With graduation behind you, moving is upon you. And, while you may not have known studies put moving right behind death and divorce on the list of greatest stresses to the system, I’m guessing you’re not shocked to hear it.. The following checklist is one way to offset the vertigo that can come from rapid geographic change:
- Take a bus tour of the city. [Do all tourist-y things right away]
Subscribe, preferably in advance, to the local version of Time Out Magazine. You may not be able to do everything, but at least you know what’s happening.
- Read the classified ads or the local Craig’s List postings for a week – there’s no better window on your new world.
- Read the government/community section of the phone book. Usually these are an overlooked mine of information, and will have the answers that newcomers need that established residents frequently don’t know.
- In the same vein, where is the nearest 24-hour pharmacy, late-night diner, Fedex, and Kinkos?
- If you’re moving into a development or community with rules about everything from dogs to garbage sorting to the height of children’s playhouses, find and read the rules carefully; it would be a pity to needlessly alienate your neighbors before you’ve even had the opportunity to meet them by breaking rules that you didn’t know existed.
- Spend fifteen minutes studying a map of the city. Use the information as described below.
- Spend some time with an atlas to understand the city’s geography and “micro-climate.” Frequently, a glance at the atlas explains why the city is there in the first place (like it’s at the confluence of two rivers). Google Earth is, of course, great for this.
- Read a history of the city and visit the local museum. Why are the major streets called what they are called? Why is the city here instead of fifteen miles south? What are the “eras” of the city?
- Learn the three largest local employers and try to tour one of them. Who owns them?
- Even if you have no kids (that you know of) learn about local schools, both reputation and schedule. Same for local Universities. It is too big a part of other people’s lives for you to be completely unaware of—remember how much you loved spring break?
- Learn state/city bird, flower, motto, etc. These little pieces of trivia help you understand more about the history and identity of the city or state, usually open another avenue of its history, and help make much of what you see and hear make sense.
In a similar vein…
- Even if not religious, learn top three denominations, etc.
Bloomberg has a part of their website that lets you set up and track local stocks: do that for the area. Everyone else will be.
- Learn the sports teams (and coach’s names) local politician’s (and their spouses) names, etc.
- Join a charity and a cultural organization (museum, symphony, etc)
- While you’re there, look at the names on the donor wall. Do some research into those people whose names appear prominently.
- At least be aware of the existence of major country and city clubs.
- Keep a map of your neighborhood on your refrigerator and, as you meet your neighbors, pencil in their names and any salient details: kids, dogs, etc.
As you can see, if you were to do even half of these things, you would feel far more at home, far more quickly– acclimation that would free you up to be fully mentally engaged in making your mark in your new business environment.