What I love about Long Beach: The collaboration — I find that people are much more apt to build business connections and strategic partnerships in Southern California than in any other place I have lived. The weather — hey, I love Chicago but don't miss the winters. The ocean — It's great to live one mile from the Pacific."
Some challenges living in Long Beach: The traffic. The pizza — not a lot of deep-dish out here. The four-hour flight to get back to my hometown of Chicago."
Lessons learned in relocating: I made a point to keep in touch and in regular communication with friends and family back in Chicago once I moved out to CA. Knowing they were only a phone call or text away was a big help in the transition.
Resources for relocating: Long Beach Chamber of Commerce
ASK Mentor Ken Bator, President of Bator Training & Consulting Inc. in Long Beach (2014)
What I love about San Francisco: Huge number of creative and intelligent minds. Healthy work/life balance. Booming technology sector.
Some challenges living in San Francisco: Having many qualified candidates creates a competitive job market. Securing housing can be cutthroat. Overall cost of living is more expensive than Chicago.
Lessons learned in relocating: A good number of people living in the Bay Area (myself included) are not originally from here. Many relocated for jobs or came wide-eyed with dreams of incubating the newest startup. That means all those people know what it's like to be the "new guy." My advice: don't be afraid to ask for help. People are generally happy to assist because they've all been there too. Meet new people, try new things, and escape your comfort zone. Sometimes getting lost is the best way to find yourself.
Resource for relocating: Most companies in the Bay Area recruit via LinkedIn. Get on it. Or if you already are, keep your profile updated. Take a look within your professional network. Chances are you already know someone here!
ASK Mentor John Wegner, Digital Production Designer at Epsilon in San Francisco (2014)
It is hard to watch the news and not hear about the bleak economic outlook in California. As reported by the NCSL and the San Jose Mercury News, the state of California has a 12.3% unemployment rate, which continues to rise and is substantially higher than the 9.6% national unemployment rate. That said, the economic forecast for Silicon Valley, home to many of the largest and most influential technology companies, is brighter with a declining unemployment rate, down to 11.2% from 11.8% last year. With the omnipresence of startup companies, anecdotally it seems like motivated professionals with relevant degrees and experience eventually find jobs in technology or in related fields, even if one's job was temporary lost. On the education front, with all the budget cuts in California, K-16 teaching positions in public-run schools are difficult to come by, with public school teachers often receiving pink slips at the end of the school year hoping to get rehired by the summer's end. In private schools, teaching jobs are not quite as scarce. While many private school teachers are waiting a bit longer to retire and are staying in their current jobs longer, hesitant to make changes in these uncertain times, that is slowly changing. Moreover, when private schools do have teaching positions open, experienced and knowledgeable math, science and computer science educators are in high demand as there is still a dearth of such specialized teachers with relevant experience. Regardless of the employment outlook, San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley, is a vibrant and intellectually stimulating place to live. According to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, San Jose was ranked as the 3rd most educated city in the United States, with nearby San Francisco ranked as the second. The reality of this statistic quickly becomes evident as one begins spending any amount of time in by area, interacting with the residents.
ASK mentor Jennifer Gargano, Assistant Head of School, Academic Affairs at The Harker School in San Jose (2010)