Recently, a young man posted a query on LinkedIn, seeking advice on relocating for a job — his first job out of college/university.
This part of his query called to me for two reasons. First, because as a traveler I am always walking into new locations and situations. Also because I’d also relocated with less than 24 hour notice, in order to take my own first job in broadcasting.
“…But now I’m faced with moving to a city that I know NOTHING about! I’m aware that’s part of the deal but it’s still intimidating nonetheless.
What’s your best advice on being the new journalist in town? And when I say new, I don’t mean the rookie, I mean where do you start in a city that you don’t know anyone and you have no connection to?”
Several people had already replied with very good journalist-specific advice, (kudos to LinkedIn!) so I tried to add more general advice. Because my advice may help my fellow travelers (or anyone), I am posting it here as well.
There are too many comments to read on an iPhone so I will just jump in with my thoughts.
I did the same, many years ago, for my first real broadcasting job. I was not a reporter needing to get inside so if to are then you have great advice here to follow.
What I did and recommend for housing in a large or spread out town/city was find a room in a house of university students. It was summer so one roommate had gone home. That gave me 2-3 months to live in his room and get to know the city and job. It’s a bummer to be stuck with a contract to live in a location that isn’t good for your commute or social life or to know the areas you need/want to know. I live in LA where I see people do this all the time and have a commute from hell.
To meet people look into groups that share your interests. For example, I moved to Southern California I was miserable until I found the Los Angeles Macintosh Group (now defunct) and there I met amazing like-minded people that remain my friends all these years. Whether it is religious or craft/hobby or work or bicycling, you will connect best when you have a commonality.
Smile! On walks, in stores – smile. It makes you approachable and invites friendships.
Don’t be afraid to say hello. Just a smile and nod go a long way and you never know what doors they will open.
I have moved several times in my life and nowadays pretty much travel full time, meaning I live on the road in place after place. I live the advice I give so I know it works.
Those first days and even months will be amazing! Everything so new! As you think this daily, as you let yourself realize what you have accomplished – you will want to smile. Do! And maybe say to the person waiting at that walk sign with you, “I still can’t believe I landed a journalism job here and I love this town.” The world and your adult life is yours to enjoy!!!!