Summer is the time of year when many are moving on from school, vocational training or university and facing a time of great change in their lives. With lots of career advice available and many different sources of information, there’s less guidance on where and how to live and how to adjust to leaving education and embracing the challenges of employment.
With your focus on the details of what may be your first job (who it’s with, what’s the job role and, of course, how much does it pay!) it can be tempting to overlook what else there is to think about. Rushing into the first opportunity might not be a good idea if you don’t also consider where and how you are going to live as a newly employed person.
Few employment agencies or recruitment specialists in firms appear to offer help finding somewhere to live. Of course, many will have existing employees who rent out a spare room or who have been through the same experience and can help point you in the right direction – but knowing the key things to look out for could help you avoid making a bad decision.
COST? It can be very tempting to look at the salary (likely to be the first time you’ve earned that much) and forget just how far it has to stretch. Make sure you check what your take home pay will be and think about the extra costs on top of rent you may be committed to. Not only bills such as utilities and local taxes, but also the cost of travelling to work especially if you’re moving to a big city where you may have to live some distance away from your workplace.
CONVENIENCE? Location is important both because of expense and time. It’s likely that when in education you resided quite close to your place of study, but chances are you won’t be so lucky with your first job. We often underestimate the costs and challenges of long distance or complicated commutes, which can make a big difference to how much money and also the time you have available for your non-work life.
COMFORT? As a student the quality of your accommodation probably wasn’t top of your list of priorities – it may have been just somewhere to sleep and store your ‘stuff’. But it’s likely this will change when you step into the world of work and things like living somewhere you can feel comfortable and ‘at home’ will allow you to better focus on the demands of your new role.
COMMUNALITY? Given how difficult it can be to find affordable places to rent in many cities, chances are you will be looking at similar accommodation arrangements when taking your first job. Apartment shares can be an ideal choice for many early career professionals but ask yourself whether the set up could be a distraction, especially if you’re sharing an apartment with work colleagues. Many new well managed communal residences are being developed where you can have the best of both worlds living in a friendly community often with like-minded young people and with great facilities such as gyms, media spaces and cafes, yet with the privacy of your own single studio.
WELLBEING? The demands of a new job and the challenge of wanting to make a good impression mean you may find yourself working hard and long hours. So living somewhere where not only the cost, convenience, comfort and communality are all in place, but you can also ‘live well’ by looking after yourself with a balance of exercise, social life, eating well and getting plenty of sleep is an important consideration. Factors that may not have seemed important as a student can be much more so when in a first job or launching into self-employment.
In conclusion we recommend you make a checklist of the factors that are key to your wellbeing and use it to remind yourself of what’s important as you make decisions about your work and where to live in this new chapter of your life.
If you are making the move to London, Vincent House is a communal residence in a convenient and central location that accommodates many postgraduates from around the world as well as professionals of all ages and a wide range of nationalities. Its great value residential rates include breakfast, dinner, WiFi, room cleaning (see home for full details) with no extra charges for utilities or taxes making it an ideal first place to live in the capital.