Career advancement often requires a willingness to make difficult choices that affect families. For many, this can mean relocating to an entirely new city. While remote work offers some flexibility for employees, I generally believe that you have to live in the community where you work to be fully successful in the office and at home. 

Sure, commuting for some time while a child finishes the school year or the last year of high school is logical. However, it is hard to be alone during the work week and a completely engaged part of a family just on weekends. This means that relocation is often necessary—a decision that requires careful consideration and honest conversations with families.

Many families have laid down roots in their communities and are reluctant to leave. For some executives, the most natural middle ground is to commute to their workplace, even if doing so requires air or rail travel. Practically speaking, this trades the immediate impact of relocation for the strain of a longer commute and more time away from a family. 

That’s not to say that relocating is without its downsides. Family resistance to a move is cited by almost 60% of respondents in the 2015 Worldwide ERC US Transfer Volume and Cost Survey as a reason to be reluctant about relocation. And if a family isn’t taken into account when making a decision, it can be hard on a spouse and the kids.

But if an executive knows that a career move to a new city has substantial upside and the family is perhaps reluctant but agreeable, relocation is likely to maximize job performance and family happiness. The first 90 days are the most critical when acclimating to a new job, school and surroundings. Savvy companies should accommodate a smooth transition by providing resources for transferred executives, including helping with schools and making introductions in the new community.  

Jonathan F. Foster
Founder & Managing Director – Current Capital Partners LLC