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Old 06-15-2013, 11:53 PM
 
491 posts, read 722,375 times
Reputation: 243

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Hi, I'm a Californian; recently sent to Microsoft in Redmond for about a week on business and found that I really liked the Bellevue/Redmond area and the Microsoft campus. Compared to the company I currently work at, I felt like the campus and atmosphere would suit me better. I also liked the good blending of nature with everything man made, and all of the greenery and trees made things feel very serene and pleasant in a way that an environment that is mostly concrete just doesn't. I hear there are a lot of bike trails and activities in nature to be enjoyed, and that is a plus to me as well. Redmond and Bellevue (east and downtown) seem very clean,
quiet, peaceful, safe, and seem to have just enough shops and what not yet still feel comfortably small. There also appear to be a lot of tech and other companies in the area, and I hear there are more jobs than residents, which seems to suggest a favorable environment for qualified job seekers. In a nutshell, it seems that Bellevue/Redmond would be good places to consider for establishing a career and raising a family... crime seems low, schools seem to be good, jobs seem to be plentiful, and there is a good balance of nature with man made structures that seems to be more pleasing to me...

But I have the following questions that I would appreciate answers to from current residents (especially those familiar with Microsoft and other tech and related employers):

1. It's well known that it rains a lot in Seattle.. most of the year even... and there is also snow.. I've
been to Seattle during the fall before and have witnessed one of this rainstorms where it was so windy
the traffic lights would swing around.

I was wondering if the rains and snow are milder in Bellevue and Redmond? And just what % of time
does it snow, what % of time does it rain, and what % of time do you get sunshine? Also, how hard
does it rain and snow during that % of time?

Also, does it have a big time influence on your mood throughout the year?

2. Earthquakes and volcanos... I read that it seems the area is due for a 5.0+ earthquake and there
are volcanos that are due to become active as well... I was wondering how residents feel about
that and whether it's true...

3. The "Seattle Freeze".. I've been reading bits about Seattle and how it's a transplant city... a lot of
people moving there from elsewhere all the time... and how native or long-time residents have a
tendency to be more self-isolating and cliquish, hanging out with their small circle of friends and
not really open to extending to get to know people who are new in town, making it hard for new
folks who have just moved to Seattle to start making friends.

Just how true is this?

3. The grass often seems greener elsewhere... and as a Northern Californian, I live in a town where
the weather is fairly good most of the year, although we do get some rainy and gloomy days...
and the risk for earthquakes in my region aren't that high...

So I was wondering what are some of the things you Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond residents may find
to be downsides that you could share with me.. things that maybe I have not considered...

4. Can anyone familiar with the job market of some of the major employers like Microsoft, Expedia,
Nintendo, and etc., share some information on the job market right now and how tough or favorable
it may be? Also, what is the best way to get interviewed and hired? Are temp-to-hire positions
a good, viable option to get in the door as well?

Thanks in advance...
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:34 AM
 
2,064 posts, read 4,100,427 times
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1) It rains a lot. But it doesn't rain as much as most people outside of Seattle think it rains. On many days, it will rain for an hour and that ends up counting as a "rain day." This is an individual thing on whether this affects your mood or not. Some get depressed and leave. Some love it. I don't mind the rain.

2) Yes but like most people in CA, South Korea, etc., we live in the midst of potential danger but simply live in denial with the attitude that "well, there isn't much I can do about it if it happens."

3) If the native or long time residents are cliquish but it's a transplant city, just hang out with the transplants. But either way, I haven't seen this but many say that it's there. I have made many friends here.

3 again) I'm not sure if it's just a grass is greener type of thing. I like it here and I have lived in Northern California, Southern California, and a few other places as well.

Downsides? Most people say cost of housing but if you're from NorCal, cost of housing is an upside, not downside. Depending on your politics, lots of liberals in Seattle but Bellevue/Redmond seem to have more conservatives (which I like). So I don't really know of any downsides.

4) If you are a well qualified technology person (software engineers especially), there is a major shortage. All of those companies are hiring and are trying to hire qualified people. The Seattle market is tapped out so they are all recruiting elsewhere in the US. MSFT and AMZN have hundreds of new employees starting every week. For interviews send them your resume or find a friend to refer you internally.

Good luck!
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:27 AM
 
305 posts, read 592,625 times
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I don't think the rain is as bad. During summer there is always a reliable stretch without rain, usually July-August. When it does rain the rest of the year it is often just a drizzle or short showers. I've lived in SoCal and like the weather here.

I don't think about potential earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. I was more concerned living in San Diego, especially wild fires were a constant threat.

I haven't noticed the famous Seattle freeze and find people easy to talk to and befriend.

There are a lot of tech jobs outside of Microsoft and Amazon.

Downsides? Maybe housing and commute times for some areas depending on where you live and where you're going.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Kirkland, WA (Metro Seattle)
5,598 posts, read 4,649,041 times
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I live Eastside, work tech @ one of the big players long-term.

1. Sticky thread on this, top of the Seattle forum. With (at last count) 3,725 replies.

Anecdotally, having lived in a couple parts of Seattle metro (north, and Eastside), there appear to be microclimates. Elevation difference and ocean currents might be part of it. On the whole, though, fairly consistent. Unlike, say, San Francisco County vs. eastern Contra Costa, the latter being noticeably hotter and drier in the summer months.

Climate Data/NOAA dot gov: gigabytes of data for download and analysis.

2. USGS dot Gov has plenty on this subject.

Emergency food, water, and weapons secured for a couple weeks of independent living in the event of a major incident makes sense in a seismically or volcanically active area. Living in a known/historic lahar flow path isn't too swift, though many do (Rainier, Baker). Better have pretty solid plans until FEMA lands, though circumstance can and will disrupt emergency preparations, too. Helps to be aware of surroundings and risks.

3. Massive threads on this subject. This is a great place to be, if one wishes to keep clear of people and associated bu11siht. Live-and-let-live, Libertarian, choose your metaphor.

3. (Point 3, part 2): Compared to California, there are few downsides. I lived in the Bay Area seven years. Acceptance of business, church, firearms rights, modest taxation are all (my opinion) middle-of-road in WA, though that varies urban to rural. CA is dead last on (some) of the previous. Oh, property is generally pretty expensive in Seattle metro: that is a downside, compared to national averages. Compared to some parts of CA, however: at-par, or better.

Seattle is "northern latitudes" which is distinctly different from how seasons, amount of light, etc. ebb and flow vs, say, Marin County. If it wasn't economically impossible to get ahead, and crowded to Third-World standards, I'd personally love to live in a place like Mill Valley, San Rafael, or Santa Rosa (further north). Alas, that ship has sailed.

4. Sticky thread (Amazon hiring) with (at last count) 272 replies. There is no "getting in the door": relvent skills, experience, and demonstrated ability to produce, you will find work. Assuming you market yourself correctly.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:30 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
35,909 posts, read 65,375,139 times
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We moved here from the Bay Area and would never go back, so much nicer here. No 100+ summers, green all year, not 10 months of brown dry hills.
Commuting to Seattle and back I see Mt. Rainier, and the snow capped Cascade and Olympic mountains, Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington.

It actually rains more on the eastside than in Seattle, and gets more snow, though it's still minimal, with 1-4 snow events per year. last winter it snowed about 5 times in Bellevue/Redmond but never stuck except on the highest areas of Sammamish & Issaquah plateau and then not enough to cause driving problems.

For people living between Mt. Rainier and Puyallup/Tacoma there is risk of volcanic issues, earthquakes are rare compared to CA though there is potential for a big one. Windstorms are the only downside, we get 1-3 a year
usually in late fall, and power can go out for an hour to a week depending on the severity, due to the number of trees. In our 20 years here the worst was about 5 days, but the whole area was hit hard and we do have a generator.
Last year it only went out once, for 5 minutes. The other problem at times is freezing fog, worse at higher elevations, but when below freezing and foggy it freezes on the roads and may not be visible, so there are accidents when people round a corner too fast or stop short and slide.

Yes, it does rain 8-9 months of the year but mostly a light mist that doesn't keep us inside, and some of like that because that's what keeps it green.
The summer more than makes up for it, usually not more than 80 and clear, bright skies. People so suffer from SADS if they are not cut out for the lack of sun. This year and last we have been lucky to have more sun in May and June than usual, this weekend for example has been outstanding. traffic is not quite as bad as LA and the Bay Area but getting there. The main difference is the freeways having only 2-3 lanes each direction here rather than 4-6 in CA,
and the light rail being "too little too late" to make up for the unhampered development from 1980-2005.

I don't agree with the "Seattle Freeze" thing, part of that is an attempt to keep more people from moving here and make the already horrible traffic worse, and part is the people complaining about it being introverts that expect strangers to walk up and make friends with them.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
456 posts, read 694,144 times
Reputation: 330
One random thought, I wouldn't necessarily move here for a job at Microsoft right now. It's in the throes of yet another big reorg. with the potential for layoffs etc. Overall it still feels like a firm that's best days are behind it. However, there are plenty of other tech firms in the area that are hiring.
Ben
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,628 posts, read 2,436,801 times
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1. No - the rains and snow are not milder in Redmond or Bellevue. In fact Redmond is prone to a bit more snow (not much more, but more than Seattle gets), and windstorms are more damaging there due to the fact that are tons of tall trees remaining. It makes it gorgeous, like living in a forest, but when the wind blows hard, there are more of them to fall down.

It does have a big time influence on my mood - I'm from a place with brutally cold winters and hot, inhospitable summers. Seattle is like a year-round paradise for me and I can't get over how excited I am that I can be outdoors year round. A little bit of drizzle does nothing to dampen that. (and there are those who personally blame the weather for making them shut-ins, so know thyself - if you don't like cloudy, drizzly weather, this might not be your place)

2. If it happens, it happens. Since that part is out of my control, I don't stay up nights twisting myself in knots over it. However, I am prepared to survive for a couple weeks with little to no infrastructure. Something I read that was excellent food for thought was this book - The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse: Fernando Ferfal Aguirre: 9789870563457: Amazon.com: Books. There are plenty of little things that you can easily implement in your day-to-day life, without going out of your way, that would really matter if conditions went south, but don't have you building some bug-out bunker in the hills. The author has a blog, and there is plenty to find on the internet about being prepared.

3. Don't really have much to offer here, but then I don't spend my time dwelling on negatives. I think the only downside to living in Redmond for me, was that it wasn't a great place for a young couple that didn't intend to have a family. I found it rather isolated and removed from all the activity in Seattle. Plus it felt more like a suburb and less like a neighborhood if that makes sense. However, I think if we had kids that might all be a plus.

4. Really depends on what your skillset is. Some departments can't find enough people with the skills they want and others are either at a standstill or shrinking. Temp positions can be an opportunity anywhere. As to whether or not they are intended to be more long-term - that depends on the department. In my area it's a fast way to get people working quickly while trying to get more headcount in the background, but people with blue (perm) and orange (contract) badges sit next to each other and do the same type of work. In other departments, you're a glorified monkey pushing buttons for a few months with relatively few opportunities to shine or grow, and that orange badge makes you a second-class citizen.

I've met very few people who go from temp to perm in less than a year (as with everything, I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions). Once you're onboard as a contractor, there's less urgency to make it perm since you're already there pumping out the work. However being there, and doing quality work, gives you a chance to build a network and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:49 PM
 
491 posts, read 722,375 times
Reputation: 243
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. It was all really very helpful and I'll take all the valuable feedback into consideration. I was only there for 4 days but it felt like a good fit for me, aside from the afternoon traffic from Redmond back to the airport! That was pretty awful. I may see if I can make another visit during the fall/winter to get more of a feel for what that's like... I think the main draws for me are cleanliness, all the greenery and good integration of nature with man-made objects, all the lakes and mountain views, low crime, good schools, the cities seem to have pretty much everything you want and large enough, yet don't feel overly large.. a lot of companies there so there are potentially good employment opportunities.. i could see myself starting and raising a family somewhere like that... going boating out on the lakes, and going on bike rides on one of the trails.. granted neither city is going to be as hopping as Seattle, but I think given how I am, I'd be fine with that... there's always going there on weekends when you feel like it, but when you want a more peaceful, serene environment you can just stay in your area...
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:25 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,308 times
Reputation: 10
I lived on the eastside for the past 15 years and was once proud to call myself a seattlite. Seattle "used" to be a great place. But recently, I have accepted to reality of what it has become and finally decided to get out of dodge. What attracted me there in the first place (the nature and greenery) simply was not enough to overcome the ever-increasing negatives of the area. It wasn't the rain or gray skies that drove me out - I actually like those things! Nope, it was simply getting way too crowded ... too many people with no social skills or even basic courtesies, but clearly with way too much money, as evidence by the insane housing costs: $700K for a POS tear-down that goes $100K over list in a bidding war with no contingencies to an all-cash buyer from Asia ... no thanks. Getting out was the best move I've made in 15 years - so much happier now!
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:48 PM
 
1,060 posts, read 754,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecsdude View Post
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. It was all really very helpful and I'll take all the valuable feedback into consideration. I was only there for 4 days but it felt like a good fit for me, aside from the afternoon traffic from Redmond back to the airport! That was pretty awful. I may see if I can make another visit during the fall/winter to get more of a feel for what that's like... I think the main draws for me are cleanliness, all the greenery and good integration of nature with man-made objects, all the lakes and mountain views, low crime, good schools, the cities seem to have pretty much everything you want and large enough, yet don't feel overly large.. a lot of companies there so there are potentially good employment opportunities.. i could see myself starting and raising a family somewhere like that... going boating out on the lakes, and going on bike rides on one of the trails.. granted neither city is going to be as hopping as Seattle, but I think given how I am, I'd be fine with that... there's always going there on weekends when you feel like it, but when you want a more peaceful, serene environment you can just stay in your area...
I moved from the SF Bay Area to an area north of downtown Redmond and enjoy all the main draws that you've listed in your posts.

Whenever I go to the airport, I take the Sound Transit Express from the Redmond Transit Center to the light rail station at Westlake, and from there straight to the airport on light rail. No need to negotiate traffic or pay for airport parking.

Also, light rail is coming from Seattle to Bellevue and the Overlake area of Redmond by 2023. Construction is supposed to start next year.

https://www.redmond.gov/PlansProject...LinkLightRail/
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