When I was asked to review Smart Moves, I viewed it as just another task to add to my list of "things to do." However, this book became much more than just another piece of reading material to me; for whatever reason, this book has completely touched me, possibly because my family has relocated a number of times, conceivably because I am a licensed real estate agent, or maybe because my life revolves around relocation.
I find myself re-reading it for the insight I find in every chapter. Many books on the subject of relocation will tell you what may go wrong during the relocation process, but very few tell you what you can do to solve the problems. If they do offer solutions, they tend not to be drawn from experience in solving relocation problems.
This book is written clearly and succinctly. The cartoons at the start of every chapter, and the exercises at the conclusion help involve the reader in the solution of the relocation dilemmas introduced by the authors.
In the introduction you read, "this may be your initial move or one of many. Yet each move is a "first" since you're at a different age and a different life phase than before." Sometimes transferees will say, "This is not a big deal, I have moved before." Then, all of a sudden, we, as relocation professionals, find that the transferee is having more difficulties than he or she expected. We need to understand that each move is a move strictly "in and of" itself.
Additionally, the book stresses the support that parents can give to their children. Parents should not be afraid to be honest with their children and say, " I never moved as a kid, and I'm new at being new, too." Parents have been taught to hide their fears from their children, but, advise the authors, letting children know their parents are going through the same transitions as they are is a great start for everyone to begin feeling acclimated in their new environment.
With every chapter I read, I found myself saying, "This is great; this is real." Smart moves addresses most of the problems experienced by transferees and uses anecdotes about the experiences of real people to give the reader wonderful hints for a successful move.
"A move can be really high stress even when you want it," declared Nina, a recent mover. Transferees do not anticipate the stress, so their reactions are confusing and frightening. the authors go on to point out that people expect to feel good about their move, and if they do not, they think something must be wrong with them. The authors explain that these feelings are normal, even common.
Smart Moves sets aside an entire chapter for a discussion of losses. "Whether people move reluctantly and fearfully or hopefully and joyfully, they ususally expect to be making gains. Yet, every entrance involves an exit. Every gain involves a loss. Whether felt before you move, immediately after, or months later, grief and anxiety are almost inevitable in response to the myriad losses that a move entails." The authors do not want to stress the negative aspects of a move, but they do not want to hide them either. This book helps the reader learn what his or her feelings about the move really mean and how to move beyond the losses. By reading about some of the emotional upheavals discussed in this book, transferees can see that grief is a common feeling and nothing to be ashamed of.
I recommend this book not only to families relocating or even thinking of relocating, but also to all relocation professionals. Relocation professionals constantly talk about the emotions transferring families experience throughout the move, but we need to go one step further and learn what they really are going through. Many relocation professionals reading this article will never have the opportunity to move for a job, but Smart Moves allows you to participate in the upheavals of relocation.
If you read only one book on the essentials of what transferees experience, I highly recommend that this be the book. I hope this book will have as much of an impact on you as it has had on me.
Mobility Magazine Nov. '96
published by the Employee Relocation Council, 1720 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036: