Moving for a job opens up an incredible amount of new doors for you. New friends, colleagues, an entirely new career journey; so many opportunities for those seeking their first step in their career or a new challenge for them to tackle. I have moved for a lot of jobs. Over the past five years, I have lived (for at least 3 months or more) in five states, worked at six institutions, all while only being in my third year of professional student affairs work (I am counting undergrad and grad school years.) That seems like a lot, right? I think so too.
In all of those positions, I want to share with you one of the toughest lessons I have learned about moving for a job. Hopefully my experiences get you thinking about your own so that if/when you leave you can be prepared for the inevitable; I wish I would have known this before I moved. The toughest part of moving for a job was leaving behind bits of who I am wherever I have been and trying to piece them back together.
Maine: The Way Life Should Be. Vacationland. Home. This is the toughest one for me as this is frankly where I have left the most of myself and have been playing catch up bringing myself back together these past five years. All of my family live here, the majority of my close friends still live here, two of my three banks are here as well. As the only member of my family who has left the state I am always catching up to family events, my niece/nephew, friends getting together, and my own folks sharing fun things that they wish I could have been present for. I know I will never truly return and will never fully catch up.
Massachusetts: Grad school. Here I left some of the lowest and happiest points in my life. Nothing life threatening so no concerns about that, but to think back on the confidence and aspirations I had all dashed away within an academic year. Remember now, I did say some of the happiest points also occurred here. I am fine leaving the negativity and toxic atmosphere because within those same state borders came a renewed confidence, my first offer to be gainfully employed, and a handful of close-knit, dear friends who remain to this day.
Indiana: Hoosiers and AUCHO-I. What a magical place Indiana is! The three months I spent here as an ACUHO-I intern were some of the best between my graduate years. The people I met were genuinely excited to get to know me, inspire, and challenge me. We still send holiday cards to each other. I watched classic movies, rounded out my pop culture references, and found one of my dearest mentors.
Connecticut: Still Revolutionary. The Nutmeg State. It became home. I had people here. I was confident, knowledgeable, and respected in my work. I had been given opportunities, worked hard, made mistakes, and been challenged by the work I was doing with great colleagues at an institution I was proud of. Then, you know what? I started to see opportunities elsewhere. I started to look beyond to what I could accomplish next, where could I go and make an impact, and what challenges could I simply not pass up. I left a position I was comfy in. I left a great group of students and colleagues. I left a place who had taken a chance on me and hopefully felt it was worth it.
New Hampshire: Live Free or Die. Simply put, I am looking to leave behind the best parts of who I am, where I have come from, and what I have done before. Who knows, maybe I will not even leave? After a journey like my own, that could be nice.
This post is part of our month-long series #SAmobile, a look at the stories of SA pros who picked up and moved for their career. This series is about the struggles, the successes, the hurdles, and the emotions involved in such a life changing decision. For more information, see the intro post by Juhi Bhatt. Check out other posts in this series too!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Danny Malave on New Professional Retrospective on the Job Search