After bouncing around a few different cities in the Midwest over the last couple years, I made the challenging, yet right decision to move back to my hometown of Cedar Rapids in January of 2018. Most recently I had been in Chicago, and while Chicago offered much in the way of dining, nightlife, and entertainment that the Corridor may not, ultimately the lifestyle, traffic, and living expenses were too much for me to justify hanging around.
I think there are a lot of people in the same boat as me, that grew up in the Corridor area but have moved to different parts of the country, and if given the right opportunity would love to move back to the place they call home. As I was considering moving back I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to find for potential jobs. I was extremely happy to find that there are many great companies hiring for professional job opportunities in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Using Corridor Careers, and creatively searching for jobs led me to land a position in Digital Advertising at The Gazette.
It’s been very rewarding to move back to my hometown of Cedar Rapids. I’m impressed with what is going on in my neighborhood that I chose to live in – NewBo. As the weather changes, there are events and entertainment going on all the time, and that definitely brings an energy. I like to run and bike, so having a trail close to me was important as well.
If you are relocating to the Iowa City area, they have an abundance of great trails as well.
What I’ve enjoyed most about being back in my hometown is reconnecting with old friends, while also being able to meet new friends. This area is changing for the better. While there are always going to be larger cities with more entertainment, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City win when it comes to lifestyle. The ability to be in an urban area one minute, and paddling on a lake 20 minutes later is unbeatable.
If you are considering relocating, especially as a millennial just beginning your career, or even if you are thinking about leaving the Corridor, I would make sure to get clear on a few items:
How much do you need to make financially to live in your desired area?
I haven’t changed my lifestyle much for dining and shopping since moving back to Cedar Rapids from Chicago. However, living in Chicago vs. Cedar Rapids drastically changed my finances. For one, eating out in Chicago is much more expensive, and living just a few miles northwest of downtown Chicago meant that I usually didn’t drive to a restaurant, I either had to walk, take public transportation, or uber. It caused more hassle, and more money.
I still have the ability to walk to plenty of restaurants and shops in Cedar Rapids, while my cost of living has gone down several hundred dollars per month. You’ll find that Iowa City and Coralville offer similar type of lifestyles if you want to live in walkable areas with dining and shopping close.
Does the area you are considering moving to have the job opportunities you are interested in?
Before jumping ship and moving, do your research and figure out what career opportunities lie in the field that you are most interested in. I wanted to work in Digital Marketing of some kind, and found that the corridor had plenty of job opportunities in this field.
I’ve always been a huge fan of living really close to where you work. It just makes life easier. I currently have a 4 minute commute, ability to walk or bike to work, and it just simplifies everything. I would strongly consider living very close to where you work if you are single, and if you are married/living with a roommate, finding a spot to live that is convenient for both of you is a plus.
Create a pros and cons list.
I’m not going to lie, moving is a hassle. A huge con for me. But I have always considered lifestyle, job opportunity, finances, friends, family, and recreation when relocating. If the pros outweigh the cons that could be enough to sway your decision. It also helps if you can negotiate moving expenses when relocating, which from my experience most companies are willing to look into and provide some assistance.
Spend some time in the city you are moving to.
Can you see yourself living there? Where will you hang out? Have you done enough research to know what neighborhoods are affordable and would work for you? Go to some local restaurants and walk around the neighborhoods you are considering. Whenever I have moved, I get a rush or strong feeling when I am somewhere that gives me energy and feels right.
Think About Regrets
One question that has always helped me when I am considering a move or a job change is “Will I regret NOT doing this in 5 years?” It was a question I asked myself when I decided to move back to Cedar Rapids. I’m happy to report that I couldn’t be more excited to be back in Eastern Iowa. It’s a great spot to live and constantly getting better. If you are planning to make the jump and move to the area, you’ll find a community that is thriving and ever changing with more job opportunities and things to do.
If you are considering the move, check out our other posts about this area. And Good Luck in your exploration!