Stumbling Blocks: Location

There are a couple of different ways that “location” can be a stumbling block to success in starting your career. The first possibility is that you don’t have any choice about where you’re going to live and work. There are a lot of legitimate reasons why that can be an unavoidable situation. Perhaps you need (or want) to stay near family; perhaps you have a partner who found a job in a particular city (or is still in school in a particular city); perhaps you have so much debt that you can’t afford to move away from home yet. If those, or other issues, keep you from moving away, this will limit your options, and it may mean that you have to work a lot harder to find that first good job. . .and, even with hard work, that may take a lot longer.

On the other hand, perhaps you are a bit overwhelmed by options. If you have no particular reason to live in a specific area, how do you decide where you want to live? There are a lot of factors that can, and should, influence your decision to look for (or accept) a job in a city that is unfamiliar to you, but fortunately there are a lot of tools available which can help you figure it out. In my book, Tip 8: Think carefully about where you want to live and work poses questions that will help you narrow your scope and make reasonable decisions about where to look for work. Tip 9: Consider the cost of living in any potential geographical area provides descriptions of, and links to, some tools that can help you calculate the salary you would need to earn to live in various places.

But there are other tools available to you as well that can help you think about other pertinent factors besides the economic ones. All you need to do is think about what is important to you, and then ask Google where you can find that important thing. Here are a few sample searches that I just tried:

The question: “What cities have good public transportation?”
The response: Articles describing the top 10, 20, and 25 cities (and some of the worst) for public transportation.

The question: “What cities are best for singles?”
The response: Articles listing the best cities for single men, single women, or just singles in general. You could easily narrow the search by just asking about single men, or single Asian women, or single gay men, or whatever category you may be in and want to identify with.

You can do the same type of search for whatever it is that interests you: live music, surfing, art museums, downhill skiing, professional (or college) sporting events, public parks, ethnic restaurants, fresh water fishing—whatever it is, you can get information, and fairly quickly a picture will emerge that will help you narrow down your choices so that you’re not exhausting yourself by trying to apply for jobs everywhere!

So, if you have the freedom to choose where you will live and work, don’t let that freedom bog you down. Do your research, use a process of elimination, make some logical choices, and get started!