Moving to the Big City-Apartments!

3 min read

I’d accepted the Epic job! Now, the “adulting” stage of my life would begin. The first panic wasn’t about moving my stuff. Moving I’d perfected over the last 4 years of college: stuff absolutely everything I could into my car and on-my-way! This would be a bit more “permanent” ideally and would involve a few more trips to get things that I hadn’t normally taken to college with me (like a bed!). Thankfully, the trip from my childhood home to Madison was shorter too, so the move wasn’t a U-Haul like experience yet.

No, the first real panic was: “where was I going to live!?”

On Moving to Madison

I’d either lived at home or in a college dormitory since birth. I’d never needed to navigate any self-arranged rental housing. As with the job hunt, back in 1993, there was no Internet with dozens of ways to look for apartments. I had to … well, I wasn’t exactly sure. There were some apartments listed in the back of the same newspapers I’d found Epic’s job advertisement in, but the majority were people renting rooms. That wasn’t at all something this small town boy wanted to do. I’d had enough of sharing space with hundreds of other people in the dorms and didn’t want anything like that for the forseeable future. Those that were multi-units that seemed like possibilities I plotted on a PAPER MAP. What this young first-time-renter, first full-time-employment guy needed was a bit of help.

Need Help!

I’m confident that I’m one of the ONLY people to ever have done this after getting a job at Epic as it relates to finding housing:

I called Judy to ask advice.

Yes, I called Judy asking if she or anyone else at Epic knew of apartments or even areas of Madison they’d recommend. Seriously. I called her. She never acted like it was a problem (as I don’t think it was), but if you recall from my previous post, I didn’t know she was also the President and Owner of Epic. I called a few times about several topics, but I no longer remember what the others were. I hadn’t been introduced to my mentor yet, that call was much too late for things like this. I’m not even sure if my team assignment had been completed yet.

I don’t honestly know if she followed up with my request for help or not as I didn’t hear anything back (but I left it in such a way that I didn’t expect a “no answers” call). I’ll talk later about Epic’s early internal communication system. Just a hint — there was no “e-mail” or Microsoft Teams like you know today when I started.

Eventually, I drove up to Madison around areas I was interested in one day and stopped in at some of the larger apartment complexes that had availability, looked decent, and were easy drives to Epic. I looked at least 4 or 5 (it was time consuming!). I narrowed it to 2 and then selected a place called “Harbor House” which wasn’t the best choice in hindsight. Apparently, Harbor House also wasn’t a good business model for the owners, as they eventually owed bags of money in back-taxes to the city of Madison and later sold the complex off as condos.

Next up is Day 1 at Epic.

I don’t know if Epic started to provide any general listings to new hires of apartment complexes that had treated employees well (maybe with some discounts?). I know eventually there were some Epic discounts available around town.