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Dr. Cathy Goodwin Offers her Moving Tips
For more than two decades, Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., has been teaching marketing strategy in university classrooms throughout North America. After years of research and study in the social sciences and multiple moves and career transitions herself, Cathy decided to put her expert knowledge to helping others navigate their own relocations with an action-oriented approach. Cathy provides career planning and advice to midlife professionals as well as business owners and executives who are looking to take on not just a new city or job but truly make what she calls a “creative life transition.” Through her work she has been internationally recognized as a career and relocation expert. In this interview, Goodwin mentions why having friends around can make your move successful.
What are the most important things to keep in mind during the first 30 days of moving to a new city?
Plan for solitude. You'll probably find yourself alone. Find ways to enjoy this time—perhaps start a creative project, join a gym or embark on a fitness plan. Don't look for friends. It takes a long time to make real friends and you don't want to appear needy.
What do you see happening most often in people during a move?
Exhaustion! Moving can be physically draining. At the same time, everything takes longer. You get lost. You can't find anything. You might find yourself making dumb mistakes, like locking your keys in the car.
What is your advice for people on how best to tackle exhaustion or feeling overwhelmed during the first 30 days?
Budget time to relax and sleep as much as possible. Recognize that these feelings are completely normal. Take reality checks. I recommend hiring a coach, therapist or consultant before you move, so you'll have someone you know on call in case you need help. When you're new in town, it's hard to find good resources.
What are crucial things that can make a move to a new city easier, but most people don’t think of?
Have a friend standing by on the phone. You need an outsider to get some perspective. Clients sometimes hire me as a consultant for this very reason: friends and family get tired of hearing your story and they are hardly objective. They'll dismiss your concerns. They won't know how to help you identify red flags in your community or job.
When you're new in town, you can't and shouldn't pour your heart out to anyone. Your next-door neighbor could be your boss’s brother-in-law. The lady behind you at the supermarket could be your landlord’s best friend.
Also get lots of sleep. Allow yourself LOTS of extra time to do even the simplest things.
What are the biggest mistakes people make when moving to a new city?
Rushing to take the first apartment, house, social invitation for fear they will end up sleeping alone in the park. Go slow!
What are some tips on how best to make this a positive learning experience instead of just something to endure?
Create a spirit of adventure. Imagine you are an anthropologist exploring new territory. Study the natives and their culture. You'll never have this perspective again. Go off on hikes and rides around your new city. Some people get lost on purpose and then find their ways back.
Plan ahead for activities to keep busy. It’s no accident that the Marine Corps sergeants make sure all the recruits are too busy to be homesick during the first week. You have to be your own drill sergeant or camp counselor, if you prefer a more laid-back metaphor.
What are the most common things you see among people during the first 30 days of moving and what are the biggest differences?
Most common: Feeling tired. Ordering lots of pizza. Feeling disoriented and stressed.
Biggest differences: Being alone. Some people love it; some feel isolated. Even if you're married, you're isolated.
Some newcomers find themselves drowning in an unwanted social life. Their neighbors come over. The boss wants them to attend a party. This is worse than being alone because you're new, you don't know the culture and hidden rules and you can easily make mistakes.
What is the most important thing to keep in mind beyond the first month of a move?
Most people need at least two years to make good friends. There’s probably nothing wrong with you. Once you live in a place, you get too busy to absorb newcomers. You have ties. So while you're a newcomer, give everything time. Don't panic.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
I tend to like change—my challenge is staying in one place!
The best thing about change is...
…it's like opening a door to a new adventure.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Getting a dog after a lifetime as a cat person.