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Should You Move For A Job?

The New York Times has called us “The Go-Nowhere Generation.”

The reason?

Lots of us are choosing not to venture far from home.

We’re not crossing state lines to find work—even when there are few jobs at home. We came of age at the dawn of a recession and, as a result, we’re playing it safe.

For about $200, young Nevadans who face a statewide 13 percent jobless rate can hop a Greyhound bus to North Dakota, where they’ll find a welcome sign and a 3.3 percent rate. Why are young people not crossing borders? “This generation is going through an economic reset,” said John Della Volpe, who directs polling at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, which surveys thousands of young people each year. He reports that young people want to stay more connected with their hometowns: “I spoke with a kid from Columbus, Ohio, who dreamed of being a high school teacher. When he found out he’d have to move to Arizona or the Sunbelt, he took a job in a Columbus tire factory.”

The authors of this article portray this as a bad thing. It’s more proof that Generation Y is defeatist, apathetic, and lazy.

“Not so,” readers retorted. Twentysomething New Yorker writer and cartoonist Tom Toro took aim at the outdated American values driving the assumption that we should blindly follow the best economies and fastest paying jobs.

…many commentators are hurrying to re-establish the status quo instead of using this as an opportunity to reimagine an American society where material possessions don’t define prosperity, and where success is determined not by one’s bank statement but by one’s contentedness.

So should you move for a job? What about for better job prospects

In reality, moving is riskier than buying a $200 bus ticket, especially when you move away from friends, family, and familiar geography. I understand this well.

My Move to Manhattan (And Back)

I walked out of college with over $40,000 of debt. Some of it student loans and some of it credit card debt that I racked up (and would later add to). Those bills had to be paid; I needed a job. Fortunately, although we were in the midst of the post-9/11 economic downturn, I had a job offer at SmartMoney magazine where I had previously interned.

Problem was, that job was in New York City—hours from where I grew up and went to school. Hours from my friends. Hours from my girlfriend, Lauren.

But excited by the job and very much needing the money, I moved to New York.

A year later, missing Lauren and unable to live below my means on a journalist’s salary in Manhattan, I moved back home.

I don’t regret going to New York—the job and the year living there were a great experience. But I also don’t regret coming back. I liked New York and my job. But I hated New York alone.

Choosing Location Over Career

Since then, Lauren (who is now my wife) and I have juggled careers, grad school, and geography, but not always gracefully. For dual-career couples, the decision to move for a job is more complex. When one partner receives an opportunity somewhere else, either one partner must sacrifice their career or the couple faces a long-distance commute or, in some cases, separation. 

We experienced all three. We commuted. We broke up for a while when she moved away for law school. Later, just before getting married, I left my job to join her in Maine where she landed a new career. This was made easier by the fact we wanted to live in Maine for the quality of life and by my preexisting entrepreneurial aspirations. 

And this is why I think it can be good to move where you want to live, then look for a job. This works as long as you value contentedness and quality of life over a specific career path or highest possible salary.

Contrast my experience with that of my parents. In their late twenties, my father received a job opportunity with an American technology company that took him a to Belgium for several years. In the beginning he flew back and forth to visit my mother until eventually she moved overseas to join him. Then, after returning to the States for a while, he took a job managing a factory in Puerto Rico.

On the downside, my mother left her teaching career and spent those years somewhat alone in foreign places without many friends. On the upside, those years propelled my father’s career and gave them some unique personal travel opportunities.

When Moving For the Job Makes Sense

I am one person who chose location and quality of life over a dream job in an unfamiliar city. And if the authors of “The Go-Nowhere Generation” are right, I’m in a new majority.

This will, however, create even brighter opportunities if you’re willing to relocate for work. Because here’s some good career advice: If you want to be successful, do what others won’t.

And if our entire generation is becoming more reluctant to move for work, a willingness to do so may be an easy ticket to the top.

What about you? Have you moved for a job opportunity or decided to stay close to home despite meager job prospects? Why? How’s it worked out? Let me know in a comment.

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. Yes… always.

    I’ve moved across the country twice for better opportunities. Both to place I had never been to, ever. We (gen Y) need to cut the chord and realize that some local economies have no opportunities. They need to pick up, and leave mommy and daddy at home.

    Tom Toro’s response just sounds like whining, saying that we are realistic and disillusioned. Please… stop making excuses. Also, he’s a cartoonist. He can work from anywhere. If he had a job in engineering that had the strong possibility to relocate, then he’d probably change his tune.

  2. I don’t know if you *should* move, but I do know that I *did* move: across two states to a very small town elsewhere in the Midwest. I would bet that my company, a stable Fortune 100 co., is benefiting from the down economy by not having to worry about its younger employees leaving for greener pastures.

    As our economy continues to crumble, and entire states go belly-up, it will become more common for younger, or other, people to leave their area or there state. The private sector is simply wrung dry and as it evacuates destitute states, local populations will have to move to where the businesses have relocated.

  3. I have moved all over the country for various opportunities, for both myself and for my husband…. and I don’t regret it at all.
    Being open to relocation has allowed my husband and me to live in and experience places we may have never traveled to and to work on projects or for companies that were not available in our home town. It also has challenged us on a variety of levels, from learning a new city to making new friends, and made us adaptable and flexible. It also has made us more marketable on a professional level.
    Although relocation is not for everyone, it is a great option if you are open to it.

  4. I think it’s ridiculous to assert that not wanting to move can be characterized as whiny. I just graduated from college and I’m 9 months into my first post-grad job and I hate almost everything about my new location. I moved to the DC area and even though I’m making what I think is a very good salary, I dislike both the job and the area. The DC area is full of transplants from around the country that moved her because the unemployment is low and the wages are high and the region lacks any cohesive identity or culture. I’m stuck in traffic all the time, the cost of living is extremely high, and the people aren’t very social compared to what I’m used to. And of course in addition I miss family and friends. I wouldn’t think twice about moving back and taking a significant pay cut.

    I feel this way for probably many of the same reasons as the New Yorker writer. Where I’m from I feel a sense of community and belonging. I am connected to the people and the community and I would be dedicated to investing my time and resources to both enjoy it and make it a better place to live. Right now I just feel like a transplant or an invasive species, I feel no loyalty to this area. My hometown and state formed my identity and let to my growth and now I would love the chance to put that same energy back into it. I’m from the rust belt and it could use my efforts.

    Could I do that in my new community of DC? Over time, probably. But like I said, I don’t feel the same way about here as I do about where I’m from, and that passion is really the critical part about me getting involved and doing something with the people and places I know and love.

    So if you’re fine moving across the country for your job and career, go ahead and do it. But I think people are perfectly justified in putting roots down somewhere and getting to know and enjoy a place and form lasting friendships and community. I know those things are worth more to my happiness than the salary that I’m currently pulling in so I’m not going to apologize for the way I feel.

    • Sam,

      You missed the point. The article says that unemployed Gen Yers are unwilling to relocate for a job. That more and more young people are just moving home and waiting for a job in the same place they grew up or went to school.

      You have a job and moved for a job. While you might be miserable in DC, are you willing to move back home without a job? You want to move back to the rust belt and be closer to family and make a difference. Great! I would love to move back up to Michigan as well, but there are no jobs and no jobs paying what I make today.

      There are job available to those who are willing to leave. Jobs won’t come to you, you have to go to the job. That’s the point.

      • Yes, to a degree that’s the point. But I was specifically responding in a way to the NYT author’s point about the young man from Columbus who wouldn’t move to the Sunbelt to pursue a teaching job and instead settled for a factory position in his home town. I just don’t think it’s right of them to criticize him for making that decision and make the assumption that in some way this makes him unadventurous, or even cowardly as the article seems to suggest. I was just trying to point out that sometimes there are benefits that fall outside of just a career that we all have to take into account when deciding where to live. If he works in a tire factory but has dinner with his family twice a week, volunteers at the school down the street, and plays poker with his childhood friends on Friday nights, well then he’s probably pretty satisfied with his life and his community, mostly for reasons outside of his career. And if he works hard and saves he can probably still travel and see the world. More than anything I just didn’t appreciate the article calling out people my age for being cowardly and pathetic for making certain life choices when there are probably a ton of factors at play that they can’t cover in a short article.

        • Amen. The baby boom generation and generation X are who caused the financial crisis and current economic conditions. Regardless if they worked on Wall Street or not those generations fostered a culture of materialism and not saving. Yet they criticize generate Y for being cautious and having less superficial aspirations.

    • Kimberly says:

      You pretty much summed up what I’ve been thinking about DC since I moved here (two year anniversary in May). I moved here from Chicago and all I can think about is “when can I move back?”

  5. mobility can be key. yes, it is hard to get the wife to move at times, especially if momma is right down the street. but, for the sake of the adventure, and the opportunity for your career, it can be the best thing. personally, I have been relo’ed to 3 different states outside of my home state. There were things we liked about some, and things we didn’t like. But, we now have friends all over the Southwest. Plus, we got to act like tourists in the new cities we viewed as new adventures. Is it tought to make new friends, find a new church, and connect with people who may already be settled in the new city — for sure. However, it is fairly easy to stay employed when your range fan of a career is much more wide open across the US vs. staying put. Key is not being upside down in your home, kids that are super well-adjusted for any situation, and a wife who loves you unconditionally (imho).

  6. Fantastic post! I’m also glad to know I’m not the only one struggling with this issue. I’ve moved around several times to go after opportunities and don’t regret it one bit. But, as I’m older now, my priorities aren’t to become a slave to a job. Currently, I’m unable to move for my relationship and I’m okay with that. Sometimes, you have to make a priority list and make it work for you individually. There’s no right or wrong way but there is doing it your way–which should be the best option for you. Jobs come and go but the people in your life hopefully won’t be as fluid.

  7. I have mixed feelings about moving for a job. We have done it several times with mixed results. I love that I got out of the small mid-western town where I grew up. On the other side, we moved a little over a year ago so my husband could take a promotion. The job has worked out well, but we now face having children with no support structure and 12 hours from any family. That is really scary. We are hoping to go back to where my husbands family is located in the next year or two, but we need jobs. It is a larger city with a great quality of life.

  8. It would be a great sign if only many of those same young people weren’t protesting in order to increases taxes on the naughty people who -were- willing to move for money.

  9. After college, I ironically moved from North Dakota where the job opportunities were plentiful but the culture was scarce. I settled in Maine as well and subsequently met my wife here. We have found underpaid but otherwise rewarding work and are more than content with our lives. Even though we’re not rich, we chose quality of life over money. As victims of the recession, this is a topic we’ve discussed at length. We’ve decided to stay put and enjoy our lives, even if it’s not the ideal baby boomer middle-class lifestyle. Thanks for a great article David!

  10. I literally moved 2 weeks ago to Chicago for a new job. It was a lateral move in my career but I am now in the industry (digital marketing) I desire. I feel as though I’m the opposite of this article: I’m from Cincinnati, went to university in Milwaukee, and am now in Chicago, with no desire to move home. Now, whether or not job/money problems necessitate that I move home is another story. I’m lucky enough to have the CHOICE of living on my own and hold a philosophy that there is a whole world outside of my hometown that I intend to explore.

    My boyfriend is still in Milwaukee, which is fortunately not a lengthy commute. It takes a lot of courage to move away from what is most familiar to you for any reason. Our generation may not be as mobile as another, but we are also able to work remotely more easily. There are a lot more “online jobs” than in past generations making it easier to work from wherever you choose.

    The bottom line is to do whatever makes YOU happy and hope that the people that love you will help and support you to do just that.

  11. After college I moved three hours from Des Moines to Kansas City to take a job at a large software company, and making probably 10-12k more than I would have been offered in Des Moines. It hasn’t always been easy. The biggest problem I ran into was that I loved Kansas City and hated my job. I’ve since changed jobs and couldn’t be happier. I now work for a much smaller company. It has taken about two years to feel like I’m forming real friendships and I don’t have to go home as often in order to have a social life. I think it depends on why you decided to move. I know a guy who moved because he thought it was the only job offer he was going to get and ended up being miserable.

  12. We have moved multiple times for jobs and sometimes not because it was a great opportunity, but just to get a job. Rather than waiting to be acted upon, it is good that we act. Just because you move, doesn’t mean you will have to be in that location forever either. There may be opportunities to move where you want to, but I think an idea that the article is giving is that it’s important to do what you need to in order to get a job.

  13. I have relocated a few times in the last ten years due to work. Fortunately in each of those times of I’ve moved, I always knew a few people in town (albeit not close friends). I guess I am saying I have been there, done there. I am now ready to relocate to or close to my hometown so I can closer to family. I am working toward choosing quality of life and the things that are important to me verse a career.

  14. Great article, David. I think what it all comes down to is balance. How do you maximize your career while still having a life? Do you want to live to work, or work to live? And I’m sure we all know, it is a continuous juggling act.

    Gen Y is likely torn on how to make this happen because we want to do well in our careers, but we’re also smart enough to realize that staying somewhat close to home can provide the stability and happiness (not to mention, much less stress) than that which comes from relocating for a job. The adventure, challenge and in some cases pay raise, can be hard to turn down though. And that’s when it comes back to balance. I moved temporarily for a job opportunity and ended up completely overworked. It was a learning experience and adventure for sure, but made me realize that a great career alone isn’t a full and happy life.

    So it’s all a question of sacrifice… what are you willing to give up for something else.

  15. Kimberly says:

    I’m originally from Chicago and moved to the DC metropolitan area with my boyfriend (now fiancée) when he was made a job offer. There weren’t many jobs that called for his specific tech skills in Chicago so when he was made the offer, it was one that he couldn’t refuse. He asked me to join him and being that I’m a paralegal, I knew that finding a job wouldn’t be difficult. Financially, we’re both making more than we would have in Chicago, and although DC is comparable to Chicago in many ways…it’s definitely no Chicago. East coast real estate and general cost of living is so expensive, we often ask ourselves how people manage out here. Living far from the friends/family support network is also tough. Although DC has been kind to me, I’m ready to move back. I don’t regret moving out here, it’s definitely been an interesting experience (especially since I always swore I would never leave Chicago…love, what can I say?), but for me…this experience has only shown me how much more I love the Chicago lifestyle.

  16. This post came at a very appropriate time for me! I just got back from a trip halfway across the country to find housing for a job I will be relocating to. I grew up in Oklahoma and am in the biotech industry, so I never expected to find good career opportunities in the state. While I love my family and friends there, I find it exciting to be out there on my own. I left Oklahoma as soon as I finished my undergrad degree and headed north to Indiana for grad school. I am completing my PhD now and moving to North Carolina this summer for work. During my job search, I did focus only on areas my fiance and I would be happy to live in and think that really is good advice.

    While I don’t think it is a bad thing to stay around your hometown for work, I think it is a great experience to put yourself in a completely foreign location where you know no one. I know for me, this helped shape me into who I am today and think many could benefit from a similar experience.

  17. Thrifty Writer says:

    Not sure that moving where you want to be first and then looking for a job is the best idea, especially if that place has a high unemployment rate. I had a friend from high school who really wanted to live in Portland, Oregon, and while she loves the area, she’s having a hell of a time financially, as she’s only been able to do piecemeal freelance work.

  18. I work for a large company that encourages change, and movement, either between departments, across the country, around the world. And it’s fantastic. However, I feel that I’m really held back because of my house. Even if I WANTED to take one of these opportunities and uproot my family, would I be able to sell my house? I definitely could not risk having two mortgage payments, so relocating just doesn’t seem like an option for us because I just don’t think we could sell our house.

  19. I moved to Boston from NJ with the intention of going to graduate school part-time, and working full-time. I went on a job interview for the perfect job, and they told me they couldn’t work around my class schedule. I hadn’t started yet and found out I could get my tuition money back so I dropped out and took the job. My at the time future husband moved there with me with no job.

    It took us two months to find jobs from the time we moved up there. By the end of two months, the cost of rent, relocating, and setting up an apartment (even including the fact that all of our furniture had come from our parents’ homes) had drained most of our savings. The day before I deposited that first paycheck was the poorest I had ever been in my entire life.

    The two key things about this story is that both of us had parents that we could have borrowed money from if it had been 3-4 months before we had been able to get jobs. The second is that this was in 2005. If we had graduated from college/grad school in 2011, we would not have taken that risk. The likelihood of finding a job in 2 months is too small.

    Now yes, it is possible to apply jobs out of the area before relocating. But as someone who just sat on the hiring committee for a local public library job, we received so many qualified in-state applicants that we didn’t bother to interview anyone who was out of state.

    Can you blame people for staying home? Not only is it more comfortable to be around people you know rather than strangers, but landlords require you to pay rent, and it’s possible that your parents do not.

  20. I am originally from Houston and ended up getting a job in Houston working for an oil company. Every member of my family is working in Houston and I have a large friend group, probably up to 25 now including friends from high school and college. I am coming up on 3 years now in my current position and I have been told that by the end of the year, I will be transfered to another group.

    In my company, a transfer means a 50% chance for international relocation. At first I welcomed the idea of living in a different country, doubling my salary, and having no living expenses. However, in the last year I started short term a rotation to Sub-Saharan Africa working 4 weeks on and getting 4 weeks off in the states. I have come to understand the cliche “you don’t know what you have until you no longer have it”. I realized how much I was missing out on. I missed weddings, birthdays, family vacations, weekend trips with friends, and all of the joys I had at home. Living on a compound, working 7 days a week for 14-16 hours a day lost some of it’s appeal to say the least.

    Understand that I am not looking at moving to a place like France or Italy, but more likely to end up in Nigeria or Iraq, I’m now trying everything I can to stay in Houston. Being single, if I move to one of these countries I will be totally alone. It’s not like you can go out exploring the country, you cannot leave the camp for 3 solid years and there are no prospects of ever finding a girlfriend.

    So to me I don’t think it is worth giving up 3 years of my life, especially years 25-28) for a job. In my case, there are plenty of equally high or higher paying jobs in Houston if need be. I realize that there is plenty of money out there, and that happiness is more important.

  21. I moved for 10 years after high school for my career. First to college, then law school, then my first job in a small town/city in the middle of nowhere. I went because that’s where the opportunity was at that time. However, I knew I couldn’t stay there forever. I took a paycut and left to be closer to family.

    There was a price to be paid. Aside from close family, I lost touch with friends. I suppose you could say there weren’t really friends to begin with, but I think all relationships require nurturing and that facebook and telephones don’t allow for the spontaneous moments of interaction that living near one another allows.

  22. Here’s the way I figure it:

    I’m looking to build a life, not exclusively a career. For me, that life includes things like a solid connection to the place where I live and to its social structures (which I had to create deliberately for myself, because my parents went by the “move to where the next job is” philosophy and as a result I essentially have no hometown in the traditional sense), the mindful accumulation of useful personal (and ultimately real) property and place-knowledge, and long-term relationships outside of relatives and partners.

    When it comes right down to it, although I’m quite satisfied with my employers within their particular (cutthroat) domain, as far as my life in general goes I have much more faith in my relationship with my city (to say nothing of the friends I’ve had for over a decade who have seen me through some fairly rough times) than in anyone who might be offering an incrementally “better” career move someplace distant.

    I also have to consider, quite frankly, that I can’t move just anywhere and expect to be able to fit in well — because of my life circumstances, I would be at best a marginal figure in many of the cities I lived in during the “employment tour of the Midwest” phase of my life, and possibly might be treated quite badly. Part of the reason why I live the way I do is because local law and culture extends me a reasonable degree of protection from mistreatment, which is not necessarily true for some random (oh blast, I used that word, I am a flaky youth!) Oilville somewhere.

    Perhaps my perspective on this matter might be different if I was living in the Rust Belt and unemployable there, but I don’t live in such extreme circumstances — I’m employed, the economy where I live is reasonably strong and I have a good prospect for employment here generally (in fact, my degrees are more recognizable here which constitutes a significant advantage). Not everyone who does not care to move for a job is unemployed in their mother’s basement in some post-industrial wasteland.

  23. For 10 years my husband and I lived in Santa Fe , NM where he was an entrepreneur and I I worked in the real estate industry. His business and the real estate went belly up and we left our home and moved to California. After months of not having work, we were both blessed with jobs. As a musical artist ( my dream) I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. Well, lo and behold I got my foot in the door and for the past 3 years I have worked for some amazing companies and projects and learned a new trade as a web producer.
    We still have our home in Santa Fe and we get back there about 4- 5 times a year. Not enough for me. Therefore, I am actively looking for opportunities there as I have realized that while the money is great being away from my home and my 2 dogs is not. Fortunately we have great house sitters who enabled us to ‘save the farm ‘ if you will. However, the move we always knew was temporary plus as I said it saved our home. I do not regret my experience in Los Angeles. It has been a growing experience and absence makes the heart grow fonder. I learned something very valuable about myself. I am not really that money or career motivated. I need a balance of work and art and Santa Fe offers that. Los Angeles does not…only gives you the illusion that it does.

  24. I moved from Florida to Arizona for my PhD on the basis of a three-day visit to check out the campus. Then I moved from Tucson to Phoenix (which I’d been to before, but not a lot) because my partner got a job there a year before I was going to graduate. So I had no connections or job lined up. I got a job within three months and have been there almost 4 years. So it can work! I love it. My partner IS jealous, though, because he is from Phoenix and the farthest he ever got from home was Tucson for law school (and he hated it there).

  25. I think much of this has to do with the fact that (especially for people in their mid 20s-early 30s) typically both spouses work and both economically and socially it is less and less practical for the wife to step back from the career than it used it be. It’s hard to not consider location to be important when you have two careers to consider, and when both spouses are working living near extended family who can take care of your kids is extremely convenient.

  26. I moved for a job in December, and I haven’t looked back since. I’m a recent college graduate, so it’s hard to find work right out of college with minimal experience. I attended an Internet marketing conference in Vegas, and received a job offer on the spot for a business in Tampa. When you’re young and you have the liberty to move – do it! It’s part of the life experience, and they’re paying you for it!

  27. I moved 1500 miles to find work; my degree was useless in the area I grew up in, but moving cross-country meant some of the best job opportunities available today. It was certainly difficult and expensive, but so far, it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. It was a great way for me to learn to be independent, manage my own money, and live my own life, as well as getting a wonderful job that I love.

  28. We moved to DC for a job opportunity. We came from a state that is in deep recession. But I left a perfectly good job to move up. I use to love dc years ago, now it has become expensive and has lost the town personality it use to have in the past. Traffic is terrible, people are not nice and everything else is expensive.After I arrived to my job i found out that my boss had no idea of what was going on, to make the story short he just hired me to turn around and use me as a sacrificial lamb to save his position. My wife got a job that she hates, now at 50 what am I to do… after 1500 resumes only 3 interviews to be told i am overqualified…. i am thinking of retuning home and use my local network to get a simple job, my wife says she wont return. So I am unemployed, facing a separation and most probably bankruptcy…lesson learned… if you have a job… keep it, dont move for a job is you have one… you are leaving friends family business network…

  29. I would love to relocate & find another job in a different city;however,I am a victim of poor credit since graduating college and have been working countless hours to repair my score.I currently live with my sister & her family to cut the expense of paying rent & utility bills by myself.Thanks to your website,I have paid off larger debts and in the process of re-paying my Perkins loan (was in default for many months).Was contemplating going back to school for my Masters but unsure if it will REALLY benefit me much further since I will need another loan to finance school.

    • You aren’t a “victim.” You are a moron who overspent.

      • I agree that you aren’t a victim, but you are not a moron either. That is unkind to say. So you made bad choices with your money (or money you didn’t have), but you are paying off your debts and trying to live frugally. That is to be applauded. I’d encourage you to keep working on your loans and don’t go back for a Masters unless you can do it without incurring more debt.

  30. I have the opportunity to move for new job opportunity, but more than anything, what I find difficult is the idea of moving away from friends and support. I most likely will not know anyone in the new place I move to. If I were in a relationship and had a willing partner, I would move in a heartbeat – because I would have someone to rely on in a new and foreign place and could build a life there with that person. I don’t see how coupled people can be as freaked out about moving – they are moving with a friend. Being single and moving to a place without any friends there is terrifying because support is minimal when the crap hits the fan.

    • That is exactly what I am struggling with. I have moved to 3 different states in the last 5 years, most recently to AZ from MA. I did it for the job of a lifetime, but my quality of life sucks. I have had to move before and find new friends, but this time was different. Last year when I moved to MA I met someone (current b/f) but just entered a long-distance relationship to move to AZ…… I am 2 months in and seriously regretting this move. Financially speaking, I am stuck in a whole,… this was a job I could not refuse and the move has cost me 3k. I grew up in a “GO TO THE OPPORTUNITY” kind of household, but for anyone reading…. PLEASE CONSIDER your quality of life…. or work/life balance. Is the job really worth being away from your partner? I got used to being away from my family, everyone has to leave the nest eventually….but there IS NO NEST when it comes to being with someone. It’s much harder than I ever anticipated.

  31. We moved to Lincoln, Nebraska a year ago from Minnesota. My husband was relocated for his job, I gave up a job i was at for 4 years, and loved, so my husband could continue working for his company that was closing its doors soon, so he could keep his job of 14 years. Things have went well for him, he received a promotion to a better position, with a decent raise. As for me, I have had 3 jobs in the last year, can’t seem to find where I want to be, and everyday all I can think about is how much I hate living in Lincoln, and wish we could move back, I have never been this un-happy in my life. We have a 9 year old at home, she seems to be adjusting ok, but everytime we go back to Minnesota to see friends and family, it hurts us both to leave, we have such love and support in Minnesota. Not sure what to do, but I feel like my life is ruined.

  32. Any positive advice/thoughts would be welcomed.

  33. The key is knowing whether you will be content regardless of what kind of work you’re doing. I would suggest professional career counseling before pass on opportunities, or give up a good career to move home. Same goes for the spouse or partner who’s part of the decision. That person’s happiness will affect your life at home, and if it’s no good, why bother? I’ve moved several times for jobs because I’m a newspaper reporter. I don’t do web content, public relations or other writing-related things that non-journalists tend to assume will fit the bill. I was moving for my identity as much as to get a job. If I were still single, everything would be copacetic. I have an enviable job, I’m a half day’s drive from family and this town ain’t bad. Unfortunately, my husband, also a journalist, is miserable. He’s not eager to start over in a new, random city, but he so wants to work professionally. I can’t say I blame him. Lately I’m feeling pretty burned out and ready to try a new type of work, so I think we may take the plunge and move once again.

  34. I moved 4 hours away from home and 7 hours away from my boyfriend for my first job out of college. I have no intention on staying (primarily because of the long-distance relationship), but like Weliver, I am glad I did this. I love the city I’m in, and after six months of job searching after college, I needed to say yes to this opportunity. I’m hoping that with this experience under my belt, I can find a job closer to my boyfriend. Sometimes you need to make that initial sacrifice to create better opportunities for yourself in the future.

    I like the idea of finding a place you both like to live, then searching for a job, but I also think that’s not completely realistic. I’m lucky that in my situation, my ultimate goal is to be a freelance writer (I am currently an assistant editor for a trade publication). When I finally make the leap, I can work anywhere. Which means I’ll likely end up wherever my significant other can find a job. But I understand not all couples can find a way to live where they want and both have successful careers. It’s really just a balancing act.

    As for those who are not in my situation, I say get out of your hometown and go live your life. I’m surprised by “The Go-Nowhere” article’s findings; I have plenty of friends who are no longer living in their hometowns and states for jobs, or just because they wanted to live in a new city. Maybe “The Go-Nowhere” is the rule, but I know plenty of people who are living the exception.

  35. I have always worked and long hours. I have been married 7 years last year i had my hip replaced and was tired of my going nowhere for little pay job i was working 65 hours a week and making 30k my wife had taken a non public school teaching job that paid a whopping 20k i had insurance but was tired of the monotony. While off after my surgery i discovered a great paying job 17 hours away the plusses were its something new pays 3x what i was making and the prospects for my wife were better. The down side her family and friends were not there. It has been 9 months since i moved and 7 since she came down. She landed a 45k a year teaching job we have been looking at houses(even though other house still on the market) now she is pregnant with our second child an

    • And she wants to move back closer to family but there is nothing there for us but family. Dont know what to do

  36. Thanks for this great article, it goes beyond the simple money aspects of the question and addresses how you dealt with leaving a relationship. This all has an affect on the success of the move, and if you stay there.

  37. Its interesting to see what qualifies as a move, Most of the discussion seems to qualify it as 500 miles or more, the other side of the country, across state lines, etc. But its amazing to see what a difference just 150 miles can make.

    After college I made the move from a small town in rural Minnesota to the Twin Cities. And it feels like a good balance, I’m Close enough to family that I can see them fairly often, and I earn about double of what I could in my home town, and maybe next year I will be able to make even more. I do miss some aspects of small town life, but so far its been worth it.

    Would this be considered “moving for a job / seizing opportunity” or a continuation of “rural brain drain”?.

    I guess its all about how you spin it.

  38. The quoted author’s argument is flawed. Here is where the logic breaks down.

    1. I am whiney and lazy.
    2. I moved across the country to a place I hate for a mediocre job that pays handsomely.
    ————————————->
    3. Whiney and lazy people WILL move for a job opportunity.

    I am willing to take a significant cut in both pay and career growth opportunities to relocate closer to my family and cultural identity. I think there is a great deal of merit in David’s article. If every young person left rural America for the jobs in the big city we would eventually starve.