NEW YORK, December 2, 2009 – They’re called “jobbies” — a blend of job and hobby — and the people who pursue them are “hobbers.” They allow us to do what we love with a paycheck (albeit it modest) attached. Many individuals who have found themselves without a “regular” job thanks to the sour economy are taking a fresh look at their professional lives and challenging themselves to pursue work that is more aligned with their passion and curiosity. This kind of soul searching brings with it a number of practical questions, including where to put a stake in the ground to launch this new chapter.
According to Relocation.com’s founder Sharon Sharon Asher, people who are starting fresh often narrow the field of possible locations by considering what resources a community offers that sync with their own interests. “Affordable living costs, a vibrant learning community and a solid foundation of small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises are attributes that ‘hobbers’ may find most attractive,” says Asher.
Here are a few highlights of several “jobby”-friendly communities:
Athens, Georgia: Known for its beautiful, historical neighborhoods, warm Southern hospitality and, thanks to University of Georgia, a rich intellectual life, Athens provides an invigorating blend of college town, artist community and vibrant music scene to those seeking to set down new roots in a place with broad possibilities.
Gainesville, Florida: Home to the Florida Gators (and yes, also the real deal: Florida ‘gators), Gainesville nurtures a host of small startup companies surrounding the venerable University of Florida at Gainesville. Lovely older neighborhoods, affordable home prices and an easy Southern graciousness make Gainesville a worthy place to find or invent a “jobby.”
Austin, Texas: Selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine, Austin’s vibrant music culture, strong ties to its universities and entrepreneurial setting (its nickname is Silicon Hills) make the city one of the top candidate for hobbers. In addition, in 2009, Forbes designated Austin as one of the least stressful large metro areas (it’s relaxing just reading that sentence). “Keep Austin Weird” is the unofficial slogan for the city.
San Diego, California: Although not an inexpensive place to live, San Diego entices new comers with its mild climate, burgeoning life sciences industry, well respected universities and overall mahalo beach-focused way of life.