Moving for a Job: Leaving It All Behind

The Niche Movement’s Leap of Faith series features stories about big life changes and major pivots, focusing on the courage it takes to commit to the leap. This week’s blog features Julie Cogley-Pifko’s journey leaving it all behind to move away from home to land a job. Read on to learn Julie’s 5 lessons learned by taking the lead of faith to move across state lines.

During the spring of 2016, I was in my final months of graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and was deep in the student affairs job search. My goal was to land a job in the Pittsburgh area to stay close to family and friends. As graduation was creeping closer and closer, the job search geographical area was becoming larger and larger. Phone interviews and on-campus interviews provided me with the opportunity to practice and refine my interviewing skills, but a job offer wasn’t received.

This all changed when I made the trip for an on-campus interview to Radford University, six hours from home. The moment I arrived to the small town of Radford, Virginia, I fell in love with the quaint college town. Part of me wanted the interview to be a success (I had bills to pay) and the other part wanted me to blow it so I didn’t have to make the decision to leave it all behind. 

After months of a stressful job search, an offer arrived from Radford University with a travel territory of New York and New England as an admission counselor. Instantly, I had a mix of emotions: relief, excitement, and the roller coaster stomach drop feeling!  

Here are my 5 lessons learned by taking the lead of faith to move across state lines and leave it all behind.

It will be challenging

Moving away from everyone you know to a new city, town, or state will be challenging, I won’t sugar coat it. However, your support system will help you through the tough times. 

Who is your support system? 

Utilize and lean on them during this new chapter. Schedule weekly phone calls or FaceTime chats to help you stay connected and talk about your transition to a new normal. 

I can’t thank my support system (husband, parents, grandparents, and friends) for the endless amount of time spent on the phone letting me cry, vent, telling me to keep it up and not letting me quit, and simply being on the phone while I was driving for two hours from one side of Massachusetts to the other at 10 o’clock in the evening.

You’ll have a whole new level of confidence

A new colleague who had a few years of traveling under her belt told me that after completing my first travel season (8-10 weeks on the road during the fall), I would have a whole new level of confidence. 

At the time, I was a few weeks from starting travel season, and before this job I had never traveled alone. When my colleague told me this, I believed her but did not realize how much truth was in her statement. 

Wow, after navigating myself in and out of airports, picking up rental cars, getting to multiple high schools, college fairs, and hotels, my level of confidence hit an entire new level that I didn’t even know was possible.

Your leap of faith and leaving it all behind may or may not be to become a college admissions counselor who travels frequently . . . but whatever your leap of faith will be, I can assure you that after this new challenge, you will see your confidence improve for the better!

Get involved

Making friends as an adult is challenging. 

You are not in school anymore where friends can be easily made because you have a major part of your life in common, your area of study. When the season of school ended, I experienced a bit of a mid-life crisis because I was accustomed to working 20-30 hours, going to classes, and doing homework in the evenings. Now all of sudden, this routine that I have known for so many years was complete and I had to find something to fill my homework-free time with in a new city.

My advice is to get involved with an organization outside of your work!  Getting involved at a local church, writing articles for a website (The Niche Movement), or volunteering at a nonprofit that is close to your heart, can help you build new friendships to help make your leap of faith to leave it all behind a little easier.

You may want to quit, DON’T!

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times during the nine months of living in Virginia that I wanted to quit and move to where my boyfriend/fiancé (now husband) was living and working (Fort Wayne, Indiana). 

However, each passing week and month became easier and easier and I knew deep down quitting would not help my personal growth or professional development. Rely on your support system when you feel like quitting, and if you are lucky like me, your colleagues that were once strangers will become friends.

Not quitting gave me examples to reference for phone and on-campus interviews during my second job search in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Not quitting helped me secure the job that I now hold and love today! 

Not quitting shaped me into the person I am today, and for that I will forever be grateful.

To those who are currently or about to start the job search for the first time, I encourage you to take the leap of faith and leave it all behind, you will not regret it! 

To those who have taken the leap of faith, I ask that you share your experience in the comments below.