It's graduation season meaning thousands of recent college grads are embarking on their journey into "the real world," full of interviews, relocation, first jobs, and the transition into true adulthood. Exams have been scored, dorm rooms are cleared out, and the empty red Solo cups are left to dry out on frat house floors. Career time is here and college graduates are revved up and rearing to start their work lives with the same excitement and spirit they had as college freshmen.


Orlando

Unlike colleges and universities, when it comes to where to start a career, the evidence isn't as cut and dry as a glossy brochure and a guided tour. That's why WalletHub, the personal finance website has released a report on 2017's best and worst places to start a career in the U.S.

WalletHub analyzed the 150 largest markets in the country and used 23 metrics to indicate which areas were the most career-friendly and which places flunked. These findings will be helpful for recent grads considering their current residence as a place to seek work or if relocation is a smarter move for their journey into the workforce.

Austin

Factors including highest monthly average starting salary, availability of entry-level jobs, job growth progression, affordable housing, workplace diversity, and more were weighed and measured, creating a formula for WalletHub to assess the best and worst areas of the country for newbies, maybe you, seeking a successful start to a brand new career.

The best places may surprise you, but for those living in or near these top cities, the news is surely welcome.

The top 5, according to WalletHub are Salt Lake City, UT; Orlando, FL; Austin, TX; Grand Rapids, MI; and Tempe, AZ. And for the bottom 5, Newark, NJ; Cleveland, OH; Augusta, GA; Montgomery, AL; and Toledo, OH, let's hope for the sake of the local economy and those who reside there that things turn around soon.

Grand Rapids

While Durham, NC didn't make the cut for the top 10 due to the overall findings, this city boasts the highest monthly average starting salary - $3,909 - based on the cost of living. And diversity in the workforce made Oxnard, CA a standout.

For the full list of rankings and more specific findings from the WalletHub study, see the entire report.

There's more than location that makes for a foot in the door, but knowing these facts can help young adults make wise career choices. But it takes personal responsibility and professionalism in order to make your way into the workforce no matter where your path takes you. Make a lasting and positive impression at your first interviews with these 4 tips for a better shot for hiring managers and business owners asking you back for a second meeting and the opportunity for work.

Graduation may be the end of an era, but as you embark on a career, new beginnings are right around the corner… just be sure it's in a city that welcomes you with open arms and plentiful opportunity.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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