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Question – Should I consider starting a job in a city?

Every considered moving to a city to help give your career a kick? Here are a few pointers from our career coach to help you with the big decision.

Question: Is it better to work in a city? Verity, Kent 

Great question. Here are three frameworks to think-through a big decision like this. What do you want? Is there a limited window-of-opportunity? Is this a reversible decision?

Let’s look at each in turn…

 

What do you want?

For many people, this comes down to lifestyle.

How do you want to spend your time?

This can be markedly different between city and rural living, in terms of the opportunities for culture, sports, leisure, making friends and trying out new things. City living can really broaden your horizons!

However, you should also consider pace-of-life, levels of crime and pollution, closeness to friends and family, and access to nature, among other things.

It could also come down to salary, which is likely to be higher in a city, but has to be offset against a higher cost of living, (especially housing in the UK).

And, since this is a careers column, we have to consider career opportunities. In the vast majority of careers, opportunity is going to be much higher in a city, and the bigger the city, the more opportunity.

It’s a result of the proximity of firms, the ability to network and mix with folks who do different jobs, learning and development opportunities, and being around your colleagues. Much of this is informal or unnoticed in your day-to-day work, but it really is a powerful catalyst for your career.


Is there a limited window of opportunity?

In theory no, of course you could move to a city at any time in your life or career. But in practice, I think it is easier to make the move when you are younger, have more energy, and find it easier to adapt.


Is this a reversible decision?

My take is that it is easier to move from the city to the country than the other way round: ie, if you choose to move to the city, and it doesn’t work out, that’s reversible.

Provided you give it enough time, you’ll have gained valuable skills and experience that you can leverage to find a job in a more rural area – or these days, perhaps even convert into good quality remote work.


Summary

From a career perspective, the answer is yes, it’s better to work in a city, but I think the big caveat is the lifestyle question.

I would counsel against making a move because you think you ‘should’ –  there’s more to life than careers.

 

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