Nearly 3,000 miles separate New York and San Francisco, but today it seems like people are considering moves that are nearly as far in order to move their careers forward. Does doing so make the most sense for you? It depends what you want.
If you are moving across the country early in your career, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind and not all of them are work-related. If you’ve never lived more than 200 miles from home, you’ll need to keep in mind that Skype, emails and phone calls are no substitute for seeing friends and family. Those who went out of state for school may find it an easier task.
On the other hand, as fine arts majors can tell you, living in Kentucky is not going to provide the same prospects for a theatrical career that New York, Los Angeles or even Atlanta would. The best move for your career will put you in a location that offers the greatest number of job opportunities without making a new move. For early management careers, an unlikely pick might be New Orleans or Orlando, two cities that have poured millions into attracting start ups and entrepreneurs. The Front Range of Colorado and San Diego are likewise good places to park it if you’re interested in green technologies.
Before you take that new job offer, or pack a duffel bag to crash on a friend’s couch, take a moment and consider how it will look to an employer. Did you leave your job soon after taking it? Are you a “job-hopper”? These questions are less worrisome than they would have been two decades ago, but employers still want to know that you’ll commit to them for longer than a year or two.
If you feel stifled wherever you’re at, narrow down what parts of life are the issue. If it’s the region, then moving is worthwhile, as is wanting to make new social connections for those living in rural areas. If work doesn’t seem challenging, and you know that opportunities historically don’t show up much, pack your bags.
Weigh those needs against the costs, monetary and emotional, of moving. If you need a brief break, consider doing freelance or volunteer work in a field closer to your interests. Or plan weekend trips to nearby locales that pique your interest. Moving can be the best fit, but not if you wanted a vacation and realized you have a B.A. from NYU and just woke up in Palo Alto, hoping for a job.