Ask Jocelyn: Where Should I Stay If I’m Relocating for Work and I Don’t Know Anybody in the New City?


In today’s column, we tackle a question about relocating for a job and a bonus question about naming an adorable kitten. It’s all in a day’s work for Ask Jocelyn, career advice columnist.

Q: Help! I’m relocating to San Francisco for work. I don’t have a place to live yet, I don’t know anybody who lives there, and I’ve checked – I don’t have a single relative who lives in the area. Am I going to be living out of my car or what? – Nervous in Nebraska

A: Well, Ms. Nervous, a lot of people are actually doing what you suggest; they’re living in their cars, at least temporarily. So before we completely write that off as an option for you, let’s look at the specifics:

Isn’t a car pretty cramped? Yes, that’s true. A minivan would give you more space for sleeping and hanging out (while still offering you the stealth qualities of a vehicle that doesn’t look like a beachmobile). But some cars, such as the Toyota Prius and the Tesla, work really great for people who want to live out of them. The reason is that they have amazing temperature control capabilities, and they’ll turn themselves on (a quiet process) as needed throughout the night while you sleep in order to power the air conditioner or heater.

Where would you shower and go to the bathroom? If you’re relocating to San Francisco, there are plenty of places to use the toilet, including your work. Most people who sleep in their cars pay for a gym membership so they can shower any time they want. Will you just hang out in your car all evening until it’s time to go to sleep? Well, some people park their car in the parking lot of a business that has public wi-fi and watch TV on their device for a few hours before driving to where they’re going to sleep for the evening. If that sounds lame, you don’t have to do that. You can hang out in coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, parks, and other places people congregate. 

If living in your car is something you’re really interested in, do some research on YouTube. There’s lots of information to be found there. However, that’s probably not what you were hoping Ask Jocelyn would say. And I’m not sure I would even recommend living out of your car; I just want you to know that there are options. But let’s talk about options that include things like a front door, a mailbox, a bed, a bathroom, and a kitchen.

If I were relocating to a city where I didn’t have any close friends or relatives that I could crash with while I looked for an apartment, I would check out a website called Zeus and find business housing to rent for a month or so. They operate out of various large cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, to name a few. 

Also, it doesn’t hurt to check with your inbound human resources department. If the company you’ll be working for handles any amount of relocating employees, they might have a temporary lodging program in place. Barring that, they might be able to provide you with a list of recommendations for lodging options that are inside the budget of the salary they’re going to pay you.

Q: My boyfriend gave me a new kitten for my birthday. What should I name her? – Overjoyed in Orlando

A: What a fun gift! Since you said this kitten is a “her,” I guess naming her after your boyfriend would be awkward. In all seriousness, I named my cat Miso because I love Japanese food. You should name your cat anything that makes you happy!


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