I went to school in Montana. I loved it. Upon graduation, I even had a good job in my industry, right here in Montana. Still, I moved to Seattle to become an unpaid intern at an ad agency. That decision ultimately led to a pretty incredible career so far, which eventually led me back to Montana.
For years I have been telling my students to move to a city upon graduation to maximize their career trajectory. But, with Covid and remote work, I have been re-thinking that recommendation. And I have concluded that most recent college graduates should still move to cities.
Here is why.
- There is more density of everything. And pandemic aside, that's usually a good thing - more intelligent people, more jobs, more restaurants, more culture. That density will inevitably lead to more opportunities for a driven person, regardless of competition.
- Making it in a city builds your reputation. When you can compete and succeed in a big city, that will help build your brand. For example, "Mario used to work in advertising in Los Angeles" sounds more impressive than "Mario used to work in advertising in Darby, Montana."
- It gets harder the longer you wait. Life in cities can be kind of rough. Usually, things cost more. That's fine when it's just you but will become more consequential when you're considering homeownership or starting a family.
- Move back once benefits have been acquired. Once you've built your resume and pocketbook, you can move to a much more low-cost location and hopefully reduce your cost of living by 50%-100% while only decreasing your income by 10-20% or so. Now you're in a prime position to build serious wealth.
The benefits of living in a city still exist. And so do the downsides. So do it while you're young, and then benefit from it for the rest of your life.
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