Should I relocate to Dallas?
November 20, 2011 9:44 AM   Subscribe

I have the opportunity to relocate to Dallas from Boston for my job -- what is Dallas like?

I'm a single, 22-yo male straight out of college who's been working for around 3-4 months so far. I'm loving my job and now I've been given the opportunity to relocate to Dallas, TX because our offices are expanding.

To give a little background, I'm in internal consulting right now in Boston, so I have close to zero travel required for my job. But the model in Dallas will be that of external consulting where I'll be traveling four days out of the week for at least a year. This puts a slight spin on what my life in Dallas would be like, considering I'd only be there for a couple days out of the week (that is, if I decide to go back to Dallas for the weekend after work; my company gives us the option to stay at our client's city during the weekend with a stipend for hotel lodging and food).

So, my questions:
1. Where should I live? I'd like to live in Uptown Dallas, as I've heard that that's where all the single, young professionals live.
2. What kind of rent am I looking at? I want a nice, upper scale (not necessarily luxurious) 1 BR apt or condo -- how much would I have to pay in rent? I'm more inclined to rent a really cheap, but decent, place for $500-600 a month as opposed to spending $1,000+ for a really nice place because I won't be living in my place for the majority of the time and this will help me save money. Are there nice places to be had for <$850 a month in Uptown Dallas?
3. What is the crowd like? I hear about $30K millionaires from my research and I'm getting the vibe that they're the Texas version of guidos. Will they be everywhere I go and will I want to punch them in the face?
4. What's the nightlife like? I've been to clubs/bars in Boston for the past four years and I'm wondering if anyone with experience with Boston clubs and Dallas clubs can give me a comparison of the party scene in Dallas.

At this point, I'm more inclined to go because: a) it will give me more visibility to senior leadership amongst my firm, b) I want to put myself out there in a new city and learn how to cope with change while I'm still young and single, c) this will give me the opportunity to save a lot of money because of Texas' low cost of living, and d) I don't see myself staying there beyond two years.

Thanks in advance!
posted by 6spd to Work & Money (11 answers total)
1. If you're the type of young professional that refers to one's self as a "young professional," then Uptown is about right. If you're more generally "hipster" than that then Lower Greenville might be better. Pretty much everywhere else is for the vacuous, suburbanite, or redneck.

2.It will vary widely. Uptown will be more expensive.

3. Yes, they will, and that's a pretty accurate assessment.

4. I've never been "clubbin'" nut that seems like a primary activity for Dallasites. There are also good bars and music venues. The arts scene is a little large for the scene, so there are some very good galleries and some very pointless ones.
posted by cmoj at 9:51 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

22? oh f yeah travel. plus it will def be warmer in the winter.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:06 AM on November 20, 2011

Best answer: Cost of living-wise, I'd say Dallas hands down. And there's plenty to do in Dallas when you're 22 and single, no matter what you like to do.

You won't have nearly as much weather trouble flying in and out of DFW (of course, any time any airport in the US gets hit hard it's going to echo throughout the rest of the system as planes aren't where they are supposed to be, but you don't have a lot of primary weather delays in Dallas itself).

I don't know if this is still true, but it used to be practically mandatory for all new-to-town young single professionals to live in The Village. Uptown is for people with more money. During the real estate boom developers built a shitload of lofty condos and condo-y lofts right on the outskirts of Deep Ellum. Nobody bought, so they're all mostly apartments now. You'll find a lot of graphic designers and roommate-hipsters around there.

You will need a car. I don't know if you do currently but you will in Dallas, and that may eat up your cost of living difference.

I'm not really sure what a "$30K millionaire" is that would be specific to Dallas. There's going to be douchebags and people living beyond their means wherever you go in the world, Dallas is big enough to avoid them once you know where they congregate.

If moving there is going to do that much for your career, I don't think there's a downside. I'd advise you to just find a place to live for a year that is affordable and suits you rather than paying ridiculous rent for a show-off pad you're never at. It's a big big area, and you will meet people like you who live in every single part of it.

(I myself would live as close to the airport as humanly possible, like in Grapevine or Southlake or Irving right in the goddamned landing pattern, because Dallas traffic blows and it really sucks to miss your 6am Monday flight or to sit in traffic for over an hour on Thursday night because of an accident or construction. Once you've been there a year, you can decide if you want to move to some status-specific area or closer to your Dallas office or whatever.)
posted by Lyn Never at 10:59 AM on November 20, 2011

Dallas is a giant suburb. The uptown area is actually sort of walkable, but not cheap, and I don't think you can get a place for $850 a month there anymore – it seems to have gotten considerably more expensive since I lived there (I think my initial rent when I did was somewhere slightly north of that figure). The rents in The Village seem quite a bit less evil though.
posted by furiousthought at 11:30 AM on November 20, 2011

Based on my friends that lived there (consultants themselves) and my visits:

Dallas is sort of like a LA in Texas. Same sort of driving culture, downtown is dead. Lots of very well dressed people and very attractive people.

-Live in Uptown, find a fun roommate. Parts of uptown are very dense urban feel, though somewhat sanitized. I assume you can afford it.
-My friends were actually very surprised at the availability of ethnic food in the metro area (lots of Vietnamese, Indian)
-Try something like a club or sport league so you can make friends when you're not there during the week.
posted by sandmanwv at 11:33 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't say there's a lot of Vietnamese and Indian in the city. It exists. I don't think those two (or Greek) are particularly Dallas' strong points diningwise. The northern suburbs have more Indian and Vietnamese restaurants though.

Downtown Dallas is not dead the way LA's is, not anymore, it's full of nice apartments for the professional set too, has been for the last 10 years. It is unfortunately about as pricey as Uptown and parking is much more of a pain (downtown being the only section of the city not designed around cars, but, you'll need the car for other stuff. Dallas is making big strides in mass transit but going carless here is not a good idea)

Dallas drivers are worse than LA drivers. They're not quite as fast, but they're more aggressive and more clueless, especially as you go towards the suburbs.
posted by furiousthought at 11:44 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

4.) The nightlife in Dallas is different from Boston in that the old bars in Boston have a lot of character, and the ones in Dallas... not so much. I guess a few of the steak houses fit that description, if that's your thing. I had visions of cowboy hats and lots of line dancing when I visited. No such luck. There is less of a college vibe in Dallas nightlife also, whereas Boston bars are pretty swamped by college kids.

Honestly, I think Dallas is a big, no-fun suburb. My boyfriend, who loves to drive, thinks BBQ is awesome, and doesn't like art galleries grew up there and think it's ok.
posted by devymetal at 12:05 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I want to add that traveling for work becomes old very, very fast. I know you're 22 and it makes sense but insist that you are compensated enough to take it up. You'll settle in Dallas much more quickly than you'd settle for 4 day travel/week.
posted by Lucubrator at 4:18 PM on November 20, 2011

Response by poster: That's another concern I sort of have.. While we're getting a bonus for relocating to Texas, it's only a one-time thing and I'm getting the vibe that we won't be getting a raise because they know that the cost of living is much cheaper in Texas than in Boston. That being said, since my work model is now changing to 75% travel, I think I deserve a pay bump to reflect that (i.e. firms like McKinsey, BCG, etc. pay around 12% higher than my firm's base salary in Dallas).

But even though I don't receive a base salary raise, I think I could still save a lot of money by moving to Dallas. I would be traveling 75% of the time, so meals and whatnot are comped four days a week. Rent is obviously going to be cheaper (given that I rent a cheaper place than in Boston), and the overall cost of living will be lower.

I really do want that raise in salary though.. :P Any way I can push harder for it? Or should I just accept the offer for what it is without pushing further for a raise?
posted by 6spd at 5:17 PM on November 20, 2011

Remember that there is no state income tax in Texas, so that will affect your salary as well.
posted by raccoon409 at 7:47 PM on November 20, 2011

But even though I don't receive a base salary raise, I think I could still save a lot of money by moving to Dallas. I would be traveling 75% of the time, so meals and whatnot are comped four days a week.

Check to make sure your per diem is actually reasonable for the areas you'll be traveling to, not just where you're living. If they're cheap with not giving you a salary bump, they may be skimping on the per diem as well, and that will rapidly incur overhead expenses as you stretch an extra $10 here an extra $20 there to eat somewhere that's appropriate to take colleagues or not eating at near-fast food places.

And even if you're saving money, you should be reimbursed. If you have research indicating that its' 12% less than comparable, you'll be shooting yourself in the foot if you do take it - because you're neglecting to factor in that because you'll be traveling so much, you'll probably be spending extra money on entertainment because you will barely know anybody most of the places you go. There's a hidden price in loneliness and needing to spend money to entertain yourself.

So the way to push harder for it is to say, "hey look, xyz show that positions with that much travel are compensated such and such, and I think I'm worth the investment." If they balk, shrug and say, "well, that's too bad then, let me know if you change your mind," and go back to your desk and carry on. You need to be willing to walk away, and demonstrate that to them - if I were you, I would.

To be fair, I'm not you, and 75% travel, absent a big salary bump and massive career advancement sounds like a job out of Up in the Air to me... but I'm a bit older than you and a bit more settled.
posted by canine epigram at 6:10 AM on November 21, 2011

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