Hi, my name is Zach McCullough. I quit my job and moved to St. Louis from Austin, TX this past July after an epic summer adventure that started in Paraguay and ended in Brazil. It involved a 24 bus ride across the Paraguay/Brazil border, eating meat and cheese at every meal, and drinking lots of cold beer.

Before I moved to St. Louis to live with my girlfriend I didn’t know anything about the city or Missouri. Literally nothing. I’m sure I could have pointed out Missouri on a map, but then again I knew so little about the Midwest that I might not have even been able to do that.

In the months before getting ready to make the move to St. Louis I started the process of looking for a job. Nobody likes looking for a job. Period. Job hunting is stressful and can start negatively effecting one’s overall well-being if you go too long without landing an interview. In Austin, job hunting is even less fun. The market is over saturated with recent college graduates all applying for the same jobs with similar for-hire criteria. Typical vernacular includes buzzwords like Social Media Ninja and Customer Satisfaction Specialist – job qualities that seem to universally resonate with a large percentage of the twenty-something population on the hunt for a job in the startup world. Needless to say, thousands of other people, similar in age, simultaneously vying for the same job as you does not alleviate the pressure of being jobless. Neither does it breed communicative hiring managers who are already inundated with resumes and unsympathetic to your want to receive an email response to your application.

So why am I telling you all of this? I wanted to share my story.

In a very short amount of time since moving to St. Louis and starting to work for Dabble I’ve met so many amazing small business owners, entrepreneurs, teachers, and students. Way more than I can count, and for the most part my interactions have been repeatedly positive.

Getting hired to work at Dabble was not like what I experienced looking for a job in Austin or what it would be like looking for a job in a big city like San Francisco. There was no bureaucratic red tape. I applied and was called back in a reasonable amount of time after submitting my resume. We met face to face shortly after emailing back and forth and had an honest conversation. I left on a positive note feeling like I had gotten the job all in the span of about a week.

I have been so inspired by the sheer number of down to earth, creative, and welcoming people that I have met through my work with Dabble that I started a blog post called Dabble Talks. Writing this column has allowed me to share my interactions with the entrepreneurs that are building St. Louis’ cultural and entrepreneurial landscape. On a deeper level – conducting these interviews has helped me build meaningful relationships. The real kind. The right way.

You can read my interviews with, Mike Corson (Sculptor/Dabble Teacher), Shannon Lichti (Director of St. Louis Fashion Week), EarthBound Brewing, Bob Brazell (Owner of Byrd & Barrel), and Alba Creales (owner of Swan River Yoga), by clicking on the links.

If you would like to know more about Dabble and what we’re doing, reach out. I want to talk to you about St. Louis and hear your story.