What does Aesop’s fable, “City Mouse, Country Mouse” have to do with you? Probably more than you think if you’re a technology professional. This simple fable is a great illustration of the mistaken thought that a city by definition provides more benefit than the country. There is a growing demand for technology talent outside urban areas and in some cases, the opportunities may provide more long-term benefit than a city job.
We are seeing a rise in reshoring initiatives across the country, and over the last few months many large U.S.-based companies have announced formal plans to move both manufacturing and the supporting technology jobs back to the continental United States in large part because of the work of The Reshoring Initiative. For example, both GE and Chrysler have announced major reshoring plans in 2012.
City Mouse, Country Mouse
So what does this mean to you? It means that now and in years to come, you’ll see growing numbers of full-time and contract technology positions opening up in areas of the country that you never thought to consider. For certain, pseudo-rural and rural community locations are being selected by companies more than urban areas to keep operational (salary) costs down and to take advantage of both federal and state/local subsidies.
Adapting to Life Outside Technology Hubs
As this trend continues and as companies identify locations to land their newly planted operations, you’ll want to consider the pro’s and con’s of a technical job in an area that may be very different than you’ve ever considered.
What You Need to Know:
1.) First, you’ll want to broaden your job search to include areas outside major technology hubs and large cities. Don’t limit your search. Look around a bit!
2.) Prior to writing off that job in the deep-south in a town called “Nowhere,” do research on the technology landscape of the town. Let’s say you come across a job posting in Maiden, N.C. (population 3,000). Would it change your mind to know that Apple recently opened a 500,000 square foot data center there?
3.) Take advantage of the vast amount of information at your fingertips through online research. Give the rural location a real look before saying “No.”
4.) Consider that small town culture may have hidden benefits like less traffic and fresh vegetables from the farmer down the road. Who knows, that little town may have some of the best bass fishing you’ve ever encountered and a tighter knit community for your child to grow up in.
5.) While technology salaries may be lower in a smaller town, it’s likely that the cost of goods and services will be too. Do your research before being dismissive of a lower salary.
6.) Speak to IT resources working in the town and be informed. Unfounded bias often leads to missed opportunities.
I’ve recently spoken with several technical professionals who’ve relocated their families to rural delivery centers and all seemed happy with their choice.
Two cited that the most pleasant thing they’d encountered was the opportunity to work on multiple technical platforms because there are smaller number of resources vying for the same opportunities. Another said they were drawn to the center even though the salary was lower, because the full-time job brought stability for his family. All the professionals I spoke with said their families had adjusted well and that they had few regrets about relocating.
The worst thing I’ve heard: “Lack of sushi.”
Lastly, like in Aesop’s fable, if you decide to venture to the country, the potential benefit of not having to fight the crowd to get your portion just may shorten your pursuit for the opportunities you desire.
The Reshoring Initiative [Reshorenow.org]
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