Dec 08

The 4 Big Questions- Location

  1. Do you know what location you want to live in?

Determining a location is quite difficult because there are tradeoffs to what decision you make.  If you decide to be geographically mobile, it will be easier to find a job, but you could end up far away from where you really want to be.  If you limit yourself to a particular city, you could be looking for a job for years.

Not only was I in the Army, but I was a Navy brat, so I’ve always moved around.  When it came time to get out, my wife and I talked about location a bit. I knew that if I was open geographically to living and working anywhere, that my chances for getting a job where much better.  So I think I talked my wife into agreeing to live anywhere.

It only took 12 months in Ottumwa, Iowa, a town of 30,000 people in the middle of nowhere with blazing hot summers and -50 degree windchills in the winter, for my wife to change that tune.  Living anywhere no longer became acceptable.  Living 90 minutes from the nearest airport was also unacceptable.  We found out we’re city folk, and we like malls and shops and eating out and being near a big airport.  So we have now agreed that we will retire in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona.  In the meantime, we will try to get there.

If we had been honest with each other in the beginning, and if we hadn’t been scared into accepting the first job offer we got, I don’t think we would have ended up in Iowa.  We were effectively scared by the command staff as I was getting out, and I knew that my best chances of finding a job were if I was ok with living anywhere geographically.  So I made the decision to accept pretty much any geographical location if the job paid well.

So this is an area where you need to consider a tradeoff.  If you limit yourself geographically, you’re going to lose out on a lot of job opportunities.  So consider this carefully and understand that you might be looking for a job for a long time if you are unwilling to move from your current city.  If it is really important for you to be close to home, but you also need a job in a hurry, consider a larger geographical area like the Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, Northeast.  You might want to be near family in Florida, consider whether Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, etc. are all options.

If I had started by focusing my search in the Southwest, we would have had many opportunities, and at the same time been closer to home and that would have probably been a better tradeoff. This is not an easy decision, and if you are firm that you refuse to move, understand that I’m not exaggerating when I say it could be years before you find a job.

I’m glad things have turned out the way they have, however.  We made the best out of that location, and we met some awesome people.  Plus I got a job with a really awesome company, and if I hadn’t considered the Midwest, Deere would definitely not have been on my list.



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