work remotely if the job allows for it. I've had a couple of coworkers go this route. Saying you're looking for new opportunities obviously implies you want to move on from that company/position, which may not be the case. – Broots Waymb Aug 8 at 13:57
  • 3
    A downside to this approach is that you're gifting the company a big negotiation advantage. You're already committed to moving and you're locked into a particular city, and you might even feel pressed to hurry the process and take your fist offer. Also, just because your husband wants that job now, it doesn't mean he'll still want it in a year or that his new company will even be loyal—yet if you followed him this time, it's reasonable that you'll follow him next time. For your new company, there's both an opportunity and a risk, and a shrewd negotiator may try to get you at a bargain price. – elrobis Aug 8 at 17:11
  • 4
    This is a great example of a case where you don't have to talk bad about your current company to give an honest reason why you're trying to leave. – Daniel Aug 8 at 21:14
  • 5
    We were in this situation, and my wife's employer begged her not to quit and instead gave her a pc and a vpn box and she works 100% remote now. – Haukinger Aug 9 at 7:17
51

My husband recently got a new job that he really wanted, but the office is in a different city

Nothing wrong in supporting a spouse/partner in a great opportunity.

some of them said that potential employers might think that I value family way more than my career

Good, your family and partner matter more than a job, you can make your career just as well in a new locale.

a lot of couples live in different cities because of work

I did this to earn money for a big international relocation for me, my wife and kids, it's really hard, especially when something goes inevitably wrong and adds to the strain of being away. I would never do it again, even though it worked out in the end.

No reasonable employer would see your reasons as bad. Some may worry if your spouse lost his job you'd both go back leaving the new job, but that really isn't a valid fear, so take heart and be honest.

  • 4
    "[...] employers might think I value family way more than my career." As well you should. Personally, I believe your job should support your life, but more often we're finding that employers believe your life should support your job. It's a sickening environment to live in. I turned down a 6 figure job because they expected 24/7 on-call, and to never be more than 2 hours away from the office even during vacation days. Thanks, but no thanks. – jparnell8839 Aug 9 at 16:30
37

Would it be okay to just honestly answer that I like my job, but I have to relocate because of my husband's new job?

Answering honestly is virtually always the correct course of action.

Even more so in this case - the reason is perfectly reasonable. Many (including me) would say that relocating due to family is the best reason of all for finding a new job. Why lie?

I asked my friends for an advice, and some of them said that potential employers might think that I value family way more than my career.

Sorry. Your friends are confused.

  • 16
    I think those friends could be correct in thinking some employers might think that. However, those employers might be mis-interpreted as being people you want to work for ;) (I know I wouldn't) – rkeet Aug 8 at 6:40
  • 1
    So simple. So correct. – FreeMan Aug 9 at 16:13
  • Definitely. Prioritizing career over family just doesn't make sense - at least to me. – earlyriser01 Aug 9 at 20:03
21

Just another thought: do you absolutely have to find a new job?

I used to work for a software company. One guy had to move to a different country for exactly the same reason as yours. And the company was happy to let him work from home in another country.

This may depends on the nature of your work. But with today's technology, it's possible that your current employer actually doesn't mind if you have to work from home most of the time.

And doesn't hurt to just ask, right?

  • 1
    +1 my thinking exactly. If a company values you and would like to keep you as an employee, they might be willing to accept this or even propose it themselves. – TheRealOha Aug 8 at 7:57
  • 2
    It is an option, but I'm not sure if the company would be willing to do it for me. And asking would mean letting them know that I'm going to leave soon. – alphahydrae Aug 8 at 11:49
  • 1
    @alphahydrae "asking would mean letting them know that I'm going to leave soon", but that's the case isn't it? so just tell them – Ivo Beckers Aug 8 at 11:52
  • 2
    Why not interview, and once you get an offer you want say you want a couple of days to consider. Then talk to your company. – Bee Aug 8 at 15:09
  • 2
    This assumes they want to. Working from home is not for everyone- I found it was my least productive period of my life, and was a source of high levels of depression. Although it can be used to move then job search (which is always easier). – Gabe Sechan Aug 8 at 15:21
7

Be honest: You want an employer who is understanding of you having family.

Also, this can be seen as upside: You're loyal and dependable. Be prepared to convince the potential employer that your husband will stay in this city, which in turn makes you stay, which then increases the chances that you stay with the company for a long long time.

3

I would be honest and forthright, as many as have said. What I haven't seen though is the potential upsides of letting them know the truth: They may have connections or networking opportunities at the new area to help you pick up a job faster.

Everyone is connected nowadays, and the more notice (I'm willing to be disagreed with here) you give and the reason why may suggest to your coworkers/boss/HR to use some of those contacts to help you land. I certainly would if someone approached me that way- and if it were possible to do telework I'd find out quickly if that could be supported.

Don't overlook those networking opportunities that your current employer can provide you- especially if it's a relocation based on family.

3

Employers will think that you value living with your husband more than your loyalty to a company. And that is perfectly fine. It's what I would expect of any person (who isn't close to a divorce). Put it the other way around. If you just told your manager that your husband has to move far away for a new job, what does that manager do? First thing he will ask: "You will move with him, right? "

Had a colleague, working near London, and he went on holiday and found a very nice girl who lived in Scotland. He moved to Scotland, and obviously quit his job. Nobody thought any less of him. Everybody including the manager congratulated him and wished him all the best.

As far as "your career" is concerned: It is easiest to get higher salary and better position by moving into a new job, instead of hoping to get a raise and/or promotion.

And couple living in different cities? What are you married for then? Pay for two homes, only see each other on the weekend? That's something you would only do in an absolute emergency, and fix it as soon as possible - or if you can't stand your spouse, which happens sometimes.

  • I work 80km (50 miles) from my home - so we only see each other at the weekend. It seems to be working fine (three years so far). It helps that #1 son is an adult that doesn't live at home (or even in the same state). – Martin Bonner Aug 9 at 14:31
1

You definitely should. The excuse is perfectly reasonable, and they may be able to help in ways unexpected. Such as

  • we can make your job telecommutable, or move you into a role that is
  • we have a branch in that city / ready to open one
  • we know people in companies there who would love to have you. Can we recommend you?
0

When I'm recruiting, it's a red flag for me if the applicant is currently living or working a long way from the role's office location. Early in the recruitment process I'll be asking about location and what the applicant's plan are.

"Bad" answers might be:

  • I could work from home and come into the office occasionally. (If I wanted a remote worker, that would have been in the advert.)
  • I plan to commute the 3 hours each way every day. (That's going to be very tiring for you. Are you going to have energy left for work, and will you stick around if another job come up nearer to your home)

You've given a perfectly understandable reason that you want to move home, and that necessitates moving job at the same time. My remaining concern would be being dependent on your husband's move - what happens if it is delayed or cancelled? That could me I don't get my new starter on the date I hoped, and I may even need to start recruiting again. You can reassure me by telling me how committed you are to the move (e.g. husband has already started the new role and is living in a hotel, you've found a new school for the kids, you've put a deposit down on new accommodation). I'd only bring that up in the interview if asked about location though.

0

As an addition to the other answers:

Are salary negotiations an important factor? One motivation looking for a new job is career progression. In that sense, "I'm looking for new opportunities" will translate into "You can hire me if you offer me a better salary.", while "I am moving because of my husband" translates into "I am happy to get the same salary as now".

protected by mcknz Aug 24 at 17:49

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.