Saturday, February 9, 2008

Signs to the Left of Me, Signs to the Right of Me

In my previous post, I mentioned that there are signs that are pointing me out of Los Angeles and toward Seattle. I thought I'd detail some of them out.

I have lived in my current apartment since August 1, 1999. In that time, I have had seven roommates (Anna (2 yrs), James (2 yrs), Jenna (6 mo), Rachel (1.5 yrs), Alex (6 mo), Mark (1.5 yrs) and Kimberly (current)). Somewhere around 2003, my building decided to start the process of converting the building from apartments to condos. Two months ago, the process finished. We got a notice saying that while it is official, they have not decided when they will actually make the conversion. Once they make the decision, we will have ninety days to move out. My lease is up at the end of July and I think it is better that I move out then instead of living in a constant state of worrying about when that ninety days is going to start.

I have always had roommates since I moved out of my parent's basement (make all the jokes you like). Part of the reason is economic and part of the reason was I didn't want to live alone. Well, the second part is less of an issue. When my former roommate, Mark, moved out and before the current one moved in, there was a gap where I was living alone. It wasn't so bad. My current roommate is never here, has no furniture outside of her room and doesn't even use the kitchen that much. It's like living alone since I'm doing all the housework and have all the furniture anyway. The only reason to continue living with a roommate is purely economical.

If I stay in Los Angeles, one bedrooms start at $1000 a month. A couple of friends have been looking for apartments and bleak seems to be the word that best describes the housing market here. I decided to see if this was the case in Seattle. I found several pages of one bedroom apartments (and a few two bedrooms) under $800 which is what I am paying for my half of my apartment now. I could actually have my own place without going broke there or giving up central air or laundry. Did I mention that I have full sized laundry appliances in my apartment? I'm totally spoiled.

I have worked for Disney since March of 2003 (although, I wasn't officially a Disney employee until that December). I have assisted the same boss and worked in a department where I am truly being wasted. While it is nice that it is a pure day job and the money is good, I am now bored and ready to move on. I'm not doing anything that I couldn't do anywhere else. I don't really have any career aspirations that are purely Los Angles based anymore (i.e., movies/television). I was supposed to have an awesome new job as the crisis management site coordinator, but that was given to someone else because of politics which I don't want to get into.

I've casually looked for other jobs in and around my department and at a few other places where I have friends, but everything has come back as a complete zero. I even interviewed at a few places where I knew no one and nothing came of that either.

Then one day, when my boss was in a particularly bad mood, I mentioned to a co-worker that I might want to move out of LA and was thinking about Seattle. To which she responded, much to my shock, "You know Disney has offices up there?" No, I didn't know that. The Disney Internet Group (DIG) has their ESPN offices up there. I did a quick search on the internal job site and there were several job listings that I qualified for. Another co-worker just left to go work for DIG here in LA. I asked her if she knew anyone up there. She said no, but they have been having meetings that have been hinting (badly) that all of DIG might be moving up there soon. On top of that, I mentioned this to another friend, who is a higher up at a rather large company that has offices everywhere, and she said she could get me a job interviews in Seattle with very little effort. These are better job leads than what I had when I moved to Los Angeles.

Well, this seemed promising, but I needed to get more of an economic reassurance that this would be a good thing. I went to and compared Los Angeles to Seattle. The cost of living is 25% LESS in Seattle. This comes to about $10,000 less to live there than here. I held my breath to see how salaries compared. Salaries in Seattle are 1.5% HIGHER than in LA. You read that right. I'd make a little bit more money and spend a whole lot less.

Another thing that I peaked at was the price of actual houses. Not that I am anywhere near considering buying a house, but I thought I would look. In LA, a small starter house starts around $550,000. Again, you read that right. In Seattle, I saw some really nice homes in the $300,000 range.

So economically speaking, the universe seems to be asking the question, "Why are you still in Los Angeles?"

No comments: