Employment Guide: Moving home not the only option

Liz Keeney | January 31, 2012    

For a lot of seniors, inquirers want to know what exactly they’ll be doing next year. But… For a lot of seniors, inquirers want to know what exactly they’ll be doing next year. But it’s equally important for almost-graduates to consider where they’ll be doing it.

With the downturn in the economy and a shrinking job market, more and more graduates have made the decision to move back in with their parents to save money while they try to find their footing. But for some of us, that’s just not an option.

After four years of relative independence, moving back to your parent’s house might seem stifling. For reasons ranging from your dingy Dave Matthews posters on your old bedroom walls to the fact that your parents’ room could be just 10 steps away, moving home can seem grim.

Whether it’s due to conflicting personalities, opportunities elsewhere, too small a job market, or simply the horrorific potential for running into people you hated from high school, there’s plenty of reasons why you’d want to avoid a return-ticket to your hometown. But sometimes, it seems like it’s the only option. What’s an does an almost-grad to do?

First, examine your situation. Pamela O’Brien, the associate director of Pitt’s Public and Professional Writing Program and an administrator who helps students plan for graduation, said each student’s situation is different.

If you’re under mountains of student debt, and expect to qualify for food stamps with your first year’s salary, it’s worth it to consider moving home. But on the flip side, before making any decisions final, make sure to consider that moving to a new place could provide job opportunities if you’re from a small or economically depressed area. And then there’s always grad school to consider. So sit down and consider your situation.

If you ultimately do decide to move away from home, do your research. If the city you’re looking at has a lot of jobs available, try to find out the cost of living of the city or area you’re looking at the cost of living there is. Even if you do find a great job, your basic expenses could still be too high.

Jenéee Sharon, a graduate from Pitt, made sure to consider as many different factors as possible before deciding to go for her graduate degree from American University’s School of International ServiceSystem.

“Ultimately, I chose SIS because of its conflict resolution program and its location in D.C. Foreign Policy recently ranked it eighth for International Relations graduate programs in the world. That said, although living in D.C. is expensive, I believe that the high cost of tuition/living is worth it because of everything that the city and SIS have to offer,” she said.

When trying to decide where to move, one has you have to think outside the box. While job market and cost of living are important factors to consider, they aren’t the only ones. Be sure to see what else a city has to offer. For instance, while your rent in a certain city might be high, if the city has good public transportation, you might be able to get away with not having a car.

Interestingly, though Pittsburgh’ss been rated as one of the most livable cities in the United States, O’Brien doesn’t think the city lends itself particularly well to young professionals. She cited cities like Austin, Washington, D.C., and Chicago as better alternatives.

Another Pitt graduate, Levi Bupp, chose to jump right into the job market instead of heading to grad school.

“One early offer I got was to a co-op at Advance Testing Company Inc. in Campbell Hall, N.Y. The offer was for $11 per hour, June through December. They pay for the necessary certifications, and they provide housing. I didn’t want to wait until it was too late, so I accepted,” he said.

While not his ideal choice, Bupp took the job because it provided housing and was a good stepping stone.

If you’re really set on living on your ownn, you have to be ready to make some sacrifices. Both Sharon and Bupp have roommates, and Sharon works two jobs. They keep their expenses low. You might find that you have to start at a low-paying job, and then find a second source of income on the side, like waiting tables or bartending.

“When you’re getting started, you have to do whatever you can to establish yourself. You might not have an ideal job, you might have to live at home, but you’ll be out there,” O’Brien said.

“In essence, you do what you have to do. At times, your’re situation might not seem great, but just keep in mind what you’re working toward


“The biggest thing people fear is that it won’t work out; that I won’t have enough of this or that,” O’Brien said. “But it will work out.”

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