Since I was 14, I wanted to live in Boston. I spent a couple summers there at a young age and fell in love with everything about it. From then on, I dreamed of living in a brownstone on the cobblestone streets and drinking my Dunkin’ coffee on the T (if you know, you know).
I Wasn’t Afraid to Talk to People
Prior to applying to jobs across the country, I reached out to anyone and everyone I knew in my current market that had moved to a new city for a job or had connections in Boston specifically. I reached out for coffee, drinks, and anything else I could do to chat with people that would be able to offer some guidance.
I initially knew of a few people off the top of my head. To take it further, I reached out to past professors, classmates, and colleagues at different internships I had. I wasn’t afraid to tell people around me about my plans and dreams, and the more I talked about it, the more doors opened as people told me they knew someone that knew someone that lived in Boston or had followed a similar path.
Tip: A great way to do this if you don’t know where to start is to get on LinkedIn and see if any of your connections work at companies you like or live in the market you are interested in!
By doing this, I was able to fine-tune my resume, build relationships with people in my industry, and even talk to a few people who had worked in my dream market. The best part? Everyone was willing and excited to offer help, and while I didn’t land a job this way, the advice I received was invaluable to help get me there.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for help, and make connections with people that may seem out of reach. Chances are, they’d love to assist someone with a similar dream.
I Got Real With My Budget
In order to make this move, I had to get real about how much I would need to have in savings in order to get an apartment and get myself and my belongings over there. I also had to look at my finances and expenses to decide how much I would need to make once I got off the plane.
I sat down with all of my monthly expenses and created a budget that included my estimations for the city. From there, I was able to go into job interviews knowing exactly what I needed to make in order to live in my dream city.
Here are a few things I did to get ready:
- I took a look at rent prices for apartments and talked to anyone I knew that had lived in a similar market to gauge how much it would cost. This was important because different cities have different protocols for securing apartments. For example, broker fees and deposits can vary.
- I outlined my “needs” such as my estimated rent, utilities, phone bill, and groceries.
- I researched gyms in the area to get an idea of what they would cost per month.
- I reviewed the subscriptions I had and canceled anything unnecessary (this was a big one).
- I outlined my “wants”—nails, hair—the fun stuff.
- I realized that my lifestyle might have to change for a bit, but I accepted that that was okay because I knew the sacrifice would be worth it in the end.
Once I got there, I pivoted as needed based on true prices, and I pivoted fast. I cut back on things I couldn’t fit into my budget and set goals for myself for future income in order to get where I wanted to be.
I Didn’t Give Up
Once I felt good about my resume, had talked to others that had taken the same path, and felt confident enough to put myself out there—I started applying. And let me tell you, this part wasn’t easy.
For over a year and a half, I worked. I took interviews at 5 a.m. to talk to companies on the east coast before my day job. I worked during the day to continue to build my experience and portfolio, and at night, I applied to more jobs. At times, and after being ghosted by company after company, I thought it would never happen.
And while I will always recommend having another job lined up before making a move, I did get to a point where it was time to take the leap without a set “plan.” Before I was anywhere close to ready, with no future job set-up—I gave my current company notice (a full six months so they could find a replacement and I could get all my ducks in a row).
As soon as I made my decision and decided I knew this would happen for me, the universe answered. What can I say? Manifestation works. Within a few weeks of giving my company notice, I landed a job in Boston.
While I had told my current company one timeline (six months), the universe had another timeline in store for me. And while it certainly wasn’t ideal to have to change the timing of my resignation from my employer, I had luckily worked hard to establish a solid relationship (and had AMAZING bosses), so when I had to make the shift, I was able to discuss my new plan and was met with their support.
I ended up negotiating with my new employer in Boston to give me six weeks prior to starting. Between wanting to give my current role ample time to transition (pro tip: new employers actually like to see your loyalty!) and needing to pack up my entire life, they were more than willing to work with me. And so, I gave my current company a one-month notice and started wrapping things up and planning for my future.
I Took It All In
I lived for nearly five years in Boston. I made friends, moved up in my career, and created relationships with colleagues and people on the east coast that I will never take for granted. But after all those years of city life, I decided it was time to move back west to spend time with my family and take advantage of the new remote working world many of us now live in. It wasn’t an easy decision, and there’s a chance I’ll even be back on the east coast someday, but after working my way up at my company and proving to myself that I could do it, I was ultimately ready for a change… again.
Looking back on my time in Boston, I have little regret. I did the best I could, and I grew in both my professional and personal life more than I could have ever imagined. The only thing I wish is that I had realized I was living my dream while I was in it. The biggest lesson I learned is that we never truly realize how lucky we are in each stage of life until the stage is gone. So once you accomplish your dream, don’t forget to soak it up—don’t forget to breathe it in.