Author Topic: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)  (Read 12012 times)

mrbrightside695

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Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« on: November 03, 2014, 07:01:09 AM »
Hi all,

I have an interesting dilemma (perhaps the "best" dilemma one could have), and I wanted to try and get some additional perspective.

The background:
For the last 5 months, I have been on temporary assignment about 2 hours north of my home to the Albany, NY, area. I was assigned to work as a contractor to a separate company, which recently agreed to purchase my division - so once the deal is approved, I will officially have a new employer. While not certain, it has been highly implied that as part of the purchase, I will permanently relocate. I won't know officially until approximately the end of January, but it is likely enough that I am comfortable assuming (for budgeting, etc.) that I will relocate. The relocation would probably happen around June/July 2015.

Before the deal was announced, I spent some time interviewing at other companies (always at the invitation of a friend, or a recruiter), and now I have 2 job offers on the table. One is in the Baltimore, MD, area, and one is in Milpitas, CA. I don't want the job in Baltimore, so I am just going to focus on the one in the Bay area.

The numbers

Current income: ~$101,000
401k match with new company: 4.5%
Retention bonus: ~$15,000 (vests 11/2015)
Yearly bonus with new company: ??
Current savings (401k, Roth, taxable, cash): ~$100,000
Expected rent (dog friendly, within walking distance to the very desirable areas): ~$1,100/mo 1BR, ~$1,500/mo 2BR (total - not per BR)
Current rent: $100/mo (until April 1, or potentially June/July - I am borrowing a room for weekends, since I stay a hotel Sunday to Friday)

SF base pay: $110,000
Signing bonus: $5,000
Stock: 500 shares (current price is ~$90) - forgot to ask when it vests
Yearly bonus: 0 to 12%
401k match: 3%
Rent: ??

The questions

I'm struggling to get a handle on rent in the Bay area - I know it is expensive, and I don't have a problem having a roommate (and I have a former roommate who may have an open room for $1100/mo). Up front, it looks like the numbers are far in favor of staying, but what else am I missing? Are my expectations too high, even for an engineering job in the semiconductor industry?

There is certainly a benefit to the weather, proximity to other tech companies, and the ability to learn a new skill (the job is in the same industry, but with a very different role - something I haven't done since graduating a few years ago). I would love to try biking to work (year round, no less) but the dog limits how far I could reasonably live from work (more than my endurance, at least).

I'm sure I left out relevant details, so I'm happy to answer questions. Thanks in advance!

rmendpara

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 10:10:27 AM »
From a strictly financial perspective (1 year outlook) the two offers looks close. You could probably get a 2br/2ba and share with a roommate for <1.5k for your half of the costs in the South Bay area (unlikely on the peninsula).

Since the net difference is probably less than 10% between the two offers, the real question (in my opinion) is which job will set you up for better experience and opportunities on a 5 year horizon? I say 5 years because things change and it's impossible to reasonably predict what will happen further out. Even 5 years is a stretch.

Would you be happier in the Bay vs upstate NY? Do you want to stay on the east cost for family/friends?... what I'm getting at are the "personal" preferences and intangible cost/benefit to living in one place vs another.

Assuming you came out $10k behind financially in the Bay (in year 1, anyway), do you believe you would come out ahead in experience/marketability/training/skills/etc within a few years?

All I'm trying to get you to think about is the big picture, career wise and personal preferences, a few years out from now. Don't get caught up in the minor details of a few thousand dollars either way, as that's basically a wash.

Obviously, push back for more if you think that would sway your decision. Since you have multiple offers, it's time to leverage them. Worst case, they'll say no...

Ricky

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 02:01:39 PM »
The offers are too similar to really say which one is better for you so it's going to be subjective.

If I were you I'd welcome the change and move to better weather. You'll also likely have more opportunities.This is assuming you're single and don't mind to make new friends,

Eric

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 02:35:33 PM »
I'd increase your rent estimate by 30%.  I'd also increase your enjoyment of the ridiculously awesome weather by 50%. (or maybe more since you're coming from upstate NY)

mozar

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 09:01:05 PM »
The Bay area offer seems low. I'm surprised they are not offering you at least 115k to offset the ridiculous rent as compared to upstate NY.

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 08:38:15 AM »
Thanks for all of the comments everyone!

To answer some of the questions:
The stock is RSUs. I will talk with the recruiter again today and ask about the vesting period. It's a publicly traded company that has a very well defined product. Of course, the semiconductor industry as a whole is cyclic as new nodes are developed, and there is no guarantee that this company (or my current company) will be on the winning end of things.
I did start the negotiation on the base salary and should hear back today, so we will see what the response is.

I readjusted the inputs based on new estimates for rent ($500 to split a 2BR in NY vs $1500 to do the same in SF). Taking into account some hand-waving assumptions (ignoring tax rate differences or any change in expenses other than rent, for example), the break even point on a yearly basis (no gain or loss for each additional year) is ~$120k. Factoring in the bonuses (and using a 4 year vesting for the RSUs, as suggested earlier, at least until I learn the actual time period), break even is ~$112k, which is probably how they came up with their initial offer. However, that means staying for 4 years to break even, and after that the expected value is negative.

Of course, there are other intangibles. If I stay in NY, I will be working for a private company that (frankly) has a poor track record of delivering results. It's getting much better, but there is a lot of ground to make up and a lot of culture change that still needs to happen. I also don't want to be in my current role forever, and I think my only way out (without moving companies) would be to move up into management - but that would be at least 3 years away. On the other hand, my management chain thinks very highly of me, which is worth something. There's always the off hand chance that they would work even more strongly to help me move into management if they thought I might leave (or at least offer another retention bonus - no idea).

If I move to CA, the weather and location certainly improves - there is definitely more to do outside of work, and more people to meet as well. I have the same amount of friends in either location, and family in neither. I'd be learning a more general skill set (failure analysis - more applicable to other industries than my current role, at least), but it also doesn't have a direct impact on the company's final product, unlike my current role. I'm not really sure how to value the proximity to other tech companies without completely devolving into speculation.

Frankly, there's a lot of speculation with either situation that is hard to avoid. Just a month ago (before my division was purchased) I would have preferred CA to either of the 2 companies in NY, because of a lack of investment in one and a poor culture at the other; the purchase *promises* to take the best both, but it's far from realized at this point and I worry I might end up being too optimistic (after many months of extreme pessimism).

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2014, 11:51:14 AM »
I live in the bay area, moved from new england (boston), let me give you the skinny on the three most important things about the area.

One, rent. Rent is expensive. Slightly more expensive than boston, and boston ain't cheap. On the other hand, houses are 2-3x as expensive. With that said, you can find good places if you look hard. I would figure: $800-1000 for a room, $1500 for a studio, $2000 for a 1-bed, in SF itself. However if you live in eg Oakland, your rent drops considerably to approximately your estimates. The shittier the neighborhood, the cheaper the rent, but that math gets wonky when you start worrying about your car being stolen and your place burglarized. The worrying is a spectrum depending on the person - I'll gladly live in places that some other people (especially single women, or families with kids) won't touch with a 1-mile pole. SF is similar except SF has much less middle ground - $1000/month gets you a 1-bed in the tenderloin, which even I'd rather not live in. Expect rent to be your single biggest expense, but if you're smart, it'll be 20-30% of your post-tax pay. Don't do the whole 33% of pre-tax pay thing, it ain't worth it. Apart from rent, cost of living is very similar to what I've seen around the country wherever I've lived.

Two, career opportunities. The valley is huge, and at the same time, smaller than you'd think. What that means is that there are tens of thousands of opportunities that would fit your career and interests (unless you're doing something incredibly specific), yet at the same time, your "kevin bacon" number to the guy interviewing you might be smaller than you'd imagine, especially after you live here a while. It is standard that you get a new job and immediately know a couple people from previous jobs and from social friend-of-friend type things. As your career progresses, hiring gets very informal - manager needs to hire, asks around, your name pops up, you chat over coffee about what problems need to be solved, you indicate interest, depending on the company a real interview is organized, you have a job. Often it's even more informal - you just pop in to a startup, chat a bit, start next week. Oh, yeah, have I mentioned startups? The culture means that even non-startups give you equity (RSUs), and startups give you lots (whether it's actually worth the electrons used to display it on the screen is a different matter - a lot of equity is worth about $50 after it's all said and done.) But there's always the chance of a massive reward that keeps people churning out new ideas (even if many of them are stupid.)

Three, weather. Let me make no exaggeration here. I spent 95% of my weekends out and about and/or entertaining friends at my place since I moved here. That includes rainy october and november weekends. You just have no idea until you're here just how goddamn much there is to do if you want it. If you like going out, there's a mind-boggling number of restaurants, bars, and clubs. I'm not a huge fan; I like hiking. Do you know how many places there are to hike here? I can go to a different place every weekend for three years and never go to the same place twice. I can go to a different trail every weekend for thirty years and never go to the same trail twice. By the time I'm done the trails will have changed. Of course, that's supported by beaches, windy mountain roads for biking / motorcycling / driving, various turnouts on every goddamn road to just stare out at the lovely landscape, Route 1 which combines the above... mountains, valleys, wildlife, sun and shade, water and heat, whatever you damn well please. Oh, have I mentioned the national parks? There are a bunch within driving distance. National forests, too. And of course state parks and forests and wildlife preserves. Not a fan of the great outdoors? Let's add museums, parades, cultural and science centers, landmarks, aquariums and zoos, and just places to walk and see. Like driving? We have race tracks. Scuba diving? There's that. Seriously, I don't care what you like, unless your main hobby is "netflix," you'll never be bored here.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 11:53:02 AM by gimp »

historienne

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2014, 12:12:38 PM »
Is there still any room for negotiation with the bay area offer?  I'm also surprised that it's not higher, given your NY salary.  We moved from the bay area to upstate NY and my husband found that comparable jobs usually had salaries approximately 30% lower (he ended up negotiating a remote working deal from his SV company in order to avoid the pay cut).  He works in the semiconductor industry as well, by the way, although he's a software engineer and his role isn't really specific to that industry.   And bay area salaries have only gone up since then.  I'd try to negotiate the bay area salary; even if there's not a lot of room there, though, I'd take it with the expectation of moving on in another two years and trying to get a big bump at that stage.

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2014, 12:35:54 PM »
Good point about salary. 110 is fairly low for SF, I would expect more like 130 with experience. Of course, if they're paying signing and relocation and trying to fill in the rest with RSUs actually worth something, they might be hesitant about negotiating much. I agree that in several years you can move on for a pay bump and use this as a stepping stone. Even if it's not "awesome" it's still, you know, a respectable sum of money.

dragoncar

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2014, 04:28:27 PM »

The weather is fantastic!  The opportunities for outdoor activities are amazing.

Sleep outside, rent problem solved!

mm1970

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2014, 04:36:43 PM »
Hi all,

I have an interesting dilemma (perhaps the "best" dilemma one could have), and I wanted to try and get some additional perspective.

The background:
For the last 5 months, I have been on temporary assignment about 2 hours north of my home to the Albany, NY, area. I was assigned to work as a contractor to a separate company, which recently agreed to purchase my division - so once the deal is approved, I will officially have a new employer. While not certain, it has been highly implied that as part of the purchase, I will permanently relocate. I won't know officially until approximately the end of January, but it is likely enough that I am comfortable assuming (for budgeting, etc.) that I will relocate. The relocation would probably happen around June/July 2015.

Before the deal was announced, I spent some time interviewing at other companies (always at the invitation of a friend, or a recruiter), and now I have 2 job offers on the table. One is in the Baltimore, MD, area, and one is in Milpitas, CA. I don't want the job in Baltimore, so I am just going to focus on the one in the Bay area.

The numbers

Current income: ~$101,000
401k match with new company: 4.5%
Retention bonus: ~$15,000 (vests 11/2015)
Yearly bonus with new company: ??
Current savings (401k, Roth, taxable, cash): ~$100,000
Expected rent (dog friendly, within walking distance to the very desirable areas): ~$1,100/mo 1BR, ~$1,500/mo 2BR (total - not per BR)
Current rent: $100/mo (until April 1, or potentially June/July - I am borrowing a room for weekends, since I stay a hotel Sunday to Friday)

SF base pay: $110,000
Signing bonus: $5,000
Stock: 500 shares (current price is ~$90) - forgot to ask when it vests
Yearly bonus: 0 to 12%
401k match: 3%
Rent: ??

The questions

I'm struggling to get a handle on rent in the Bay area - I know it is expensive, and I don't have a problem having a roommate (and I have a former roommate who may have an open room for $1100/mo). Up front, it looks like the numbers are far in favor of staying, but what else am I missing? Are my expectations too high, even for an engineering job in the semiconductor industry?

There is certainly a benefit to the weather, proximity to other tech companies, and the ability to learn a new skill (the job is in the same industry, but with a very different role - something I haven't done since graduating a few years ago). I would love to try biking to work (year round, no less) but the dog limits how far I could reasonably live from work (more than my endurance, at least).

I'm sure I left out relevant details, so I'm happy to answer questions. Thanks in advance!
So, I am a semiconductor engineer.  I live in California (but southern).  My husband is from Schenectady, so we visit every other year.  I hear that Global Foundries is expanding quite a lot in upstate NY.

First of all, rent.
Rent in CA is expensive.  Crazy, grossly, expensive.  Your extra $9k a year will not get you far.  You will definitely take more home in NY.  (Important to point out, because I only make a bit more than you in CA, and moving back to my husband's home town would be a huge boost to our savings, if he could get an equivalent job).

But - it's upstate NY.  Now, I like the area, and family is there.  But it's cold.  And this winter was particularly brutal.  And the summers are hot and humid.  And I'm totally a complainypants because Santa Barbara weather is awesome.

The advantage to Bay area is activities, culture, weather - and jobs.  It's not as easy now as it was in the 90's (when a good semiconductor engineer could literally walk down the block and get a big raise).  But there are still a lot more jobs. This gives you the opportunity to learn new things, grow, and get big raises.  (Something that my local area does NOT have).  And at $110k in the Bay Area, you'll need those raises.

And traffic in that area SUCKS.

Seriously I LOVE California, but I still consider moving to Upstate NY because of family and the COL.  But I'm an old married lady with 2 kids.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 04:42:51 PM by mm1970 »

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2014, 04:52:05 PM »
GF may be expanding, especially with the IBM fab acquisition, but they haven't done anything exciting... ever. Except managing to survive. They're one of the four big boys, and I guess that pays, but Oregon would be far more interesting if you were into the actual fab part of semi, and SV if you're into the design part. It's also a fairly dead-end location: all you have is the consortium and whatever bleeds out and turns into a cottage industry around it.

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2014, 06:00:13 PM »
Once again, thanks for all the advice.

A quick chat with the recruiter today increased the signing bonus to 15k, but no change on the base. I will have a hard offer from the 3rd (but not as interesting) company tomorrow, so perhaps that will change their mind at the last minute. The RSUs have a 4 year vesting date, as was suggested earlier in the thread. For perspective, my annual savings (401k, taxable etc) combined is ~47k right now, and I think I could maintain that, but there'd be a lot less wiggle room for flights home, or "fun/luxury" expenses.

@gimp: thanks for the very detailed description of the SF area. My dog and I love to hike, so I know we would be out taking advantage of the trails you mention. I'd prefer to have a roommate, actually, but I did my calculations with ~$1500 for rent to be on the conservative side. I'd be looking at South/East bay, as I think SF would be too long of a commute for me and the dog - not sure if that could get rent down a hundred or two. And you are very, very right, GF has done very little (don't get me started on their 20nm node) but the flip side of that is that even my (only) 2 years of experience are viewed very highly. I'd be switching from process to FA in the move to the Bay Area, so perhaps a more general skill set, though still tied to actual silicon, if that makes a difference in how easy it might be to job hop in SV. Oregon is interesting, just doesn't happen to be on the table right now (and I hear I'd need a PhD to really excel there).

@mm1970: also thanks for the perspective, especially from someone who knows the Albany area. Maybe it's because I grew up in Chicago with freezing winters and have never lived anywhere warmer (much less CA), but it's hard to really grasp the benefit of great weather. As for longer term - I can't say whether or not I'd stay in SV for a long time. I seem to jump around quite a bit (2 years in undergrad, then 9mo off to work internships, then back for 1.5 years of grad school, now 2.5 years working and maybe another move?). However, it makes me a little nervous to be counting on future raises (or RSUs with a 4 year handcuff) that are, as you put, needed, just based on COL. Or maybe I'm just being greedy? Hard to tell sometimes :)

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2014, 10:52:22 PM »
Oh crap, I totally misread. Your offer is in Milpitas. That makes life way easier as far as money and commute goes (except for the occasional garbage smell in milpitas... As the joke goes, "She said, kiss me where it smells. So I took her to Milpitas." But that joke's been done for everywhere - New Jersey, Allston, etc.)

Want a roommate? Get a 2-bed in Milpitas or Fremont. Expect to pay around $2400 total plus another hundred for utils. Want to live alone? A decent 1-bed in Milpitas should run you ... shockingly really not that much less. A 2-bed might be as low as $2k, whereas a 1-bed maybe $1500, more like 1800. Hell, there are 3-bed houses and townhouses renting for $2500. It's a weird place. You should find a place a 10- or 15- minute drive from work very easily. Just beware of traffic: if you need to get to work at a certain time, and home at a certain time, and those times are during rush hour, and you need to take the highway, you're SOL. Otherwise you're fine. If you do a bit of leg work you may well find a place within 2-3 miles, which is easily walkable or bikeable.

You definitely, absolutely want to either own a car, or a motorcycle, or be good friends with someone who owns a car. There's a ton to do but the area is large - a bit north of SF to a bit south of SJ is like 70 miles, and that doesn't even include everything else slightly farther out (or a lot farther out) you want to get to. Parking is free and there's tons of it, except in SF.

110k in Milpitas is a lot better than 110k in SF - probably 5-10k better (post-tax) if you're frugal, 15k if you're not.

Oh, and -- if you have a car, do yourself a favor and drive here. The cross-country drive is beautiful and you won't regret it. Unless of course you've already done it a bunch, in which case you know.

Futtee

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2014, 04:05:00 AM »
I cant tell from your post if you work in Albany or the Albany area. If you are north of Albany, would you consider moving to Saratoga Springs?  I moved here from Manhattan 10 years ago, a single person at the time, and loved it. It a happening town considering its in the middle of nowhere. Great restaurants, excellent cultural offerings, beautiful parks, and 3 hours to NYC, Boston, Montreal. And I beg to differ with another poster's characterization of our summers up here - they are not hot and humid.  They are beautiful, as are spring and fall. And so much to do outdoors, esp if you like to ski or snowshoe.  Winter can be a bit long as you already know but if you can escape to somewhere warm once or twice it is bearable.

However, if you work in Albany, I think the Northway is pretty brutal and your commute  to and from Toga would kinda suck.

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2014, 04:52:58 AM »
I cant tell from your post if you work in Albany or the Albany area. If you are north of Albany, would you consider moving to Saratoga Springs?  I moved here from Manhattan 10 years ago, a single person at the time, and loved it. It a happening town considering its in the middle of nowhere. Great restaurants, excellent cultural offerings, beautiful parks, and 3 hours to NYC, Boston, Montreal. And I beg to differ with another poster's characterization of our summers up here - they are not hot and humid.  They are beautiful, as are spring and fall. And so much to do outdoors, esp if you like to ski or snowshoe.  Winter can be a bit long as you already know but if you can escape to somewhere warm once or twice it is bearable.

However, if you work in Albany, I think the Northway is pretty brutal and your commute  to and from Toga would kinda suck.
Saratoga would definitely be my choice. I stay there during the week now and the commute is a nice, easy 15 minutes or so.

jnc

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2014, 06:44:42 AM »
As someone who lived in the bay area for 8 years and worked in the tech sector, the new salary seems low to me compared to what you were earning in upstate NY... Kids out of college are making 95k on average in SV though in the software sector (not sure about semi-conductors) so it seems to me they are lowballing you a bit... Given that you have multiple offers, I'd be firm with them about needing to increase the base salary and not just the bonus... It is not just about making as much as you were in NY to break even. It's about being compensated fairly relative your peers in SV. There is quite the shortage in tech talent in the bay area which drives the wages much higher than any other place in the country.

Or if they really don't budge, you can always join them and within a year or so, interview with other companies and get a better package. I know it sounds mercenary but that's the reality of the situation if they don't pay you your market value.



dragoncar

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2014, 06:54:32 AM »
As someone who lived in the bay area for 8 years and worked in the tech sector, the new salary seems low to me compared to what you were earning in upstate NY... Kids out of college are making 95k on average in SV though in the software sector (not sure about semi-conductors) so it seems to me they are lowballing you a bit... Given that you have multiple offers, I'd be firm with them about needing to increase the base salary and not just the bonus... It is not just about making as much as you were in NY to break even. It's about being compensated fairly relative your peers in SV. There is quite the shortage in tech talent in the bay area which drives the wages much higher than any other place in the country.

Or if they really don't budge, you can always join them and within a year or so, interview with other companies and get a better package. I know it sounds mercenary but that's the reality of the situation if they don't pay you your market value.

I once told a SV company that my salary expectations were the same as my current upstate NY salary, adjusted for cost of living.  They tried to telle there was no difference.  Pretty inept HR person.

Agree with what you said.  If OP really wanted to be in SV, he could go the 1 year route - this job hopping is typical here.  But since OP has no specific desire to be here, I'm not sure it's worth the effort.  OP can easily RE with the other job

Futtee

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2014, 07:06:05 AM »
Another random thought on living in Saratoga...there is an Aldi's in Ballston Spa to help keep your grocery bills down.  Obviously not the top criteria for making your decision!  but, another plus for this area and a great option for your path to FIRE if you do stay local.

mm1970

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2014, 09:13:26 AM »
I think FA experience would be a good addition to your process experience - and would make you very marketable just about anywhere (Silicon or not).

I've done a little bit of FA, but mostly 17 years of process engineering.

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2014, 08:00:49 AM »
Once again, thanks for all of the suggestions!

Just wanted to give you all an update. For the Bay area job, I had originally been working with a recruiter who was covering for a colleague on vacation. Last week I talked to the "official" recruiter, and was able to get/clarify two things. Most importantly, the RSUs vest every year (1/4 of the total amount each year) - which means that the "handcuff" of the RSUs only lasts until the end of each year - making me much more comfortable counting on those to make up for the difference in cost of living. The other change increased the signing bonus to $20k. Between the two, I was comfortable that I would be able to take things on a year to year basis and not have to worry about making it 4 years or facing a financial loss. I think my title will end up being one notch lower (hard to compare when there are a different total number of levels between companies) but it should mean that a promotion (and then raise) will be easier to get.

For the other option, some flattening in my organization and potential changes in direction make it look like my job role will shift away from the things that I enjoy and that it will be more difficult in the near future to change job roles (into management was the most likely option, before).

So between the two, I made my decision - I'm rolling the dice and heading for warmer weather! I'm sure I could find a way to save a little bit more by staying, but I think I can easily make up for that by optimizing my budget a little more instead.

Thanks again for all the advice!

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2014, 11:46:17 AM »
Excellent. There's plenty of folks here who live in the bay area, so ask if you need any more advice.

mm1970

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2014, 08:23:21 PM »
GF may be expanding, especially with the IBM fab acquisition, but they haven't done anything exciting... ever. Except managing to survive. They're one of the four big boys, and I guess that pays, but Oregon would be far more interesting if you were into the actual fab part of semi, and SV if you're into the design part. It's also a fairly dead-end location: all you have is the consortium and whatever bleeds out and turns into a cottage industry around it.
Not sure anything is more dead end than Santa Barbara.  A few government contractor fabs, and a handful of (rotating) startups.  It's *not* the place to be if you want your career to take off!

sobezen

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2014, 10:43:23 PM »
Congratulations on the job offer in Milpitas! :)

The weather should be considerably warmer than what you are currently accustomed to.  I work in the South Bay and I use to live in Milpitas.  I can confirm for you that rent prices are high, but considerably lower if you are willing to just rent one room and share a bath, common area with renter(s).  I've found if you are willing to tolerate a higher number of renters, odds are the rent is often lower than market price.  I recommend researching current rental rates on Craigslist in different South Bay cities to gain a better understanding.  Also note, renting alone versus renting a shared home or multi-unit will greatly differ.  The most affordable rental I lived in was a home in Sunnyvale for $500 all utilities included with on-site laundry.  Unfortunately there are no vacancies otherwise I'd refer you to my friend who is the owner.  Another thing, renting is often easier without pets.  I understand you have a dog. What type do you have?  Some rentals have restricted breeds so hopefully yours is not one of them, you will need to check in advance.  I discovered some places in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Fremont, etc are not pet friendly.  I've found Mountain View pretty pet friendly.  That said for the places that do accept pets, expect to pay an additional $500 deposit (on average) and at least $40 extra per month.  As a result you may want to give yourself more wiggle room with your housing budget.

With the warmer weather comes certain advantages living in the South Bay.  Specifically you can access great opportunities to train/drive up to SF (enjoy the free activities and explore Golden Gate Park endlessly), drive to Muir Woods, Marin, Tiberon, any many more places that you will enjoy.  Odds are your dog will love those places too.

Regarding your compensation, the base pay does seem low.  Is there anyways to negotiate for greater flexibility, higher base (after further researching industry peers), or other benefits?  I understand you may not wish to reveal the company until you've accepted, but is it a Fortune 100 or 500 company?  I ask because I found it often helps to compare company benefits using Brightscope.com.  If your company is a tech leader the benefits should be on par with its peers and not less (IMO at least Brightscope rated 75% or higher).  Also, take some time to research if there are additional benefits that you might be overlooking such as SPP discount, telecommuting, profit sharing, commuter reimbursement, HDHP HSA, and other benefits.  Another thing, check the vesting schedule for the match.  Is it immediate, tiered, or cliff?  Companies that use tiered vesting often are not as generous with other company benefits.  Again check with HR to learn the specifics.  Good luck deciding, it is not easy weighing the costs versus the benefits, but I feel you probably will have greater opportunities in your field if you were in the Valley.

YMMV.  Keep us posted on how it goes.  Cheers! :)

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2014, 11:55:58 AM »
@gimp - definitely be prepared for more questions as I get closer to my move and face more decisions :). My first question will probably be what car should I get, since I do not think I will need my 2009 Subaru Forester with winter tires.

@sobezen - my dog is a mutt (the vet paperwork says a Plott Hound mix) so I should be able to avoid any breed restrictions. I budgeted $1500 for rent assuming at least 1 roommate (I have a few friends in the area to hopefully help me network and find a good roommate) - do you think I should increase that?

The company (which I will refrain from saying until everything is signed) is a Fortune 500 company; the 401k rating on Brightscope is 84% (for those keeping score, GF is 81%). I won't have the option to telecommute due to the need to be in the lab frequently, but the hours (and lack of being on-call) are much improved. I will hopefully get a handle on the other little benefits/perks later on this week. There is profit sharing (both in cash and additional RSU grants), but I am treating it as a happy bonus, since my experience at my current company has left me skeptical (artificially created poor division financial performance meant 0% for everyone, even high performers). The target is 12%, with multiples set for high performers (2x for the top rating) and additional multiples based on company performance (the recruiters liked to tout that last year it paid 130% of the target).

Part of what helped push me to make the jump was two changes to my current organization. First, there is talk of executive decisions on the company's overall path which would move my day-to-day work more towards things that I enjoy less (but I still think the decisions are the correct ones for the company). And second, I do not plan to stay in my current role forever, and recent organizational changes have flattened the management structure - which is great as an engineer, but not so great if my "way out" of my current role is actually "up" into management, since there will be less positions and more ex-managers competing for them.

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2014, 05:11:57 PM »
Mmm, I have some guesses about your company's name, but let's not name names for politeness's sake.

Mutts tend to be okay. A lot of apartments have breed restrictions and they're often dicks in their phrasing, but mutts tend to slip through. Some might demand paperwork on what kind of mutt it is. You have to realize that folks here are super sheltered and afraid of things, and "big scary dog" enters the list. Sadly. You will navigate that.

$1500 for rent assuming one roommate is more than enough. Budget that and find a place for less.

Car... car. Okay. Cars are the thing where you ask 20 people and get 19 opinions. I think your choice of car should heavily depend on your use case. For example, do you want to be constantly driving to somewhat-far-away places, such as our incredible national parks (yosemite and the rest of the sierras, redwood, etc), as well as our more accessible state parks and forests (all through the diablo range, the santa cruz mountains, up and down route 1, down past monterey and up past SF, and so on)? Do you foresee yourself using it strictly as a commuting vehicle, point A to B? Are you looking purely for total cost of ownership, or do you also factor in things ranging from comfort and safety to performance and style?

Let me make the following assumptions:
- You want low TCO but it is not the only thing you care about
- You will take advantage of our incredible accessible natural wealth, which means near-weekly drives of 100 mile roundtrips or so, and several times a year driving several hours each way
- You want reasonable safety, high reliability, reasonable comfort (200-mile-a-day but not 1000-mile-a-day comfort), reasonable performance but nothing super fancy
- You don't have much requirement for snow or lots of mud

If those characteristics sound right, I'd probably recommend a nice used car (all-weather tires, not summer tires, unless you want a set of each.) If you're a fan of subarus, there are tons of WRXes around here, including older used hatchbacks, but the problem with buying a used WRX is it's a WRX and has been most likely driven hard. Otherwise, your average camry, corolla, civic, and accord are very reasonable cars, even if I'm not personally a fan. These cars are common, reliable, and cheap to buy and cheap to operate.

But in my opinion, the best value for money if you want more than econobox would be a moderately used luxury car - there are a LOT of luxury cars in the bay area (every other car is a beamer/mercedes/lexus/audi/etc etc etc) and people here upgrade often so there are a lot for sale. If you find one that was used as a weekend driver, not too many miles on the clock, maybe 6-8 years old, it'll pretty much feel like new, be fairly safe, and might be almost finished depreciating (a good-condition luxury car hits a price floor much higher than an econobox.) The downsides of this plan are: one, you're not the only one doing this, so there is some competition; two, repairs will likely be expensive, especially on german imports.

Basically, I think the best car for the bay area is a sleeper car: subdued looks and nothing flashy, has performance where it counts, and is reasonably safe. The last part is a sticking point for me because, just as a huge percentage of cars are luxury, a huge percentage of drivers are terrible. Not Massachusetts terrible, where you'll have people cutting into the smallest spots or purposefully running red lights, but Bay Area terrible where they're incredibly unsure of themselves, are too timid, drive so slowly they're causing unsafe situations, and misjudge turns - all while driving performance cars that are far less forgiving than normal cars.

That's my opinion, a mix of frugality with enjoyment of driving. If you hate driving, just get one of the four basic ones I listed above. If you like driving, get a moderately used nicer car. Definitely do not get any sort of SUV, truck, or otherwise high-sitting car unless you foresee a lot of snow and mud; there is absolutely no reason for that here in the bay area.

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2014, 01:06:36 PM »
That's my opinion, a mix of frugality with enjoyment of driving. If you hate driving, just get one of the four basic ones I listed above. If you like driving, get a moderately used nicer car. Definitely do not get any sort of SUV, truck, or otherwise high-sitting car unless you foresee a lot of snow and mud; there is absolutely no reason for that here in the bay area.

Right now I have a Subaru Forester that I will clearly not need in the mild California weather, so my goal is to swap that for something a little more tailored to my new location - and I think your post clearly confirmed that.

The main goal for the car is commuting (on days I can't or don't want to bike), hiking trips for the dog and I, carrying bikes, skis, and anything else I can think of - but mostly just me and the dog. I like driving - I have a Mustang that's a project/fun car (that I won't be selling) so I don't need something just for fun - practicality is more important this time. Is there a general lack of parking (ignoring the city) where I should look for something closer to a subcompact size, or that I wouldn't mind parking on the street everyday? I assume that I could take public transportation if I wanted to visit the city, but that may also be wrong - should I plan for a car that I don't mind using for frequent city driving?

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2014, 02:02:21 PM »
Parking is everywhere. Vast parking lots, huge garages, free street parking, and often no limits on the street parking (no stickers, no hours, no street cleaning, no towing, etc.) In San Jose, you might have to pay a small amount to park downtown. In SF, parking is more difficult and more expensive. Some smaller but popular towns (like Santa Cruz) will see you parking on the street and paying the meter, but it's not expensive. Not only this, but people leave a lot of space when parking on the street - parallel parking is considered difficult, apparently, so you can get in and out of spots very easily.

I drive a full-size sedan (buick regal - think crown vic in size) and have no issues parking anywhere. Even in SF I find spots.

Public transportation, especially at Milpitas, is very meh. Assume that if you visit SF, you will often be doing so by driving.

However, SF is around 60 miles away. It takes an hour to get there without traffic, and Milpitas is on 101, so you're hitting a lot more traffic than you'd think, even at odd hours. Add the fact that if you drink, you can't drive, and public transport might not bring you home at the hours you want to go home. You will be going to SF a lot less often than you think. Unless you make it a mission to go there, count on maybe once a month. Part of the reason is that there are so many other fun things to do that going to a city to eat and drink will seem hollow, especially when you can do that anywhere, and a lot of people only go there for the eating and drinking since they don't know how to have fun in a city.

Very common cars around here are small hatchbacks, like a honda fit, or vw golf, or similar. Hell, priuses too. And leafs, though I wouldn't touch one, but then I don't really like any of the ones I listed. Their popularity is probably for a good reason, though - small, but room to haul your dirty bike and dirty dog and put skis on top. I would definitely look into the small hatchback category. That might be perfect for you: easy on gas, low total cost of ownership, easy to park even in the city, reasonably reliable, can haul things. I don't know about comfort; that's for every person to decide for themselves, though I suspect you will be fine driving to Yosemite or LA or Redwood NP if you stop and stretch half-way.

KS

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2014, 02:27:09 PM »
Is there a general lack of parking (ignoring the city) where I should look for something closer to a subcompact size, or that I wouldn't mind parking on the street everyday? I assume that I could take public transportation if I wanted to visit the city, but that may also be wrong - should I plan for a car that I don't mind using for frequent city driving?

Parking is usually not a huge problem, although may depend somewhat on your living arrangement. (If there are more roommates with cars than allotted parking spaces for the apartment, for example.) That said, outside of my apartment parking I'm often very glad I drive a smallish car, because SO many people have unnecessarily large SUVs and seem to love parking them in compact spots they are way too big for. So in crowded parking lots I'm more likely to be able to squeeze in somewhere. (And I will also echo gimp's analysis of the drivers here, yikes...)

Public transit should be possible for getting to the city, although maybe not always super convenient depending on where you want to get to and how often you're going. I don't spend a lot of time up there, so others probably know more about this than I do. I do hate driving in SF though, so if I can I'll take the train up, or just try to find a parking garage somewhere convenient, dump my car and get around another way once I'm there.

Congrats on the job offer! Lots of other good info from others on here already so I won't go on and on. But it can be pretty great living here, once you get past the housing sticker shock part! And I think someone mentioned the Milpitas aroma, I commute through there and it's been a bit more potent this week. It's not that bad though, and I hear you get used to it. :)

Dicey

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2014, 02:49:51 PM »
Interesting thread. Subaru Foresters are popular cars here in the Bay Area. Drive it out, but sell the snow tires before you leave. You should easily be able to haul your stuff cross country in it. We never have snow on the ground here, but we do have lots of places to visit it, should you get homesick. Tahoe and Mammoth have awesome winter sports, so I'd hang onto that Subie until you've thoroughly checked out all the goodness the Bay Area has to offer.  As eloquent as gimp is, I assure you he's just scratched the surface.

Next, starting from your exact work location, draw a very tiny circle around it. Begin and end your house hunt within that circle. Staying as close to work as possible will save you a ton of time and cash, both of which you can spend driving to all the awesome places there are to hike in your free time. Milpitas is very reasonable for the Bay Area and Craigslist is a popular site for rentals and shares.

I was able to travel, be a homeowner and ultimately FIRE on far less that 110k per year, and I live in a more expensive part of the Bay Area. Don't be afraid of all those stats. They are mostly based on sukka spending; mustachians can thrive on far less.

dragoncar

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2014, 02:57:54 PM »
Is there a general lack of parking (ignoring the city) where I should look for something closer to a subcompact size, or that I wouldn't mind parking on the street everyday? I assume that I could take public transportation if I wanted to visit the city, but that may also be wrong - should I plan for a car that I don't mind using for frequent city driving?

Parking is usually not a huge problem, although may depend somewhat on your living arrangement. (If there are more roommates with cars than allotted parking spaces for the apartment, for example.) That said, outside of my apartment parking I'm often very glad I drive a smallish car, because SO many people have unnecessarily large SUVs and seem to love parking them in compact spots they are way too big for. So in crowded parking lots I'm more likely to be able to squeeze in somewhere. (And I will also echo gimp's analysis of the drivers here, yikes...)

Public transit should be possible for getting to the city, although maybe not always super convenient depending on where you want to get to and how often you're going. I don't spend a lot of time up there, so others probably know more about this than I do. I do hate driving in SF though, so if I can I'll take the train up, or just try to find a parking garage somewhere convenient, dump my car and get around another way once I'm there.

Congrats on the job offer! Lots of other good info from others on here already so I won't go on and on. But it can be pretty great living here, once you get past the housing sticker shock part! And I think someone mentioned the Milpitas aroma, I commute through there and it's been a bit more potent this week. It's not that bad though, and I hear you get used to it. :)

If you a gung-ho about public transportation to the city, maybe get housing in fremont near the bart station (I know not much of that area, so maybe it's not a good place for housing).  But really, if you're in milpitas you should just go out in SJ.

Beric01

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2014, 04:17:18 PM »
I also missed the Milpitas part! I live a couple miles from Milpitas in San Jose. I use bicycling and public transport, and don't own a car. I'm actually right on the light rail line and near Caltrain, and I can walk to the airport. However, my main mode of transport is bicycling. There are a lot of nice trails and bike lanes, so as a single person you really don't need a car, particularly if you intentionally live near work. If I go up to SF or to the East Bay, Caltrain works fine.

Living costs - I'm currently in a 250-square foot studio (all utilities paid) for $1K/month, which is a good deal around here. I'm currently considering switching to renting a room (you can find these for $600/month) but haven't 100% made up my mind yet.

gimp

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2014, 04:48:20 PM »
Subaru Foresters are popular cars here in the Bay Area. Drive it out, but sell the snow tires before you leave. You should easily be able to haul your stuff cross country in it.

This is a decent strategy, certainly. I highly recommend the cross-country drive; if you drive during the winter, you definitely want to take the southern route (south to I-40 then follow it for a while.) There are really only two direct routes, and I-80 goes through mountain passes which may be closed in the winter. Not only that, but I-40 will allow you to stop at some of the most beautiful, gargantuan, yet almost entirely un-known and un-explored national and state parks, monuments, and forests. The area around the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Monument Valley, has like fifty such parks. Some of them are bigger than the entire state of Delaware yet almost entirely unheard-of outside the local area. Oh, and very few crowds in the winter. Lose the snow tires; you won't see snow once you enter Virginia unless you're unlucky (and even then, you can wait it out for a day, or detour further south, along I-10.)

You can sell it here, but there are two issues. One: foresters are popular but I think most foresters I see are the SUVs, not the hatchbacks. They're, like, twice as big. Two, the new england rust will put a big dent in the price since cars out here pretty much have no rust at all, because no snow and no salt. Of course, you can always take your time selling it.

Quote
We never have snow on the ground here, but we do have lots of places to visit it, should you get homesick. Tahoe and Mammoth have awesome winter sports, so I'd hang onto that Subie until you've thoroughly checked out all the goodness the Bay Area has to offer.

Decent advice, taking your time to sell it is very reasonable. Also, it means less to worry about at a time.

Quote
As eloquent as gimp is, I assure you he's just scratched the surface.

For sure. A different hike every week for 30 years if you want. There is just so much to see. My habits, for example, mean that my reasonable driving radius for a short vacation (weekend and two-three days off work) stretches from San Diego to Santa Fe to to Yellowstone to Seattle. (Radius, not path for a single trip, that'd be more like a week and change.) For example, thanksgiving will see me in some of the aforementioned southern regions, miles away from the closest other person.

Quote
Next, starting from your exact work location, draw a very tiny circle around it. Begin and end your house hunt within that circle. Staying as close to work as possible will save you a ton of time and cash, both of which you can spend driving to all the awesome places there are to hike in your free time. Milpitas is very reasonable for the Bay Area and Craigslist is a popular site for rentals and shares.

I was able to travel, be a homeowner and ultimately FIRE on far less that 110k per year, and I live in a more expensive part of the Bay Area. Don't be afraid of all those stats. They are mostly based on sukka spending; mustachians can thrive on far less.

I agree with everything here as well. Bigger salary means more taxes and the area means higher rent; your other expenses shouldn't really go up much at all. (Except for driving to all of these awesome places.) You will most likely end up with more money in your pocket than before. Right now the idea of buying a house is tough (most sell for well over 500k anywhere near where you'd be working, with the occasional exception of in-my-opinion shoddy townhouses.) I would not be thinking about buying right now on 110k salary. A common strategy is DINK - two engineers earning 130k+ - to save the money needed. Another common strategy is ten years of saving up, then moving to a much cheaper city like Portland and buying a house in cash. I expect to stay here for a long time, though, and I am carefully watching house prices. I might look closely at foreclosures in less-than-stellar neighborhoods, as I don't currently foresee the double engineering income.

sobezen

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2014, 01:50:14 PM »
I lived in Milpitas for five years.  I actually drove to SF and I took public transit too (CalTrains).  Now you cannot take CalTrains directly from Milpitas to San Francisco.  However, this is relatively easy to solve, just drive to Santa Clara and park your car.  The drive one way from Milpitas to SC is less than 15 minutes.  Or, if your company offers a shuttle bus, just take it to CalTrains and go to the City.  I did this for over seven years before living in Milpitas.  So the point is you can definitely drive to the City or you can take CalTrains directly to 4th and King which is the end of the line in SF.  You have options.

As for the car, have you considered an electric car such as the Nissan Leaf or Chrysler Spark?  The Spark will allow you to use the carpool lane alone which will save on your commute time.  Both offer considerable Federal credits of $7,500. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml  And both have little maintenance and obviously use no gas.  And additional benefit to consider is many large Silicon Valley companies have charging stations too!  So something else to consider.

Good luck! :)

sobezen

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2014, 01:55:44 PM »
@sobezen - my dog is a mutt (the vet paperwork says a Plott Hound mix) so I should be able to avoid any breed restrictions. I budgeted $1500 for rent assuming at least 1 roommate (I have a few friends in the area to hopefully help me network and find a good roommate) - do you think I should increase that?

The company (which I will refrain from saying until everything is signed) is a Fortune 500 company; the 401k rating on Brightscope is 84% (for those keeping score, GF is 81%). I won't have the option to telecommute due to the need to be in the lab frequently, but the hours (and lack of being on-call) are much improved. I will hopefully get a handle on the other little benefits/perks later on this week. There is profit sharing (both in cash and additional RSU grants), but I am treating it as a happy bonus, since my experience at my current company has left me skeptical (artificially created poor division financial performance meant 0% for everyone, even high performers). The target is 12%, with multiples set for high performers (2x for the top rating) and additional multiples based on company performance (the recruiters liked to tout that last year it paid 130% of the target).

@ mrbrightside695: I think your budget for rent is reasonable.  The main concern I find with renting is the selection that accepts your breed.  Be patient and give yourself ample time to research and explore the surrounding areas.  Also feel free to ask some of us here if want more local insight too. :)

Your company BrightScope rating is solid.  Congrats!  Did you learn anymore information regarding the "vesting schedule"?  IMO this is often overlooked but quite important.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2014, 02:07:38 PM »
I lived in Milpitas for five years.  I actually drove to SF and I took public transit too (CalTrains).  Now you cannot take CalTrains directly from Milpitas to San Francisco.  However, this is relatively easy to solve, just drive to Santa Clara and park your car.  The drive one way from Milpitas to SC is less than 15 minutes.  Or, if your company offers a shuttle bus, just take it to CalTrains and go to the City.  I did this for over seven years before living in Milpitas.  So the point is you can definitely drive to the City or you can take CalTrains directly to 4th and King which is the end of the line in SF.  You have options.


I took Caltrain from San Jose (Diridon) to SF for a year, and it was bloody awful and the main reason I quit the job in SF. Whether Caltrain is viable definitely depends on one's personal tolerance for commuting.

Dicey

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2014, 02:17:40 PM »
Isn't the job in Milpitas? His use of Caltrain would most likely be limited to optional off-peak jaunts into the City, not for commuting.

Hey OP, what did you decide? Do you have time for an update?

NorCal

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2014, 10:06:12 PM »
Quite honestly, I think EVERYONE here is asking the wrong questions.

Why is everyone focused on whether one offer is worth a couple thousand different a year?  That's stupid.  Here are the important questions only the OP can answer:

1.  Where will your career be in 5 years?  How will it be different in NY vs. CA?  Does one location offer better career growth opportunities?  Go for the place that offers the best career and salary growth potential.  I don't know the semiconductor industry, so you'll have to answer that on your own.

2.  Which location appeals to you most as a place you'd like to live?  If the answers to question #1 are roughly comparable, this should guide you.  The differences between the offers are too minimal.  Is living close to family important to you?  Or good weather and outdoor activities?  Or not freezing to death on a normal winter day? 

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2014, 06:36:24 AM »
First - I think I must have buried it in one of my previous posts (or maybe accidentally removed it during editing/rewriting) but:

I took the offer! I'm starting in mid January, and very very excited about it :). Sorry for not providing a more clear update to you all

As NorCal identified, I think the career options will be better in CA, for a number of reasons, and the offer is reasonable enough to make me feel like I'm not going backwards by making the jump.

As far as the RSU vesting schedule goes - it will be 25% of the shares per year (no idea if that is tied to the board meeting date as Diane C suggested - I figure a few months isn't much compared to the alternative of 4 full years).

It looks like my use of public transportation to get into SF (for pleasure, not a commute) should be easily doable with a little bit of strategic planning on where I end up living.

I talked with the realty company that is helping me find an apartment/room (part of the relocation package) and they mentioned that there won't be anything available to sign a lease for earlier than 1 month before the lease start date - does this sound right? I'd like to head out there maybe 1.5 months before starting (also part of the relocation package) but it sounds like that won't get me much other than a tour of the area.

And as for cars - I test drove a Honda Fit last weekend, and despite being a tiny little car, it was quite fun to drive (with the M/T at least). I will try and take a look at the Leaf and Spark this weekend and see how they drive - thanks for the suggestions!

Dicey

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2014, 07:24:19 AM »
Congratulations!

As to the lease question, it doesn't sound right. It may be that it's just their custom, not the law. You could also try couch surfing for a couple of weeks if necessary. If you do so, arrange for a storage locker for your stuff. You don't want to haul everything around in your car while you're playing tourist. Also, I agree with the advice to take the southern route and enjoy the scenery on your way out to the left coast.

Re: vesting, credit goes to Cathy for pointing that out. I do recall starting a job once on the last day of December to qualify for vesting effective Jan. 1. Be sure to check an see if it would work in your case. IIRC, they were closed for the holidays, but paid me for that one day because otherwise I would have lost a whole year of vesting. Nice company.

Welcome to the Golden State!

mrbrightside695

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #40 on: November 25, 2014, 11:11:50 AM »
Congratulations!

As to the lease question, it doesn't sound right. It may be that it's just their custom, not the law. You could also try couch surfing for a couple of weeks if necessary. If you do so, arrange for a storage locker for your stuff. You don't want to haul everything around in your car while you're playing tourist. Also, I agree with the advice to take the southern route and enjoy the scenery on your way out to the left coast.

Re: vesting, credit goes to Cathy for pointing that out. I do recall starting a job once on the last day of December to qualify for vesting effective Jan. 1. Be sure to check an see if it would work in your case. IIRC, they were closed for the holidays, but paid me for that one day because otherwise I would have lost a whole year of vesting. Nice company.

Welcome to the Golden State!

Oops, sorry Cathy about the vesting - didn't mean to not give you credit :). That's what I get for trying to cram so much into one post.

The lease thing didn't sound like a law, just custom. It still surprised me though. I have furnished housing (plus storage) provided for 30 days, and have plenty of couches I could borrow for a few days if necessary. But I'd like to get the most out of the relocation package, and since it includes a house/apartment finding trip, I'd like to use it. It sounds like it wouldn't be effective unless it was after Jan 1 (in order to sign a lease for Feb 1), but by then I was hoping to start my drive. Definitely a "first world problem" I have...

My trip so far will be stop in Detroit to see my parents and pick up the dog, then Chicago, Denver, San Diego, and LA (all to visit friends). Still not sure what to do between Chicago and Colorado though - seems like a pretty bleak part of the trip right now.

NorCal

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Re: Moving - but where? (SF Bay area vs upstate NY)
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2014, 08:02:09 AM »
Congrats on the move and welcome to the insanity of Silicon Valley!

It's been a while since I went through the lease process, so I can't help much there.

While you're looking, be sure to drive through a lot of surrounding neighborhoods.  The South Bay has lots of different neighborhoods with different feels that you can't get a sense for without being there.  Heck, I live 30 miles away, and I can't figure out South Bay neighborhoods.

Be sure to test the commute during rush hour once you find some communities you like.  Sometimes geographically close and a short commute are not the same thing.