This past week has been a busy time with the Christmas and New Years holidays. I feel exhausted from a full schedule almost every evening with friends, family, and holiday parties. I've enjoyed it, but it has been somewhat overwhelming. One person I had a chance to reconnect with told me about his upcoming move to Chicago for a new job. Since I'm in a position that frequently deals with people moving, I was interested in his opinion. Our conversation eventually led to me asking about his search process for finding a new place to live.
"First of all, I'm looking to my personal network in the area," Ryan said. "I've been touching base with people I know from school and past jobs that also live there." I thought that seemed like a reasonably good idea. I recalled when I moved from Wisconsin to Colorado to work in the mountains. I contacted some friends from college that planned to move out to Summit County as well. In fact, we even ended up renting a place together. Lately, more and more people are accessible via email, facebook and these personal connections can be a great resource.
Obviously, the internet has changed how many of us gather information. Some of the best resources in the Madison area are the local newspapers, television, and radio stations. In fact, if I had no personal connections to an area, the internet resources would probably be even more valuable. One could look at the census bureau for demographic information, school websites, or the local chamber of commerce. One thing that I've done as a Realtor to help my clients is to compile a relocation packet that includes local maps, magazines, other useful information.
Talking to friends and looking online can be a great start, but make sure that you schedule a few visits prior to moving. There was a couple that I helped move from Maryland to Madison and they scheduled about a week...
Be proactive. If you've ever read Stephen Covey's "7 Habit's of Highly Effective People" you might recognize this topic as his first suggestion. Not second, not third, but first. The first thing that you must do according to Covey to be highly effective is to be proactive. What does that mean and why should you be proactive?
Being proactive means taking personal responsibility for your own life and choices. Covey states that it, "basically means that your life is a product of your values not your feelings. Your life is a product of your decisions not your conditions. You take the initiative to do whatever is necessary to make good things happen. It means that you take responsibility of your own life. Using the computer metaphor it is the awareness that you are the programmer. The only way to predict your future is to create it. The opposite of being proactive is being reactive, which basically means that your life is a product of your feelings--your moods, your anger, or taking out your frustration on work associates. You feel victimized or under the control of other peoples forces. Other people are doing it to you. Being reactive is not taking responsibility."
Somewhere between a stimulus and the response lies our greatest power, our freedom to choose. We all know that the economy is pretty tough right now, as there's thousands of articles to support this claim. In fact, many of you reading this might be looking for work or know someone who has been laid off. I find it encouraging to recognize that each week, each day, each hour, we have the remarkable ability to choose what we want to do next.
I spoke with an electrician named Ben, who has been out of work for a few weeks. He's in the local electricians union and typically is assigned to work wherever they tell him. However, in the present economic conditions there are no new projects in the Madison area until Fall of 2009. Of course that could always change if more jobs are booked. I asked what...