Ask An Expert: Experienced Notes from the Museum Field – Relocating for your Career

Sarah Mathews is the Manager of Interpretation and Evaluation at the New England Aquarium. She recently moved to Boston after completing her Masters in Museum Studies from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

This month’s question, asked by Adrienne Turnbull-Reilly , asks What is your experience trying to move not only jobs, but locations? Is it feasible or wise to take a temporary position in a new location in the hopes that a more permanent position opens up? Or is it better to remain in a stable job, while looking for a new gig elsewhere?” Sarah Mathews provides some insight into the challenges in moving for your career. 

Passion for your work is important but so is being able to pay the bills! Moving is expensive, and you want a change like this to be worthwhile. It comes down to your priorities and what you’re willing to compromise.

Is the cost of living is cheaper in the new location? Do you have friends or family you could stay with rent-free? Are you miserable in your current job? Are you diligent about applying? Would you consider non-museum jobs to get to your desired location?

My search parameters were a full time museum position in New England. After a decade in the District, I wanted to move back north. While I was willing to compromise on time and content area, I was not willing to give up a full time salary and benefits without having a museum job lined up first. It certainly took a lot of time, but now I wake up every morning in a city that I love excited to go to work. It wasn’t easy to get to this point, but it was well worth it because I made informed decisions about what was best for my career as well as my emotional and financial wellbeing.

If you have a question or dilemma that’s been troubling you, click on this link to be redirected to a short submission form to pose your question to the Communications Committee. Your question may be featured in the next e-newsletter and the National EMP Network Blog!

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