Editor Kelsey Bigelow showing her little brothers the view of downtown Des Moines from a rooftopAt almost 24 years old, I graduated college, started working full time on campus, and had my routine set in small-town Wisconsin. So, how did a Wisco girl end up at the best marketing agency in Des Moines, Iowa, knowing nobody?

To spare you the book-length version, I didn’t want to be stuck within the borders I grew up in. I was ready to explore someplace new — new experiences, new people, new life. While I was interviewing for this job, I did my research and found that Des Moines was one of the fastest-growing, modern cities in the country. How could I not want to be in an up-and-coming city like that?

When I was offered the job, I took the jump and decided I was moving to Des Moines having no connections whatsoever. Sounds nuts, right? Probably. But I figured this was the time to do it — and it’s been the best decision.

I recently had my first anniversary with Two Rivers Marketing and Des Moines — yes, I threw myself a party — which makes me want to share my experience with those who are considering relocating for a job. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

Adulting hits hard — but can be rewarding as a DIY life

Becoming an adult is impossible to avoid. Being away from the convenience of family or college mentors took away my crutches and forced me to take full responsibility of my life. While it makes me wonder whether I’m actually adulting well, it’s the most rewarding thing because I’m doing it on my own.

Work friends can be your best friends — and tour guides

Kelsey Bigelow posing with coworkers at annual golf outing and annual holiday partyAfter I moved here, I took every chance to grab lunch or enjoy a happy hour with coworkers. Those chances turned into friendships and kick-started my social life with ease. My coworkers are the DSM vets who guided me to the right places: Smokey Row for coffee, East Village for lunch, and Court District for Saturday nights. Without them, I would probably still be wandering around downtown confused. I needed some guides, and they delivered!


Look for work-life balance — it’s a real thing

For the last 10 years, I’ve had no less than two jobs at a time — and at one point had four. Moving to Des Moines was no different; I was still working part time remotely for my old job.

Two Rivers taught me a magical thing called work-life balance.

Then, Two Rivers taught me a magical thing called work-life balance.

This is when they encourage associates to leave the “work” part behind at 5 p.m. and go do the “life” part.

This was a new but wonderful concept for me. I had time to work on my poetry, perform at open mics and slams, meet more friends, and still have time to volunteer. This balance rounded out my new life. I’m working for an agency I love with people who rock, and I’m able to maintain my life as a person and a poet. What a concept!

Give Des Moines a chance — it’s actually pretty cool

Sorry, Wisconsin, you’ll always have my heart. But it’s true: Iowa is great. Moving to Des Moines was like moving to a big city, but it’s still the Midwest nice that I’m used to. No culture shock for this girl.

For a state known for cornfields, some really big names come to Des Moines all the time! In the year that I’ve been here there has been everything from Lake Street Dive and Shania Twain to Broadway’s “Hamilton” and Leslie Odom Jr. I’ll never miss a beat!

Kelsey Bigelow looking at winning entries at the 2018 AAF AwardsAlso, Des Moines is always on top of the latest trends for young professionals and artists alike. I couldn’t ask for anything more as someone who fits into both categories. There are plenty of social groups and job opportunities for young professionals trying to grow as individuals.

At the same time, the art, music, and poetry scenes are booming. Des Moines has made itself a prime spot for people of all backgrounds and interests. There’s something for everyone.

Added bonus: The mild winter (compared to Wisconsin) is a nice perk.

So, is relocating for a job worth it? In my experience, absolutely! If it’s something that excites you, you should do it. Apply for that out-of-state job — it could be exactly the thing you need.

Curious if a job at Two Rivers Marketing is what you need to make your next move? Head to our careers page and check it out.

About Kelsey Bigelow

As an editor, Kelsey does all things grammar, while managing the editorial workload and client styles. By night, Kelsey loves writing and performing poetry around central Iowa. To chat about words, words, and more words, reach out to Kelsey at kbigelow@2rm.com.