Why It's Okay to Move Away for Your Dream Job
Everyone has a story to tell. What matters is whether or not they get the chance to share it. Here, real people recount their 365 days that follow college graduation. For those of you between the many options life gives you, we hope this helps you find your route.
365 Days After Graduation: Michael Brekke
For Michael Brekke, he planned his career path as an undergraduate. He was willing to move away from California, where he was born and raised, to grow even more in the engineering industry. He disclosed things he gave up, skills he's gained and—most importantly—how he's adapted to life on the East coast.
To be honest, I had a hard time with how to start this piece. There were so many ways to dive right in, but nothing seemed right. I set up an entire outline and thought of how I would properly paint the picture of Michael Brekke’s life in Connecticut. Instead of figuring it out for myself, I consulted a few of his close friends who describe Brekke as someone who knows how to open the right doors.
Michael Brekke in a Nutshell
His friends describe his move to Connecticut as "typical Brekke." The job was exactly what he was looking for, the area is the epicenter his field and everything just fell into line.
"He knows what he likes and he's determined to get it, but he doesn't need much," Bryan, his close friend from college, said when fondly reminiscing on the days they lived and went to class together. "Brekke usually gets what he wants, but he doesn't have it given to him. He always works for it."
How He Chose His City
To say the very least, opportunity may have come knocking but he was the one who reeled it in. From excelling in a long term internship at Green Edge to working up to becoming a reliability engineering intern with Pratt & Whitney in San Diego, he set up his professional career for success. Through his time with Pratt & Whitney, the world-class provider of dependable engines, propulsion systems, parts and services, Brekke was able to prove himself as an exceptional engineer and diligent employee. Again, he was paving a path to leverage himself as an engineer by positioning himself in the right place professionally.
“Connecticut is definitely the hub," Brekke said when asked why he chose Connecticut. "The Northeast overall has a lot of aerospace related opportunities, but since I was already in Pratt, I was like ‘Okay, Connecticut.' It makes no difference to me if it’s Connecticut or Vermont or whatever opportunities there were.”
Taking Steps in The Right Direction
"Taking chances really vibrates with me."
- Michael Brekke
“I kind of have the opinion that taking chances pays off. I think it’s working out that way for me and that’s definitely the advice I get from people I’ve always looked up to," he explained.
As we spoke about his experience, Brekke encouraged—for those who are hesitating a move—to go somewhere new if the opportunity is waiting for you.
“Timing is ideal.” To lower class men, Brekke suggests, “If you can do this sort of big decision making before you graduate, it’s easiest. A lot of people get to that date and then start figuring it out."
So if you have that opportunity, and it lines up with your plan, the next step is to overcome any fears you may have to keep on keeping on.
Advice on Adjusting After College
When asking about biggest fears in moving far away for a job, most have told me it was the first day at a brand new position. Brekke confessed it was the lifestyle changes.
“I grew up in San Diego my whole life before I moved," Brekke said. "I thought the issue would be the seasons, but the real issue was just missing the old life and riding bikes and all that stuff. That’s always paired with just moving after college. I feel like everyone just gets a little tinge of that after just finishing school as your life changes."
Of course, going above and beyond as he does, Brekke went right back and offered a few ways to embrace those changes.
“Obvious thing is that you have to be willing to do things you didn’t do before, especially in my case because everything I did was based on good weather all the time," Brekke explained.
“You just have to be willing to take up those hobbies that you weren’t so committed to, or to try completely new things. Especially be a 'yes' person when people go do things. Be willing to join even if it’s not something you typically wouldn’t be excited for."
Brekke started naming instances where he would break out of habit in order to adapt to a his new city. For him, he doesn’t think this was the biggest plunge, but starting to rock climb was his most prevalent “yes person” moment.
"When I came out here, I just wanted to work out. It just so happened that my boss at the time was getting into climbing, which I was already into. That pushed me to become his climbing partner two to three times a week. I normally wouldn’t do it, but overtime, it’s just really paid off. It’s been an enjoyable thing after work and you get that extra connection."
A Year After Pushing The Boundaries
A year, or 365 days, might be the wrong time frame for Brekke, who has been setting stellar goals and pushing the boundaries for years before this big move. Again, he started this journey early to make sure life post-graduation was a little more seamless. When interviewed about a year after his graduation, he had his apartment, finances, work and life all balanced.
“I’m starting to feel less like an outsider," Brekke said while reflecting this past year. "When I first got out here, every person would flip out when I said I was from the west coast. It was really strange. Now people who know me don’t treat me so naively like that anymore."
Originally, Ashley—his girlfriend—was back home finishing school. Recently, she moved out to East Hartford equipped with a new job as a hydrogeologist. Almost like it was meant to be, she was working within three weeks of getting there (another prime example of successful adulting). She just bought a plane ticket, packed two boxes of things and flew out—the final piece of Michael's adapting-to-life-across-the-country puzzle.
With Michael's story as inspiration, we see that he's pushed himself professionally. Now, whether you're a recent graduate or even a sophomore in college, take a page from Michael's book: Plan early, get your foot in the door and take a chance on the opportunities available to you!