Location, Location, Relocation? My Journey

by Sara Dixon, Head Editor, INALJ Kansas

Location, Location, Relocation? My Journey.

Sara Dixon PhotoSometime last year, I read a short article about relocating to a city in order to find a job in a specific area.  I remember thinking this was kind of backwards.  Job first, relocation second.  I had always planned on relocating when I found my first library job; I never planned to stay in Florida forever.  I found myself applying for several jobs in Kansas and the surrounding states so I could be closer to my family.  Even though I was living in Florida, the Midwest has always been very special to me.  It’s where I grew up; it’s why I volunteered to run the INALJ Kansas page. But my plan was always clear: job first, relocation to follow.

After a while though, I started to wonder if my living in Florida was somehow having a negative impact on my Midwestern job search. Why should a library in the Midwest take a chance on someone without recent professional library experience living in Florida? I was not in any position to go to Midwestern state conferences when I was living out east. I kept plugging along, though, hoping my charm and job sense would come across on paper and over the phone.

A couple months ago, a family member mentioned something that scared me: what about relocation first…then job? I immediately explained how this was not a viable option because it was too high risk. I had a good job, albeit outside my desired field, and not having an immediate job to jump into was just not going to work. Sure, I did it when I moved to Florida, but I had had a plan…and I was younger. After we hung up the phone, I went through several emotions: disbelief (at the audacity to suggest the opposite of my revered plan), fear (about the unknown), annoyance (what does he even know?), and some self-pity thrown in to even things out. But then I started to really think about it. Maybe it was the jumpstart my job search needed. Maybe I could start networking with local librarians. I could devote more time to my job search and be able to travel for interviews. I could have the time to check out what these MOOCs and free webinars are all about!

After some further discussions with the family that would be hosting me during my temporary hiatus from gainful employment and advice from very insightful and supportive friends, I decided to take the jump. It’s risky to be sure, but I’m really hopeful that it will pay off. And, sure, I’m scared and anxious, but this could also be the best move I have made yet.

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  11 comments for “Location, Location, Relocation? My Journey

  1. July 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Props for your courage! And also, I know what you’re going through. I am in the same situation. I have an encouraging anecdote: I decided I was unhappy with my present job and ready to make the move to CA even without a job lined up, so I put in my two weeks notice and literally a few hours later I received an email to schedule my first interview at a firm in California! The Universe rewards courage and pursuing your dreams. GO FOR IT!

  2. Steve
    July 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I’m currently employed at a library in Florida, but looking to relocate to the city my fiancee recently moved to in Illinois. It’s a tough situation because there haven’t been many jobs in her area, but we had already lived apart for a few years prior to her moving there. I’m considering moving there with no job prospects in mind, but I’d really prefer not to do that! In the meantime, I’m really happy I found inalj.com, as it gives me some place to start with my job search!

    I wish you the best of luck in your search.

  3. July 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I’m really considered going this route in a few months. After nearly a decade in Florida I badly want to go home to Ohio. At the same time the city I work for is talking about closing libraries. So I’m left with the conundrum of moving back to Ohio in a couple months without a job if I don’t find one or possibly taking a demotion here. I’ve often wondered in my year and a half of job searching focused on Ohio if being so far away counts against me. It might be easier if I was there but it would also be scary.

  4. John H
    July 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I had to relocate. Twice. I graduated without a job lined up (not for lack of trying) and had family to fall back on for awhile, thank God.

    After FSU, I went out west and the job market out there is just brutal…I took my licks. People don’t answer emails, calls, etc etc. It was exceedingly deflating…so I said screw it, picked up and drove back east. plan was to be in DC since I have a lot of friends out there..but while visiting FL a job just sort of landed in my lap…this would not have happened had I not made the decision to just leave….if you have the savings and can do it that’s fine, but it’s not something I would typically recommend. :P

    I love the West. it’s grand, majestic, and all those nice adjectives…but not many library jobs. You have to go where your opportunities lie..and mine lie in the east at the moment.

  5. 133
    July 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I’m moving in August without having a job up there first, but the city I’m in is unlikely to give me a library job. So, rent will be cheaper where I’m going, and hopefully I’ll be able to find something at least part-time in a library in the new area. I am also applying to positions and using my new address while mentioning in cover letters that I’ll be in the area soon.

  6. July 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I’d definitely be interested to hear from people who have relocated for library jobs how they went about that. I live in an area with a big concentration of ALA-accredited programs and therefore lots of competition. I don’t have kids or a spouse so I’m not really strongly rooted to my area (besides not wanting to be extremely far from my family). I’m definitely not in a position to move first, but if anything it can’t hurt to consider conferences in other regions of interest or making connections online :)

  7. Sarah
    July 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    This was perfect timing for this article, actually. I’ve been looking at jobs in surrounding states from me (I’m in Ohio) just because there seems to be more opportunities. But there was always the dreaded questions of “why would they look at my resume when I don’t even live in the same state?” and “what do I do if I get offered the position?!”

  8. July 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Hey, Sara. We miss you here in Tallahassee, but you came to the same conclusion – it’s hard to get a job first when so many companies are now only hiring local candidates. I’ve also decided to make the move (although I’m going to Nevada, not Kansas) and my relatives have graciously allowed me to stay with them here in town, rent free, to help me save money toward the relocation.

    Anything worth having will be a little unsettling, I’ve realized. You’ll get the right job soon enough. Good luck! :D


  9. Anna
    July 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Sara, props a’plenty for your courage! I would love to hear more stories like yours. I am in the DC area and very much want to relocate (either to the Midwest or the Pacific Northwest) to be closer to family and friends, and the idea of doing so without a job has prevented me from considering such a move since I finished grad school three years. I have been at the same library (began as a paraprofessional, was promoted two years ago) and desperately need a change (both in my career and in my overall life). It seems so risky and almost foolish to just pick up and go, but I have been applying to out-of-the-DC-area jobs for a while and nothing’s been happening. As you mentioned, there is a distinct cycle of emotions involved that can be very intimidating, but sometimes you just need to take your chances. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

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