Why’s Everybody Goin’ to Texas?!?

For those seeking pure enlightenment, you’ve come to the right blog. As a 2009 Albion graduate and member of the esteemed Carl A. Gerstacker Institute, I jumped at the opportunity when asked if I would contribute to a “Where Are They Now?” segment. Well, a la Fire Marshall Bill, “Let me tell ya somethin’!”

After graduation, I had my sights set on Dallas. There were a variety of reasons for the move, but one in particular that I find relevant even today is the fact that Texas really endured the Great Recession better than most states. Unlike the north, and specifically Michigan, Texas didn’t experience the job market shrinkage and rolling layoffs that became the norm back home. The mass exodus that resulted left no surprise that Dallas is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, absorbing a lot of the southern migration. I was a part of that movement.

Once I got here, I cycled through various interviews until I landed an informal internship with a cart and kiosk company. The initial offer was informal because I was given the chance to still pursue other job opportunities that came my way, while at the same time, testing my meddle in their sales department. Well, fast-forward two years, and I’m still at Bella Design Group as an Account Executive, no longer looking for a job. In short, we are a retail manufacturer. Working closely with the top commercial real estate developers and retailers under the guise of their expansions and renovations, we contribute by supplying their store fixtures, carts and kiosks at malls, and exhibits at various tradeshows throughout the year.

I can say that although I had no idea I’d working in the fixture and exhibit industry, I had a clear understanding of my skill set. Knowing that makes the process of landing employment much easier because I put myself in a flexible position. The best advice I can share with any of you on the cusp of your job search efforts is to really grasp what your strengths and weaknesses are. This understanding will help direct you to an ideal job. In addition, I encourage you to always keep an open mind—you never want to sell yourself short of an opportunity by ‘pigeon-holing.’ That next interview you think isn’t for you could turn into the career you never knew existed.

Now, of course, as an Albion grad, I would be beside myself if I wasn’t involved in something outside of work. For me, this took the form of a rugby team. I’ve been playing for the Denton RFC for two seasons now, and I currently hold the Vice President position, overseeing the club’s accounting. The team’s become my second family down here, and I’m really fortunate to be a part of something that I can call my own.

As a parting comment, for those of you who end up relocating for either a job or further education, you have my full endorsement. You’ll grow exponentially as an individual, and home will always be there.

Blake DeCarlo

Albion Alumni

Class of 2009

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