Would You Take $10,000 to Move to a Lower Cost-of-Living Area?

Zapier is offering $10K to new hires who are willing to move out of the Bay Area—and where they move doesn’t matter.

Photo credit: David Goehring, CC BY 2.0.

Workflow automation company Zapier recently put up a job ad inviting people in the Bay Area to apply for positions on their remote team. If they get hired, Zapier will give them $10,000 to move to an area with a lower cost of living.

De-Location Package: Keep Your Career and Live Beyond the Bay Area

So if you’re living in the Bay Area but thinking about making a change that will improve your family’s standard of living, we’re eager to help. Zapier will provide up to $10,000 to help relocate you and your family to your new home outside the Bay Area.

If you’ve been thinking about making a move, apply to any of the open roles. We’ll go through the hiring process together and if it seems like you like Zapier and you’ve demonstrated the necessary skills for us to make an offer, we’ll help set you up with the relocation package as part of it.

I have two big questions about this job ad. First: why (just) the Bay Area? If I applied for a remote job at Zapier, shouldn’t I also get $10,000 to move out of Seattle? We’ve got a pretty high cost of living too! What about people who want to work remotely and already live in small towns?

Zapier answers this in the fine print at the bottom of the ad:

Right now we’re limiting to this to folks wanting to make the move away from the Bay Area. We know other cities are expensive to live in too, but this is an experiment for us so we want to see how it goes before expanding the program.

So okay, I get it. If it goes well, they’ll start paying the rest of us to “de-locate” too.

My other question is whether the salaries for these remote positions are structured to meet the needs of people who live in lower cost-of-living areas. That is: has Zapier figured out that it can save on payroll and find a group of people who are happy to take the $10K and get out of the Bay Area? Is it a win-win in that sense?

If you saw a job listing like this, tailored to your area of expertise and your location, would you apply? Would you take the $10K and move to a smaller city or town?

I’m not sure I would. Last year I wrote about wanting to put down roots in Seattle, and… I kinda have. Tiny roots, but enough that I don’t want to start over. It’s been years since I’ve had roots anywhere that wasn’t the internet.

The Zapier job ad alludes to the idea that they’re looking for people who don’t have deep roots in the Bay Area, although they frame it as a money problem:

Some of us fall in love with the area and are financially able to make this home. But for the rest of us, it can be a real challenge to turn the Bay Area into a life-long home rather than a short stop somewhere in our twenties and thirties.

Which, you know, “do you need a certain amount of money to put down roots in a community” is a good question. On the one hand, of course not. On the other hand, going to community events costs money, and living near the community you want to participate in costs money, and the people who show up consistently are the ones that build the strongest roots, so you need to be able to do that.

But back to the job ad. Would you take a remote job if it came with the condition that you move somewhere else? Would you be so excited about the opportunity that you’d drop everything to apply?

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