Research Triangle Park (RTP) is a hub for some of the biggest corporations and the brightest minds. We are anchored amongst our three surrounding cities, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill – along with their respective universities, NC State, Duke, and UNC. In this growing community which fosters the bold ideas of companies like IBM, Cisco, Biogen, and Syngenta, it is no wonder that both industry veterans and yo-pros are flocking to the area.
Luckily for those interested in relocating to RTP, it is home to over 200 companies and 50,000 workers covering a range of industries from micro-electronics, telecommunications, biotechnology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and environmental sciences. Between 2000 and 2010 RTP’s surrounding area grew by 43.5% and is only expected to increase as companies extend their gaze upon RTP’s Tech Empire. This large growth is perfect to accommodate new residents looking to plant roots.
As we all know, relocating can be difficult. In my short twenty-something years, I have lived in four states in the US and three different countries across the world – including Sweden and Thailand. I’ve felt the desolation and the regret of leaving the familiar; and yet I’ve learned to push myself to not only become content, but to thrive in any new community. In other words, I've got some ideas to help you grow both your social and professional circles once you relocate.
So, what can you do as a new RTP resident to join this community; how do you excel in this new environment?
Number one: Stay organized. Moving your belongings, renting a house, starting a job, building a social network – relocating is an arduous process. Packing up your possessions can be time consuming and increase anxiety during your relocation. Now is the perfect opportunity to eliminate clutter and only ship the items that are important to you. Organization is essential to staying sane throughout your relocation. I also recommend keeping an up to date to-do list to keep your priorities in check.
Number two: Do your research. Look into what your relocation site is known for. Moving to Boston? Brush up on your Red Sox stats. Raleigh? Set out to find the best barbeque in the city. Phoenix? Complain about how hot it is there. Boom, you’re a local.
Number three: Work your social network. What happened to your old college buddy who moved out east? In the age of social media, it has never been easier to rekindle those relationships. Even your family and friends can network their connections for you. Don’t hesitate to have your best friend ask her cousin to meet for a drink. A local’s insight can be invaluable when trying to adjust to a new area. Once you make a contact it’s an incredible comfort to know that you have a friendly face near you.
Step four: This is the easiest one. Just go. Pick a hobby and go find your people. If you enjoy sports, join a volleyball league or a kickball team. Do it. If you want to relax and drink a beer, go to Sunday morning yoga at a brewery. Make some professional connections as well and find others interested in your field. It sounds easy, right? That's because it is! Don't overthink it. I constantly have a list of upcoming events that I keep in mind while speaking with consultants and learning about their interests. For those of you who are new to the “Silicon Valley of the South,” here are some tech events that are excellent networking opportunities.
September Tech Events in RTP
September 17-18th – Centennial Campus of NC State
September 20th – Durham, NC
September 23rd – Raleigh, NC