Advertising
Advertising

Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

When people imagine rural areas, they think farms, cute cottages, and a laid back lifestyle.

While these are mostly true, rural areas around the world have plenty of benefits that some folks fail to acknowledge. Whenever the topic of moving or living there arises, they would usually worry about education, healthcare, and culture. This is especially true for those who want to start a family.

Millennials, in particular, have been known to move away from rural areas to urban landscapes. This exodus is mainly driven by the need for further education, employment opportunities, and personal motivations (i.e. live a dynamic, fast-paced lifestyle like their peers).

But lately, it seems the young generation is on the move again – this time, towards the suburban and rural areas.

Why the change of heart?

Benefits of Living/Working In Rural Areas

Did you know that 90 percent of the United States land mass is made up of rural and suburban areas?

According to U.S. Census Bureau, rural areas are those that “encompass all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.”

Advertising

Technically, anything that’s NOT urban (i.e. open spaces, forests, farmlands, areas with less than 2,500 residents) is rural. But it’s not a perfect definition. However, two main factors affect an area’s definition of being ‘rural’: commute and housing density. This definition could also vary in other parts of the world.

As a millennial who was born and raised in the bustling city, living with my mother in Eibelstadt was a huge change. Although they’re not exactly rural, they are a small town of roughly 3,000 residents (as of December 2015).

eibelstadt
    Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

    One of the first things I noticed was that there is more of the older generation than younger ones (especially those my age). Buildings and houses dated as far back as the 16th century (which is awesome). Nights were definitely quieter, and people more or less knew one another. They would smile or wave hello whenever we passed each other in the streets.

    The best part, though, is the small local businesses. From furniture shops, boutiques, apothecaries, to little grocery shops, it feels like stepping back to a time when living was simple and money wasn’t a big issue. The very low crime rate made me feel safe to take evening walks alone or with the family dog.

    But it’s not just me who thinks rural areas could be great places to work or settle in.

    1. Rural areas provide fewer distractions.

    Several researches have pointed to the benefits of being so close to greenery, peace, and quiet. One of the best things about living in smaller towns is that there are fewer things that need to occupy your time – and mind.

    One research shows how crowded streets (which are a common sight in urban landscapes) affect memory retention. With so many stimuli (e.g. speeding cars, people walking, stereos blasting, etc.), our brains can only focus on it for a limited amount of time until it needs to process another set of information.

    Advertising

    But in rural settings, you’ll be able to focus on ONE thing at a time. This keeps you productive. There’s also the benefit of silence. According to a 2013 study, silence can help the brain generate new neurons. During silence, it’s also a time when your brain can analyze its internal and external surroundings.

    2. You can experience better work/life balance in rural areas.

    In one study, it was found that people who lived near green regions had lower rates of psychological disorders, compared to their urban counterparts. Participants of the study also reported relief from sadness and depression.

    The more things you think or worry about, the more stressed you feel. Who can focus on relaxing when you’re still worried about that email or a call from your boss? Rural areas are perfect for trying to achieve the elusive work/life balance.

    Feeling stressed? Just put on a coat and stroll your worries away. Need to be productive? Choose a quiet spot in your home and get to work. Craving for some alone time? A hike in the woods or mountain should replenish your soul. Interested in a little socializing? Just visit local bars or a community center to meet someone new.

    Surprisingly, the slower pace of life in small towns can help you reconnect with what matters most.

    3. Lower cost of living.

    Don’t be fooled: just because Eibelstadt boasts of only 3,000 people, it doesn’t mean that they’re not thriving. Contrary to what many believe, these beautiful communities contain flourishing businesses that include furniture makers, crafts masters, wine experts, boutique hotels, salons, and architecture firms.

    eibelstadt
      Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

      In Eibelstadt’s case, it was thanks to their prosperous wine businesses that lured tourists far and wide for a visit, particularly during the summer. This, along with the town’s gorgeous sceneries, helped to make them a lucrative option for millennials like myself.

      Advertising

      But unlike living in busy cities like Paris or Berlin, the cost of living in small towns is lower. Grocery shopping can be done easily from farmers’ markets. Need new plates or some antique table cloths for your home? Try yard and garage sales, where a dollar can go a long way. If you love unique, arty items, look out for local artisans and their amazing crafts.

      What Jobs Can You Get In Rural Areas?

      These reasons are well and good – but NOT enough to convince people to go ‘rural’.

      After all, many amenities are few and far in between. For instance, my mother and I needed to drive a couple of miles twice a month for groceries. Although there was a store not far from our home, the big shops are located elsewhere. This taught us how to budget out time and resources though, so it wasn’t that bad.

      But perhaps the biggest hurdle for anyone who wants to live in rural areas is employment. What jobs can you get in the countryside? Are there even good jobs?

      Lucky for us millennials, we were born in a time when technological advances were quickly being developed. These days, making passive income is the norm. Below are a couple of suggestions for jobs you can do if you decide to live in a rural area:

      • Remote Work – even folks from cities opt for remote work. This gives you the freedom to work from anywhere while letting you earn a paycheck. You can be a consultant, web designer, developer, graphic artist, or writer. Try sites like Flex Jobs and Remote OK.io for a list of remote work options today.
      • Arts and Crafts – are you good with your hands? Lots of artists, craftsmen, and hobbyists try their luck at selling their wares either locally or online. If you feel ready to expand your horizons, check out platforms like Etsy or Shopify.
      • Gardening/Farming/Livestock – while this won’t make you a billionaire in two years (or a decade even), it’s a great way to feed yourself, your family, and your community.

      If you already have a small farm of a few acres or so, you can begin with some vegetables and livestock. Then you can choose to expand from there. What better way to eat food than to know you grew it yourself? Plus, there are farmers’ markets and restaurants that could be your loyal customers given the chance.

      eibelstadt
        Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.
        • Photography/Writing – this is similar to remote work. There are plenty of businesses in need of professional images and content. If you have the talent for it, you can promote your work online. You can also find employment in small local companies, such as local newspapers.
        • Teaching/Consulting – for those who are thinking or moving to rural areas near their retirement, becoming a teacher or consultant is a great way to earn income while sharing your knowledge. Start profiling your future settlement for opportunities in these areas.

        Are they in need of your kind of skills and work experience? What are the requirements? Who would be your potential students or clients?

        Advertising

        As most work these days need a bit of computer literacy, it’s wise to invest in courses if you’re not so tech-savvy. Visit your community center to inquire about classes.

        Ready for Rural Living?

        Okay, so maybe not – yet.

        But imagine waking up to just the right rays of sunlight through your open window. The birds and bees outside your garden, beckoning you to join them. I personally love taking in the silence first thing in the morning, with a strong cup of coffee.

        Rural areas, like cities and the suburbans, have their pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide where you’d work and settle in.

        Featured photo credit: Ana Madeleine Uribe/Pexels.com via pexels.com

        More by this author

        Cris Antonio

        Content Strategist, Storyteller

        Clueless On Your Career? Sabbatical vs. Career Break Ace Any Public Speaking Gig Ace Any Public Speaking Gig with these 6 Tips Backed by Science Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas? Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas? fall road trips Top 6 Fall Road Trips: Where the Journey IS the Destination How To Manage Stress from Short-Term, High-Pressure Jobs

        Trending in Work

        1 How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities 2 What Job Should You Have? 10 Questions to Help You Figure It Out 3 10 Ways to Find Your Dream Job 4 8 Characteristics of Entrepreneurship That Will Lead to Success 5 How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on April 6, 2020

        How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

        How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

        Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

        Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

        Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

        But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

        Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

        Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

        What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

        As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

        What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

        Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

        Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

        Types of Career Changes at 50+

        There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

        Industry Career Change

        In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

        Advertising

        With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

        An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

        This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

        Functional Career Change

        A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

        For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

        In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

        Double Career Change

        This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

        An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

        When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

        With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

        Entrepreneurial Career Change

        Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

        After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

        Advertising

        By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

        Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

        A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

        Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

        So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

        1. Deal with the Fear

        As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

        If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

        I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

        It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

        2. Know Your “Why”

        It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

        Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

        3. Be Realistic

        Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

        This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

        Advertising

        Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

        4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

        Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

        An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

        The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

        5. Update Your Skills

        Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

        The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

        Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

        6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

        Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

        Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

        Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

        Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

        7. Overhaul Your Resume

        Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

        Advertising

        When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

        Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

        8. Know Your Timeline

        There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

        Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

        There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

        Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

        Final Thoughts

        Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

        Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

        And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

        Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

        More Tips for Career Change

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

        Read Next