by Tiffany Newton, Head Editor, INALJ Missouri
Location, Location, Location
Do you like horseback riding on thousand-acre ranches? Do you like living in the city so every night can be filled with different events, or do you like sitting on your front porch at night listening to the crickets? Do you like the beach? What about snow for 8 months of the year?
When looking for a new job, these are just some of the things you have to think about, besides the benefits, hours and job duties. If you’re thinking about taking a job in downtown Chicago, but love your current mountain view, you might want to reconsider. Of course, this example is a bit drastic.
I recently saw some thought-provoking data visualizations in a blog post (http://www.rsvlts.com/2012/07/30/aerial-data-visualisation-reveals-life-in-the-united-states/) Just so you can understand where I’m coming from, here’s a bit about where I live now.
I currently live in Eastern Kansas. Not a huge city, nothing like Los Angeles or New York, but I wouldn’t consider it a small town either, of course I grew up in a town with only one stop light, and my graduating class from high school contained 52 people, so small to me would be something smaller than that. Many people in my current town do consider the town small. There are about 30,000 people.
I’ll get my MLS in a few months, and I’ll need a job, so I’ve started my search. Being from the Midwest, and living here my entire life, I’m not sure if I want to stay where it’s familiar, or move somewhere different, such as North Carolina. Most of the jobs that I’ve been applying for have been in surrounding states, but after seeing these maps, I’ve began to change my strategies.
One map shows the distribution of the unemployed. California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York have much higher rates than surrounding areas. Since there’s so much unemployment there, I’m afraid that might be too much competition in those areas. It appears that New Mexico and Montana have low unemployment rates, and thus leading to less competition. At the same time, however, another map shows the population. The areas with higher amounts unemployment also have higher populations.
A third map shows the internet distribution. I find it alarming that it looks like a line has been drawn in the middle of the country and almost no one in the western half has internet. Some of you from larger cities may wonder how this is, but being from a small town, I understand it perfectly. Even in a mile outside the city where I live now, there is no high speed internet. They are still using dial-up. There are many towns even smaller than here, and many of them are to the west. Many of them might have dial up in town, but nothing outside town. The internet has almost become an extension of myself, and I’m not sure I can live in a state such as Montana, where it appears that the internet is not readily available. Some people might be able to make that sacrifice though, in order to be where they really want. I also don’t know if I could live in a large city. There’s just so much traffic and noise, I just think I’d have a very hard time adapting. So where does that leave? I can’t go to smaller, more rural areas, but I can’t go to the city either. That leaves me thinking still.
When applying for new jobs, besides the work environment, you might want to think about these things too. (Some of these examples may be obvious, but maybe think about the not-so-obvious aspects as well) How is the Weather? In Minnesota, be prepared for snow. How is the commute? What could you do in your spare time? In rural Montana, don’t expect to come home from work and get on Pinterest or Facebook for hours at a time, and in Oklahoma, don’t expect to go to the beach. You might also want to think about the religious beliefs and political affiliation of the area. If you’re extremely liberal, you might find yourself unhappy while living in an extremely religious, conservative area.
You might have thought of these things already, and if so, fantastic, I hope you still enjoyed these images. If you haven’t thought of these things, then I’m glad to leave you with some though provoking ideas.