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Job Advice
Old 02-23-2005, 05:06 PM   #1
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Job Advice

I will be back in the employment universe this December when I finish up my MBA degree. I have two options: 1) chase after a job for a big company in a big city, i.e. higher cost of living or 2) get a job in a smaller city that may or may not provide the same pay or advancement opportunities but offers the low cost of living factor, i.e. have a lot of $$ leftover. I have been going back and forth and can't really decide. I do not consider myself a big city person but I open to whatever it takes to get to ER. Your advice or thoughts?
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 08:44 AM   #2
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Re: Job Advice

Well my thoughts, and I recognize this is an ER board, is to put that second. Live in a place you would like to live and find work you would like to do. Then save as much as you can, especially if you can get an automated saving system. And see if you can find a job you like with a good retirement program. If you spend less than you make, (LBYM) and save a good bit (10%+) you will be well ahead of most folks and able to retire relatively early. To retire 'really" early may take more luck, planning and serious sacrifices which is OK but why not have a nice life and still save a good bit rather than a difficult life now with the hopes of something better later? It is always possible that sickness and accidents will overtake you after sacrificing so much and not getting to enjoy the savings.
Most important, the advice I gicve to those who want to be "happy" in retirement is to be "happy" before retirement. If you are not happy with your current life and sacrifice a lot you may be financially confortable but unhappy in retirement anyway.
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Job Advice

I agree with yakers' sentiments. Don't neglect today's happiness in a dedicated quest for ER. I think what has been seen here is that people have managed ER on big salaries, government work and even small salaries with lots of travel. I think the trick is to avoid debt, save money and see how to make *your* situation better. If you're a city person then you're probably better off in a city.
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 11:17 AM   #4
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Re: Job Advice

Points well taken from both of you and I agree with most of what you said. The only issue I have to raise is what if happiness in a smaller city, say 300,000 people, restricts the job market for me. Or are you all saying that I can more than likely find a profession I enjoy anywhere? Would the small city, even though I might be happier there, hurt my chances of finding a position I am satisfied with?
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 01:34 PM   #5
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Re: Job Advice

I'm going to echo the other two sentiments -- live where you want to live, and do what you want to do. Forget the alleged "career track." Your career track is what YOU make it, not what anyone else tells you it is. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule (e.g., if you want to be an actor, you probably should live in NYC, LA or Orlando)

A close friend of mine once told me that I needed to decide where *I* wanted to live first, and then find the kind of job I wanted to have. No matter where you choose to live, you'll find a job doing something you want to do. It's true that you can make more money as a stockbroker/trader in NYC than in Omaha. But if you're a Midwestern person, then living in NYC just for the money or alleged "career track" is going to make you miserable. Although some people do make the transition from the city to the country, even some people on this board, why wait?
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 01:58 PM   #6
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Re: Job Advice

If the smaller job market area is to your liking, and you can find one thats in a strong real estate growth area thats likely to experience price appreciation...thats not a bad route.

I worked in a couple of these, and found absolutely no shortage of job opportunities. In fact, in these smaller markets, your customers and competitors have fewer opportunities for quality hires.

Hence, if you know what you're doing, you could be in very strong demand with higher salary upside in a smaller market than one in which there are a hundred people just like you looking for the same job.

While you may get some real estate price appreciation in a larger city, in most cases the appreciation is already dialed in there. Find yourself a nice burb or small city thats poised for growth and has reasonably priced RE.
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 02:44 PM   #7
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Re: Job Advice

TH & Gatsby

Thanks for the solid advice. I certainly tend to agree now with everyone's suggestions but I just like to hear what people think that have been throught it. I am trying hard to map out a life where I don't look back and say "damn if I just would have ____ I would be ____" Sounds almost like a country song
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 02:53 PM   #8
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Re: Job Advice

You're going to do that anyhow.

You're also going to look back and remark about the coincidence and luck that worked out for you, along with the obvious and not so obvious screw ups.

Hindsight is STILL 20/20 !
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 02:58 PM   #9
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Re: Job Advice

Quote:
You're going to do that anyhow.

You're also going to look back and remark about the coincidence and luck that worked out for you, along with the obvious and not so obvious screw ups.

Hindsight is STILL 20/20 !
Yup - that's a good piece of advice. If I may extend on it I'll say that you should only look back on those situations to help you make better decisions in the future and not to "beat up on yourself".
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 05:53 PM   #10
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Re: Job Advice

Quote:
I worked in a couple of these, and found absolutely no shortage of job opportunities. In fact, in these smaller markets, your customers and competitors have fewer opportunities for quality hires.

Hence, if you know what you're doing, you could be in very strong demand with higher salary upside in a smaller market than one in which there are a hundred people just like you looking for the same job.
As anecdotal evidence of this fact, I'm currently working in Washington, D.C. While the town is full of lawyers, it is the most competitive legal market in the nation. A substantial number of graduates from top law schools all want to work in D.C., leaving no shortage of eager young lawyers willing to sell their soul for 3-5 years, some cash (although not as high as NYC) and the ability to brag to their family and friends back home that they "work in Washington". Most of these same lawyers end up burning out after 3-5 years, meet someone they want to marry, and hightail it out of town to a more affordable market with a better quality of life. Naturally, when they apply for jobs in smaller markets, such as may exist in the Midwest (excluding Chicago), the law firms are very anxious to hire them.

Going to a smaller market first, although sacrificing the initial cash, will allow Wildcat to build his/her "career" and enjoy a good quality of life -- all while still being relatively young. Thus, if Wildcat has built the kind of career s/he wants, and lives in the type of place where s/he'd like to retire, why the need for ER?
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 07:00 PM   #11
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Re: Job Advice

Hi Jay-

I'm in DC too. I ended up here because the kind of jobs I was looking for led me here (Antitrust, White Collar Crime prosecution). I think Law School unnecessarily focuses lawyers on firm practice; when I graduated, the idea of going into solo practice was unthinkable. To me. Now it is my fondest dream -- in connection with a hoped-for early retirement. Anyway, for Wildcat - the opportunities down the road may not be reflected in your initial salary.
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 07:03 PM   #12
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Re: Job Advice


And many years later you may come to regret taking the big city route if you had a decent alternative.
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-24-2005, 08:30 PM   #13
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Re: Job Advice

I suppose I should follow the Jimmy V saying "Don't mess with happiness"
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Go where it makes you happy.
Old 02-25-2005, 07:48 AM   #14
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Go where it makes you happy.

In the military your jobs are largely dictated by your choice of career field and implemented by your assignment officer. Naturally these AOs have a quota of tough jobs to fill and the "needs of the Navy" policy takes priority over your "preferences".

So your hot ticket to career advancement (mmmm, flag rank) was to adopt the attitude "Have military ID, will travel." But sometimes I suspected that NOTN was really articulated by the AOs as "I'm tired of sitting at this Navy desk and I need you to take this job so that I can go home tonight."

Once you realize whose career you're advancing under the civilian equivalent of the military system, perhaps it's better to make yourself happy first. After all, you'll have to live with yourself & your family for far longer than you'll have to live with your chain of command.

And it sounds like it's time for a research road trip!
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-25-2005, 08:23 AM   #15
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Re: Job Advice

I think the most important consideration is the content of the job. You want to find a job that builds your skills. You want to make yourself an attractive candidate for a job in a location you really want.

The advice my Mother gave me (a then young girl in the early 60's) out of college was to go to a locale where I would experience different cultures and make new job entrant mistakes where they wouldn't stay with me for a lifetime. Then, she said, you are ready for the job you want, where you want to be.

I grew up in the NW, and my first job out of college was in the NY metro area. Without that experience I would never have understood the economic, racial and ethnic dynamics of our society.

If you are on a specific professional track you need exposure to a broad range of responsibilities. For example, my daughter was a Finance Major. She earned her CPA and while in public accounting started focusing on high-tech. Now she is Controller at a VC. In school she had an active disinterest in high-tech, it was only because of the public accounting exposure that she built her professional skill set and focus. The P A's who accepted positions in Salt Lake, for example, were able to buy homes soon after graduation, and they have done well...but not nearly as well as my daughter who had room-mates in Valley apartments for the first three years of her professional life.

Few of us spend our lifetime in the community where we found our first job.
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Re: Job Advice
Old 02-26-2005, 08:23 AM   #16
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Re: Job Advice

Quote:
Few of us spend our lifetime in the community where we found our first job.
Thank goodness for that!
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