I always knew the day would come when I would be leaving “home” for good. I say it in quotations because, frankly, it will no longer be home to me in less than a month. My home will be a one bedroom apartment in a city I have only been to once before. But while this transition is extremely scary and strange to me, I am also very excited to start a new chapter of my life.
I guess the point of this post is to give some advice based on my recent experience in searching for a job. Let’s consider everything that goes through one’s mind when they are offered a job in a city other than where they live.
What is the salary?
Very good question. Before everyone starts to argue with me that “It’s not about the money! It should be about how great of an opportunity the job is!”, I agree with you. This is the main reason that I recently accepted a job offer — the opportunity placed in front of me was too good to pass up and I had to take advantage of it. But my point is that money will be the biggest roadblock for any new graduate.
Where is the position located?
Location is key, especially when making a move. Certain cities have rent that will cost you an arm and a leg, because they are up and coming. This is certainly true in my recent apartment search in the metropolitan Detroit area, specifically in the cities of Warren, Sterling Heights, and Royal Oak. Royal Oak has an amazing reputation for young professionals. But the cheapest rent I could find was over $700 for a one bedroom apartment, with no utilities included. Another factor to consider in location is safety. With low cost, you sacrifice safety. So I cannot be entirely upset of this fact because I did turn down a decent priced apartment, with some utilities, but when I asked the landlord if the area was a good one, he responded, “There are three police departments in the area so it shouldn’t be a problem.” Clearly there is a need for the police presence!!
What will I be doing?
Job titles are deceiving. Positions with names like “Assistant Project Manager” sound pretty glamorous.
I will get to work side-by-side with a manager on huge clients! What a great first job!
Then you find out that the “Assistant” part of the job title holds a lot more relevance than the “Project Manager” aspect, and you are assisting with coffee orders more than any projects. My point is that no new graduate should be quick to accept a job without researching the tasks that they will have to do. It is very easy to find out who held the position you had before you applied for it; contact that person. Ask them what their day-to-day schedule was like.
Where will I live?
Think about everything that goes along with living on your own — rent, heat, water, electricity, cable, internet, groceries, gas, bills. Sure, those are the obvious ones. But there are so many other costs that I have come across that I never realized I would have to deal with.
Most apartment complexes require a fee to even apply to live there. Average I saw was $30. Then if you are approved, they require a security deposit to hold your unit. Average: $200.
Now, you have the place lined up. What are you going to put in it? I was very fortunate to have had two older brothers that have been living on their own for a few years and I have been passed on their old furniture and kitchen items. Costs averted there! But I had no idea that a couple pots and pans would cost almost $100! A coffee table? $80. Rugs for the bathroom? $20. A shower curtain? $15. A decent size dining room table and chairs? Over $200 if you want anything that will last. The task of finding apartments items is daunting but it can be quite fun. Combing through websites, bargain shopping for the best deal or the next sale has been a challenge but when you can find a great deal, it feels so great.
While I have found this next step in my life to be quite intimidating, I am also very excited because essentially, everything is in my hands, and it is entirely up to me to make it what I want to be. Basically, you get what you put in. And as I have been telling my friends and family when informing them of my impending move:
“I am so excited for my first big girl job!”