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Prince George: The best place for young professionals

As this is my first blog for Move Up Prince George, I want to introduce myself. My name is Stephanie Mikalishen-Deol; I am a 27 year old young professional. I am still happily married after year one and the proud mama of two fur babies.

But that’s not where my story with good old PG begins. Prince George was my home growing up. After high school, in an effort to escape what I thought was a small and low opportunity city, I moved to enjoy the island life and to study at the University of Victoria.

Chasing the dream of living in a big city

Stephanie cheering at a soccer game

Me cheering at a UVic soccer game.

Clearly, Victoria is beautiful, artistic, romantic, fun and cultured – there is no question about that. Like many other young professionals and students who make Victoria their home, I fell in love with all the city had to offer – shopping, galleries, festivals, and endless restaurants and pubs. Now, I’m not saying Victoria isn’t a great place, because obviously, it is. It’s our capital for a reason. What’s not to love about a place where you can cycle year round?

The struggle to get ahead in large cities is real

What I am saying is that Prince George is the place for young professionals. Yes, big cities have many opportunities, bright lights, and great appeal; however, how many people do you know who are actually ‘making it’? Many of my personal friends are still living on the Island or in the Lower Mainland and nearly all of them are barely making rent on crappy apartments, spending their time taking on extra shifts to try and get ahead financially and are working in jobs that they hate. Now maybe this isn’t you. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “I love my job” or “my apartment is great.” Good for you.

Prince George is a city of opportunity for young professionals

All I am saying is that Prince George offers everything that you would find in a large city. As a hub for the north, the opportunities are endless. I landed my dream job straight out of university. At the age of 26, I found myself with two large promotions. I receive fabulous benefits and vacation time. And most importantly, I work for an organization that knows my value and provides me with many training opportunities and genuinely cares about my wellness. I have a large and important job to do for our Association and the community – sometimes I can’t believe they trust me to do it. They know my skills are valuable to their team. They aren’t a dime-a-dozen and they want to support me in growing with the organization- umm, what else can we millennials ask for? Did I mention that my degree is a Bachelor of Arts? It’s easier to be a big fish in a small pond.

The benefits of bringing your skills to Prince George

Because it’s more challenging to recruit people to the North-Central BC, employers are inclined to work to keep skilled individuals once they have successfully recruited you – many will even PAY for your training. As you are more likely to obtain that dream job, better pay means you actually CAN get ahead. After a full set of student loans, I am already debt free! You’ll find great benefits, and because you aren’t spending your entire paycheque on rent, actually be able to afford to go on vacation. There’s less competition so you’re more likely to stand out and more likely to receive a promotion or have more responsibility to build a fantastic resume.

And Prince George has everything a big city offers

Stephanie and her husband outside their house

Me and my husband outside our house.

In addition to the endless career opportunities and fantastic employers, Prince George has everything I love about Victoria. I know you don’t believe me. But it’s true. We’re surrounded by countless beautiful parks, many right in the city. I spend my after-work hours (which I will add are many because my commute is 13 minutes – to our new 2,500 square foot house that we own) are spent walking my dogs, snowshoeing or taking my kayaks to one of the many lakes within a 20-minute drive. And when we want some nightlife, we enjoy one of the many local hot spots. We fine dine at the White Goose Bistro; we enjoy craft beer brewed at CrossRoads; or enjoy live comedy and music at Nancy O’s. I can honestly say that I don’t miss Victoria at all. Moving back to Prince George was the best decision I ever made and I have not once looked back. I am so grateful for the success, opportunities and life I have been able to create here. Now as a professional in my mid-twenties, I can’t imagine a better place to start a life and a meaningful career.

It’s scary, I know. But isn’t everything worth doing? And think of it this way: in the worst case scenario you’re young so you’ll get to enjoy cheaper rent to get out of debt, get some unreal work experience, and then let your heart take you wherever you want to be – and you’ll be able to go.

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