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Old 12-15-2010, 07:50 AM
 
4 posts, read 11,745 times
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Hello,

I am considering a job which could significantly advance my career in Fargo, North Dakota. The problem is my wife and I have lived in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts (New England) our entire lives. I went to school here and found a job in my field here directly upon graduating college. We live in a small city and for anyone who has been to New England, you know that there are a great deal of mountains, dense hardwood forests, and lakes. Being a person who enjoys the outdoors this is really a great environment. It is also nice having all of our family close by, but part of me wonders if moving away and experiencing something else would be good for us? If anyone one else has been faced with a similar decision I would love to hear your feelings on it.

As for North Dakota - I have heard that it will be much different than New England. Very flat, no woods or mountains, and cold. The cold I think we can deal with as we typically get a lot of snow and cold in New England as well. I have also heard that it can be boring but we are from a small city and people complain about the same kind of thing here as well - it's all what you make of it.

From a career perspective this move definitely makes sense. I'm just not sure if leaving family and lifelong friends, to an area so drastically different in environment would make me wind up regretting the decision. Thoughts?

Thank you very much for your input.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
418 posts, read 1,185,864 times
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As each person's family situation is completely different, it's hard to address how that would play out for you. I know of one couple who moved to Fargo for career reasons from Chicago--and said that it was an absolutely necessary move for them in order to stay married--they figured that their respective families would have pulled them apart within three years if they had stayed in Chicago.
As far as the outdoor environment goes, the MN Lakes country is just 45-60 minutes away. There are many people who commute from living on the lake in Becker Co., MN to working in Fargo. Although maybe not standard for Western MA, a 50 minute commute is nothing for folks who are used to living in the urban centers on the East Coast.
All of our family is in Michigan, and yes, when it comes to kids' activities I miss that their grandparents aren't nearby. But for me personally, there has been much greater opportunity to be involved in various projects or leadership roles in Fargo and at the state level than would have been possible in MI.
For some people, thinking of it as a five-year plan works for them. We'll stay here for a while, build a resume or a career and then be open to opportunities elsewhere later. For folks in the corporate structure, many times junior execs are moved to Fargo and then as their careers progress, they move on to the headquarters in the Twin Cities or Denver. A move here doesn't necessarily mean living here in perpetuity (unless, of course, one gets tenure at a local university and then doesn't want to give it up ).
Major life changes like this all depend on what attitude you bring to it. If you look at it as an adventure and a learning experience to discover what it's like to live in a different region geographically and culturally (and believe me, the Northern Plains definitely has its own culture) rather than constantly comparing it to what you've known previously or always looking for shortcomings of this place -- then it could be a positive move. I've encountered multiple people who moved here from NYC. One couldn't stand it and constantly complained how backward it was and how she couldn't get the food she wanted/expected here. Another one said it was the greatest thing for him to do to give his children the best upbringing possible.
That's a long ramble, but I'm happy to take a shot at other questions you may have about Fargo.
And just think, in terms of hiking--it's just 5 hrs away from Theodore Roosevlet National Park (one of the least crowded in the country) and a day & a half away from Yellowstone.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:50 PM
 
4 posts, read 11,745 times
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dutchinnd - thanks for the response! In our situation we both get along with immediate family/in-laws pretty well, and it definitely would be a negative pulling the grandkids away. But, the career upside is a lot greater in this new position which makes it a very tough decision.

Would you say in general the people of Fargo, ND are welcoming and generally friendly towards newcomers? Neither of us is extremely outgoing, however we are friendly and do enjoy meeting new people. My wife has had some of the same friends in MA since high school, and I know a major concern of hers is meeting new people in a different location.

In Western MA people tend to be reserved, neighbors tend to keep their distance, and are usually not the types to be inviting each other over for BBQs in the summer. There are exceptions to this but as a whole I think this is definitely the case. People in our town tend to hang out with and talk to the people they have known for years and years; as many people have lived here their entire lives. Luckily, my kids are young and are not in school yet so I think the transition may not be so bad for them.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:41 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
4,731 posts, read 9,087,263 times
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I have moved around quite a bit as well....though I have been up in the Grand Forks area going on 12 years. But it really is a tough call. I did not have kids when I moved around, but do now. I am of the opinion, that it is good to move out of your comfort area and try something new. It may be you dont like it, but in most situations you will do fine. Especially with job situation, since you got a career promotion type job it sounds like, this may be the time to forge west and see another area of the country and it might make you a better and tighter family unit.

I dont have any relatives nearby and my wife's is about 4 hrs away. Sure it would be nice for the kids to see the babies....but this area is what is best for us and is working out fine.

If you read many threads here and in Minnesota the word Minnesota "nice" is often spoken of. And very true you will generally find the people friendly and wiling to help, but the culture is also more keep your distance....if you need help call, but otherwise I dont want to intrude on you. Maybe being overly polite is the right way to think of it. As more and more people move, you find in the larger cities such as Fargo folks who are from other parts of the country. And at first you will find it easier to strike up a conversation with them. If you join a group, a church, or some other organization, or when kids get to school or pre-school then you are apt to meet more folks and develop friendships. But at first I wouldnt expect your new neighbors to break down the door to say hello and invite you over....that is almost kind of taboo up here it seems. You have to make the first move, as people just dont want to intrude. But one you have broken down the door, then folks open up.

You do have the lake families in town....those who families are from here a long time and through inheritance or money have lake cabins they go to each weekend. We find that hard as we dont have a cabin or boat.

Weather wise Fargo and the area is much colder than western Mass our snows are often not as severe as you may get in the Berkshires, but snow stays on the ground a long time. Spring flooding is an issue in parts of the area late March into mid April. Dont buy near a river.

--Dan
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Fargo
37 posts, read 138,863 times
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I am from the area and my family is all close by. My wife is from Denver and lived there her whole life. We moved to Fargo 7 years ago after I had been away for 12 years. My wife only knew my family and a few of my friends that still lived around here. She often says that she loves that we moved here. We have made many friends since we moved, most of them have been through work, the neighborhood, or schools. We have two kids and my daughter was in 5th grade when we moved and she adapted well to the move and making new friends and she had many more opportunities at school here then she would have in Denver.
If I can help you with any other questions ask away.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:02 AM
 
13 posts, read 43,251 times
Reputation: 18
I relocated my family here from Michigan. Its' a great place with a nice family environment. Housing is nice, they have pretty much everything for shopping, and the summers are great. Great place to be if you are into hunting / fishing etc.

I have lots of family in CT, and seen much of New England. Keep a couple things in mind.

It's a LOT colder

Snow is hit or miss, not really that big a deal

It is seriously windy which can make cold and snow suck a lot more.

The Fargo Airport is problematic in that the fares are expensive and there isn't very many of them. You won't be flying home after work and arriving 2 hours later. It's pretty much an all day event. Non the less the flights are they and available you just have to pay more and spend more time.

No one will come visit you. :-)
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Texas!!! It's hot but I don't care :)
549 posts, read 1,270,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EonBlue View Post
Hello,

I am considering a job which could significantly advance my career in Fargo, North Dakota. The problem is my wife and I have lived in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts (New England) our entire lives. I went to school here and found a job in my field here directly upon graduating college. We live in a small city and for anyone who has been to New England, you know that there are a great deal of mountains, dense hardwood forests, and lakes. Being a person who enjoys the outdoors this is really a great environment. It is also nice having all of our family close by, but part of me wonders if moving away and experiencing something else would be good for us? If anyone one else has been faced with a similar decision I would love to hear your feelings on it.

As for North Dakota - I have heard that it will be much different than New England. Very flat, no woods or mountains, and cold. The cold I think we can deal with as we typically get a lot of snow and cold in New England as well. I have also heard that it can be boring but we are from a small city and people complain about the same kind of thing here as well - it's all what you make of it.

From a career perspective this move definitely makes sense. I'm just not sure if leaving family and lifelong friends, to an area so drastically different in environment would make me wind up regretting the decision. Thoughts?

Thank you very much for your input.
As you mentioned family seems important to you and as someone else mentioned, they will probably not come visit. It's just nearly impossible to afford any kind of last minute tickets in these smaller towns in ND. I live in Minot and tickets out of here were about $900 as my family wanted to come visit. I ended up driving 8 hours to Minneapolis to fly out and visit them for $170. It's ridiculous because every flight stops in Minneapolis and I serisouly doubt it costs $800 a person for gas for an hr flight but anyway...Fargo is not that bad but it's still not great. Luckily for you though, Minneapolis is only a few hours away and it's a very nice big city. Winnipeg in Canada is also a nice city and it's only a few hours away as well.

I have moved around a lot, many many many times in my life (66+) and out of all the places I dislike ND the most but that's my experience. I also like mountains and woods and lots of lakes and hiking but you won't find a lot of that here. And it is COLD. Where I'm from it was 70 yesterday and in Minot, ND it was like -25 with the windchill. Not pleasant. It also snows a lot more than what I'm used to not sure how much it snows in New England so you will have to deal with that.

I am far away from family and friends and rarely get to see them since it's so expensive to fly out. It's also not as cheap to live here as everyone thinks. You really just need to weight the career and quality of life pros and cons. Everyone says it is what you make of it...but outside circumstances sometimes cannot be helped no matter what you try to make of it. Just keep that in mind, too, because it may not be all you thought it would be. Most people will tell you all the good things about ND but since I don't there are any good things I can give you a different pespective But, in the end, it's a personal dicision. I would STRONGLY suggest visiting before you decide to move, very very strongly.
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Old 12-31-2010, 04:12 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
37 posts, read 46,415 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by EonBlue View Post
Hello,

I am considering a job which could significantly advance my career in Fargo, North Dakota. The problem is my wife and I have lived in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts (New England) our entire lives. I went to school here and found a job in my field here directly upon graduating college. We live in a small city and for anyone who has been to New England, you know that there are a great deal of mountains, dense hardwood forests, and lakes. Being a person who enjoys the outdoors this is really a great environment. It is also nice having all of our family close by, but part of me wonders if moving away and experiencing something else would be good for us? If anyone one else has been faced with a similar decision I would love to hear your feelings on it.

As for North Dakota - I have heard that it will be much different than New England. Very flat, no woods or mountains, and cold. The cold I think we can deal with as we typically get a lot of snow and cold in New England as well. I have also heard that it can be boring but we are from a small city and people complain about the same kind of thing here as well - it's all what you make of it.

From a career perspective this move definitely makes sense. I'm just not sure if leaving family and lifelong friends, to an area so drastically different in environment would make me wind up regretting the decision. Thoughts?

Thank you very much for your input.
Fargo is a great little city. The city is very cosmopolitan and there is plenty to do here. The cold here is much different then almost any other place in the United States. But it shouldnt be too bad of a transition coming from Massachusetts. ND is very beautiful all year round. Fargo is a growing community with plenty of job opportunities and boasts most of ND's ethnic diversity. Which is growing very rapidly. Maybe make a trip out here before you make your decision and see how you like it and get a feel for it.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:18 PM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,997,339 times
Reputation: 548
Agree with Ming...Fargo's a great down with lots going on: Semi-pro and college sports, music, restaurants, etc. The big thing with the cold is wind. Other places get cold and snow, but Fargo about takes the cake for adding in windchill, as far as I know. It can get pretty brutal, but on the other hand, you don't have to spend a whole lot of time outside on those days, since the city is sprawling and you drive and park right where you are going, rather than walking everywhere.

Downtown Fargo seems to be making a nice comeback, with NDSU departments moving down there. Also, housing is relatively cheap, compared to many places.

Come check out the scene for outdoorsy stuff. Definitely no mountains or thick forests, but lakes country is great and starts about 60 miles to the east. Duluth and the MN Northwoods are not too far away either, and are true outdoors paradises.
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:51 PM
 
68 posts, read 105,537 times
Reputation: 44
I agree with most of the posts. If you fell flat on your face, let it be your call to fall flat on your face. In other words, you know your situation better than anyone. If this is good move make it a great decision, your attitude toward the move is very important, positive follow positive.

I will be moving to South Dakota, next year. I have been telling everyone about my move, and people are excited for me. Even if no one agreed with my decision, I will still feel lilke the last decision is my call.

avalonpark
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