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Home  > Article

The Right Career Moves

By Martin Leiberman

There are many reasons to consider relocating for your career - but some make a lot more sense than others. Here are some "right" reasons to plan a move for your career.

"I kept telling myself that all I had to do was hop on a plane one night and the next morning I could be in a foreign country. It was as easy as that." Dan Friedell, world traveler
"If you're going to make a move, make sure you do it for the right reasons. Money is not always the best reason; it's transitory," says Sean Dowling, 25, Branch Recruiting Manager of Renaissance Worldwide. "Most of the people who do it hastily or for the wrong reasons...don't make it."

So what are the "right" reasons?

For Sean, who moved to Houston last September, one reason was career advancement. Frustrated by the fact that what he was doing in Boston was not as satisfying as he had hoped it would be, Sean decided to relocate and seek a better position within his company elsewhere. "You always want to build upon your career," he said. "I wanted to have four or five years of experience, not four or five years of the same [type] of experience duplicated."

The decision to move took Sean close to six months to make, but he has no regrets. He welcomed the challenge and saw it as a great opportunity to climb the corporate ladder his own way.

Most people who have made similar moves while in their 20s say that doing so is perhaps the best way to demonstrate to your employer that you are not like the rest of the herd of average employees. "It shows that you're a risk taker and that you're willing to go out there and do something that a lot of people aren't," says Annette Clovis, 23, an Analyst at BT Alex.Brown.

Annette last year followed a love of travel to Hong Kong, where she helped her company open an office. Though the relocation was temporary, she says the experience was definitely career- and personally-enriching. "You pick yourself up off your little island and transplant yourself into another country where you don't know how to do anything. You start to see who you are and what your skills are."

Not every person who relocates does it strictly for professional reasons, though. Many who move abroad, for example, are people who had previously traveled and had positive experiences doing so. For example, Dan Friedell, 22, who spent five months working at ESPN in Bristol, CT after graduating from college, moved to London last December without a job waiting for him.

Dan had spent a summer in Prague and a semester in London while he was in college, and he had a great desire to go back. "Basically, I decided that the world wasn't such a big place," he says. "I kept telling myself that all I had to do was hop on a plane one night and the next morning I could be in a foreign country. It was as easy as that."

However, moving with a suitcase but not a job can be difficult. Those who have done it say the trick is to not let a lack of job possibilities deter you. "You can be intimidated about not having a job, but that's just going to hold you back," Alexis advises. "You have to find what makes you happy and what you feel comfortable with. Don't get discouraged by the fact that you don't have anything lined up. If anything, that's more of a challenge."

Note:  This article was first published in 2001.

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