Sunlit Water

January 15, 2008


Filed under: Job Search,Personal — by teofilo @ 9:24 pm

I haven’t actually gotten around to applying to many jobs so far, though I have been looking through a lot of postings, but one potential problem seems to be hanging over this job search.  My main goal here is to get out of Albuquerque, so I’m planning on applying to jobs in other places, but it seems like most people are going to be reluctant to offer a job to someone non-local, especially for the low-level administrative jobs I’m looking at.  I mean, it’s not like people with my background and level of experience are hard to come by pretty much anywhere.

So, what should I do?  The easiest way to find a job would probably be to move somewhere first and then start looking, but I’m still not sure where exactly I want to go (and “anywhere but here” isn’t a very useful starting place).  I could also try to get a new job here, but I like my current job well enough and there don’t seem to be a whole lot of jobs in the fields I’m more interested in right around here.   And in any case, a new job here would really just be a stepping stone to a new field in which I would soon be looking for another job elsewhere, at which point I would be back in the same boat.

Would it be useful to focus my search on nearby states (Arizona, Colorado, Utah, etc.) that seem to have a lot more jobs in the areas I’m interested in?  Or does relative distance within the “non-local” category not make any difference?  The most jobs would, of course, be in large metropolitan areas, but places like that are both universally very far away from me and teeming with young people looking for jobs, so short of actually moving to a city I doubt I have much chance of landing one of those jobs.  Would looking in rural areas be better?  Fewer jobs, but probably harder to fill.  Or is there some other strategy that would work better?

I’d appreciate any thoughts or advice anyone has on this issue.



  1. If you have a bit of money saved up, you might try just up and moving to the place you’d like to live. This would work especially well if that place has (a) friends of yours with whom you could crash for a few weeks and (b) a decent job market.

    After college, I became convinced I had to get out of Utah but I didn’t want to move back to Albuquerque. For various reasons, the most reasonable-seeming alternative was Portland. I stayed for a week with some people I sort-of knew, got a very cheap apartment downtown, and found a temp job really easily. The nice thing about being in the low end of the job market with a good degree is that it tends to be easy enough to make a modest living wherever you are.

    If you don’t have enough money saved up, take a second job for a few months. It’s a bit scary to move to a new city without a job or a place to stay, but it’s completely within your power to make it work.

    Comment by Bave Dee — January 15, 2008 @ 9:57 pm |Reply

  2. That does seem like the best approach, but the problem is that the place I’d like to live is really just “not here” rather than anything more specific, so I don’t know where, exactly, I would go. I have friends in various places, but I’m not sure if I’m close enough to any of them to crash with them for a few weeks.

    I was talking last night to a friend of mine from high school who decided a couple years ago that he needed to get out of Albuquerque so he just up and moved to Denver without knowing anyone there or having a job. He stayed at a youth hostel until he found a place to live and had various colorful adventures before ending up in the relatively stable situation he’s in now. I admire him a lot for doing that, but I don’t know if I have it in me to do something similar.

    Comment by teofilo — January 15, 2008 @ 10:03 pm |Reply

  3. Is your goal still to transition into an urban planning graduate program? If so, you might narrow the location thing down by sorting out the potential schools you’d want to consider.

    Comment by Di Kotimy — January 16, 2008 @ 8:46 am |Reply

  4. That is still the overall plan, but the problem is that there aren’t very many urban planning schools and they’re spread pretty thin throughout the country, so narrowing the location down on that basis would basically mean moving to be near one school which might not be the one I ultimately end up going to.

    Comment by teofilo — January 16, 2008 @ 9:18 am |Reply

  5. I admire him a lot for doing that, but I don’t know if I have it in me to do something similar.

    You have it in you to do whatever you decide you want. You absolutely could balls out and move to somewhere outrageous and have colorful adventures. Whether you would like them is different, but in real life, you would keep doing daily things in between your colorful adventures and your world would continue fine. You are so talented and privileged that you can do anything you choose. Your real barrier is wanting something.

    Comment by Megan — January 16, 2008 @ 3:33 pm |Reply

  6. Well, yeah. Or more specifically, wanting something enough to leave behind my comfortable little life and take a huge risk on something new. It’s not so much a matter of being literally capable of doing that as a matter of being motivated to put forth the effort.

    Comment by teofilo — January 16, 2008 @ 3:38 pm |Reply

  7. I’ve personally never moved without having a job or school assignment lined up. But if I had the funds to swing it and I was your age and single, I’d probably try to move somewhere where a good college friend was looking for a roommate, and then look for a job from there. I think it would be hard to swing an entry-level interview from out of town without some sort of connection.

    But! Teo U surely has an alumni network, no? Is it any good? My alumni network is very good at the whole, ‘hey, I know this guy in Chicago that’s since moved to Denver, let’s see if I can set something up’, which would make it easier to start out in a new city.

    Comment by Cala — January 17, 2008 @ 4:39 pm |Reply

  8. Yeah, there’s an alumni association. I get e-mails from them, usually asking for money and describing exciting events in NYC for alumni, who are basically assumed to all live there and be making lots of money. I suppose they do have some resources along the lines of what you’re talking about, but I haven’t really looked into it. There’s a class website that’s probably good for networking purposes.

    Comment by teofilo — January 17, 2008 @ 5:27 pm |Reply

  9. I’ve done it — long ago, I dropped out of college, packed my stuff in a backpack, and took off hitchiking towards a place where a friend of a friend had lived 6 months earlier. It all worked out.

    The thing is, it’s not enough to not want to stay in ABQ. You have to want to go some particular place. It might be useful to think about what exactly it is about ABQ that makes you want to live somewhere else. Then think about what elements of places you’ve been (including ABQ) you’ve liked. Write it all down, and find a place that matches more of the factors you like, and has fewer of the factors you don’t like.

    As for planning, it’s going on at some level all over the place. (I don’t really know this, but believe it to be so having been friendly, 25 years ago, with a planner from Big Timber, Montana. Look it up. If they’re planning there, they’re planning everywhere . . .)

    Your hesitation about living near a school seems sound to me

    Comment by CharleyCarp — January 17, 2008 @ 5:31 pm |Reply

  10. The thing is, it’s not enough to not want to stay in ABQ. You have to want to go some particular place.

    Yeah, but I don’t want to go to some particular place. That’s really the problem.

    Planning is certainly going on everywhere; there’s no shortage of jobs. Indeed, that’s another part of the problem for me right now. If there were some particular place where the jobs I was looking for were concentrated, I could just move there (e.g., if I were still looking for jobs in publishing I could move to NYC) and improve my odds of finding something. As it is, though, it’s all very diffuse.

    Comment by teofilo — January 17, 2008 @ 5:38 pm |Reply

  11. OK, so since planning is going on everwhere, then you don’t have to pick a place for concentration reasons. Although obviously, the planning in Wilmington NC is going to be different than the planning in San Diego, or in Big Timber, Montana.

    Anyway, you’re unmoored from concentration, from a partner’s needs/wants, from kids: this may be the free-est choice you’ll make in a long time. What do you want in a place? Ocean? Upscale shopping? Southern culture? Snow? Proximity to your family? Really, I mean it about a list: you’ve been places. What was good/bad about them? Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, all around the country, what they like/dislike about where they live. (Although instead of asking what they think of you moving a place, it might well be more productive to ask what they like and dislike about living there. I had lunch with Di Kotimy yesterday, and one thing she dislikes about where she lives is a thing I like about places, and the absence of which I dislike about where I live. Although for the record, I’ll note that we got a helluva lot more snow in DC than they did in Chicago yesterday).

    Comment by CharleyCarp — January 18, 2008 @ 6:14 am |Reply

  12. Auckland. Go there.

    Comment by CharleyCarp — January 18, 2008 @ 6:15 am |Reply

  13. Come to Austin!

    Comment by heebie-geebie — January 18, 2008 @ 6:47 am |Reply

  14. Things I want in a place:

    1. Not being in Texas.

    Sorry, heebs. Tough luck.

    More seriously, I took this “where should I live?” test the other day and the number one result was Hartford, which sounds about right. Maybe I should go into insurance.

    Comment by teofilo — January 18, 2008 @ 10:00 am |Reply

  15. If you go to Hartford, you could probably fly Southwest. What more reason do you need?

    Comment by eb — January 18, 2008 @ 9:12 pm |Reply

  16. I’m sold. Hartford, here I come.

    Comment by teofilo — January 18, 2008 @ 11:21 pm |Reply

  17. But teo, Austin is only technically in Texas.

    I seem to remember UT Austin having an urban planning program, but I don’t know if it’s good or antyhing else about it.

    Comment by M/tch M/lls — January 19, 2008 @ 9:51 pm |Reply

  18. Yeah, it’s got one, as does Texas State. Still, though. Texas.

    Comment by teofilo — January 19, 2008 @ 9:53 pm |Reply

  19. But hey, you’re starting to narrow it down!

    Comment by heebie-geebie — January 19, 2008 @ 11:24 pm |Reply

  20. True.

    Comment by teofilo — January 19, 2008 @ 11:27 pm |Reply

  21. I bet we could narrow it down some more. How about:


    Comment by Megan — January 21, 2008 @ 11:31 am |Reply

  22. Alabama, Missouri and Alaska all sound good. I don’t think my Portuguese is strong enough for Brazil.

    Comment by teofilo — January 21, 2008 @ 11:39 am |Reply

  23. Two locations excluded! Progress!

    Comment by Megan — January 21, 2008 @ 11:41 am |Reply

  24. Also out: California.

    Comment by teofilo — January 21, 2008 @ 11:58 am |Reply

  25. I suspected as much, but I preferred to think better of you.

    Comment by Megan — January 21, 2008 @ 12:00 pm |Reply

  26. It’s mostly because of this sort of thing. Also, expensive.

    Comment by teofilo — January 21, 2008 @ 12:02 pm |Reply

  27. Expensive for sure.

    Comment by Megan — January 21, 2008 @ 12:08 pm |Reply

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