Careers Advice

Making the move: why location doesn't have to be the deciding factor

by Shelley Morgan
Graduate Recruitment Manager

Published: 14/03/2018

Shelley at the Kelpies

I’d like to talk to you about making the move.

Maybe you have seen a vacancy (doesn’t have to have been a ScotGrad one to read on btw) and it looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere, or you’ve never heard of the location, or it’s a city and you’re a village person at heart (or vice versa) and you’re worried about making that kind of move… so you ignore it, move on with your day and keep looking. How about this, that could have been your dream job, think about that for a second. Maybe location doesn’t have to be the Achilles Heel of your job search.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am the Graduate Recruitment Manager for ScotGrad, I travel all around Scotland visiting students and graduates around this beautiful country. I work in Edinburgh and live in Fife, but I am from a tiny town in the south of Cumbria. Not so far away you may be thinking, but that’s over 200 miles away from my family and friends, people who know everything there is to know about me.

If you asked my friends and family they probably would tell you that most things don’t seem to phase me (that’s not true by the way), that I’m confident, but I can pinpoint the moment I became like that. I moved away to university an hour away from my hometown and signed up for a year abroad. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I was told I would go somewhere in America and that seemed pretty cool. 

As the time to go drew closer though, I started to panic, it seemed like such a good idea, I would see great things, learn in a different way, make new friends (I did all these things) but stepping onto the plane knowing that it was an 8-hour flight home that I couldn’t afford to do just anytime scared me senseless. I couldn’t pop home and sit in front of my nana’s coal fire and fall asleep comfy and cosy, or go home to eat a fantastic home cooked meal… I was on my own. But that wasn’t the moment, the moment was when, after the Christmas break, I chose to go back. I’m not saying it didn’t hurt, but that May when I sat for the last time with the group of friends I made who I still think of as my family, going home was the even harder choice.


You have been told that it is a global economy, that moving away gives you more options, and you can develop a successful career by moving away from your small town and all that’s true. But nobody seems to really, truly, address how hard that is. It’s almost an expectation that you will just pick up and go, but it’s not that simple. If you are completely rooted to the people in your life, or the places you socialise, or the best friend you’ve had since you were 4, moving away or even considering it may feel too painful to think about, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

A ScotGrad placement lasts up to a year. If you let it, that could be the best year of your life so far. It could be a chance to explore how your skills can make an incredible difference to a small company where you will be valued beyond measure, it could be the opportunity to learn a new hobby, find the best friends of your life, or time to figure out what you want from life and what is important to you.

Let’s be honest and let’s not sugar coat it, you may hate it. You may have days of unbelievable energy and drive followed by upsetting doubts about how you’re ever going to make this work, but you can and you will make it work. It will be hard, you won’t have that favourite restaurant on your doorstep (or the best takeaway ever, I still miss that), your mum won’t be there to give you a hug when you want one, but you will develop the most incredible resilience, adaptability, and strength of character. 

You will adapt… my weekly lunch date with one friend became virtual lunch over the phone, while the wine and pizza evening with another became excited planning for our next meet up, and days out with my group of friends became group chat countdowns to our next one. Those regular plans will take time to develop with your new colleagues or acquaintances, but you'll be planning amazing weekend trips and holidays so the people you care about can visit your year-long home. Recognise the doubt, if needed seek support, and then push through it, you can do this.

You can do it

You don’t have to want to be a globetrotter to have an incredible experience, so if you are put off by the locations of our vacancies, stop and think for a second. Do you want this job, would you be good at it, do you have the skills the advertisement asks for, and are you looking to do something amazing? Let’s be honest, you might be checking those off and saying no, Shelley, you’re mad, why would I want those things… but you might also be kidding yourself. Think about it, honestly… are you staying somewhere because of your family, your friends, your hobbies (all good reasons by the way if made for the right reasons) or are you more worried about taking the step, making the decision?

In 2018, ScotGrad is arranging socials near you, and if you’re away on the remotest of remote islands, we’ll still keep in touch to ask you how you’re getting on and provide an online network for you. You are never alone; we’re here for you.

So how about it, try something new today.