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Old 10-17-2010, 12:37 AM
 
3 posts, read 6,187 times
Reputation: 10

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I just started working as an engineer in a high-tech company in the valley. After a while I realized how expensive the housing here is and began to think about the future. I have a PhD and am paid OK (around 100k before tax, but of course tax will take 40% away from that). As an engineer for a stable company without much growth, bonuses and stock awards are not much, sometimes none. I am single and don't plan to marry soon so currently I just rent with roommates. Looking ahead I just think it's almost impossible for me to afford a decent house here unless I am willing to pay high mortgage rates and high property taxes as well, and I keep thinking how easier it would be if I choose to live in another place. During job hunting, I also had a job offer from Austin with similar pay, but I chose Silicon Valley simply because under this economy, I think living around so many high-tech companies would be an advantage if something happens to my company and I were laid off unexpectedly. Besides as I stated I am single and I rent so I don't actually spend much, for now. However, I don't think I can keep this way forever, so in the future I think I have several options:

1. Stay in Silicon Valley. Try to jump to a company with better pay (in terms of bonuses and stock awards) or try to be a manager ( I don't really like being a manager because of all the politics involved, but they are paid much better than an average engineer, so sometimes you've got to make efforts to do something you don't like to do)

2. Try to find a software development position for the financial industry and eventually move to the financial industry which also pays better than just a high-tech engineer.

3. Keep doing what I do and only move to a cheaper place like Austin or Seattle, both without state income taxes. During my job hunting experience, I realized that in the high-tech field, pays are actually very similar from location to location. The company wouldn't pay you much higher just because you are hired in Silicon Valley instead of Austin. I think this is understandable because for the company, whether you work at their Silicon Valley branch or Austin branch makes very little difference. The average pay in Silicon Valley is higher because positions other than high-tech are paid higher than in Austin. In another words, if you are doing high tech in Austin, you are in a better financial situation than the average.

The first two options are difficult but are generally regarded as more successful, while the third one is more conservative and easier to reach. Which option would you think is the best for me? Please share your thoughts. Thanks.

Last edited by Vallyevalley; 10-17-2010 at 01:54 AM..
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:27 AM
 
3 posts, read 6,187 times
Reputation: 10
Can the mod please delete this post? Thanks. I just found that I can't delete or edit my message after I post it for a while. I don't feel very comfortable that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallyevalley View Post
I just started working as an engineer in a high-tech company in the valley. After a while I realized how expensive the housing here is and began to think about the future. I have a PhD and am paid OK (around 100k before tax, but of course tax will take 40% away from that). As an engineer for a stable company without much growth, bonuses and stock awards are not much, sometimes none. I am single and don't plan to marry soon so currently I just rent with roommates. Looking ahead I just think it's almost impossible for me to afford a decent house here unless I am willing to pay high mortgage rates and high property taxes as well, and I keep thinking how easier it would be if I choose to live in another place. During job hunting, I also had a job offer from Austin with similar pay, but I chose Silicon Valley simply because under this economy, I think living around so many high-tech companies would be an advantage if something happens to my company and I were laid off unexpectedly. Besides as I stated I am single and I rent so I don't actually spend much, for now. However, I don't think I can keep this way forever, so in the future I think I have several options:

1. Stay in Silicon Valley. Try to jump to a company with better pay (in terms of bonuses and stock awards) or try to be a manager ( I don't really like being a manager because of all the politics involved, but they are paid much better than an average engineer, so sometimes you've got to make efforts to do something you don't like to do)

2. Try to find a software development position for the financial industry and eventually move to the financial industry which also pays better than just a high-tech engineer.

3. Keep doing what I do and only move to a cheaper place like Austin or Seattle, both without state income taxes. During my job hunting experience, I realized that in the high-tech field, pays are actually very similar from location to location. The company wouldn't pay you much higher just because you are hired in Silicon Valley instead of Austin. I think this is understandable because for the company, whether you work at their Silicon Valley branch or Austin branch makes very little difference. The average pay in Silicon Valley is higher because positions other than high-tech are paid higher than in Austin. In another words, if you are doing high tech in Austin, you are in a better financial situation than the average.

The first two options are difficult but are generally regarded as more successful, while the third one is more conservative and easier to reach. Which option would you think is the best for me? Please share your thoughts. Thanks.
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:33 PM
 
14,644 posts, read 12,620,380 times
Reputation: 10618
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallyevalley View Post
I just started working as an engineer in a high-tech company in the valley. After a while I realized how expensive the housing here is and began to think about the future. I have a PhD and am paid OK (around 100k before tax, but of course tax will take 40% away from that). As an engineer for a stable company without much growth, bonuses and stock awards are not much, sometimes none. I am single and don't plan to marry soon so currently I just rent with roommates. Looking ahead I just think it's almost impossible for me to afford a decent house here unless I am willing to pay high mortgage rates and high property taxes as well, and I keep thinking how easier it would be if I choose to live in another place. During job hunting, I also had a job offer from Austin with similar pay, but I chose Silicon Valley simply because under this economy, I think living around so many high-tech companies would be an advantage if something happens to my company and I were laid off unexpectedly. Besides as I stated I am single and I rent so I don't actually spend much, for now. However, I don't think I can keep this way forever, so in the future I think I have several options:

1. Stay in Silicon Valley. Try to jump to a company with better pay (in terms of bonuses and stock awards) or try to be a manager ( I don't really like being a manager because of all the politics involved, but they are paid much better than an average engineer, so sometimes you've got to make efforts to do something you don't like to do)

2. Try to find a software development position for the financial industry and eventually move to the financial industry which also pays better than just a high-tech engineer.

3. Keep doing what I do and only move to a cheaper place like Austin or Seattle, both without state income taxes. During my job hunting experience, I realized that in the high-tech field, pays are actually very similar from location to location. The company wouldn't pay you much higher just because you are hired in Silicon Valley instead of Austin. I think this is understandable because for the company, whether you work at their Silicon Valley branch or Austin branch makes very little difference. The average pay in Silicon Valley is higher because positions other than high-tech are paid higher than in Austin. In another words, if you are doing high tech in Austin, you are in a better financial situation than the average.

The first two options are difficult but are generally regarded as more successful, while the third one is more conservative and easier to reach. Which option would you think is the best for me? Please share your thoughts. Thanks.
If home ownership is important to you and climbing the corporate ladder is not, then I would honor that and move somewhere cheaper. Silicon Valley is probably better for go getter types whose lives revolve around their careers, but if you want a life outside work (home ownership, maybe some kids that you actually spend time with) then move somewhere cheaper.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
3,074 posts, read 2,609,178 times
Reputation: 2516
You are not alone thinking about this issue - I remember thinking about the same issue back in 1980 when I was first starting out in Silicon Valley. Could I get ahead? I remember thinking to myself in 1982 that Silicon Valley's real estate market & overall cost of living would plummet in a few years with massive unemployment resulting from jobs being shipped overseas. I didn't buy. Would I advance in my career? Would I make enough money to have a good lifestyle?

From a professional perspective, the challenges & opportunities in Silicon Valley still exceed those of other locations. Mobility is worth something, as is being part of the conversation within Silicon Valley. During the good times, you can drive into just about any driveway of a high-tech company & have a good chance of getting a job offer. But now is not the boom time. My fear with transferring to a remote location of one of the big Silicon Valley companies was that I would be stranded from a career perspective. Yeah, I'd work with people on teams where they lived/worked in, say, Portland or Sacramento or Boise or wherever. They seemed to have a quality of life I missed - they could afford more toys. But they were career isolated. They were "company men."

In the 1960s and to a certain extent the 1970s, if you changed job every few years, people would whisper "What's wrong with Bill? Can't he keep a job?". Nowadays, if you don't change jobs every few years it is an issue. "What's wrong with Bill? Can't he find a better job?"

If it were me, I'd place a premium on strategic flexibility. That argues for staying in Silicon Valley. So I'd start shopping my resume after a 12 to 18 months at my current employer. But that's just me.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:37 PM
 
27 posts, read 37,256 times
Reputation: 25
Being that you are young, and single, you can take more of a leap than you'd be able to when married, or with children...move to Austin or Seattle if your quality of life will be better on an equivalent salary. If , in this economy, you do lose your job, you'll be able to come back to SV if necessary.

If you don't think you'd enjoy being a manager, then don't pursue it. Why make your life miserable ( or less than satisfactory) merely for money?

If you can find work that you enjoy, save up some money for security, live in an area that interests you that has a variety of recreation, you will do well and probably be more happy long term!

That's my two cents.

Best of luck
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,063 posts, read 7,969,595 times
Reputation: 3043
If your employer has offices in Seattle, Austin or Portland negotiate for a temporary assignment and see if those cities have the options you are looking for. There are so many types of engineers in tech, only you can determine if there is a critical mass of employers in a community to provide the career flexibility you will need. SV is ideal for employees and employers who are on the cutting edge, if your employer's technology is mature there is no reason to stay in the Valley.
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