Back Up Plans – New Career, New City – Part 3

Back Up Plan new job new city part 3 careernetnation

Written by Mark Stevens

November 17, 2022

Resume Review for

CareerNet Nation Members

Always Have a Back Up Plan – New Job, New City – Part 3


I’m not talking about a job back up plan. If you’ve made the journey, you are committed. Burn the boats! (That’s a link to the inspirational history of where the term, “Burn the Boats” originated. Open it. Watch it)

I arrived at my new home—just like you will.  The four-day journey included an unplanned, extra night at a hotel down the street from my new apartment in Seattle, but I was there.  The extra night gave me some more time to plan the actual moving-in a bit more—what were my immediate needs for the new place?  Where to shop for any essentials that I neglected to bring?

I was able to walk the neighborhood, scope out the places I would shop, as well as a few I might socialize.  Some additional acclimation to a new chapter in life. The area was completely unfamiliar, and that was captivating. 

Hypotheticals and Anxiety

The next morning I walked into the leasing office with my fingers crossed. I was still a bit skeptical as to whether I really had an available apartment.  Sure I had called ahead the day prior to confirm I’d arrive a day late due to a bit of a travel plan mistake. And I really did not have a back up plan.

Still, I was concerned.  The mind leads you through conflicting hypotheticals when you’re driving alone across the country for four days.  Just like the hypotheticals when considering a job clear across the country, preparing for interviews, giving notice to the place you’re leaving and winding down and out of that location. 

It’s unavoidable, both the optimism and awareness of risks you know and the risks you don’t know. 

Yes I wrote Burn the Boats, but if you watched the video you’ll see even Cortez had a back up plan. Which in his case was to execute the plan.

Here is a Pro Hint: If I can offer a solution to that conundrum, it’s this: chose to embrace both.  Embrace the optimism and pessimism.  They will keep you balanced.  Relish in the uncertainty. This cocktail of emotions will serve you well. Not just when you move to a new city for a new job, but in any significant change in life. Just like walking around a city for the first time, you never know what’s around the corner. 

And, in today’s housing market, a back up plan is not a bad thing to have. 

The Leasing Office and a Cat I forgot to mention

The leasing office was ready for me, as expected.  I was relieved.  As was my cat. 

Wait . . . I hadn’t mentioned that before.  I wasn’t exactly alone on my journey to Seattle — I had a 10 year-old cat along with me.  She was cleverly left with me about eight years earlier “for a few months or so” while the prior owner settled into a new place of his own, and eight years later she was undeniably within my keep.  I pondered transferring the cat back to “my bro” a few weeks prior, but that wasn’t to be.   

So I made the four-day journey with her.  I suppose it was “company”, if you consider two straight days of a cat earnestly complaining non-stop—second-by-second– until she got used to the car.  Her magnetic compass must have been spinning. Yet somehow I was able to get used to the howling. To block it out, in a sense.  Turns out the Beastie Boys boxed set (it was all CD’s then) can muffle any annoying noise. Not just your parents.

Pet Shop Boys

But remember, if you’re bringing a pet, understand it might require some extra planning and searching as to where you’ll stop to stay.  Who accepts pets or otherwise provides a safe place for the pet?  Don’t forget extra vigilance at rest areas and stops.  And of course, make sure your new home accepts and understand that a pet will be joining you.  (No worries, I did).  Just make sure you plan ahead. 

Plans are Meant to be Broken. Don’t Stress.

Consider every aspect of your life—possessions, accounts, changes of address and licenses, even your treasured daily routines– and how you’re going to move them all to a distant place.   

Plan as much as much you can to reduce the stress of uncertainty, but don’t over plan—that creates its own stress.

Like the new job, you can’t plan for everything and probably can accurately predict even less.  Accept that.  The new skills you learn, contacts you make, new discoveries, places, friends, methods and madness are important parts of the reason you moved.   

Leaving Home Last Thoughts

Purposefully plan your exit as well.  You’ve likely built a much larger set of contacts from your prior work and home than you realize, and you’ll want to keep those.  Remember, a major move is much more about expanding than it is leaving behind. 

For the closer or more important contacts, be sure to let them know you’re moving (or that you’ve moved).  Some of those connections probably have contacts in your new destination for you to meet or explore.  It’s a quick way to find new real friends. Not the Facebook or Tinder kind. Although Facebook is a good way to find activity groups, running groups, work out groups, book groups, dog groups. Whatever is your thing. But you already knew that. 

Rememeber to check out our On-Line house cleaning series.

Night Life

It’s not a great idea to go hang out in a sport bar or singles bar to meet people. It can be dangerous too. You know the reasons why, but sometimes it’s good to hear it from someone other than your parents. I recall an important thing my parents said to me. “Nothing good ever happens after 10:00”. Maybe stick to that until you meet your group of people.

Remember, You moved for your Career

Plan how you’ll actually start the new job—are their any skills or additional knowledge you’ll want to learn or enhance, to the extent possible, before you go?  Do you have a wardrobe appropriate for the dress code in your new place of employment (you observed and took note during the interview(s), or at least specifically asked, right)? 

What are your realistic goals for the job, over the next year and beyond?  How can you facilitate these goals, if possible, before you move? 

Remember, getting the job, while probably hard-fought and well-earned, is now just a very small part of a new beginning.  You took the job for what comes next.   

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