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More about Silver City, New Mexico, where I live and work.


Should you move to the location of your dreams and then look for a job?

from Making the Big Move

Moving without a job will challenge your identity -- but for some people, it's the best way to go.
Here are some ways to deal with the question.

How will you answer the "What do you do?" question?

Landlords and bankers want something more solid than, "It's about being, not doing." And will your self-esteem hold up after you say repeatedly, "I'm looking for a job."

You cannot take for granted that a particular set of professional skills will be in demand.

Arlene, a physician, found she could not relocate easily to some provinces of Canada; a shortage of hospital facilities restricts the number of physicians allowed to practice. The old stand-bys -- teaching, social work, library science -- have become crowded fields, often unionized, with long waiting lists.

But what if you really want to move? Here are five ways to protect yourself.

Want to start a new life before you start a new job?

Do you have fantasies of moving to a new part of the country or even the world? Quit your job or escape a layoff and start over?

Hold on tight to your chair. Force yourself to stay seated until you have an action plan, preferably in writing. Here are seven tips to get started.

1. Carefully research your target destination. Forget the myths. A small town may be not be a haven of low-cost, crime-free living. A big city may have few opportunities in your chosen field.

2. Protect your work identity. Line up a job -- even a temporary job -- before you move. Find at least one client for your free lance business.

3. Define your career flexibly. Are you willing to wait tables, paint houses or work as a temporary secretary? Do you have marketable skills: carpentry, construction, dog grooming?

4. Don't count on the old stand-bys -- teaching, social work, library science, nursing. You may need a union card or local reference to get established. And many openings exist only for beginners.

5. Identify friends and friends-of-friends in your target destination who can jump-start your social life and show you the ropes. .

6. Rent or buy before you leave your job, if at all possible. If you haven't moved in twenty years, you may be surprised.

7. Much advice from well-meaning friends and relatives will be useless and even harmful. People share their stereotypes and their own buried fantasies. "I've always wanted to live there," they say wistfully. Or, "Don't they have a high crime rate?" Get the facts and seek professional consultations.