OT - Career Advice/ Living Location

Submitted by NYC Fan on July 5th, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I write this after spending a holiday weekend indoors to steer clear of the absurdly hot temps in NYC lately. I have been living in NYC for about 2 years now and am questioning why I am here. I grew up in Novi, MI and am used to the 9-5 lifestyle that allows for a much better work/life balance. True that people make more in NYC, but it is all relative. What I pay for rent with my roommate in a two bedroom apartment is more than what my mortgage payment was on a 3 bedroom house in MI. I keep telling myself that I can do this for about 4 more years and then take my 10 years of experience and move to an area that isn't so focused on work, work, work.
I am still in my 20's and figure as long as I am out by my early 30's I will have laid a great foundation for myself.
Am I kidding myself to believe it is worth forgoing my happiness a few years to provide a solid foundation? I have nothing against the city, I just like to golf, run, boat, grill and be able to enjoy a good fire in my backyard.



Ty Butterfield

July 5th, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

Kudos for moving to NYC. You sound like you don't enjoy it, but I don't think I would be able to do it. I have lived in Michigan my whole life, mostly in Kalamazoo, and I really like it. My brother lives in Chicago and it is fun to visit, but I don't think I would be able to live there. The cost of living in big cities, especially NYC, is insane. I am finishing up grad school in a couple of months and I am not too excited about the job prospects in Michigan. I have been thinking of looking in Indianapolis. It is a bigger city with more opportunities and I have family and friends that live there. I hope that the cost of living there won't be too out of control. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

James Burrill Angell

July 5th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

and once I left for UofM I never looked back. Most of my family and several friends are still there. Can't beat the restaurants and culture (and, since you're obviously single, the nightlife) but to me not a fair trade  for the high rent/real estate costs, heavy traffic to get anywhere, general cost of living (ridiculous the prices you have to pay just to go to ballgame) and the ridiculous work hours and the absolutely obnoxious people. If you think it sucks now, it only gets worse when you go to the suburbs. I think you clearly know you need to go...but the question is when and where.

As one of the other posters said, once you get tied down with the entaglements of a spouse and kids your mobility is severely limited. Now is the time to make any moves.

Further, one of the other posters was correct that your career will be limited by the cities that have significant finance jobs available and the awful economy. SO why don't you start eyeballing other jobs and if one comes open you're interested in, you can always pursue and if one comes along that looks like a good shot, take it.

NY really isn't for everyone, or frankly most people short of those who know nothing else and those who came from places that were stifling to them and they needed some of what only that city can provide in terms of creative and cultural outlets. Again if you're feeling that way as a young single man (which is really when NY is at its best) its only going to get worse. Plot your course out but don't do anything rash like quiting. Bide your time and wait for the right opportunity then kiss it goodbye. A word of caution, I have some friends from the northeast and midwest who live in southeastern cities (Atlanta, Charlotte, Tampa) who say they always feel like an outsider because they don't drawl.

As for places to go..I lived in Miami for several years. Fun when you're single but I wouldn't raise a kid there and never met a girl I wanted to be around for more than a few hours. I left after three years of law school then two years out. Just sick of the people and I prefer cold winters to 90 degree/90% humidity summers there. Suffers from many of the same annoying people and really a very flashy and fake place. I have several friends both single and married with kids) living in Denver who love it. I also think the world of Seattle but its so far from anything. I would live there in heartbeat if most of family and friends were not in the midwest and east coast. With both, I don't know what job options are availlable in your field. Everyone I know in Chicago loves it but the real estate ain't cheap. At least you get the big city benefits without the ridiculous work expectations. I also know a lot of people who did their single life in Chicago then if you marry come back to Michigan.......

I love metro detroit (I'm not far from the city you grew up) but I think its tough to be single here and jobs are DIFFICULT to come by right now.That said, you can live like a king here if you do land a good job and its really a great place to raise kids (plus having one excellent and one pretty good public university is nice compared to New Yorkers and New Jerseyites who HAVE to send their kids out of state or to a private school). It strikes me that since the city was such a run down place for nearly 30 years all the suburbs really developed (like Birmingham, Royal Oak, Milford, Saline, Northville) and, once you have kids, you live in the suburbs regardless of where you are. That was the one thing I hated about NYC, the suburbs were just residential sprawl with no downtowns or anything to do since everything was focused on the City. I've seen a bunch of people who grew up here and moved back here recently after building their resume elsewhere, getting married, having a kid or two and then landing a solid NON-AUTO INDUSTRY job (most were doctors, lawyers, accountants, a chef).


July 5th, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

I hated working in NYC.  It made me mean(er).  Too many rats in a very small cage.

I traded it for Seattle.  If I had to live in a city, I'd still be there.  I would say it's 180 degrees from NYC, but it's actually more like another planet.  The natives don't like outsiders, but they are so naturally polite it's hard to tell.  The opportunities to get outdoors are endless: thousands of miles of trails for hiking and biking, sea kayaking from island to island in the Sound, the wilderness beaches on the Olympic peninsula . . . Ranier.  Oh man, Ranier. 

It has good culture and food.  The sports aren't great, but that is what the Big Ten Network is for.  (Speaking of which, you need to learn to watch football at 9am unless you are DVR-delaying.) 

The traffic can be heavy, so you have to live close to work no matter how much it costs, but that's about the only drawback other than the weather.  Despite what you've heard, it rarely really rains there (in the city, it rains like a mother up in the mountains or on the west side of the Olympic).  It mists most mornings about nine months of the year.  You don't see the sun rise very often, which depresses some people (like my lovely spouse, which is why we aren't still there).  The temps are great: average of 2 days a year above 80 and 2 days a year below 32.



July 5th, 2010 at 4:12 PM ^

I've live in NYC as well and I am also considering leaving.  Between the incredibly high taxes and the cost of living it does not make sense unless you have no choice (i.e. you do investment banking).  I do not understand why so many hedge funds are located here.  Like you I am also looking at places to move to, the only problem is that there are few jobs in finance outside of the city.


But it sucks to make good money in NYC only to save nothing, live in a 4th floor walkup hole in the wall.


Still the experience in the 20's and early 30's is so much fun in the NYC.


July 5th, 2010 at 4:14 PM ^

i think you already know the answer by posting this question.  my only advice would be that if you decide to move out of NYC, make sure you have a job in hand first.  i know too many bright people with a lot more experience than you seeking jobs right now.  I live in chicago, and MI is even worse.


July 5th, 2010 at 4:15 PM ^

The ideal scenario is to hook up with an employer that has facilities all over the country. Stick with them for 5-8 years, and a couple moves. For instance, I thought I'd HATE the state of Washington, turns out my time there was a blast.

I hated Georgia, L.A. was tolerable but suffocating, and good old West Michigan turned out to be the place to put down roots and raise a family. Other than maybe Vermont/NH or a move back to Washington, I don't expect to ever leave here.  Given your interests, there could be 100 places in the US more appealing. 

Personally, I wouldn't go past age 30 in a place you don't like.  Life is wayyyyyy to short. You get hooked up, find your dream house, have a few kids and the next thing you know you've been through a whirling time vortex that spits you out into some strange backyard, you're in your 40's with grill tongs in your hand and a killer beer gut, and some lady is all over your ass because the grass is too fucking long. 

Good luck to you.  Life's a cool-ass journey. 



July 5th, 2010 at 6:02 PM ^

Dude, just do whatever you think will make you happier.  That is really what it boils down to.  You work to make money so you can be comfortable and happy, but if you aren't happy even when you aren't working, then you are missing the whole point of work. 


July 5th, 2010 at 6:10 PM ^

I was transfered from Cleveland to Austin and I was excited after everything that I read.

It sucks, I hate it and I want to get back to the midwest.

Everyone has different opinions of places and such but you have to decide for yourself. I did't have much of a choice it was Topeka, Tallahassee or Austin and I chose wrong this time but that's just me.

Being in NY you may not be saving a whole lot but atleast you have SOMETHING.

Good luck, I saw TOOL in Cedar Park a week ago and Maynard said everything is going to work out so that made me feel much better.

Blue Balls

July 5th, 2010 at 7:17 PM ^

When the time is right, you won't need our advice. Make more of an effort to get out of the city on short trips-sometimes stepping out of the fire has a way of cooling your feet.


July 5th, 2010 at 7:28 PM ^

I moved from Chicago to Kansas City for what I told my wife was the last job I will ever have...Regional Mangaer with World Comm.  We had both grown up in Chicago and could not imagine a life in cow town USA.  We went from close to 5 million people (city and burbs) to 1.5 million.  The longest commute in this town is 20 minutes, my house of 300K is 800K in a comperable Chicago suburb and although World Comm was a fail I have never had to work nights or weekends in my current job.  Turned out to be the best move I ever made for me and my family.  I go back to Chicago now and the lifestyle makes me tense-love the city just would never live there again-enjoy the visit.


July 5th, 2010 at 7:59 PM ^

... don't trade in your 20's to build a foundation.  It's just not worth it.  You can get extremely valuable experience doing things that you enjoy.  That being said, each person's situation is unique, so do what you think is best given where you want to be. 

We moved to Seattle 3 years ago, and we absolutely love it.  It has everything you could ask for -- except sun -- and has brought a level of sanity to our lives that did not exist in larger cities. 


July 5th, 2010 at 10:14 PM ^

I've lived in a number of places around the country, and for me (though admittedly this is based on my own personality), one rule has remained ironclad: The farther away I get from New York City, the happier I feel and the nicer everybody seems to be. California > Minneapolis > Chicago > New York.


Doesn't work for everybody but it does for me.


July 5th, 2010 at 10:34 PM ^

Flying out to NYC next Monday to look for a place to stay for the 3 months I am there on an internship (the actual gig begins on the 19th).  The office I am working at is in Long Island City, Queens.  I have been scouring the craigslists and other sites but  havent found much.   Looking for something around 1500 month/preferably furnished til November, looking Greenpoint, Billyburg, midtown east, and Astoria- if you guys have any leads it would be greatly appreciated!