I have had lot of SEO/Internet marketing friends that have lost jobs or changed jobs and then had to move far away to a new job. There is often a lot of panic, stress, and worry. Recently, Alan Bleiweiss announced that he was moving back to California and changing his career path.
I know him personally and know that this is his second job move in the past 12-18 months. I saw that he handled the first move really well and is handling the latest job change with a smile on his face.
I contacted him for some suggestions on job changing, moving, and preparation. I think he offers some solid advice for anyone in any industry.
You have made some major moves in the last year moving from California to Washington? And now back to CA?
Yep – 750 miles north coming to Washington, and now, over 1,000 moving south, to Santa Monica. Except this isn’t my first time to the rodeo! I’ve moved many times over my adult life following my unique path. Heck – just since getting into the Internet Marketing industry (January 1995), I’ve moved:
Santa Cruz, California to Long Island, New York. Then to L.A. Back to Long Island. Back to L.A. Up to the SF Bay Area. Back to Long Island. Then to Brooklyn. Then back to the SF Bay Area. And then last year up to Washington State, and now, once again, back to SoCal!
Most of those moves involved driving. Only a couple were by air.
What are some tips that you could give people on what to consider/do before they make the move?
1. Know Your Personality Type
Stress is inevitable in a major geographic, career, or just about any move. Moving on the scale I do is considered right up there as one of the biggest life stressors many people will ever face. Also, this needs to be evaluated for anyone else moving with you if you’re not going it alone.
You either have a “road trip” personality, or you don’t. If you do, a major move can be a lot more exciting than stressful. I’m not saying there’s no stress in a move when you’ve got that “let’s pile into the car and go somewhere we’ve never been before” mentality. Just that you’re likely to have less stress. So the first thing to consider is “know your personality.”
2. Employ Techniques to Reduce Stress
Regardless of the potential for stress, mitigate that potential with whatever methods you know of or are willing to learn as far as meditation, visualization, relaxation, prayer, and having people in your life to be able to just talk it out with who won’t judge you but instead will provide you detached, valid feedback. Because with any or all of those in your “move mentality” arsenal, the experience is much more likely to go well, regardless of ultimate long-term outcome.
Of course, the more likely you are to be stressed by such a move, the more you’ll need to rely on those techniques and channels to help get you through.
3. Learn and Live “HALT”
This one is great before, during, and in the short-term after a move. HALT stands for “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.” If you’re any one of those four things in the process (or at any point in life, really), you are vulnerable to psychological or emotional stress implosions. As soon as you have any two or more of those going at once, the potential for an implosion or outburst becomes exponentially more likely.
Simply by knowing how to look for those signals (the sooner in the process, the better), you know how to resolve at least the short term, immediate factors involved. It won’t solve all your problems, however it will allow you to better focus, be more present, and show up for the work in front of you.
4. Have a Plan.
Your particular plan might be simple or complex, short or long. Again, what it looks like is really dependent on your personality type (and that of those with you if others are moving with you). The important thing is if you have a plan, it both needs to be recognized that “life happens” and “Murphy’s Law is waiting around the next corner.”
Which means be prepared for the unexpected, which isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can mean discovering some new wonder, meeting some new person, or learning something about yourself or those you travel with you never knew before.
What do you think has to be planned ahead of time?
What are my tolerances and thresholds? For example, do I need to know exactly where I’m going, what I’ll be doing when I get there? Do I need to map out every overnight stop along the way (and in turn map out exactly how much road-time you can truly handle each day, including unexpected)? Do I need to have a “next thing” already guaranteed before I move? Or can I trust that God will provide that “next thing” based on faith alone?
How much reserve capital do I need before I commit? What do I need to bring and what can I sell, donate, or otherwise throw out before moving? Can I find a new home and conduct the entire rental/purchase transaction online/by phone, or do I need to fly out in advance and work all that out ahead of time?
Do I get a short-term (in reality it’s called long-term) rental just so I have a place to land when I get there, thus giving me time to look around, explore neighborhoods, shop for a home? Or do I have the courage, willingness, patience, and tolerance threshold to “just come stay with us?”
Over the years, that set of questions has resulted in many different answers for me with each move.
At the very least, have a rough outline of a plan based on those questions. And at least a roughed-out budget, not just for the move, but for at least the first couple months after you land, if at all possible. Because the last thing you need to do is make a move, land, then, out of cash, realize that next gig/job/opportunity evaporated due to no fault of your own.
Believe me, that is a very serious possibility, no matter HOW great you think your plan/job-offer/signed-contract/contingency might appear up front. I know because I’ve lived it. More than once.
Any tips on finding a home?
OMG! OMG! Can I use this as an opportunity to rant about how AWFUL the process of finding a new home is online? Even in 2012? The whole “accurate, timely, and valid information” issue is a massive fail with every single site I’ve been to this time around. You never know when a rental price is accurate, the photos are actually of the place you’re going to end up at, or a host of other things.
SO MANY properties listed either have NO photo, useless grainy dark photos, or only photos that show the outside of the property. OMG #vomit.
I HIGHLY advise working out a REALISTIC budget for the area you’re moving to. Cost of living factors alone could make or break your ability to succeed in a long distance move. And take a lot of time to shop around across multiple sites. Don’t assume every major site will have every property that’s available.
And if you can, find a way to do that advance visit. So you can tour houses/apartments/condos, check out neighborhoods, meet the property manager in person. And come by both during the day and at night – just to sit in your car and listen/observe. That makes a big difference and can reveal issues/considerations you would have no way of knowing about trying to make it work remotely.
Consider that first place you move into as a “landed safely and have a good roof over the head” move. Meaning it will allow you to get settled in and give you six months or a year to really take quality time to find your next place. And don’t assume anything about where you might live purely based on what you see/read online. Ask questions. Lots of them!
Can you tell us some unexpected things that came up that you had to deal with?
The biggest issue happened twice. Gigs I had previously lined up before moving fell through, and I had nothing in reserve to back that up after a cross-country move. I’ve been blessed every other time I’ve moved, partly factored by having more capital reserves and partly due to willingness to put in the leg-work to compensate for that after – scrambling to get cash flowing again.
And if you’re driving, and if you plan how many days you’ll be on the road, where you’ll stop overnight, expect that to have to change “on the fly.” One time during one of my many cross-country drives, I had it all mapped out. How many miles each leg of the journey there would be, which towns I’d stop in, which hotels to call in advance to reserve a room at…
That plan got obliterated the very first day I was on the road. Because even if you’ve driven back and forth 3,000 miles multiple times, “THIS” time you might not have as much energy for each leg of the trip. Or you might have more, along with a burning desire pop out of nowhere to “make a side trip.”
We’re talking about one day putting in 400 miles, then the next 350. The day after that? Yeah, 900 miles before I had to “find the nearest place to crash for the night.” Heck, one night I ended up pulling into a rest stop in the middle of Wyoming and slept in my Mustang. As crazy as that was, the next morning I woke at sunrise, and the experience that followed was an epic, miraculous moment and a memory I’ll have for the rest of my life.
One last concept, for that trip I kept a journal the whole drive. It ended up being 40 pages of back-to-back, legal notepad of writing, stream-of-thought consciousness writing. That venture took place back in 2000, and to this day I have that journal. (Some things sometimes don’t have to become a blog). And I also created a separate blog for the journey, where I posted photos and thoughts not written down in the journal. I called it “Rafael’s Great Adventure.” Named for my inner child and written in his voice with photos from his perspective.
You have recently made an unexpected career change. Do you have any advice for those in the same position?
First rule: Don’t Panic. Breathe. Allow yourself to first and foremost know, through and through, that though unexpected, it WILL turn out okay. It WILL lead you to an even better experience. EVERYONE involved will have the opportunity to get to a next level in life, and it’s up to each person involved of their own accord to either know and accept that as truth or not.
Know that you cannot control everyone else’s reality. You can and NEED to handle your part in the process in a calm, intelligent, and thoughtful manner.
Remember as much as anything else, you have marketable skills. You have the ability to show up, suit up, and get the job done, so there WILL be opportunities for you.
Having been to this rodeo a number of times through more than three decades in the work world, I’ve come long ago to accept that at any given moment, in the blink of an eye, life will be different. That doesn’t just apply to career changes or moves, of course. Yet it’s a fitting concept. Long gone are the days when companies hired workers, and those workers expected to be there for 30 years at the same company. Sure, that might rarely still happen.
Except (and this is especially true in our industry), the world is a much different place now. We have both factors way outside our control and factors totally within our drive to continually evolve, experience more and better opportunities for ourselves, and pursue “that next leg in our life’s journey.”
The more you can accept that’s a reality we live in, the sooner you’ll be able to make a major job or career transition in a smoother, more stressless, more effortless, more miraculous, and magical way.
What emotions should you expect or be prepared to handle?
Fear, shame, guilt, remorse, hope, anticipation, faith, inner confusion, self-deception, temptation, overwhelming overload, honesty, close-mindedness, open-mindedness, unwillingness, willingness, excitement, trepidation, anticipation, wonder, joy, sadness, loss, numbness, aliveness… the list goes on and on.
Any suggestions on how to reach out when looking for a new job?
OMG. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes! Do NOT be afraid to privately reach out to as many people as you know where you’ve built up a rapport, a respectful and trusted dialogue. Whether it’s friends, co-workers, peers, family, acquaintances…
Start by reaching out to those closest to you, and let them know your situation (very briefly) and ask them if they would be kind enough to keep an ear/eye open for something that might fit your skills/passion/talent/experience/willingness to consider. Then over the course of the next X many days, slowly start to reach out more and more.
Don’t be afraid to pursue or consider contacting multiple recruiters on an initial non-exclusive arrangement. Some will balk. Move on and find those who understand you’re doing what you need to do to get the best possible opportunity.
Check all the usual suspect job boards if you’re looking for a new-hire situation. Craigslist and Dice for 1099 or temporary gigs.
Be open-minded to opportunities that might, on the surface, not sound like your ideal fit, yet where, on further investigation, it could very well turn out to be a dream job.
Never consider what you are considering to have to be a “for the rest of my life” decision. Know that it could get you to the next month, year, or decade, and that you may need to change direction even if you initially THOUGHT it could be.
Lastly, NEVER, EVER, EVER give up hope, belief, trust, and faith that if you truly honor your heart’s desire, you WILL consistently end up advancing, finding that next great thing, growing, and achieving experiences that had previously been beyond your wildest dreams.
You can find Alan:
- On his website
- Here on SEJ
- on Twitter
- On his blog
- and you can also meet him at Pubcon in Vegas 2012.
I want to thank Alan for taking the time to answer questions for us. We appreciate his time and his fantastic advice.