Last weekend was Go Blue Rendezvous, Ross’s fun, informative, and—in my case, at least!—semi-overwhelming early welcoming party for admitted students and their partners. I have to admit, in my memory GBR 2011 is mostly a blur of information sessions and meals, names and faces. But one meeting I attended stood out: a career panel for incoming partners.
At the time, I was a freelancer. After eight years in New York working in book publishing, my husband and I moved to New Orleans in 2010, where I continued to edit manuscripts for publishing houses. In a sense, I had already made a big, scary career decision; I’d left a corporate, in-house gig for the unknown. I was lucky—it had turned out well. My New York colleagues were more supportive than I’d ever imagined, and I had a steady stream of work that I tackled in my home office in the Big Easy (usually in sweats).
By the time I attended GBR, I’d had a year of freelancing under my belt. I felt confident that I could continue to do what I was doing wherever we ended up, but I was also intrigued by the opportunities that might be in Ann Arbor if that’s where we landed. The GBR career panel fueled that curiosity; I met a partner who had gotten a job that she loved at the University of Michigan, a partner who had been hired by Google’s Ann Arbor office, and a partner who had started her own nonprofit.
When we moved to Ann Arbor in late summer, I wasn’t under any delusions that if I set my sights on a career move I’d easily find myself in a cozy cubicle at Google gazing down on North Division Street. But I did keep my eyes open. I regularly checked the University of Michigan jobs website, and one day I stumbled upon a job posting in publishing. I applied, interviewed…and didn’t end up getting hired for the position. But a month later I heard from someone in another department about an open position that was more up my alley. That one worked out, and all of a sudden I found myself scrambling to finish up my freelance projects and searching for the business casual attire that had been banished to the back of my closet.
Again, I was lucky. For anyone reading this who is a partner of a future Ross student and worried about what sort of impact moving to Ann Arbor might have on your career prospects, I’m not going to lie: Leaving a job that you love—or even just like most of the time—is hard. Finding a job is hard. Finding a job that you enjoy and that is also somehow rewarding is extremely difficult. Since arriving in Ann Arbor, I’ve encountered a number of partners who’ve had difficulties finding the perfect position. I’ve also met visiting partners who have chosen to remain in their home cities, while their student settles in Ann Arbor for two years. Some people freelance, some people are able to do their jobs remotely, and some people embark on a totally new career path. Whether or not you move to Ann Arbor is a personal and complicated decision. But I just want to offer up my story as proof that it is possible to find a job in Ann Arbor that is challenging, exciting, and satisfying.
For any job-seekers out there, in addition to the University of Michigan job site you can check out the Partners' Club career page, which includes links to various sites, including Ann Arbor SPARK, which has a job portal page that I think can offer some interesting listings. Any other readers know of some job-posting sites or have any advice? Leave ‘em in the comments!