Would it be better to relocate in order to find work?

I was working in Western Massachusetts for a good company, until the economy kicked in. Since the layoff, I put a lot of time and energy into making a good portfolio. I showed it to my peers and even presented it to some companies with success. However, even with the approval, the work is not coming in.

Now I’m wondering if it would be better to relocate to another location despite not landing the job? or could I operate out of one location and use a West coast address for the West coast prospects?

Location is definitely important to quality of life, but at the same time, how good will your quality of life be if you don’t have a job? I would say that you should be open to relocating. You may find that you appreciate the unique benefits of your new home, and learn things in the process.

Why would you use a “west coast” address for west coast prospects? Play it on the square; you are where you are. If someone finds your portfolio work interesting they’ll get in touch, regardless of where you are.

There should be no question about whether or not to relocate; you need work, so you need to do whatever it takes to land a gig. In this economy I wouldn’t expect moving expenses either. And, like Cameron says, it’s a new beginning; the same work-related bullsh*t, but new places, new people, etc. sometimes compensate. You should make it clear in your cover letters that you are willing to relocate.

BTW, if you haven’t noticed, the California economy is well passed “in the toilet”, it’s already on it’s way to the sewer treatment plant. The unemployment rate here hit 11.2% this week. I’m not saying you wouldn’t find work, just that there are a lot of unemployed designer-types that are already out here with the advantage that they are “already out here”.

Personally, without a twelve month minimum bankroll, I’d hang tight where I am to minimize expenses, find a job to pay the bills, keep upgrading the portfolio and maximize the “professional” job search. I’m 58, and this is the worst I’ve ever seen the economy. Jobs were scarce when I graduated in '73, but not nearly as bad as this. But take heart, it can’t last forever.

You would not be the first “designer” who had to take a “less than”, or unrelated, job to get by. Absolutely no “dishonor” in that.

I concur with the above. There’s a strong “grass is greener” tendency when the job market becomes tight, with the belief that your career would take off if only you were in the right location. For certain industries this can be true, but for freelance designers it’s rarely the case.

I will differ a bit in saying that where you are does matter to some clients – there’s still a strong desire to sit in a room with the person that you’re giving all this money to, especially if it’s a smaller client or one less accustomed to hiring creative talent.

Western Mass has a lot going for it: it’s a lovely place to live, it’s got lots of industry and manufacturing, and it’s within striking distance of several large cities. I think your money and time would be better spent seeking clients that are further afield, but still close enough to qualify as “local,” and to continue building your portfolio, and meeting as many other designers and potential clients as possible, even if they’re not looking right now.

You’d be competing with West Coast designers which, if you have been out there are more than plentiful. Most firms are laying off rather than hiring.
You may land a job that pays more in the West Coast but factor in much higher cost of living which kind of evens things out.

These are some very good responses! Thanks.

I really do enjoy living in Western Mass. I have a lot of friends here and a pretty nice apartment for not too much money. The West coast address I was referring to is my brothers. I am tempted to move in with him and use his place as a base of operation. Since the space is tighter there, I would only do it if its really necessary.

What got me thinking about moving to the West was when I attended the IDSA Western conference and asked the owner of a famous ID consultancy, if he would consider hiring someone from the East? What he told me was that he wouldn’t consider any applications with an East coast address considering that there’s so much local talent. If I would want a West coast job, I would have to move down to the area and get a car. If I want a job with him, I would have to start out as a freelancer. Kind of a “date before you marry” arrangement.

I am tempted by West considering my family and friends. I’m unsure about moving because the next opportunity could be anywhere. Right now is not the time to be overly choosy. However as Cameron mentioned, there are unique benefits to your new home. I really did realize this fact when I moved to Western Mass from Cleveland.

I wouldn’t plan on remaining in W.Mass your whole life. Relocation is nearly a requirement for this field.

This field is so niche, you are a highly skilled professional with a very specific skillset. Are there really THAT many companies in W.Mass searching for your skillset? And out of all those companies searching for you, do you really want to sign to a career with them? In other words, out of all the jobs posted on Coroflot job boards daily, there are about 5% that seem interesting and that I would want to take. The odds are improbable that the numbers will keep you there.

Don’t relocate to find work. Start sending out resumes from where you are.

The method I used while searching for full-time work, send resumes only to the jobs you want, and only in the cities you want to live in. Otherwise, you just may end up getting a job you don’t want in a city you loathe living in.

Taylor nailed it (nice portfolio, by the way.) It’s a very specific field. Competition is fierce, so you’re seriously limiting yourself by expecting to stay in W. Mass. That said, it’s FUN to move to new parts of the country. You don’t know anyone so you’re forced to meet new and exciting people. But heed Taylor’s advice…don’t just go sending out your application to any and everyone. Focus on the places you’d actually want to live in. I made this mistake and ended up in the middle of Kansas for a while. But I made the best of it and some of my closest friends are from there. It’s all about what you make of it. Just like in design school, I suppose.

i’m a little bit jaded by having a “fairly” solid corporate design job, so I’m not exactly sure how things are in the world of design jobs. It surely can’t be any worse than it was when I graduated in 2000. There would be, maybe, 1-2 postings a week on Core. Seems much better now, especially considering the current financial-apocalypse.

6ix said it

it’s FUN to move to new parts of the country

One of my favorite parts about this field.

Love seeing new parts of the country and the world.

i have just over 10 years pro time in, 12 altogether. I have replocated for a job 4 times. the first time was bad, because i didn’t care where it was, i just wanted the job. this was a bad idea, i hated that city.

i made the jump from east coast to west coast three years ago. it has been great, but not everything. i think it’s a misnomer that X city will be harder to find work because of the large number of unemployed designers in it. companys will pick the best person for the job. HOWEVER, you may have to foot the bill of the move (it’s deductible on your taxes). i certainly would NOT have moved out here first to find a job. housing here is 3x more expensive as is food, insurance, etc. that were i moved from.

each relocation has always been an adventure and i wouldn’t trade those life experiences for anything. good luck!

Wow. What were you doing in Pittsfield? I think your prospects will be much improved if you get closer to Boston or NYC, at least. I imagine people will be much less willing to deal with a relocation prospect in a tight economy, so your option with your brother sounds like a better bet too. I am still trying to imagine how much opportunity there is in, and around, Pittsfield for ID and I’m at a loss. : )

Good luck.

It may not be the west coast, but I am moving back home to Cleveland. I think it will definitely be a better base to work on portfolio and freelance before moving onto something more concrete. I’m still hesitant about the west coast considering that state’s economy is not that great. I guess only time will tell where design will take me next.

It may not be the west coast, but I am moving back home to Cleveland. I think it will definitely be a better base to work on portfolio and freelance before moving onto something more concrete. I’m still hesitant about the west coast considering that state’s economy is not that great. I guess only time will tell where design will take me next.

um, i live in CA. yeah the state’s economy is bad, but tell me where it ISN’T everywhere else?

i’m not pushing the west coast here, but i believe as the economy turns around, it’s going to pick up here first, based on the diversity of industries alone.

i believe as the economy turns around, it’s going to pick up here first, based on the diversity of industries alone.

I hope you’re right KF, but if the morons up in Sac don’t get their collective sh*t together there won’t be much left to turn around.

I hear you, man.

maybe i look at it through rose-colored glasses.

i’d rather be here in OC than my hometown - detroit. :wink:

i’d rather be here in OC than my hometown - detroit.

It’s all relative … at least the climate doesn’t fk with you as much out here as it does “back home” (southern Indiana).

southern indiana?

i just vomited a little in my mouth.

Like I said, it’s all relative. I’ve only been out here 31 years; it was pretty nice back then, more open space, 13,000,000 fewer inhabitants (equal to the population of the entire Greater LA Basin; in essence, another LA was added), unresponsive government, and an out of touch population thrown to the lobbyist wolves… … woopff… i just vomited a little in my mouth … :blush:

San Luis Obispo county population increased by 51% in one year during the .com boom, real estate prices went through the ceiling, there’s tinge of green/gray in the sky up here now … it was azure blue years ago. LA/SF driver mentality now rules, LA/SF consumer mentality now rules, the open spaces that weren’t turned into vineyards are housing developments (am wondering who the hell will be able to afford any of them), blah, blah, blah… … .

It’s all relative. Southern Indiana is not/was not so bad. In fact from my perspective, it’s looking pretty good again; but at 58, I’m an old fk. And as far as the climate is concerned, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” - old Norwegian adage

yeah, i got you.

i’m no fan of LA either. i really do wish to locate the area i was in before i moved here, in the southeast.
i’ve spent a lot of time in so.in. visiting with clients in the furniture biz. it has it’s charm, but being from michigan, indiana is that piece of land that slows you down when you’re driving to and from chicago. :wink: