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Advice for Change of Office Location

I just completed my audit internship with one of the Big 4 in Houston and I really enjoyed my experience. The firm I chose is definitely where I see myself for the foreseeable future.

The only catch is that I cannot stand Houston. I had originally recruited with the Big 4 out-of-state, and got offers from the other 3 (the ones I DIDN’T choose). I chose this one simply because I really liked the company a lot better than the others. So even though I was only offered Houston with this firm, I definitely believe I ended up making the right decision company-wise.

However, throughout the entirety of the internship, I saw myself getting very frustrated with the city itself. I absolutely do not want to be pigeon-holed into the Oil and Gas industry, and just don’t see Houston as a place that fits my personality.

My intention was never end up in Houston for the long run. In fact, I signed my internship offer under the assumption that one day I’d be able to switch to a different location. During recruitment with the firm, the partner who interviewed me basically promised that mobility between office locations would be more than possible throughout my career.

For this reason, I requested to be re-located to Dallas full-time. Overall, I like Dallas a lot better and felt that it would be more conducive to my career goals. Even then, I know that Texas is not where I want to end up for the long haul. While I am young and single, I want to experience other places outside of my home state. If I’m going to be doing audit, I want to be doing it in a place that I enjoy. I’ve actually had my sight set on Seattle for about a year now. This is my DREAM location. And I am very determined to get there in the years to come.

But back to Dallas. I requested this city because I am thinking “ok, baby steps… don’t ask for too much… you’re just an intern.” I could see myself spending 3-5 years in Dallas and then asking for a different location (Seattle). I would have absolutely no problem with that.

However, during my exit interview, my assigned partner made it very clear to me that my offer was for Houston only. Furthermore, he let me know that, if I accepted my offer, they would expect at least 3-5 good years from me in Houston. My partner told me that if I am absolutely SET on Dallas, I would have to decline my offer and re-recruit with the firm when the time comes. I still have about 1.5 years till I would start full-time, so this is definitely in the cards.

My experience in Houston was bad enough that I know 3-5 will not be possible for me. I cannot see myself staying there beyond one year. I see myself getting really depressed in this city, and again, don’t want to get pigeon-holed into anything in Houston.

For this reason, I’m asking for any advice people have to offer. Should I take the offer and request to switch somewhere else– be it Dallas or Seattle– after a year (regardless of the “3-5 year plan” my partner mentioned)? Should I decline my offer and recruit with this firm for a different city of my choice? Would it be worth it to even apply full-time for a different firm in the city I’m trying to get to?

Any advice helps. Even just hearing about your experiences in switching locations would probably ease my concerns.

My main problem lies in the fact that my offer must be signed in two weeks. As of now, the idea of being stuck in Houston may quite possibly deter me from accepting the offer.

Thanks in advance for your help!