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Old 05-27-2014, 05:30 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,726 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi guys,

Thanks in advance for reading my post and writing comments.

I live in Copenhagen. I am working as a software engineer here in an international Medical Technology company (600 employees worldwide) and I earn about 95k usd per year. I pay 37% income tax. I would say on average when all monthly expenses are taken into account, cost of living is actually around the same in SJ/SF and CPH. I work 37 hours per week without any over time (nor stress), I get 30 days paid vacation and an additional 12 days of public vacation per year (working days). Of course, in Denmark, education is free (students actually get paid by the government) and health services are also free.

I am offered a job in Sunnyvale Microsoft, with a 107k + ~15k worth of bonus and stock share. 15+2 paid vacation days, probably +5 public vacation days.

Probably most of you are American and I want to know how you feel about my current conditions, and if moving to the other end of the world is worth it or not, from your point of view.

I know that in time, with 401k, ESPP, promotions etc., my income in Sunnyvale will increase. But, my vacation will not On the contrary, my salary in Copenhagen will not increase a lot for the next 3 4 years.

What would you say, specifically, about Microsoft work/life balance ? Is it the closest-to-EU-standards I can find in US (many people tell that MSFT has a good ratio for this)? One specific question, can I "buy" unpaid vacation ?

Also, I am 29.5 years old and I am single. I can say that in Copenhagen socializing with women is fairly easy. What would you say about San Jose in that sense ? From the horror tales I read around the web, San Jose is called "Man" Jose and dating possibilities for men are significantly less compared to other locations in US. I wanted to know if these are myth or there is really a disadvantage for single men.

Thank you for your comments!
Cheers,
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:40 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
15,449 posts, read 16,794,541 times
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From the dating aspect, San Jose and most of the South Bay is "engineer/technology central". Most of the women you meet will fit into that mold: smart, educated, intelligent and career focused.
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
5,578 posts, read 6,915,729 times
Reputation: 4200
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccm123 View Post
From the dating aspect, San Jose and most of the South Bay is "engineer/technology central". Most of the women you meet will fit into that mold: smart, educated, intelligent and career focused.
Don't I hear people say that there are not enough women in the dating pool?

To the OP I say why not give it a try. Experience in another country is always a good thing. I have moved around quite a bit, but in a few years I plan to be back in Silicon Valley. It is an exciting place and also a beautiful place. There are so many things to do a short drive from Sunnyvale.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:03 PM
 
Location: surrounded by reality
536 posts, read 1,056,801 times
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I can't venture a "yes" or "no" kind of advice, just some perspective, which hopefully will help you in your decision.

I stayed a week in Copenhagen a few months ago and while visiting is not the same as living somewhere, I think I have an idea what it might be like. I knew before going that CPH is very expensive, more expensive than London, for example, but I was still rather surprised to see what it was really like. Granted, I stayed in the city center and only once ventured outside Indre By. I would say that despite many people complaining how expensive Bay Area is, it's still a far cry from Copenhagen. I think you will feel that you can afford quite a bit more, compared to Denmark. On the other hand, compared to others in your field you will not be near the top. By the way, I wouldn't count bonus as a guaranteed income, it really depends. You are also correct assuming that your salary has a good chance of rising. I think 107K is a bit on a low side, assuming you have the years of experience that an average 30 year old software engineer would.

Be prepared for a culture shock. I don't know if you've been to the US before and are familiar with car-dependent lifestyle. It may be pretty hard to adjust to it coming from Denmark. While MSFT's campus in SV (I'm assuming it's the one next to the Moffetf Field) is on VTA line (vta.org), it doesn't connect you with many places a young single person would want to live (I'm probably going to get a lot of grief for this on SJ forum). You will probably have to commute by car.

Working for a major tech company in SV is definitely an experience, so if you don't do it now or soon, you'll be wondering what it would have been like. This is a pretty strong draw for the competent and confident. Without a doubt, this is a sink-or-swim kind of place. If this is not your style, you might want to stay home. If you strive under pressure, you'll fit right in. Even people who leave the Bay Area after not being able to make it work here (mostly due to kids, usually more than one) never said that they wish they've never come here.

Final piece of advice, don't rush into it. Try to get the best terms of your hire, such as relocation package, see if you can negotiate your salary (in my experience it's always possible, even expected), see if you can find another company that would get you a competing offer. Research over the internet as much as you can - read the archives of this forum, hit craigslist for rentals information, figure out public transportation options and in general be proactive and of course ask more questions.

Good luck!
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Old 05-28-2014, 12:50 AM
 
5 posts, read 6,726 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you very much for the replies. Before I write a long comment, I want to quickly add that I am originally from Istanbul and just came to Copenhagen 9 months ago. / BTW What I think is DK has a great work/life balance so that's why i wanted to ask what is the rumour about MSFT.
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:54 AM
 
283 posts, read 373,316 times
Reputation: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by njord View Post
Hi guys,

Thanks in advance for reading my post and writing comments.

I live in Copenhagen. I am working as a software engineer here in an international Medical Technology company (600 employees worldwide) and I earn about 95k usd per year. I pay 37% income tax. I would say on average when all monthly expenses are taken into account, cost of living is actually around the same in SJ/SF and CPH. I work 37 hours per week without any over time (nor stress), I get 30 days paid vacation and an additional 12 days of public vacation per year (working days). Of course, in Denmark, education is free (students actually get paid by the government) and health services are also free.

I am offered a job in Sunnyvale Microsoft, with a 107k + ~15k worth of bonus and stock share. 15+2 paid vacation days, probably +5 public vacation days.

Probably most of you are American and I want to know how you feel about my current conditions, and if moving to the other end of the world is worth it or not, from your point of view.

I know that in time, with 401k, ESPP, promotions etc., my income in Sunnyvale will increase. But, my vacation will not On the contrary, my salary in Copenhagen will not increase a lot for the next 3 4 years.

What would you say, specifically, about Microsoft work/life balance ? Is it the closest-to-EU-standards I can find in US (many people tell that MSFT has a good ratio for this)? One specific question, can I "buy" unpaid vacation ?

Also, I am 29.5 years old and I am single. I can say that in Copenhagen socializing with women is fairly easy. What would you say about San Jose in that sense ? From the horror tales I read around the web, San Jose is called "Man" Jose and dating possibilities for men are significantly less compared to other locations in US. I wanted to know if these are myth or there is really a disadvantage for single men.

Thank you for your comments!
Cheers,
Ok Few points here:

Income tax is much less in US. with your salary. (because of standard California deduction). You might even lower that with 401k, mortgage or some other itemized tax deductions.
Vacation will increase in time (I don't know for Microsoft on specific) but I do know that Apple or Google has longer vacation with more work years in company. Also you have week off for thanksgiving and week off for Christmas. (plus 5 public holidays) So it will be about same. Plus add on that "work from home" is common in bay area. 100k is low average salary in bay area so you will have chance to increase that.

I would say the only issue is housing. If you can fit in some small 1/1 condo or studio you will be just fine in Bay Area.
I think You should move.

Last edited by teoreticar; 05-28-2014 at 11:50 AM..
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Old 05-28-2014, 11:48 AM
 
5 posts, read 6,726 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks for the suggestion!

http://www.paycheckcity.com/copayday...calculator.asp I calculate my net salary on this web site. I select California and enter my gross. According to the results, income tax in CA is about 37 percent for my case. Which is the same with Copenhagen actually. BTW yes CPH is more expensive when you go to a restaurant or receive any kind of service, but housing is cheaper by 300-450 usd on average per month. So at the end I concluded (also by checking numbeo.com) that SJ/CPH have about the same cost of living.

About the xmas and thanksgiving, I think Microsoft does not give a week off. Some friends in Microsoft told me that I will have 17 paid + 5 public per year, no extra weeks/days off, if I am not mistaken. My contract only tells about 15+2 part though.
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Old 05-28-2014, 11:55 AM
 
283 posts, read 373,316 times
Reputation: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by njord View Post
Thanks for the suggestion!

Paycheck Calculator I calculate my net salary on this web site. I select California and enter my gross. According to the results, income tax in CA is about 37 percent for my case. Which is the same with Copenhagen actually. BTW yes CPH is more expensive when you go to a restaurant or receive any kind of service, but housing is cheaper by 300-450 usd on average per month. So at the end I concluded (also by checking numbeo.com) that SJ/CPH have about the same cost of living.

About the xmas and thanksgiving, I think Microsoft does not give a week off. Some friends in Microsoft told me that I will have 17 paid + 5 public per year, no extra weeks/days off, if I am not mistaken. My contract only tells about 15+2 part.
Microsoft
Time off: 15 paid vacation days, 10 paid sick-leave days and 8 paid US holidays, plus two personal days to call your own each year.

Microsoft University Careers - Culture

About 25.

Yes tax rate is that high but then you have "standard California deduction" or you can do itemized.
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Old 05-28-2014, 12:38 PM
 
115 posts, read 296,867 times
Reputation: 88
107k is relatively low, especially for Mountain View, but you're right that there's a high chance of the salary raising in the next couple of years.

So that being said I wouldn't move for the money, but if you want to experience the Silicon Valley and try your chances here then a position a Microsoft would most likely be a good career starter.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:22 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,726 times
Reputation: 15
I think I want to experience Silicon Valley and Microsoft. I have been to US, 8 9 years ago -5 months spent there in total-, for internship and w&t, and I think I really liked it there (IN, PA). I also believe that, with Silicon Valley experience, even if I don't like it there, I have the chance to move back to Europe in 2 3 years, hoping that working in Silicon Valley will give my CV some credit.

So I am aware that for me, this decision is about gambling 2 3 years of my thirties, in the hope for a better life and experience (and better climate definitely .

In fact I do not care much about the money, but I care about the vacation though, but again, I can compromise when it comes to vacation.

However, speaking from the heart, one of my main concerns is possibility of starting a family or a stable relationship, in near future. I feel like I have already spent a lot of time for my career/education so far and as a person almost 30, I want to have a focus on private life. I feel content within this context in Copenhagen. So coming there really feels like gambling for me.

A few friends in Sunnyvale (for e.g. SDE in Broadcom, AMD, even MSFT), told me that they have a really work focused busy life compared to my current state, sometimes working overtime until 8 pm, not having time to socialize etc. Also they strongly state that the possibilities of finding nice relationships with opposite sex is small, simply because of numbers.

Thank you for reading through my whining
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