How long to give a new job/city time before deciding its not working out?
April 24, 2006 9:01 PM   Subscribe

How long to give a new job/city time before deciding its not working out?

I recently finished up school down in San Diego (visual art) and wanted to move up to L.A. afterwards. Got a job offer (flash design/development) from a place maybe 45 minutes away from L.A., and I moved to Long Beach to be closer to the job. The money is good and the people are pleasant, but I'm missing the L.A. lifestyle (I lived there for about a year before heading down to S.D. for school) and art scene, etc.

Of course I'm only a short 20-25 minute drive from downtown L.A., but it feels pretty removed. I have friends in San Diego, and L.A., but not the area I'm living in. The distance makes it difficult to just pop-in. How long do I give this situation time before saying 'f-it' and move closer to the city I miss? Of course if I move to L.A. I won't be able to make the daily commute to this get the idea..etc..
posted by dvjtj to Work & Money (20 answers total)
Forgot to mention that I'm 26 and pretty much commitment/baggage/etc. free, if that has anything to do with making a decision. Also consider that its tough to find a decent job in this field where you can make good $$$ right out of school with little experience, especially in a cutthroat city like L.A.
posted by dvjtj at 9:10 PM on April 24, 2006

Personally, I would give it at least year. How long have you been there for?
posted by crazycanuck at 9:26 PM on April 24, 2006

at least one year.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:27 PM on April 24, 2006

At least one year, maybe two. It takes time.
posted by markmillard at 9:29 PM on April 24, 2006

It usually takes me 6 months before I've given a city a fair shot. Moved to Austin, TX in 2000 and hated it at first. It made it easy to stick to my guns though because if I moved before a year, not only would I have to break my apartment lease, but also repay relocation expenses to my job.

I ended up staying in Austin for 6 years and got engaged.

Now, I'm 5 months into living in LA, and not quite sure it's my scene yet, but Fiancee and I have committed to having our Wedding here, so we have until Feb '07 to see how we like it.

Being in the creative field, I'm surprised you found it difficult to find work in seems like we're constantly looking for flash designers.
posted by FearTormento at 9:32 PM on April 24, 2006

This isn't particularly useful... but my vote is for one where you stay at the job, and get less futzy about the absurdly short drive between long beach and central LA. It takes you what... half an hour on the 710? Suck it up and go hang out.

Then secondly, start making an active attempt to meet people in Long Beach. (clubs, sports, activities, whatever.)

You're in a tough field, so getting a good career going is important, unless you'd be equally happy as a Barnes and Noble clerk.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:33 PM on April 24, 2006

Oh, and I'm thinking a bare minimum of 2-3 years. You need enough to get another good job someplace without looking like you'll instantly flake out.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:33 PM on April 24, 2006

i've been here for a about a month. and yeah, I don't think a Barnes and Noble clerk will cut it.. ;)
posted by dvjtj at 9:46 PM on April 24, 2006

Just for curiosity, in what area are you working?
posted by sideshow at 10:06 PM on April 24, 2006

I'm completely unable to understand why you can't move to LA and commute? Is it an LA traffic issue that I'm just not getting? An hour roundtrip commute is hardly that much of a burden, especially if it gives you a social life -- it makes no sense to be able to get home quickly if you don't like home.
posted by occhiblu at 10:10 PM on April 24, 2006

Well, the job is in northern Orange County, so the traffic, especially at rush hour, can be pretty brutal. I'm working in design and programming, mostly Flash, php, illustrator, etc.
posted by dvjtj at 10:15 PM on April 24, 2006

As a kid we moved a lot. I had a formula that I forgot, but I think it was that the worst part was 9 months after a move... then it gets better from there.
posted by salvia at 10:37 PM on April 24, 2006

I hate the thought of commuting, have never really owned a car, have always used public transportation to get to my job when I worked away from home and now I telecommute, so take this with many grains of salt, but.... move to LA and commute. You like your job, you hate your life outside your job, and you can change the latter without changing the former. Why not do it?

Of course, you can also start looking for new work closer to LA. But why stay in a place that makes you miserable?

As for me, I stayed in Boston years after I should have moved because there was always enough there to keep me interested enough. Not totally fulfilling, but close enough. Then I moved to Washington DC and lasted six months before I said "ENOUGH!", but it was another three months before I could move away. My friends there said that I wasn't going to be able to "run away from my problems," and... they were wrong. I moved out to San Francisco and pretty much everything that was bothering me about my life in DC evaporated. I had never lived on the West coast, but I loved the thought of San Francisco, and now I can't imagine living somewhere else.

I think you should pick the thing that's important to you and pursue it. It doesn't sound like this is your dream job, but it does sound like LA is calling you. Why are you sacrificing the thing that will make you happy for something that doesn't?
posted by occhiblu at 11:41 PM on April 24, 2006

I recently moved for a good job, far (far, as in two time zones and an international border) away from my friends, family, comfort zone, and can very much relate. My take on it is that I know I won't be here forever, but I'm giving it a shot. Initially I came down here thinking, "I can do anything for one year." Now I've revised that to two years, which is, I feel, a decent amount of time to give it, plus the appropriate amount to spend sucking the marrow out of this job opportunity before I put in for a transfer. Yeah, it's lonely sometimes. But yeah, I'm meeting people I enjoy hanging out with, as well as a wonderful woman who's great to date. (I've been here almost 6 mos.)
posted by donpedro at 12:14 AM on April 25, 2006

A year, at least.

I've found that my reception to the city I'm living in now went like this: the first 2-3 months were really great ('wow, so much to do'). Then after three months, I had done it all and was sort of non plussed about the city. A lot of stuff comes out of the woodwork after three months, from the major ('the air here is horrible!') to the banal ('I still can't get decent sushi!'). Right now I'm somewhere in between, I've found my spots (restaurants, stores, clubs, whatever), I have some good friends and I'm meeting some new people.
posted by jedrek at 12:44 AM on April 25, 2006

I moved for work and have just quit - I gave it 6 months. Mind you, I wasn't getting on with the job (long story) or the commute (1h40 walk-train-train-walk each way) or the rent when I lived closer (£433+bills for a room and nothing else) and my fiancee and house and cats are 200 miles away.

I don't feel like I am wimping out, or that I didn't give it my best shot. Is the job good? I think I could have put up with the rest of the crap if I was getting things done and feeling like my career was progressing. Indeed, that was the plan, in a sense - move away and concentrate on work for a bit.

Hey, telephones are there. I have discovered that going to the cinema on your own really isn't that bad (especially if you take sandwiches), exploring a new city is a fun thing to do, and there are plenty of ways to meet new people (even if they are mostly friends-of-friends) and have fun.
posted by handee at 12:44 AM on April 25, 2006

I'll give a new job about three months to settle down - by then you should know what you're supposed to be doing, where the job's going and whether or not you're enjoying it.

As for the city, six months max and if you've still not settled then ask yourself why: is it the job, the area, the commute, the social scene (or lack of), friends and so on.

Generally though I trust my instincts. The last place I moved to I had a bad feeling about and left within a couple of months.

The next place I'm heading to I love and it 'felt' right as I walked around it, so trust your instinct on this one.
posted by Nugget at 3:02 AM on April 25, 2006

Took me almost a year (10 months, give or take) to get to where I absolutely love DC, and now I can't ever see myself leaving (except maybe to the suburbs to raise a family... crappy DC public schools...).

As far as the job thing, I think a lot of it depends on the size of the place and the office politics, etc. My office is rather large which leaves plenty of advancement, which I like, but recent office politics makes me wonder if I really should stay longer than a year and a half before moving on to something with less drama.

But leaving my job != relocating my life, so I agree with Nugget and say to follow your instinct. Maybe just peek around and see what other possible jobs L.A. offers you, and if you can get the same pay or better somewhere closer to where you really want to be, abandon ship.
posted by educatedslacker at 5:52 AM on April 25, 2006

When I moved from NYC to Atlanta, I decided beforehand that I would give it 3 years, minimum. That was 11 years ago, for what it's worth, and I'm still here.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2006

Thanks for all the advice! I think its important to give things time, but not so much time where things become stagnant.

I think living in Southern California has HUGE pluses (climate, opportunities) and BIG minuses (traffic, flakiness) compared to everywhere else in the country. Plus, the interactive/design/etc. industry is tough to get a good place where you can get experience and if you are at a decent place, its tough to just let it go.

Anyway, maybe the algorithm boils down to something like 3 months for a new job, 6 months for a new area, then maybe a year or two for the entire region. But things change on their own as well, and most things take time, so I guess I'll give the whole things 6 months then reevaluate.
posted by dvjtj at 12:26 PM on April 25, 2006

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