When I login to a particular server of mine, I nearly always want to go to a certain directory instead of the default /home/chris.

I use zsh as my shell so I just needed to put this at the top of my /home/chris/.zshrc file: cd /usr/local/someplace (put this in .bashrc for you bash users).

You can't put it in your .profile because cd is built into your actual shell. If you don't believe me then run man bash and you will see something like

BASH_BUILTINS(1)                                              BASH_BUILTINS(1)
       bash, :, ., [, alias, bg, bind, break, builtin, caller, cd, command, ...