You've been offered the same position with the same company in your choice of two offices: Seattle or San Francisco. The salary is the same in both positions but, due to a cost of living adjustment, the pay is higher in SF. What are some of the factors you'd consider in deciding where to go? Which would you choose and why?
posted by IdRatherNotSay to Society & Culture (50 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'll tell you a little bit about my soon-to-be-spouse and myself. He's the one with the job offer, I'm just along for the ride.
We currently live on the East Coast, most of our family is on the East Coast, so this is a "big move" for us. My fiance moved around quite a bit growing up, I've never moved other than going away to college and coming back after. We had no particular reason to seek out a big move, but we're up for taking a big plunge, shaking things up a little bit, having an adventure.
We like the outdoors, we like bike riding and water sports, swimming at pools, beaches or lakes, short hikes. No kids, no rush to have any, for a few years at least. We hope to get a dog, so we'd like to live somewhere dog-friendly. We like to eat out and try different cuisines, we would consider ourselves adventurous eaters. We don't drink a lot, but we'll grab a beer while we watch a game somewhere. We're not really into a music/club/live music scene at all. We look forward to exploring a new city, I think we'd have fun checking out different neighborhoods together on the weekends. We're very liberal and, while he enjoys some political debate, I'm happiest surrounded by like-minded individuals.
We know no one in Seattle, we have a few acquaintances/distant friends in SF. We have a few friends in Portland, so maybe we'd make the drive a few times, but we're up for making friends wherever we live. We're both pretty outgoing. I imagine my fiance might also make some friends, or at least acquaintances, through work.
Hobbies: My fiance is very into sports as a spectator, he watches a lot of sports on TV and attends live games - baseball, football, college football, MLS, basketball, etc. He's a fan of the 49ers, but I think he'd be happy to see any team anywhere. I'm into crafts, knitting and photography. In the past I've made friends this way, by joining knitting circles for instance.
We have a car that we would bring with us. We'd like to avoid buying a second car, but we could live with that if it was necessary. Or, conceivably, we could sell our car if we find having one to be unnecessary but I do think it'd be nice to have for weekend trips, I think for the first year or more we might save on vacations by doing trips around our area and exploring locally.
We'd be open to living either in the city proper or perhaps in a closeby suburb. In Seattle, his office would be downtown, in SF, his office would be in the Financial District, so we think both offices are in areas that are very commutable. We'd likely rent at least for a little while, while we get our bearings on our city and the neighborhoods. We agree that if we're unhappy where we end up, we can try for a transfer in a few years (either to the city we didn't pick, or to some other city, or possibly back "home" here) but we'd like to go into it with the mindset of this being a permanent move.
Other things we've been considering so far:
* weather - is Seattle as bad and as rainy as its reputation? Is SF really as lovely as its reputation?
* quality of life for the cost of living. Meaning, even with the salary adjustment in SF, I think maybe we could get a bigger/nicer home in Seattle. Right now we live in a teeny tiny apartment, and I really like the sound of being able to afford a bigger place.
* People coming to visit - I could be wrong, but I feel like maybe we're more likely to get our friends to come visit San Fran, so we'd see more of our old friends that way?
* accessibility to international flights. Right now we live near the 3 NYC airports which means direct flights to most places and we like to take an international vacation every year or two. I'd like to avoid living somewhere that requires multiple flights or is not near a hub. I think San Fran/Oakland covers flights to most destinations, does Seattle?
* Washington State doesn't have income tax, which means more disposable income. On the other hand, he's required to pay more into health insurance in Seattle, so it might be a wash.
* I've asked my fiance whether he had a preference of either office - he felt, based on the interview, he would like the SF office better. It's a smaller office and they seemed friendlier and team-oriented. This is important since we're moving for the job, and that's the only known factor in the move, he might as well like the office he's going to.
* This is perhaps the most snowflake-y aspect- I'm a lawyer admitted in NY. I believe I can waive into the Washington bar (not take another bar exam). I don't believe I can waive into the Cal bar, and their bar exam is notoriously difficult. That means either I wouldn't work right away in California, or at least not as a lawyer. We'll be married and I'll have health insurance, but money would obviously be tighter.
* Long term thinking - Would SF be a good forever city, or is it more of a "it was a good experience to live there for a few years" city? For some reason, I think of Seattle more as somewhere we could settle down forever, and SF less so.
Am I missing anything? Are there other factors you'd consider? Where would you choose and why? Bonus points if you can point us in the direction of neighborhoods to check out, examples of things to do, etc. I'm knowledge-hungry, and we only have a few days to decide! Thanks!