May 29, 2013

Moving Without a Job: Good Idea or Totally Stupid?

I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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For the past couple of months, I’ve been letting everyone I know that my HB and I have plans to move from Vancouver to Toronto this July, and I can’t tell you how many people have asked me “Do you have a job lined up there?” No, I do not. But the more people keep asking me, the more I wonder — am I a complete idiot for moving without a job waiting for me?

It’s not that I haven’t started looking for a job, because I have. The thing is because I’ll either be in California or Vancouver for the month of June, applying for jobs in Toronto is a bit tricky. Lots of the postings I’ve seen want someone to start right away.

Not only that, I can’t help but think that employers might just disregard my application when they see that I’m still technically living in Vancouver, even if I’m a good fit for the position. Although I think I’m totally worth the wait, I do recognize that when openings pop up, it’s usually because someone just gave two weeks’ notice and that position needs to be filled ASAP.

After watching this TED Talks video that Bridget shared in her post about how to waste your twenties, I realized that in order to avoid being unemployed for longer than I want (or can afford) I need to do things a bit differently this time around. You might remember my post from last year about how I was unemployed for 8 months after graduating from university.

As far as work experience went, I had a good 5 years in the sales and customer service industry and I naively believed that would give me a leg up on all those other graduates who hadn’t worked a day in their life and had their parents pay their tuition. Unfortunately, being a cashier for 5 years didn’t mean much to all of the office jobs I applied to.

Despite applying to hundreds of job openings, in 8 months I only got 3 interviews. 3!!! Not only that, they were all for receptionist positions. In the end, one of those interviews helped me land my current job as a sales and marketing coordinator, but I do not want to go through that again.

This time I have 3 and a half years of experience in sales and marketing, I’m older, more confident in my skill set, and much wiser, so hopefully finding a job won’t be as much of a struggle. The one piece of advice that was mentioned in the TED Talk video that I’m definitely going to implement is to not rely solely on online job boards. Most jobs are never listed online and you can only find out about them through word of mouth. This time I’m spreading the word to everyone I know, and have contacted some people I know in town about any possible opportunities in Toronto.

Another thing I’m going to make sure to do is to follow up. At my job, I learned quickly that if you didn’t follow up, things just wouldn’t happen. I’m a pro-follow-uper so I’m definitely going to follow up and risk annoying potential employers because you never know, that one extra email or phone call might just be what makes me stand out.

So for anyone wondering if I’m crazy for moving without a job, the answer may still end up being “Yes”. I’ll let you know after a year. But as far as my finances go, I’ve been saving up a good chunk of change to last me for a long time, so I am extremely prepared to be jobless in Toronto for an uncertain amount of time.

I’m also open to getting a part-time job or being a temp to pay the bills while I’m applying for full-time work too. I’ll also probably ramp up my freelance writing work as well. And if all else fails, my HB and I can always move back home and live with my parents (let’s just hope plan A pans out though!).

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  1. I wouldn’t feel comfortable moving to a new city without a job. I’ve always got to have my next thing lined up or I get antsy.

  2. Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    I would be scared to do it! But, I’m sure you’ll find something. Does your husband have a job lined up?

  3. Michelle says:

    I don’t think it’s stupid. You obviously have experience. And you are probably right that if your resume has a different city listed, and since you’ll be busy in June, that employers might not take your application 100% seriously.

  4. Anne @ Unique Gifter says:

    We considered doing that last year…. I’m scared to be unemployed again though, because my resume is looking patchy after a rough 2008 start to life!
    I’m sending you an email on networking in Toronto now.

  5. Jordann says:

    I think I would still apply even before I moved to the city, because it can’t hurt right? The worst that could happen is that you won’t get contacted for an interview, but there’s always the off chance that an employer is willing to wait.

    It sounds like you are secure financially though, which means that you can probably afford to take your time with your job hunt. That shows great planning and I’m sure you’ll find employment long before your funds run out.

  6. I’ve been applying to jobs outside of LA but I agree it’s hard in that a lot of employers are looking for someone who is already there. Unless you have a very good contact, or a very specific skill set, it’s hard to do unless you’re there. I don’t blame you for being nervous though. I know I would be! Is HB also in the same boat?

  7. snarkfinance says:

    I feel that these days it isn’t impossible to have a few things lined up prior to actually making the move–linkedin and a perhaps a flight or two can work magic. Good luck, I am sure all will be fine.

  8. eemusings (NZMuse) says:

    I guess it depends on your priorities really. If my work hadn’t allowed me leave, we would most likely have moved to a new city for a bit after our trip for a different experience (and would have done the same – started looking for work in that last month, but not being in that city already can be a disadvantage as you point out). Sounds like you’re tackling it the best way you can.

  9. Emily @ evolvingPF says:

    I’ve never moved without a job but I don’t think it’s crazy. Networking is a lot easier to do locally, and like you said many current openings will be filled before you move. As long as you are doing as much remote networking as you can I think it’s OK to make the leap.

  10. Vanessa says:

    When I was planning to move to Edmonton in January, I began applying for jobs in the beginning of December and was getting callbacks all the way through to February (and maybe beyond, I left for Europe and don’t know if anyone called afterwards). The thing with jobs is that, even if you apply the same day that the posting closes, chances are you won’t get a call for a couple of weeks.

    This time around I’ve been applying for jobs in Alberta for the past few weeks and haven’t gotten any responses yet. I’m not nervous though because, even though I leave next week, I know that I can get a job *like that* — even if it’s not in my field.

    I think that a lot of people get nervous and are afraid to change cities but really, minimum wage in Canada is SO high that, if you aren’t picky about where you live, you can get a cheap apartment for the first few weeks/months until you’re settled and be quite alright financially.

    Maybe I have this outlook because I worked in immigration for so long… There are people who come here and work crummy jobs (sometimes only initially though) so that they can realize their dreams and yet there are *how many Canadians* who are afraid to do the same thing by moving to another city even though it’s significantly easier for us?

    This comment is a bit rambley and I apologize but I’m just so sick of hearing people make excuses to not move or follow their dreams and make me feel like an idiot for moving without a job that when I read this post I had to get it all out! You aren’t alone and you definitely aren’t crazy!! 😀

  11. The Norwegian Girl says:

    I guess as long as you have savings to live on for some time, and you´re open for part time, until you find THE job, I don´t think it´s a bad idea. Because now you have time to look around and check out the possibilities in Toronto, and gain a network!

  12. Michelle says:

    I think that you are well-equiped to handle the challenge of moving without a job. You’ve assessed your situation, have saved up money, and most importantly-will work a part-time job as you search for the full-time job. This might not be a comfortable approach for everyone. However, you have a good support system and a game plane. Kick Butt! Enjoy the adventure.

  13. Mackenzie says:

    Life is an adventure and you guys are young enough that if this plan doesn’t work out, you make a new one! 🙂

  14. Christine Weadick says:

    Hubby and I were living in NS when we got married back when, he’d been transferred there. After the wedding he quit, we packed up and came back to ON. The only question was where to land. His family was in St Catharines, which was a depressed area for jobs even then or the Stratford area where my family was and the job situation was better. We went to Stratford and visited his folks a lot the first few months. He got a job fairly quickly, I took longer but he was laid off a little before our 1st anniversary. He got another jobs on afternoons after about a month…. we’ve been good for the most part, 3 kids, one grandson and he was at the second place for a lot of years…..

  15. Nick @ says:

    You are in the time of your life that is perfect to do fun stuff like that! Go for it!

  16. Catherine says:

    I think now is the time in your life to figure this stuff out. I bet you do great and find a job fast because though you had failures in the past, you learned from them and have a better idea what employers are looking for. You have the confidence to walk into the interview and tell them they’ve found what they’re looking for.

  17. Bridget says:

    Yay! Sounds exciting =) Good luck girl. It’s good that you have ample savings to take care of you while you job hunt, I think that relieves most of the anxiety. I vote good idea. Thanks for the shout out!

  18. natalie says:

    How did your move turn out?

    • Well, it’s been almost 2 years since I moved to Toronto, and I’ve got to say it turned out great. The first year was hard, let me tell you. But year 2 has been great. I finally have a job I really like, my HB’s business has grown, and we’ve got a good network of friends now.

  19. CB says:

    I’m in the same boat and definitely nervous so I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  20. Annie says:

    Hi! I am doing research before deciding to move to Toronto and stumbled upon your page. I currently live in SK and have a job but I want to make the move to Toronto and don’t have a job lined up. I’ve sent in some job applications but no luck yet.

    Your story is great and I hope that I can be as successful as you are. I’m 25 this year and only have 2 years working experience. I have some savings and I understand that the competition there is fierce.

    I’m moving to be closer to someone I’m dating but I’m basically making the move alone and don’t expect my partner to support me financially at this point. I guess I’m wondering if you think it’s a good idea. I won’t die right?



    • I’d definitely suggest have a good chunk of change saved up. We spent I think $10,000 on moving costs, setting up a new home, and living without an income. Also, don’t expect it to be easy and hustle! We both hustled like crazy trying to meet people, find work, etc… It definitely help us speed along the process of making friends and finding jobs, and we continue to hustle and our careers have grown more than we thought they ever could if we stayed back home. Lastly, listen to your gut and if you move to Toronto and realize it’s not for you, don’t look at it as a failure. It’s a huge deal to pick up and move cities (and provinces), so no matter how long you end up staying in Toronto, you’ll learn a lot and grow personally more than you’d ever thought you could.

      Also one more thing, I did actually record a podcast episode about my experience, so you may want to check it out :

  21. Bob says:

    Im old school and i grewup in a mafia neighborhood. I learned if you have a desire to change your life then you cannot have a plan B. You have to put yourself out there- go in the pot the full 100%- only then will you make it work. Once you put it all on the line win or lose- will you make it workout. Youll be happy in the end with the results, inspite of other’s opinions.

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