Attention college grad job seekers: Following that impassioned and motivational commencement speech about how much promise your futures hold, it’s now time for a reality check. As you exit the mellow, contemplative halls of higher education and enter the blinding light of the real world with its frenetic pace, you need to begin a career that has decent pay.
The cold and unforgiving real world can be harsh. There are no letter grades or chances to get your score up on the next test. It’s more of a pass/fail situation, and incomplete assignments are not accepted, but where, oh where, should you begin a career?
Many graduates may move to one city or another — unless they studied agriculture and own a farm — so deciding which one to call home sweet home is challenging. Some colleges and universities have natural advantages because they are located near major metropolises, but which cities are best for job opportunities, affordability and job satisfaction?
The good news is you’re fortunate to live in a world with access to the Internet and can read a nicely summarized report from Glassdoor Blog that ranks the 25 best cities for jobs based on the factors mentioned. The report compared the country’s 50 most-populous metro regions and assigned a score based on the median pay for workers, median home value and job satisfaction in each city.
This is a great thing, right? A succinct guide advising where to begin the next phase of your life is exactly what you need. Except there’s one problem: Most of the cities in the Top 10 are in the middle of the country and in places that probably won’t get young people excited to move there. That glamorous coastal city you might have been eyeing to begin your working life might not be an easy place to start out.
Glassdoor ranked Raleigh, N.C., No. 1 on the list. With several universities and the so-called “Research Triangle,” Raleigh is not exactly a backwater, but it’s also not notorious for wild, cosmopolitan times. For example, nobody is living out their “Sex and The City” fantasies, and no television show that I’ve known of has ever been fictionally situated there.
Rounding out the rest of the Top 10 are, from No. 2 to No. 10, Kansas City, Mo.; Oklahoma City; Austin, Texas; Seattle; Salt Lake City; San Jose, Calif., Louisville, Ky.; San Antonio and Washington, D.C.
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A short list of places to visit on anyone’s bucket list it’s not. However, each city does have some allure. Kansas City is known for its football-crazy Chiefs fans and world-class barbecue while Oklahoma City has an exciting basketball team, friendly people and great steaks. Salt Lake City is full of stark beauty, lots of Mormons and great nearby skiing and Louisville has excellent bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and a burgeoning independent music scene.
But don’t get upset, young one, the bigger towns aren’t necessarily better. As the Glassdoor report advised, some of these cities are suffering from “branding” problems, which in non-marketing speak means people still think they are uncool. So go ahead, party like it’s 2099 in New York or San Francisco, but good luck ever making enough to buy a home or save any real dough for things like a vacation or retirement.
Yeesh, did I say retirement? Right, with how the ever-increasing gap between cost of living and income is trending, this will even be a thing by the time Millennials are in their golden years.
Best of luck in your decision, good luck, Godspeed and may the force be with you, recent college grads while you’re divining the right place to begin your career. Now that you’ve received your diploma, try to prioritize your life and think about what you want, boozy nights out in a town with bright lights where you’ll probably live paycheck to paycheck or maybe less of a nightlife and more affordability, job satisfaction and the possibility of buying a home? The choice is yours.
Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.