Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Unemployed & Uncertain


I am a frustrated 27 year old white male. Why? I am a single Certified Public Accountant who cannot find work within an hour of where I live one would expect for CPA.

First career. I live in a small town in central Illinois, near 5 small metros. I passed the CPA Exam last November. I have been overqualified for each position I have had since May 2004. I lasted 5 months in that position. It was a state government position & lost it because the management felt I was too introverted to represent the agency. On May 6, I lost my job. It was scheduled to be a two-month temporary position reconciling invoice payment postings to bank deposits, but lasted 11 months. The company had decided to make it a full-time position. I believe the reason they did not hire me full-time was due to the fact that when I was first asked about my career goals I spoke of long term goals, such as starting my own accounting firm or some other way to make my career path more like a typical CPA. This position did not request a college degree, paid /hour, & reached the point of being so easy it’s boring months ago. I found out I lost my job by phone call on commute home from work. I now find myself unemployed & looking for a new position. I am on the verge of giving of hope of having a typical CPA career path in central Illinois. I have used Google & contacted the AICPA trying to find where CPAs are most in demand without a satisfactory answer.

Second personal. I feel rooted. I do not want to leave the area, but also feel career interests may force me out. I prefer smaller cities, such as the 5 metros in central Illinois. Since leaving college, I have lived in two other cities, each time failing to become part of an urban tribe. The failure to join an urban tribe twice, combined with success joining not-so-urban tribes in my hometown may be the primary force behind why I feel rooted. Childhood friends are the linchpin of my associations in my not-so-urban tribes. Also, I am unwillingly single. The singles map gives me a hesitation about moving to Peoria & Champaign, Illinois, I didn’t previously have, though still optimistic about Springfield, Illinois. It does make me optimistic about St. Louis except the job postings appear no scant in St. Louis. A move to St. Louis would be 130 miles from home, enough to leave me seeing far less of my not-so-urban tribe & my mother. I have been to Chicago several times & do not like it. Chicago has a certain blandness to me, crowded, and awful traffic & congestion.

Right now, most of my thoughts of leaving central Illinois focus on St. Louis for its proximity to central Illinois, cost of living, & mating market and Washington, DC for its low unemployment rates, much higher level of job postings for accountants, & mating market, even though I don’t know if I can tolerate a city with such terrible traffic & congestion. I am still interested in finding alternatives.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Sent by Ken from Lincoln, Illinois

4 Responses to “Unemployed & Uncertain”

  1. newyorker Says:

    “mating market” — really?!

  2. Ken Says:

    @newyorker: Why not? Considering this factor is a pragmatic approach to the decision about where to live.

  3. K R Kelly Says:

    Fort Worth’s not on Richard Florida’s creative cities list, but unemployment is very low here, proximity to huge metropolitan Dallas is close but not overwhelming, and I think CPAs are still in substantial demand. You might want to look here–

  4. APS Says:

    Consider Omaha, Nebraska
    Has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, CPAs are high in demand, has great mingling spots, accessible downtown, host of College World Series and Olympic Swim Trials, two college campuses, and a great place to raise a family

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