Location: Moving, Finding a Job, and Which to Do First

Here, we’ll discuss two approaches to the location-based job search.

Screen shot 2013-06-25 at 10.48.02 PMA little while ago, I wrote about Location vs. Vocation. For this post, let’s say you’re a recent college graduate who aligns with the “Location” camp, which is to say, where you end up matters more than what you end up doing.

There are two approaches you can take here. You can move first and find a job later or you can find a job where you want to be and move then. Both approaches have their upsides and both approaches have their requirements and relative risks too. Here’s how I see it:

1. Move first, find a job later

What you get: the most important thing you get here is the address. It’s easier to get hired if you’re right around the corner, ready to start at a moment’s notice. You can come in for the interview right away, nobody needs to wait for you to move halfway across the country, you won’t be expecting a relocation package, etc., etc.

But that isn’t it. You also get to distribute your stress more evenly. Starting a new job is tough and moving is tough. That means doing them both at the same time is double-tough. Moving first means getting your feet planted.

What you need: quite simply, you need money. Maybe you saved up or maybe you’re parents are willing to help you out one last time. It doesn’t matter; the point is, you’re going somewhere without an income, so you’ll need some sort of nest egg if you want to eat and pay rent.

You also need determination. However much money you have set aside is going to run out eventually, so you can’t slack off in your job search or else your move might to turn out to be nothing more than an extended vacation. Basically, you need to make finding a job your full-time job. Are you ready to do that?

2. Find a job there first, then move

What you get: Time. Time! TIME! Let’s say you’re living at home, maybe working part-time to earn a little bit of money here and there. There’s no looming deadline; when you find something, you’ll pack and say bye to mom and dad, but what’s the rush? Since you don’t have to settle for something just to make rent, you’re more likely to hit both targets: living in a cool place AND having a cool job.

What you need: Patience, and TONS of it, especially if you move back home. To finish college, a big accomplishment, and then immediately go back to where you grew up can feel like a step back. It’s easy to underestimate just how defeating this can be when you’re still in school; you get so busy and so sleep-deprived that moving home might even seem relaxing, but more likely, it’ll start to feel claustrophobic.

But even if you’re not going back to mom and dad’s, even if you’re just living around where you went to school with a job on campus, it can still be tough. It’s a mental thing; finishing college is supposed to be a step forward, or at least, that’s what you expect. Because of this, staying put doesn’t feel like staying put. It feels like regression.

None of this is to say it’s impossible to move back home or stay near campus, but it’s hard, especially if you’re not mentally prepared.

That’s how I see the two approaches breaking down. What do you think? Did I miss anything? Which approach do you see yourself taking? Or are you too much of a Vocation person to say? Let us know in the comments!

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