Is it worth it to move to ATL?
July 22, 2013 1:51 PM   Subscribe

In light of this FPP, I'm having second thoughts about relocating to Atlanta.

As seen from my previous questions, I'm in a toxic family situation and need a full time job to get out of it ASAP. I have non-toxic family that lives in Atlanta, and I was considering moving there to be close to them. However, I'm worried about the job market there, and what I'm finding on the web is giving me conflicting perspectives.

I don't want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fryer. Are there other places I can consider where I can make a decent salary, live on my own, pay student loans, save for retirement? I'd consider living overseas but getting a work visa is damn near impossible these days.
posted by never nice to Work & Money (13 answers total)
I think it's hard to make sound inferences from broad statistical trends to what is best for you as an individual. For one thing, you're not proposing being raised in Atlanta, you're talking about moving there as an adult. I think you should think much more about work opportunities in your specific field and what kind of support network you, personally, will be able to draw on than thinking "if I were a statistically average Atlantan, what would my life prospects be?"
posted by yoink at 1:55 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

First order of business would be to find out if the study in that FPP was limiting itself to the city limits of Atlanta, or to the metastasized 5 county "metropolitan area".
posted by thelonius at 1:56 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would say that moving somewhere you have some fallback support and help finding work may be more useful than simply going to the place with the best employment stats on paper. If your family there is willing to let you stay with them for a bit while you find work and a place to stay, that's a real benefit you may not be able to find in another city where you don't know anyone.
posted by asperity at 1:58 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

There is a lot more to consider in your move than studies of aggregate data. Each individual's situation will have its own unique factors, as yours does.

Moving to a place where you have a support network can be invaluable. If you can have a place to stay for a bit till you get on your feet, known people to connect you to others - heck, just make sure you're not alone all the time and can have a meal with you - that is a way bigger factor than some study on broad trends.

The truth is, there is no real easy place to just move more-or-less blindly and get a job. It's a tough thing to do. It will probably be much easier to do it if you move somewhere with some kind of support network.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:58 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I live in Atlanta and I'm having a great time in the job market. What kind of work do you do? Where in Atlanta would you be living?

More details and I'll be happy to fill you in.

I think you would like Atlanta, there are hip parts of town, an okay public transportation system (although having a car is optimal) and I see lots of jobs posted, it just depends on what skills you have and what you want to do.

MeMail me and I can connect with you though LinkedIn.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:59 PM on July 22, 2013

I've found that job markets can be highly dependent on your area of specialization/interest. Atlanta has a strong corporate footprint.
posted by Mercaptan at 2:14 PM on July 22, 2013

Do you "plan" to be wealthy or poor? In my experience, Atlanta is a tough place to be poor, compared to other major cities. Cars will hurtle past you, spraying exhaust in your face as you lug your groceries home. You will wait as two buses break down in a row since nobody in power cares about MARTA because the only time they've ever ridden it is to the airport. Public benefits are fewer and further between, and harder to get access to. I've since moved back to the blue state where I grew up, and these things make a huge difference. Atlanta has some really cool things and people in it, but I ultimately found its daily "fuck you"s to be overpowering.
posted by threeants at 2:20 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you only have a GED, ATL would not be an ideal place.
If you only have a high school diploma, ATL would not be an ideal place.
If you have an associates degree, ATL will have some serious competition.
If you have a liberal arts focused bachelor's degree, ATL will have some serious competition.
If you have a specialized degree in an industry not common in ATL, you may have some difficulty.
If you have an engineering or sciences job in ATL but little to no experience and no connections, you may have some difficulty.
If you have a recognized degree, and some experience related to your field under your belt, you will minimize your difficulty - but there is no guarantee it will be easy in ATL.
If you have an advanced degree or are an expert in your field, but your industry is not well represented in ATL, you may have some significant difficulty.
If you are the ideal candidate, but you are unknown and have no pre-existing connections in ATL, and you are going for a complete self-reboot, you may have some difficulty.

These things are true of any city. Conventional wisdom is to try to have a job lined up before you move somewhere. Maybe you could take a short visit to ATL for some interviewing before you set your heart on the city.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I did OK car-less in Atlanta, but I was living right by the Edgewood-Candler Park station, and working in Buckhead. There was a grocery mart down the street and lots of things to do within walking distance.
posted by thelonius at 2:38 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Make this easier on yourself by not projecting this forward all the way to some distant doom. You're not making a choice for the rest of your life here. You're making a choice for the right now to get yourself out of a bad situation. It's not like jobs and opportunity grow on trees in other cities while everybody in Atlanta just lays around in despair with no prospects. If you want to move somewhere, try to get a job there first and then move. If you're just going to pick a city and move there and then hope to get a job, that's a risk, but Atlanta wouldn't be some kind of disaster compared to most any other place. There will be advantages and disadvantages everywhere you go, and many of them just relative to whatever you may be used to.

Having family close can be an advantage, particularly when you know nobody else in town. I see from your other questions that you're having trouble networking. Good luck with that in a town where you no nobody. Even one relative can magnify your contacts many times over, much less multiple family members. They'll know the terrain, know of opportunities, know people to talk to, and can get you in the door based on established relationships and trust.

Also, studies like this are one drop in a much larger and never-filled bucket of analysis. Don't base a major life decision solely on something like this. Whether you can get decent pay, live on your own, save, etc. is going to be dependent on a lot of other things before it's dependent on what major metropolis you move to.

Good luck. Do your best.
posted by Askr at 6:36 PM on July 22, 2013

It is just about impossible to live decently in Atlanta without full-time, whole-house air conditioning, and a car. Even if you can handle it when you're young (college-aged), you will find it makes it impossible to do anything well at all (including thinking) when you get older. Consider how you feel about that.
posted by amtho at 12:07 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know people who just relocated there. From their reports, it seems like a fairly nice place to live. But they are relatively wealthy enough to live in a city center type neighborhood, where access to things is relatively easy.

Pros to Atlanta is that it is a Delta hub and a lot of business has a presence there because of that, and a generally business friendly political atmosphere.

Cons are that its hot and congested if you can't live local to your employment.

I guess the real question is, are there any employers in the area that are in need of your skills?
posted by gjc at 5:05 AM on July 23, 2013

Are there other places I can consider where I can make a decent salary, live on my own, pay student loans, save for retirement? I'd consider living overseas but getting a work visa is damn near impossible these days.

There are any number of places in the US you can do that but you aren't going to figure that out looking at infographics and talking to strangers on the interwebz about it - you're going to need to visit and do a lot of research on your own to answer that question. Atlanta has a lot to offer but whether you have anything to offer to an employer there is really the question that needs to be answered.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 8:44 AM on July 23, 2013

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