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Home Is Where the Jobs Are

Editor’s Note: This feature originated from a Career Contessa post sponsored by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

For many millennials, finding the right work-life balance is a high priority when they enter the workforce. However, few actually achieve that balance right off the bat.

With the pressure that comes with a first full-time job, it can lead many recent graduates to sacrifice some of their personal priorities in order to achieve success. Luckily for Iowa native Karsen Miller, she didn’t have to make that sacrifice.

“Ultimately, I get to show up at work every day and give my all to a company that supports me in every facet of my life,” said Miller. 

Staying in her home state was not the original plan. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Miller focused on a move popular among many who grow up in the middle of the country: relocate out west.

“I'd traveled to Colorado on vacation and thought that I wanted to live there,” said Miller. “I just thought it was the thing to do after graduation—get a job in some far-off city and uproot your life.”

Several phone screenings for marketing agency positions told her the same thing—that unless you currently had a Colorado address, you weren’t going to advance very far in the application process.

“Moving to Colorado, pursuing the agency life—it felt forced. It wasn't my path.”

Miller refocused her job search to her home state, where she was able to find a job that she loves. At Vermeer Corporation, a global manufacturer of industrial and agricultural equipment, she works as a corporate communication specialist, a role within a company that wasn’t initially on her radar.

“Never in a million years would I have looked for marketing and communications work at a manufacturing company in small-town Iowa,” she said.

Although she may not have envisioned herself working for a manufacturing company, Miller found she can do work that she is passionate about, whether that’s marketing, social media management or graphic design.

At Vermeer, Miller has found the right support system to create an ideal work-life balance through the relationships she has formed with her coworkers.

“My team will put everything on the line to support me, and I would do the same in a heartbeat. We lift each other up,” Miller said. “I have yet to hear that from my friends on the coasts. In fact, some are even moving back to the Midwest for this very reason. Not that they haven’t found success, but that they haven’t found people who care.”

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