I know what it’s like to move out of your comfort zone in order to gain a new level of skills. Over the past eight years, I’ve lived in four different states and worked for four different companies. Being able to pick up and move gave me the opportunity to work for a number of well-respected companies: Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, The New York Times, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
I know that moving can stressful, but for me, each time I relocated for a job, it was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. The changes brought about a set of personal and professional challenges that forced me to grow. By uprooting my life, I’ve been able to overcome my fears while enhancing my capabilities and growing my network of friends.
Here are five reasons why you should consider moving for a job, too:
1. You learn to adapt.
Being new to a city and having to adjust to its climate, environment, culture, and people requires you to develop a flexible mindset. Having grown up in San Francisco and later relocating to New York, Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Los Angeles, I learned to get up to speed on my surroundings as quickly as possible, so I could survive. After all, there’s no better way to push yourself than by driving and getting lost in a new place.
2. You can reinvent yourself.
Moving to a city where you don’t know anyone can be liberating. You can focus on developing areas of yourself that need improvement. The first time I relocated for a job, I made friends with fresh points of view. The new friends’ mannerisms, the way they spoke, and even their sense of style was new and refreshing. These new friendships allowed me to incorporate bits and pieces of them into the revamped identity I was creating for myself.
3. You learn to open up yourself to others.
When you’re the “new girl” in town, people are generally willing to share their tips and tricks on the area. In work settings, as a newbie, asking my coworkers about places to eat or shop eventually resulted in me making friends with several of my colleagues. I’m still friends with some of those colleagues over a decade later, staying in touch through social media. Each new interaction is an opportunity to learn about your new surroundings, slowly easing you into becoming a local.
4. You give your brain a workout.
Learning something new about your new home can have a ripple effect on your ability to contribute at work. Conquering a new city by establishing a rhythm for yourself — whether it’s going to a gym, finding a popular neighborhood restaurant, locating a grocery store you like, or even getting a library card — helps you to feel a sense of belonging. Tackling these essential steps in your new life can help build confidence so you are primed to accept bigger challenges in your new life.
5. Vulnerability can lead to courage.
There’s a quote by Anais Nin that I live by: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” I believe that the smaller your perspective is on life, the less likely you are to take risks because if you don’t allow new experiences to enter your life, you stifle your ability to expand. By acknowledging your fears and moving forward despite heart palpitations, you will undoubtedbly enrich your life.
Nowadays, sites like Fairygodboss, Vault, and LinkedIn help you gather invaluable information about a company in another city or state. With a few clicks of the keyboard, you can unlock the door to your next big gig, ultimately enhancing your life experience. The act of leaving a familiar setting to undertake new adventures has enriched my intellectual and emotional capacities. Had I stayed in one spot and not moved around, I never would have met many of the people who are in my life today. For those of you toying with the idea of moving for a job this year, don’t be afraid. Take incremental steps toward your next adventure and see how far you can stretch capabilities.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, which helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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