How Growing Up In a Small Town Affects Your Career

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

November 19, 2017

Everyone on our team comes from small town USA. When we say that we understand, we aren’t saying it lightly. From defending your accent, to assuming that everyone is friendly, we’ve been there.

We love our hometowns. They are full of friendly people, greasy diners, and stores you shouldn’t go to unless you plan on seeing everyone you’ve ever known. Small towns give you a unique perspective on your life and, down the line, your career.

As we went off to college, we moved to bigger cities. It was quite the adjustment. Small-town living is specific. We had to learn to recalculate in many ways, our careers being one of them.

After giving it some thought, we’ve narrowed down the ways small-town life affects you in the future.

Connecting is Important to You

You spent nearly 18 years in school with the same people. You’ve known countless people in your hometown since kindergarden; not only them, but their families. With this, comes connection. You value the people who remember you when you were small, when you had braces, and when you were going through that horrible haircut stage.

Whether you’re in contact with those people or not, you understand the value of connecting. In your career, you make personal connections quickly, with your clients and with your coworkers. Interpersonal skills are second nature because when you’re growing up in such a small place, people who are simply acquaintances aren’t as easy to come by.

Rumor Mills: You Know How to Deal

Even if you were a goody-two-shoes type of kid, at some point in your small-town life, a rumor was told about you. Maybe it was rooted in truth, maybe it absolutely was not. Either way, you’ve been there and you know to let it go.

As much as we would love to think that adults have grown past gossip, it just doesn’t work that way. Rumors will start, gossip will happen, and occasionally, you will accidentally be the source. Growing up in a small town, though, gives you thick skin. Everyone in the town knows [read: thinks they know] everything about everyone else. You’ve been there, you know how to handle it, and it will come in handy in your career life. Avoid it at all costs.

A Sense of Community is Close to Your Heart

Living in one place your entire life comes with certain advantages. You know the ins and outs of everything. In nearly every business, you can name someone who works there. You know the lay of the city like the back of your hand. Small businesses, local restaurants, festivals, you’ve been to for years; you know what’s good.

Moving to a bigger city, even slightly bigger, makes you want to recreate your sense of community in your new place. You find the best local coffee, restaurants, bars, and hangout spots.

You will truly be the best person to deepen the connection between your business and the community. Even if you work for yourself, you’ll learn to make connections. In your hometown, you know everyone with very little effort. You went to school with one half, and are likely related to the other. Once you reframe your mind to reach out to people and connect with intention, you’re well on your way to creating a network.

If You Now Live in a Larger City, You Know Both Sides

You’ve done the small town thing and now you’re in a bigger city. You know the quaint feeling of your hometown and you’re navigating bigger waters as well as you can. We hope you’re thriving and, if you are, we’d be willing to bet your hometown has played a part.

How has growing up in a small town affected your future?

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