Monday, December 18, 2006

Roundtrip: ATX – DTW – ATX

Tomorrow, I’m flying back to Michigan to spend ten days with my family around the holidays. Christmas and the New Year are fresh in my head, and I’ve also been thinking about all of the new December graduates who are putting the final touches on their memorable Michigan years. In January, many of them will settle into apartments in new cities to begin their careers.

When you are a college senior teetering on the edge of your first job, it’s easy to let companies and job offers determine where you’re going to live. What do you do when you find a job that is a great fit for you, but on the other hand, you’re not excited to live in the predetermined city linked to that job?

For what it’s worth, I recommend that all future graduates spend time investigating the city of their dreams and then pursue companies that will guarantee placement in that city. Your surroundings significantly influence mental and physical health, and if a job doesn’t allow you to cherish a comforting and pulsating place to live, then it becomes difficult to enjoy your life outside of work.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I moved to Austin, Texas without a job. I knew I would be happy and successful in my career if I lived in a city that allowed me to take advantage of my interests. It’s important to me to live in a city with live entertainment, outdoor recreation, young innovators and entrepreneurs, attractive downtown bars/restaurants, the presence of a large university, close proximity to other major cities, consistent weather, aggressive business development, solutions to traffic congestion, single women, green parks, sunshine, and a mid-size population with a strong sense of community.

If you’re a ski bum, find work in Denver or San Fran close to Lake Tahoe. If you love street festivals and the buzz of big convention cities, find work in Chicago or Atlanta. If you enjoy being around physically active people and creative urban development, find work in Austin or Minneapolis. Spanish speakers…get your visas for work in Spain or Argentina. Whatever your interests, you have the opportunity to author where and how you live. It helps you maintain a commitment to a healthy mind and body, and consequently, being refreshed and relaxed yields high performance and increases opportunities for growth and rewards.

On December 29, I’ll touchdown in Austin again, and I’ll expect to find another set of adventures in the New Year. I certainly don’t want to land anywhere where I’m bored, unhappy, or discouraged by a city that doesn’t make me feel alive. This holiday season, give yourself a great city. Go Blue from Texas!!!