How to Start Over in a New City, with Terry St. Marie

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

This is “Find Your Dream Job”, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-hosts, Ben Forstag, managing director of Mac’s List and Jenna Forstrom, our community manager.

This week, we’re talking about how to start over in a new city. Have you ever thought about putting everything you own into a moving van and taking a job in a new city? The typical American moves almost twelve times in a lifetime. Some of those moves may be across town, others are to a neighboring city or state, and some may take you to the other side of the country.

Whether you move dozens, hundreds, or thousands of miles, you’ll face common challenges with job hunting and settling into a new city. Our guest expert this week, Terry St. Marie, knows all about starting over. He’ll share his best tips for building a career and a community from scratch.

Our show is brought to you by The Weekend Resume Makeover, a new online course from renowned career expert, Jenny Foss. If you’re not happy with your resume, Jenny can help. Learn how Jenny can teach you how to write a killer resume in just two days. Visit macslist.org/jobjenny. Let’s go to the Mac’s List team before we chat with Terry. Jenna, Ben, have you two ever started over in a new city?

Jenna Forstrom:

I have. I moved from Beaverton, Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts to go to university.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a long trip.

Jenna Forstrom:

When I was seventeen. I had a prompt freak out the week before and my mom’s advice was, “You can go for a semester and if you really hate it, you can come back and no one will ever hold that against you. If you quit before going, you’re always going to wonder whether or not you were supposed to go.” I went … Sucked it up, went, loved it, stayed for four years, finished my degree and then relocated back to Portland, Oregon after graduating.

Mac Prichard:

Once you got there, how long did it take, Jenna, before you knew after you’d arrived in Boston that you were going to stay, that it was going to be your home for the next four years?

Jenna Forstrom:

Oh, as soon as I landed and got a Dunkin’ Donut. I was so happy. I was like, “This was the best life decision ever.” It’s the little things in life.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. You preferred the Dunkin’ Donuts over the Voodoo Donuts.

Jenna Forstrom:

Yes. Hands down.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. All right. Good advice both on relocation and donuts. What about you, Ben?

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, a couple times. I went to Washington DC for college. I moved to Spain for a couple years. I moved back to DC from Spain and then most recently, moved from Washington DC to Portland here and each time had some challenges finding work and building a network in those towns.

Mac Prichard:

Were there things that you did in each of those moves that helped make it easier for you to settle?

Ben Forstag:

Well, definitely by the time I made the decision to move to Portland, I figured out what works and what doesn’t. Laying some groundwork from networking, making some trips out here before my wife and I permanently relocated, and just kind of laying out that groundwork of meeting people, talking to people, trying to get plugged into the community that really helped me.

Mac Prichard:

I’ve moved to three new cities. I grew up in the Midwest in Davenport, Iowa, but after college … Which really it was only sixty miles from my hometown, so it didn’t feel like it was that far from where I grew up. After college, I lived on the East Coast, first in DC and then in Boston and then finally moved out to Portland twenty-five years ago this summer.

What helped me in each of those moves was to have a network in place before I actually went. When I went to DC, I had a job lined up and it was the same with Boston and with Portland. I have found that as the years have gone by, it gets harder and harder to start over … The community you become part of becomes even more valuable as you get older. Well, good.

Well, Terry’s going to talk about that and other challenges people face when they relocate to a new city, particularly when they’re looking for work in a new place. First, let’s turn to Ben. Now, Ben, you’re out there every week searching the internet and looking for tools and resources our listeners can use in their job search. What have you found for us this week?

Ben Forstag:

This week, we’re talking about relocation. I found a post from Glassdoor.com, which is twenty-five best cities for jobs. If you’re moving to find work, these are the cities you would want to move to.

Mac Prichard:

I got to say, Ben, you’re a big fan of Glassdoor. I think this is the second or third time you’ve used the site?

Ben Forstag:

I am … I’ll explain. One of the reasons I really like the content they put out there is because it’s grounded in a lot of the data they gather from their users. Basically, Glassdoor, if you’re an employer or an employee of organizations, you go in and you enter data about your experience there, your salary, whatever information that you want to share. They extrapolate out of that some really interesting stuff.

As I’ll explain here, one of the ways they rank cities is it’s not just a, “Oh, here’s the hip town of the moment”, but they’re going through and they’re looking at, “What’s the median house value at? What’s the median salary at? How many job openings are currently posted on Glassdoor and other sites right now?”

They mix all those together and come up with these rankings. These are twenty-five cities which stand out for an abundance of jobs, an affordable cost of living, and high levels of job satisfaction and work balance. Like I said, I’m a data nerd, so this kind of stuff I love. Mac and Jenna, do you want to take a guess at the best city in America for a job?

Jenna Forstrom:

Boston, Massachusetts.

Ben Forstag:

It’s on the list, but it’s not on the top.

Jenna Forstrom:

Dang.

Mac Prichard:

I would guess DC just because it’s such a prosperous place when I look there and go on visits.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, also on the list, but not at the very top. At the very top are San Jose, California and less than fifty miles away, San Francisco, California. They are one and two, respectively.

Mac Prichard:

Wow. I have to say I’m surprised about San Francisco … Given what we hear about rents and housing costs there.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah. I’m guessing that the salaries are so high that they compensate for the rent because certainly we hear a lot of stories about how outrageously priced all the cost of living is there. There’s actually a lot of the usual suspects here, the cities that you’d expect to show up on a list like this, places like Washington DC or Boston, Seattle, Chicago and Atlanta, but there were also a few surprises there.

For example, when you think of a hot job market, you typically don’t think of Detroit or Oklahoma City, but both of those towns show up on the list. They’re both in the top fifteen. Even my hometown Cleveland, Ohio is ranked pretty highly as well.

Mac Prichard:

What’s driving that, Ben? Is it particular sectors that are located in those towns?

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, I think it’s a mixture of specific industries that are growing in those towns, but also the opportunity to live a relatively affordable lifestyle. Places like San Francisco and San Jose, they’re in the heart of Silicon Valley, so job opportunities there are going to focus in the tech sector whereas tech jobs might not so prolific in places like Oklahoma City or Cleveland, where the economy is structured around energy or healthcare, for example.

I know every time I go visit my old hometown, I’m always shocked by how cheap housing looks, for example. If you can find a good job, which admittedly is a challenge in a place like Cleveland, you can get a really nice home and have a very high standard of living at a cost that’s a fraction of what it costs in Portland, for example. If you’re in the mood for a big move or you just want to see where your town shows up in the list, check out “25 Best Cities for Jobs” on Glassdoor.com. As always, we’ll include the link in the show notes.

Mac Prichard:

Great. Well, thanks for that, Ben. For the benefit of listeners who aren’t receiving the show notes, we publish those every Wednesday. There’s a simple way to sign up. Just go to the podcast section of macslist.org and you’ll find directions there about how to get the show notes in your own inbox every week.

Now if you have a suggestion for Ben, you can write him. His email address is ben@macslist.org. We would love to hear from you and would love to feature your ideas or suggestions on the show. Now let’s turn to you, our listeners. Jenna’s here to answer one of your questions. Jenna, what’s in the mailbag this week?

Jenna Forstrom:

This week’s question is, “I’m moving to a new city for a job. Any tips on how to make sure my professional life doesn’t completely overtake my personal life?” I thought this was a great question and kind of what you were talking about … Before you moved, Mac, how you always have a network in place. A really great feature to use is on Facebook … In the search bar, you can say, “Friends who live in” a city. Find out who of your friends who are maybe already living there.

I did this recently for one of my roommates who just moved from Portland, Oregon to Austin, Texas. Since she didn’t know anyone in Austin, I did a search and introduced her through Facebook to a couple of my friends just saying, “Hey, my roommate’s moving to Austin. She’s really awesome. She’s working in the tech field, you happen to be in the tech field, happen to be a woman, maybe you guys can get cocktails together and just show her around town.”

That was just … Helped her get her foot in the door in terms of making friends, starting a network outside of work. Some other tips I had for this person would be to just sign up for opportunities on Meetup. Look for opportunities to volunteer or join a rec sports league or take an art class, just whatever you comfortable with or whatever you’re passionate about in your current city, how that can transfer into your new city.

Another great way is to just act like a tourist or be comfortable eating lunch alone. Chances are, a bartender or a server might take pity on you and ask what you’re doing. You can just kind of say like, “Oh, I’m new to town. What do you recommend?” or “I saw this on Yelp. Why are you great for whatever reasons?”

When I moved back to Portland after college, I made a friend through volunteering at my church and mentioned that I was trying to make friends. She invited me line dancing, which I would have never done, but because she was my one friend … She introduced me to ten people that line dance and it was just this really fun way to make friends. Those are my suggestions. Mac and Ben, what have you guys done?

Mac Prichard:

Ben?

Ben Forstag:

I mean, I think the best piece of advice is just always say yes to opportunities when they come up. Whether it’s line dancing or anything else, when you have an opportunity to meet people and get out and socialize, take that opportunity, which is a good mantra for your personal life and your work life as well.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. For me, some of the ideas you were rattling off I’ve used during previous searches … In pre-internet days when I first came to Portland, I used alumni directories that were actually in the form of old-fashioned paper books.

Jenna Forstrom:

The original Facebook.

Mac Prichard:

Yes, the original Facebook, from my graduate school at Harvard. That connected me with people here in Portland, but whether you use a paper book or an internet or a database, most all colleges and universities have records of graduates. You can sort by geography and it’s a great way to meet people.

Classes … I remember when I first went to Boston taking Spanish classes. When you’re learning a language, you’re goofy and people were, I think, more at ease. It’s kind of a fun way to connect with folks. Volunteering … I’ve always, wherever I’ve lived, gotten involved in community organizations and served on boards or worked on events. Particularly events which are short-term are a great way to connect with people fast.

Jenna Forstrom:

Awesome. Thanks, guys.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. I got to ask … Is there video of the line dancing?

Jenna Forstrom:

Ooh, probably. I hope not, but I still go … It’s really fun here in Portland.

Mac Prichard:

Okay.

Ben Forstag:

Of course, we’ll share the link to that in the show notes.

Jenna Forstrom:

Yeah. Bushwhackers. Tualatin, Oregon.

Mac Prichard:

All right. I’m just imagining the music to that. If you were looking for a reason to subscribe to the show notes, if there is video, we’ll certainly include it. Thanks, Jenna. If you have a question for Jenna, please email her. Her address is jenna@macslist.org. Now these segments with Ben and Jenna are sponsored by The Weekend Resume Makeover. It’s a new online course from renowned resume coach, Jenny Foss.

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Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Terry St. Marie. Terry  “Starbucker” St. Marie is a writer, consultant, entrepreneur and startup investor. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Before moving to the Rose City in 2010, he had a successful twenty-three year tenure as an executive in the cable television industry.

Terry has extensive experience in business operations, customer care, strategy and financial management. For the past ten years, he’s also published a popular blog featuring his more human leadership philosophy. You can find it at terrystarbucker.com. He was recently cited by Inc. Magazine as one of the top one hundred leadership and management experts. Terry, thanks for coming to the studio today.

Terry St. Marie:

Hello, Mac. Good to see you. Great to be here today.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. It’s a pleasure to have you here. Now Terry, I could think of about twelve different topics I could interview you on.

Terry St. Marie:

More than twelve, Mac.

Mac Prichard:

I think so.

Terry St. Marie:

Probably more like fifty.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, at least a baker’s dozen.

Terry St. Marie:

At least.

Mac Prichard:

Why how to start over in a new city? Well, there are two reasons. One is, this is a popular topic for our listeners.

Terry St. Marie:

I would imagine.

Mac Prichard:

We reach people around the country. Many people think about making a move during their career. The other is, I’ve watched you create a community here in Portland since you arrived about six years ago. It’s impressive.

Terry St. Marie:

Thank you.

Mac Prichard:

People say, “Mac, you know a lot of people in Oregon or around the country”, but Terry, I think you know more. What I want to do today is have a conversation for those listeners who are thinking about starting over in a new city, particularly looking for work maybe from a long distance and once they find that job, how they can create a community and a network. Thanks again for joining us.

Terry St. Marie:

It’s my pleasure. I would preface this with probably snippets first off, Mac, with my own experience. I think I’m pretty typical in a lot of respects. I found myself in 2010 out of a job.

Mac Prichard:

I’ve been there, too.

Terry St. Marie:

Yes, we’ve all been there. It was one of those situations where I was fortunate in one part where it was a successful exit of a business. I had some runway, I had some time, which a lot of people don’t have. We can talk about the differences, but I had an opportunity now and I had to look for something else to do. The point that I want to make about this was I thought, and I know this may be counterintuitive to a lot of people, but I thought “Place first”.

Mac Prichard:

Okay.

Terry St. Marie:

Place, when I mean by place, it’s the kind of a place … Whatever job skills you have. Most job skills … I think in every major city in the US especially in the white collar world, if it’s a professional job, they’re everywhere. You can find them. Really to me, the key is to be able to find which town is a great match, not only of your skill, but your sense of place, the kind of place you want to live and the kind of community you want to live in.

What I remember about Portland, I came here on a vacation in 2007. What I remembered about Portland that stuck with me so much and I said, “This is the kind of place that I want to be” was that … As a tourist, I’d go to these places, the retail places and Whole Foods and the coffee places. They would always be asking me, “What are you doing today? What’s going on with you today?” I’m like, “What are you asking me that for?”

The point of that is … They had a friendliness. They were already trying to make a connection with me in a way, right? It wasn’t like, “How are you doing today?” It was like, “What are you doing the rest of the day?” Of course, that’s a pretty personal question, but it gave me a sense that this is a real community here … It was genuine. People had a concern for you.

I sat back and I was living in Connecticut at the time. My wife and I sat at the kitchen table like many people do when they’re trying to decide. We’re sorting through all of our experiences one way or the other and we said, “We have to try Portland.” When the opportunity came, I did a couple of things. First, I did survey some of the business environment here. I looked in whatever available resource I had.

Of course, Mac, these days you can find out just about anything you want just by Googling it. I would advise anybody when they’re scouring towns or looking for towns, there’s a wealth of information out there. It’s not necessarily through things like Chamber of Commerce and some of the statistics there, it’s actually to … Find writers, bloggers, business blogs, columns, things that people take observations about what’s going on in the town.

In Portland, it was Silicon Florist for me. Rick Turoczy’s a big influential guy here. He writes about the startup world. I heard about that because … We were connected on social media, which is another great tool. I didn’t really know him, but I found out a lot about the community and the business environment there. I found that it was pretty vibrant startup community. That was a pretty critical piece of information for me.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Once people, our listeners, settle on a place, whether they fall in love with it or there’s some personal timing, family resources to go there or they have friends, they make that choice … In your experience, they should begin the research. It sounds like you take an untraditional way, approach, to the research …

Terry St. Marie:

I did and then I actually just came here.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah.

Terry St. Marie:

I didn’t have any pre-interviews or anything. I didn’t have anything selected. I just decided that in my case … Now this isn’t the case for everybody and we could talk about either way because I think I could have done a lot of the things I did remotely as well as onsite. When I got here, I started the networking and connecting process. Of course, that’s always critical in any case to be able to say, “Okay.”

Maybe just to come up with an example, say I’m an accountant and I want to find a bookkeeping job in a particular town. Of course when I get here, I will have already done … Or when I got here, I would have already done all the research of all the accounting firms in town and all the temporary accounting services in town. That’s just a part of it. It’s very hard to cold call somebody … At an accounting firm and say, “I want to apply for a job.” I think most people will tell you that’s not the way to do it, right?

Mac Prichard:

Right. I do see people who … Find work from a remote distance. Have you had that experience too, Terry? How have you seen people do that?

Terry St. Marie:

Well, again, it’s connections. I think … LinkedIn is a very good methodology for that these days. There’s a lot of tools on there. I’m not a LinkedIn expert, but I know several people that have taught me where you can do searches for second and third-level people. You may think you might not be connected to anybody in Cleveland or in Austin or in Chicago or something, but if you work LinkedIn enough …

Let’s say you’re at a point where you have … I would encourage you to do so … To get up to the three hundred, five hundred connection range with old friends that you did business with before, new friends. You do these second and third-level connection searches that you can do on LinkedIn … Boom. You’ll find somebody in Cleveland who’s senior vice president or vice president of something. What you do is you ask that person that’s connected to introduce yourself to them.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Know where you want to go, be clear about the field or sector you want to work in and then make sure that your online networks are up to date and you’ve gone back and connected with everybody you ever worked with or perhaps knew well in college or grad school.

Terry St. Marie:

Yeah. It’s very essential. I can’t even tell you how important the value of leveraging even connections you may not even think, again, that have a geographical connection to someplace else. You just never know. It’s such a transient working community now, right? People have multiple jobs now over their careers. They move a lot more over their careers. You have to take advantage of that if you’re a job seeker sitting in one place thinking about going somewhere else two thousand miles away or one thousand miles away.

You have to leverage that. You can apply the same thing that exists in LinkedIn, you can do it on Twitter, you can do it on Facebook. There’s just a lot of ways to make connection with somebody and then you can ask them, make an ask or make a connection. There’s a lot of different ways that you can do that. Of course, I have a methodology in my mind in which you can do that type of thing. In my view, you have to start with more the human connection.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, let’s talk about that, Terry … When you talk about a human connection, what does that mean? I think a lot of people think, “Well, if I just collect enough followers on Twitter or LinkedIn, all my problems will be solved.”

Terry St. Marie:

I only wish that were true.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Tell us more.

Terry St. Marie:

Well, again, in my example, when I got here, I would ask for an intro through LinkedIn or … When you’re physically in the community, of course, you can go to community events, you can join organizations and you meet someone. Let’s say I went and asked for an intro. Before I asked for that intro, I would go on their profile, look them up, Google them, find out a lot about them and try to find not necessarily the business interest, but the human connection interest.

They like the same football team as I, the Green Bay Packers. Green and Gold. Yay! I have to say that. Go Packers. Anyway … Or if they’re fishermen or they like computers or they’re this or that or the other … That’s a classic way to do intros now. So and so writes an email to you, copies the other person, says, “I’d like to introduce you to so and so.” They usually throw a few things in there.

Instead of just replying, “Yes, I’m looking for a job. Can you hook me up?”, which isn’t necessarily good, you say, “Hey, it’s great to meet you. I understand you’re a Packers fan, too or you’re from Wisconsin. I’m from Wisconsin, too. Have you been to every Packer games? Have you been to Lambeau Field? What do you think about Brett Favre? What do you think about Aaron Rogers, etc?”

You start a rapport. Chances are that person is going to reply back and go, “Yeah, I’m a Packer fan, too. This is great. We ought to meet up for coffee.” You haven’t even talked about a job. You’ve made a human connection. When you actually go to the second round is what I call the sort of the business connection. That’s where if you’re looking for a marketing job or you’re doing, let’s say, community management or social media management.

You notice that that person had it in their background five years ago, six years ago. “Hey, I noticed you’re doing that, too. I’d love to compare notes with you and talk to you about it because that’s the career field that I want to go in. I just moved into town or I’m about to move into town … If you’re not here, can we have a Skype about it or can we meet for coffee about it?”

My preferred way is to meet for coffee. I prefer not to ply people with lunch. I like coffee. That has been my sort of go-to thing here in Portland for long time. I set up an hour meeting. It’s never like, “Hi …” I never had a set agenda with them other than I’ve made the human connection and I’ve made the business connection. Typically when I have that face to face, that’s when I want to formulate the right ask.

That ask can be in a lot of different forms because if that person, of course, is someone … A direct hiring decision person, well then you can ask them for an interview or if you have any openings. That’s usually not typical. It’s very rare when you can get to the person that is essentially making the hiring decision.

Usually it’s somebody that will probably have to make another intro or to put your name in the consideration or give you a reference or something like that. I think you have to understand completely what that person really can do for you and what they can’t do. Maybe it’s what they can’t do is probably what you need to understand more. You don’t want to put an ask in there that they feel uncomfortable with.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. You come to that meeting with an ask in mind and you’ve thought about the business purpose.

Terry St. Marie:

Yes, of course. You have to prep … I don’t mean to treat these kind of meeting as being off-the-cuff very casual. Yes, I think in tone because you’ve made a human connection and a personal connection, especially in a town like Portland. I think that’s where this pre-research comes in really, really handy. I was pre-told and two, it proved to be true, that people do rarely say no to taking a meeting or to having at least a coffee with you.

Now that’s pretty good knowledge to have. It lowers any barriers to the ask and/or you may further know that this is the kind of town where it’s all about connections, it’s all about community. More often than not, there’s only two degrees of separation between people. That’s another fact, I think, you need to know before you go in.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah … Though you’re talking about your experiences in Portland, Terry, I know you’ve worked across the country. What’s been your experience applying these principles in other cities? These aren’t unique to Oregon, are they?

Terry St. Marie:

No. I think they can be unique in a town … What, Portland’s the twenty-sixth largest city? I think I just saw the statistic. I think you can go pretty far up the list before you get into something that becomes a little bit more complicated like a Chicago or a New York or a Los Angeles. Now I’ve lived in the New York metropolitan area. I’ve lived in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. I know how it’s much more segmented there.

I think … You just can’t break it down by city there; you practically have to break it down by area. It’s like, “Well, what is it like to find a job in Manhattan?” It’s different than finding a job in White Plains or in Fairfield County … Depending on what you’re doing. New York is a lot more fast-paced … That’s a great example. You should never ask for an hour meeting in New York City. People don’t have time for an hour in New York.

It’s got to be fifteen minutes and you should pick a place near a subway station. People are always in transit there. This is from my own personal experience to try to take meetings in a town like that. It goes back to the point I was making earlier. You have to understand the place that you’re at. It’s not so folksy and it’s not so community-based. It’s like, “You got fifteen minutes. Tell me your story. What’s your point? What’s your ask? Just tell me.”

Mac Prichard:

Okay, so know your local market and it’ll vary, depending on what part of the country you’re in. Again, the principles of making that human connection are the same. They’re universal.

Terry St. Marie:

Exactly. Even in the fifteen minutes, there’s got to be one or two sentences. I would never just jump into a conversation with the ask, even if you only have ten minutes. There’s got to be some piece of information you can exchange that’s personal in nature, human in nature. I think most people, when it comes to making a recommendation or a reference or to finally get to that place on someone’s desk where they’re making hiring decisions or interview decisions …

They’ve got thirty-five – well, that’s probably conservative in some cases – fifty resumes sitting on their desk. That person you had coffee with comes strolling into that office and says, “Hey, you know this one right here? You might want to take a better look at that.” Now what’s going to motivate them to do that? Is it just the facts on the resume that you so aptly pointed out to them during your coffee? “Oh, I have these qualifications, I have that qualifications.”

If you’ve already established a rapport with them, you talked about the Green Bay Packers, you talked about life, you talked about your goals, your objectives … They found out, “Well, now that’s the right kind of personality, the right kind of Person, with a capital P, that should be in this business.” The resume stuff is okay, but you just may want to talk to this person.

I just recently had a conversation and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s rare on the other side because I’ve been in that desk. I’ve hired … I had eleven hundred people working for me at one time and I had fifty resumes sitting in my desk. I can tell you that when I had a colleague or a friend just phone me up, it really wasn’t a discussion about qualifications per se, it was about the person.

I mean, I know this conversation keeps coming back to human connection, but I think that’s really the theme. If I’m going to throw a theme out there today of what we’re talking about is, you have to understand how human connections work. I think the more adept you get at that, provided that you have … Some sort of qualifications, you can get there … I would even go as far to say that even if you think you’re a mismatch with certain qualifications, I think if you prove to be more adept at human connections there, you could even find a job that’s somewhat outside your ballpark.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Whether you’re looking for a job across the country or across town, human connections are vital. Terry, we’re going to have to start wrapping up, but I want to come to another point, which is … Okay, once you’ve made that move to a new city, whether you’ve had a job or you find one after you land, how do you build a community? How do you grow … Both your professional and your personal network in a new place?

Terry St. Marie:

Yes, Mac. I think it’s important to devote a certain percentage of your time where you’re just going to take meetings and meet people. That goes both ways. Even if you get here and you haven’t found a position yet and someone’s just asking you for advice, you might not feel like you have the time to do it because you’re on a job hunt of your own. Take the meeting. It’s a small town. This pay it forward principle?

Mac Prichard:

Yeah.

Terry St. Marie: I would say with very few exceptions, most cities in America really benefit from the pay it forward system. I would advise everybody to take a certain percentage of their time, go join organizations that are in their bailiwick. To use my startup example, I’m in the Oregon Entrepreneurs network. I go to Meetups for startups. I go to evening events. The internet’s a wonderful thing.

You just have to put yourself out there. Make the effort … In this day and age, when you get here and you land a job, it might not be “the job”. Make that time and make those connections. Before too long, and I can tell you from my own personal experience and you’ve seen this, you just mentioned it at the outset, in two years, I took a lot of coffees … As I said, very rarely somebody said no.

It took about two and a half years, but then things started to reverse, where people started asking me to hook them up with people. I just like people. I like talking to people. I like having conversations with people. I’m a conversationalist, I’m a personal … That’s my form of leadership. I guess the bottom line is, Mac … Let’s talk to the introverts of the world for a second that are listening in to this.

I’m sure there are, that they’re like, “Wow, that’s a lot of asking. That’s a lot of coffees. I don’t like to do all that stuff.” Do it. Talk to a friend. Just reach out and ask and open yourself up to human connections. You’ll be amazed at the further connections you make. The types of jobs you land will be better and you’ll find more interesting and you’ll be more fulfilled as a person and in your career. That’s pretty darn cool.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Well, that’s a good place to stop. Terry, tell us what’s coming up next for you.

Terry St. Marie:

Well, you can find me, as you said, at terrystarbucker.com. You can also find me at my Oregon entrepreneur website, BuiltOregon.com, where I write quite often there. I also do a podcast called “Making Oregon”. If you go to that site and click the podcast there, I talk to entrepreneurs. There’s a lot of information there. Other than that … You can find me online. Of course, you can find me on LinkedIn … I say on LinkedIn, if you’re in Portland and you want to have a coffee, you know where to find me.

Mac Prichard:

Great. Well, thank you, Terry.

Terry St. Marie:

Thank you, Mac. It’s a pleasure.

Mac Prichard:

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Ben and Jenna. Tell me … What do you two think? What were some key takeaways for you from my conversation with Terry?

Jenna Forstrom:

First of all, while I love and appreciate Terry, I would like to point out that he does not follow the best football team. The New England Patriots are the best football team. On that note, I can tie it in to what you actually talked about other than my humble brag about the Patriots. I liked his comment about knowing the culture that you’re moving towards … I grew up here in Portland.

A thing that kids did … Students, high school students, do is they go to Starbucks because that was the cool thing to get Frappuccinos back in the early 2000s. When I went to Boston to make friends and I was asking people if they wanted to go get coffee, A, there was no Starbucks, so we had to go to Dunkin’ Donuts, which I love. It’s like going to a fast food restaurant, so there’s no sit down at couches and hang out and talk about life. It’s go, get your coffee, and then leave and go do some other activity.

I had to find out what that was and get to know people to figure out what their activity was before. The act of getting coffee … I feel like that’s a Pacific Northwest thing and not so much of a New England thing … When you’re moving to a new city, find out what that rhythm and culture is. I thought Terry did a good job about talking about that.

Mac Prichard:

Know your local community and how people connect and where they go to connect. Yeah. Good point, Jenna. How about you, Ben? Are we going to get a shout out for one of the Ohio football teams here?

Ben Forstag:

I’m from Cleveland, so I’m not even going to try to claim that the Browns are a great football team. What I really liked was two things. One, Terry’s commitment to having a personal relationship and finding that personal touch, so that your meetings are not just transactional-based. You’re forming a true genuine relationship with people. I find that that does work best and I encourage job seekers all the time to find out some shared interest. That’s the beginning of the dialogue you’re going to have for that person.

The other thing that I really thought … What was the other thing that I really thought … Oh, the other point that I thought he made was being out there and putting yourself out there and not feeling that you have nothing to contribute back to folks. You can pay this forward later on to other people.

I know when you’re a job seeker and if you’ve been unemployed for awhile, sometimes it feels like the power is asymmetrical, that you’re always asking people for things and you’re not able to give anything back. Well, I think there’s always, almost always, something you can do for that person back. Offer some advice, read their book and review it on Amazon, whatever. Later on when you do get that job, you’re going to have an opportunity to play it forward for other job seekers and making sure you embrace that role and do the right thing.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I agree. For me … The big thing that stood out for me in my conversation with Terry was when he described being an executive at a cable company and being in the situation where there was a stack of fifty resumes on the desk. He and a colleague were going through them and the point Terry made about what a difference it can make when someone says, “Well … I had a conversation with this person.”

It may have only been fifteen or thirty minutes over coffee or in another setting, but that could make a huge difference, that human connection. As regular listeners will know, the point we make again and again is people hire people they know or they hire people who are recommended by those they trust. The connection doesn’t have to be particularly strong, but a connection can make a huge difference.

Ben Forstag:

Sure. So much of the hiring decision is made around, “Would I want to work with this person on a day to day basis?” with the assumption that you’re going to have the skill set. If you can put yourself up front and show, “Hey, I’m an interesting person. I’ve got good opinions on things and … We could work well together in the future.” You get your resume kind of pulled up to the top of the stack then.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you Jenna and thank you Ben and thank you all for listening. If you like what you hear on the show, please help us by leaving a review and a rating at iTunes. This helps others discover the show and helps us serve you all better. Now one of the reviews we received recently is from a listener who uses the iTunes handle lilmisslesleyj.

She writes, “I’ve listened to several shows and I enjoy your format, your theme music and you three as hosts, as well as Cecilia when she was on. You have really insightful interviews with informative guests and I’m always given much to think about in my own career direction and I’m entertained in the process. I bought your book for my sister because she recently started a job search. We aren’t in Portland, but the advice is universal. Keep up the great weekly shows. All the best to the team.”

Well, thank you, lilmisslesleyj, and thanks to the more than one hundred listeners who’ve left a rating on the show. Take a moment if you can and leave your own comments and rating. Just go to www.macslist.org/itunes. Thank you for listening. We’ll be back next Wednesday with more tools and tips you can use to find your own dream job.

Have you ever thought about putting everything you own into a moving van and start over with a new job in a new city?

The typical American moves 11.7 times in a lifetime. From across town to across the country, you’ll face common challenges with job hunting and settling in a new city.

This week’s guest is Terry St. Marie, who knows all about starting over. In the midst of a successful business career, Terry made the big jump from the the East Coast to the West Coast.  He shares his best tips for building rebuilding a career–and a professional network–from scratch.

This Week’s Guest

Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie is a writer, consultant, entrepreneur and startup investor living in Portland, Oregon. For the past 10 years he has published TerryStarbucker.com, a popular blog featuring his “More Human” leadership philosophy. He’s been cited by Inc. Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts”.

Terry is the co-founder and publisher of BuiltOregon.com, an investor in the Oregon Angel Fund, and serves on the boards of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, and Social Venture Partners Portland.

Resources from this Episode