If you had an opportunity to work at your dream company, would you take it? Oh, by the way, you would have to move 3000 miles for it.

That’s what I did. And it was the best decision I’ve made. Here’s why.

In one weekend, I moved from sunny Southern California to Boston, Massachusetts for a job at my dream company and started a new chapter of my life. Here’s what that move looks like:

 

Why didn’t I just find a job in SoCal and stay close? It would’ve been easier. There would have been just as many opportunities.

That’s completely true, but here’s why I made the jump and, if you ever find yourself in the same position, I encourage you to do so too.

Look At Your Career Trajectory

A job isn’t just a job. When I look at job opportunities, I ask myself if it will open up opportunities to improve my career trajectory.

Don’t confuse career trajectory with career plan. A plan implies we have things lined up and want to follow a specific path. A trajectory is a look at where things are headed.

When you think of throwing a ball, the ball follows a trajectory upward then back down. Like so:

When thinking of developing a career trajectory, we can view it one of two ways: the function of a square root or the function of a square. Let’s take it back to basic algebra.

While I can be written off as an entitled millennial for believing this, I like to view my career trajectory as the function of a square (going toward infinity).

We have to decide where we lie on our own trajectory and if the opportunity in front of us will move us forward along that trajectory.

Don’t take a job at face value. Look at whether or not that job improves your career trajectory.

This means that we must go deeper than just looking at how much we would get paid, what benefits we get, and what responsibilities we’d have.

Instead, ask:

  • What type of people will I work with?
  • Will this group of people help me grow?
  • Would I potentially want to collaborate with these type of people in the future?
  • Will working for this company help me develop the skills I need to achieve future goals?
  • How is the company viewed by non-employees? Will this company make me more credible?

I knew that, by working at HubSpot, I would work directly with insanely intelligent and hardworking individuals like Scott Tousley, Brian Balfour, and Anum Hussain – plus the hundreds of engineers working on projects that go over my head. I’d be able to build relationships with and learn from these people.

The amount of personal and professional growth and the amazing relationships I would make far outweighed the mental and emotional strain of moving 3000 miles away from home.

The thinking behind those questions focuses on the long-term game of your career plan.

New city, new challenges.

As for moving to a new city, there will be challenges on multiple fronts.

The social challenge will include making new friends, learning the culture of a new city, and probably the most difficult one, maintaining relationships with friends back home.

Then there’s the mental challenge of learning to navigate a new city, owning your new role at a kickass company, and allowing your mind to settle down into a completely new routine.

Of course, emotionally, it’s difficult when you’re thousands of miles away from friends and family, from familiarity. Sometimes it’ll get lonely.

The good thing is challenges come with opportunities.

We get to meet new, fun, amazingly intelligent and hard-working people and you grow your connections – important if you want to create your own business in the future.

The act of learning to navigate a new city creates new neural connections, specifically in your hippocampus – it’s a good thing. It’s a basic principle of neuroplasticity. You exercise your mind to adapt to a new environment, new people, new everything.

Although you’re far away from friends and family, you get a high from exploring a new city and developing new relationships.

What happens when we challenge ourselves?

We become more capable. Our skills develop. We build new relationships. Simply put: we grow. And that growth creates more opportunities

Since I moved I’ve received numerous job opportunities, I decided to stick with my current job. I’m in a better position to consult businesses in marketing and to teach others. I’ve learned how to navigate a new city and make new friends in a city where I knew no one.

I’m good where I’m at.

Which leaves me with a quote,

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.” – Eric Schmidt, Former Google CEO

If you’re offered a good opportunity, don’t question it. Don’t overanalyze what ifs. Don’t come up with potential issues you’d face. Don’t worry about how it would make your life difficult. Just fucking do it.

Once you figure things out and get past the initial challenges, you’ll be good too.

Heyo! I’m creating a resource to make the job hunt easier. Want first dibs?

Appendix: I’m aware that there are circumstances in which moving that far away when you have certain responsibilities may not be the best idea.

8 Comments

  • Nicholas says:

    I was just checking in, and I was quite surprised to find this post EXACTLY when I was thinking about this very topic! I love the career trajectory idea, definitely a good good conversation piece ;)
    Though I would have loved to have heard more specifics about the challenges and treats you’ve discovered in Boston.

  • Maria Fafard says:

    I like your concept of career trajectory and the way you explain it. Have you considered re-publishing this article on LinkedIn blogger? It would be a perfect audience for your ideas .

  • I’m glad you added that note at the end because I think there are a lot of cons to moving far away for a job, especially for millenials. After I graduated I moved just an hour away from home for a job that didn’t work out and it ended up costing me big time. I couldn’t imagine moving 3000 miles away. With the economy being the way it is many young people are playing it safe and sticking close to home in case things don’t pan out. Being close to home and family support is really important. By the way, I do like your trajectory analogy, I thought that was rather clever.

  • chaitanya says:

    “When you strongly think moving out of your comfort zone, you find yourself some ways.” I found out this website (and Mr.David thanks, I started reading 100$ start-up.) I am currently in this state of confusion. To take 300 mile journey or stagnate. Well, according to opportunity I will weigh my responsibilities.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.