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Old 06-16-2012, 07:10 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,882 times
Reputation: 10

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First of all, hello everyone! This forum is great I could read a lot of info! Now I would appreciate if you could give me a few suggestions about my specific case.

Some info about me
I am Italian. I lived/studied/worked in many European major cities, I got my PhD in Japan and now I am working in Japan. Thanks to my job I can travel a lot especially to developing countries, sometimes also to USA. I have never lived in USA but I could visit several of your beautiful cities.
I have never been to CA but I am planning to have a short holiday this summer if I can. I am married and just under 30. At the moment we are thinking to move out from Japan because we are tired of the crazy job overtime and the people are too cold. Me and my wife together we have now in Japan an annual income of roughly 140.000 USD. But I guess the salary in USA is different.
I would like to go back to London, but my wife doesn't like the weather.

What are we looking for
We would like to find a place with good weather that's why we thought about the peninsula under SF and above San Jose. I would like to try to get a gob at Google Mountain View (yes I am dreaming I know...but to dream is power ^_^). I know americans are very opened people so make friends will not be an issue! What we are scared about is the safety. I have never lived in USA but during my job trip/visits I always felt "unsafe" (sorry about this, but I am sincere) compared with other cities such as Paris, London, especially Tokyo. I also felt a strong difference between rich and poor, so that you really need to know where you are going or you will find yourself stubbed in the back, if you do the wrong turn. That's the feeling.
Therefore we are looking for some place safe, (I know that safe means expensive). We are planning to have children, therefore good school is also important. And of course a place where we can walk around at night, with some restaurants and activities. We thought Palo Alto but it has an enormous ghetto, San Mateo also....it's really hard to find a safe place. Or maybe, not being american, we just have a wrong way of thinking?

About the job
How is the job situation in CA?
For example a job at Google (not managerial level) how much is it paid?
Is it true that you can be fired the next day without even knowing?
In CA how much are you working? 9.00-17.00 or like in Japan you are obliged to do crazy overtimes?
In CA do they pay (at least partially) for your rent/train/healthcare?

Thank you very much for your kindness and your time
Regards

Last edited by ilcontegis; 06-16-2012 at 07:39 PM..
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:04 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, California
49 posts, read 136,784 times
Reputation: 32
I have no idea how much google pays or how it is trying to get a job there, try browsing craigslist for open job listings.
As far as safe I think you were on the right track, most of Palo Alto is very nice and safe, it's a college town so there is a night life but it has an awesome school district so there are a lot of families, especially young families. Just don't go to East Palo Alto, that's where the ghetto is. And it's across the freeway, so it's not like if you stray one block away you are in danger
San Mateo has it's parts but is also pretty safe, especially west of El Camino towards the hills. But you won't be able to walk downtown from the hills, there are some nice apartments downtown that are pretty safe though. I've had friends live there and when I visited them in the evenings I always felt comfortable walking to and from the car. I live in San Mateo now and I like it and feel safe, but we are not walking distance to downtown or restaurants. You might want to check out Foster City, Los Altos and Saratoga. All would be reasonable driving distance to google for work if you should end up there.

As far as job paying for stuff, that's on a company to company basis. Most don't compensate living expenses (rent etc.) unless they moved you here from either abroad or out of state. I hear google offers pretty good health insurance, but I have no first hand experience. Some companies offer travel expense coverage, but again I have no idea if google does that. Good luck to you
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:49 AM
 
Location: The Bay
6,915 posts, read 13,962,066 times
Reputation: 3111
The reason why places like East Palo Alto/North Central San Mateo/East Menlo/North Fair Oaks/etc. still exist on the peninsula is because they supply the steady flow of laborers and domestics who maintain the huge properties in the Athertons/West Menlos/Woodsides/etc. There's almost a master-and-servant relationship between these two contrasting communities in the peninsula, and particularly because there's very little in the middle.
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:46 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 12,556,932 times
Reputation: 2954
The Bay Area has some bad areas but they're easy to avoid and the majority of it feels much safer than much of Rome or other parts of Italy, so I think once you're used to living in the US you won't feel unsafe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilcontegis View Post
About the job
How is the job situation in CA?
For example a job at Google (not managerial level) how much is it paid?
Is it true that you can be fired the next day without even knowing?
In CA how much are you working? 9.00-17.00 or like in Japan you are obliged to do crazy overtimes?
In CA do they pay (at least partially) for your rent/train/healthcare?
Tech jobs in the Bay Area pay well but they definitely almost always require employees to work a lot of hours. Probably at least 10 hours a day 5 days a week, but more than that including weekends is not uncommon.

Employers in the US rarely pay for public transit but some in the Bay Area give you something called a commuter check which you can use to buy transit passes. Many tech firms in Silicon Valley also provide shuttle buses for their workers. Health care is usually paid by your employer if you have a good job (i.e. not at Burger King) unless you're an independent contractor. Employers pretty definitely won't pay for your rent (that's what your salary is) but if you get a cushy job they might give you some relocation expense money. Yes you could get fired at any time in the US, compared to Europe it is very easy to fire employees but it's also way easier to hire them.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:16 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,882 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you very much for your very kind answers!
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