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Old 03-10-2016, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,113 posts, read 15,431,417 times
Reputation: 24010

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Basic info: I'll be 30 next month and have lived in the following states since 2010: IA, IN, MA, SC, TN, VA. The TN/VA residences were close together, so no real difference. Out of the following, cost of living/income aside, I preferred: SC, MA, VA/TN, IN, IA. Single, outdoorsy, Trump supporter but not religious, from Tennessee, into craft beer - not looking to relocate to the West Coast. It's just too expensive.

I live in Indianapolis and make close to $70k with bonus. I work as an application administrator for banking software, and have done various IT roles in the manufacturing and financial services spaces. I'd ideally like to transition out of IT into something more stable and portable to various areas instead of just major metros, but will do anything but help desk if the pay is right.

I'm looking for the following, in no particular order, but could compromise on some things: Reasonably sunny climate (sunshine levels here are enough for me), proximity to water (ideally a lake or somewhere with a boat club within 30 minutes - not really negotiable), reasonable proximity to hiking (30-60 minutes), warmish weather (ideally looking to go warmer than where I'm at) good restaurant/bar scene (not much into clubbing), good job market. Hopefully within a day's drive of east TN where family is, but negotiable.

Places I've been that I liked - in rough order.

1) Greenville, SC - easily the best place of them all, small enough to not be clogged up, enough shopping for me (Costco, Macy's, TJ's, etc), excellent dining scene, easy access to water/hiking/biking/home, however, weak economy with weak wages.

2) Asheville, NC - many of the same advantages as Greenville with an even weaker economy and closer to home. My grandparents won't be around much longer and I could come home most weekends.

3) Portland, ME - Dining and beer scene is beyond outstanding, in town and all the way down the coast to Kittery. Incredibly beautiful country. I was in Boston for a month for my last job and went back every three months - and would schedule vacation time so I could spend more in Maine. COL is higher than Greenville, but around Asheville, colder, but the ocean is there, and geography similar to western NC in interior Maine. Winters are god awful.

4) Southwest FL - Sarasota to Naples, amazing everything year round. Not congested or crowded compared to major metros. However, worried about COL and job market. Dining, beer, and local food scene is weak. Groceries are high with little selection.

5) Western MI - I love the Lake Michigan towns like Holland and Muskegon and they are commutable to job centers in Grand Rapids. The unemployment in this rate is stellar. I'm worried about winter and the inability to enjoy the outdoors for four of five months there. This is kind of a long shot, but I've spent a lot of time there and really do like it.

I have to take a week of consecutive vacation this year and will be taking around Memorial Day. I know Asheville and Greenville basically inside out, and have been to southwest FL three times since last Feburary. I'm really debating between the Great Lakes and coastal Maine. I've never been to Maine at length in the summer.

Of bigger cities, I'm looking at Nashville, Jacksonville, and Tampa. I don't want anything as big as where I am at now ideally, and I don't think Charlotte or Raleigh would offer much benefit. If the offer was right, I'd definitely move to FL first, NC second.

Where would you go in my position?
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Atlanta metro (Cobb County)
1,215 posts, read 557,078 times
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My suggestions have many similar qualities to your top pick, Greenville, SC: how about Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC or Huntsville, AL? They are both relatively close to your family, and seem to match your preferences well. Greensboro and Winston-Salem (the Triad) are often overlooked with their proximity to Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, but are nonetheless growing economically and have great access to nature plus all the metropolitan amenities expected for an area around 1 million residents. Huntsville has a strong but very specialized economy centered on defense and high-tech, and overall is one of the highest income metro areas in the Southeast, but nonetheless affordable. I don't think your political preferences would be a problem in either area, although the Triad is less conservative than Huntsville.

I like southwest Florida as a place to vacation, but don't see it so ideal for year-round residence. From my experience the area gets very congested during peak tourist periods, and when there is a massive influx of retirees during the winter. But I'd disagree on the dining options, at least in Sarasota and Naples - there are a lot of locally owned choices there and great local seafood.
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 7,948,719 times
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I can't believe you're transferring OUT of IT, since all I see when I'm looking for jobs are IT jobs and/or IT skills.
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,113 posts, read 15,431,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Min-Chi-Cbus View Post
I can't believe you're transferring OUT of IT, since all I see when I'm looking for jobs are IT jobs and/or IT skills.
I've posted many times on the work and employment forum about my grips with the industry. It isn't stable, blamed/assigned liability by the business, hours can be long and crazy, etc. It's a bad industry to be in.
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:55 AM
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11,386 posts, read 9,905,699 times
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Interesting thread. I'm a few years younger than you, but I too have lived all over the place and am looking to settle down and buy property somewhere in the next year or so. It sounds like Nashville ticks most of your boxes. Best of luck!
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Old 03-11-2016, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Florida and New England
1,101 posts, read 1,310,969 times
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I've been in IT since the 1990s, so I'm a couple years older than the OP. I think it's a mistake to leave IT unless going into another technical area (like medicine). The more senior you get in the tech industry, the better the work experience becomes. Yes sometimes you get calls after hours, but the more senior roles also tend to be normalized around remote work.

In terms of work locale -- can the OP get into a travel situation? I spend my summers every year in Maine (flying to my corporate customer locations for three or four days per week -- the rest of the week working remotely). Maine is wonderful -- the way America used to be.

OP mentioned banking software. Try to get into a role within the firm where you have exclusive expertise. Some component of the software that you understand far more than anyone else. That would help write your own meal ticket. Most tech companies will play ball on work location if you provide a unique skillset.

Once you are free of working in a fixed locale, you can really find some beautiful places in the US/ Canada/ Mexico with low CoL. You do still need to be near an airport with commercial nonstop service to a major hub, I have found.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:04 AM
 
4,013 posts, read 2,306,853 times
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Charleston, St. Petersburgs
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Miami, Floroda
650 posts, read 546,000 times
Reputation: 350
I would go with Michigan or Florida out of those options.

Tampa is nice.

Michigan is where I'm from but I'd never live in the western part of Michigan.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,113 posts, read 15,431,417 times
Reputation: 24010
Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalballmagic View Post
I would go with Michigan or Florida out of those options.

Tampa is nice.

Michigan is where I'm from but I'd never live in the western part of Michigan.
I'm definitely to Florida. Tampa is more expensive than Jacksonville but probably worth it IMO. I've really enjoyed my time in Tampa.
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