I took a recent trip to a suburb about 20-30 minutes outside of Detroit, Michigan to see a friend I lost touch with. While visiting, I was curious if Michigan's economic situation was as bleak as news reports make it out to be. I sat with my mouth agape the numbers were released detailing individuals who were unemployed and never finished high school. Talking with 20-somethings engaged in occupations like parking attendant and ditch-digger, I asked one question: "Why stay?"
Staying in one place in this time of economic hardship has become a constantly discussed topic. Past generations had the luxury of taking employment in their home town, raising a family in that same area and retiring from one job. Travel was required when retirement loomed on the horizon and better weather beckoned in the distance. Current and future generations have to accept the possibility that while education may lie in one direction, our employment may lie at a distance from our comfort zone.
I constantly hear about lack of employment opportunities. There are organizations actively seeking native English speakers for international teaching positions. The positions are not glamorous but provide a salary and the experiences of living in another culture. Combine these variables with a free plane ticket and accommodations and you now have an employment situation that's better than what most individuals are currently experiencing. When sharing about international opportunities, a common complaint I hear is "I would never go that far away from family." It appears most people would sacrifice employment for family.
Yahoo jobs recently wrote about workers who traveled extreme distances for employment. A memorable story involved a man who traveled to work in the next state over from his residence on Monday, slept there all week and returned to his family on Friday and stayed for the weekend. Motivation for taking work so far away was simple: either stay close and drive his family to homelessness and poverty or make sacrifices and provide for them. A difficult choice and I admire him for making the call many could not.
Job hunting today means stepping outside your comfort zone and thinking outside the box. Familiarity that previous generations experienced simply does not currently exist. There are jobs that don't only enrich your pockets, but enrich your life. You have to be willing to take that first step and loosen up but don't let go of your family ties. Family is forever. The location of your employment doesn't change that.