May1920097:24 am

It’s not just what you’re going to do, but where you’re going to do it

Richard Florida makes the case for choosing the city that you’d like to get a job/build a career in wisely:

Getting ahead in your career today means more than picking the right first job. Corporate commitment has dwindled, job tenure has grown far shorter, and people switch jobs with much greater frequency. The average American changes their job once every three years; the average American under the age of 30 changes their job once a year.

In today’s highly mobile and economically tumultuous times, career success also turns on picking a thick labor market which offers diverse and abundant job opportunities. For new grads, picking the most vibrant location is an important hedge against economic uncertainty and the risk of layoff.

Florida cites CareerCast.com’s recent survey that lists New York as the most attractive place for recent college grads, followed by DC, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, and San Diego. Florida’s own list of attractive cities (divided into large, mid-size, and small, then further subdivided by age group) matches closely, though offers more possibilities than just the big cities mentioned by CareerCast.

I’d be interested to get Florida’s take on how these cities, large and small, fare in terms of “internationalness”—meaning both the international engagement of the city in general, as well as the availability of opportunities to get an international-oriented job there. One question Sherry and I have often fielded (and were only able to address briefly in our book) is: many international opportunities exist in New York or DC, but I don’t live in New York or DC—what opportunities are there for me? We always suggest that international job seekers check out local universities, chambers of commerce, and the local political scene, all of which are inceasingly international in nature. But in terms of more specific opportunities, it always depends on the nature of the particular place, of which we most likely have limited knowledge.

Even so, we both do try to suggest international organizations we happen to know in any given city. After the jump, off the top of my head, a few international organizations in each of CareerCast’s top 10 (minus DC and NYC). If you know of other international organizations in these cities, or in mid-size and small cities which are not typically thought of as international, (or if you know of a Florida-like study examining the “internationalness” of American cities), please pass any and all of it along.

LA: International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (http://www.ivcla.org/)

Boston: EF (http://www.ef.com/)

San Francisco: Institute of International Education-West Coast (http://www.iie.org/wcoast); Intrax Cultural Exchange (http://www.intraxinc.com/)

Chicago: International Vistors Center of Chicago (http://www.ivcc.org/)

Denver: IIE-Rocky Mountain (http://www.rockymountainiie.org/)

Seattle: World Affairs Council of Seattle (http://www.world-affairs.org/home.html)

San Diego: Citizen Diplomacy Council of San Diego (http://www.cdcsd.org/)

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3 Responses to “It’s not just what you’re going to do, but where you’re going to do it”

  1. Lauren says:

    DCist warns us with help from the Washington Examiner, with their headline: College Grads Moving to D.C. in Droves (http://dcist.com/2009/05/college_grads_moving_to_dc_in_drove.php)

  2. Garrett says:

    Richard Florida’s texts The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City? focus on the value of creativity and diversity within urban areas. So I’d like to append the title of your blog post to “…and with whom you do it.” Increasingly, it’s no longer sufficient to have a stable career but surroundings that offer cultural diversity and creativity. The cities you mention have more than international career options — they are places where vibrant international communities exist. This spills over into museum exhibits, summer festivals, and restaurant fare.

    As college students study at institutions that prize cultural diversity and experience studies abroad, they are more likely to find tangible value in cities that mirror these traits. A similar job offer in a more homogenous locale (economically, ethnically, or otherwise) will not foster the same interest.

  3. Mark Overmann Mark Overmann says:

    Point well taken, Garrett. Coming to DC after living for four years in South Bend, Indiana really gave me a new perspective on pursuing an international career—not only because of the abundance of international opportunities here (certainly FAR more than South Bend), but also because of the vibrant international communities and culture that surround me on a constant basis. It’s not something I think about on a regular basis, but these have fostered and propelled my interest in, and thus pursuit of, an international career in very subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, ways.

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