Author Topic: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity  (Read 5967 times)


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Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« on: October 03, 2013, 01:57:19 PM »
Mustachians! I need some advice on a possible job opportunity in Santa Fe, NM. I have a great number of question and am hoping to decide if this opportunity would be a good fit for me.

1) Santa Fe: How is this City in general? I've looked up City Data, I've looked up all the census and statistics available. On paper it seems like a great place, but I obviously have many concerns moving from San Diego to Santa Fe. Is this a bad place to be a single 26 year old? Is there some kind of great climate shock I may experience? Culture shock?

2) Job situation: Currently, I'm on track to make about $80k/yr in San Diego in a low stress, unsatisfying government engineering job. My benefits and pension are all quite good, however, I've been here 4 years and am not experiencing the kind of technical growth I desire. This morning I accepted a phone interview for a job in Santa Fe doing exclusively Bridge Design (my passion in college and perceived dream career) with New Mexico DOT. The classification caps at $68k/yr and the benefits are likely reduced.

In general, is the change/sacrifice of moving to a small city, knowing nobody worth accepting a promising job opportunity? I do believe that this position will open many doors. In this industry, it seems that mid level bridge engineers are highly sought after but given the economy nobody is willing to train and grow engineers outside of DOT jobs.

Numbers Man

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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 02:04:27 PM »
I have heard it said that "A mind is a terrible thing to waste". If you are not growing intellectually, then your brain will be mush in the not too distance future. The cost of living in New Mexico is about 25% less than San Diego. So the salaries that you quote for both cities makes sense. Pursue your passion for bridge building instead of pushing paper around in San Diego.


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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 02:52:33 PM »
Only been to Santa Fe once, on company business (we have a facility there). Fairly sleepy town. Lots of Mexican food. Some night life (though most people go to Albuquerque for that). Dry / arid. Lots of turquoise jewelry places. Doesn't get uber hot in the summer or very cold in the winter (though hotter and colder than San Diego, I'd think). It's not what I would call a happening place. That being said, Albuquerque is and it is about an hour south. LOTS of people ride trains / commute from Albuquerque to places like Santa Fe. I'd take the job... but you might what to visit Albuquerque and Santa Fe first to see if you like the climate.


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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 03:06:58 PM »
Northern NM is beautiful. Hiking, river sports, skiing, lots of sunshine, and relatively mild winters (it isn't like the midwest where there are regularly huge blizzards, but it does snow. Still sunny in winter). There are a young people in the area, but not like I would imagine San Diego to be. Lots of tourists, downtown Santa fe is very pretty, but NM in general is a poor, pretty rural state. Not a bike/walk/public commuting culture (or, didn't used to be).

There is a light rail to Albuquerque, so you also aren't entirely shut off from a bigger, busier city. If you like the job after the phone interview, it's worth a visit to decide for yourself*.

*unless you hate hiking, skiing, and mexican food. Then Santa Fe probably isn't for you


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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 03:55:36 PM »
I've spent some time around ABQ and Santa Fe and really love that neck of the woods. As has already been mentioned, the food is freakin' awesome. If it weren't for my mustachian habits and concern for my health, I'd eat New Mexican breakfast burritos, Christmas-style, every morning for the rest of my life.

I did a backpacking trip in the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside of Santa Fe a few years ago...really pretty area and close by. Haven't skied at Angelfire or Taos, but I've heard good things. Probably not top-tier skiing like Colorado or Utah, but not too far off.

I got the impression that lots of wealthy retirees have made Santa Fe their home, which probably increases the cost of housing, but coming from San Diego it shouldn't be a big deal.


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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2013, 06:18:02 PM »
I'd certainly rather be in Santa Fe than San Diego! It's really expensive, though---my understanding is that most state employees live in Albuquerque (way cheaper) and commute by train. ABQ is underrated as a city: it's cheap, has lots of interesting culture, and is right next to all the beauty and glory of Northern New Mexico. (And the view of the Sandias from downtown! Man!) Visually it looks like Phoenix, but culturally it's more like Denver.

Santa Fe is like a college town for wealthy retirees: there's lots of culture, but it's all $$$$, and because old rich people like having big houses, there's lots and LOTS of sprawl once you leave the (400-year-old) downtown area. It's impossible to get a cheap sandwich downtown. Also everything (EVERYTHING) is closed by 7 PM, even on the weekends. St. John's College and the Santa Fe Institute are there (both amazing institutions! check them out!). Los Alamos and its national lab are nearby, and Albuquerque has the Sandia National Laboratory.

I doubt this analogy will make any sense, but it's like an American version of Geneva, Switzerland, in both the good ways and bad ways.

The aesthetic plus is that all construction in Santa Fe has to look like adobe---so you don't get the awful "New Jersey in the Desert" look that ABQ and Phoenix have.

And if you're interested in bridges... you have to visit the Rio Grande bridge:

(I should note, for attribution, that this is based on my two weeks in Santa Fe a couple years ago for a program, as well as various stops there and in ABQ on southwestern roadtrips.)


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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2013, 04:34:14 AM »
i lived in new mexico for 20 years, and still visit family there frequently. santa fe is a small city with a very particular culture and personality--you fall in love with it, or it never makes sense. albuquerque offers more of the standard city features, but next to santa fe it's bland.

as others have mentiotherned, it's cheaper to live in albuq and commute to santa fe. gasoline is cheap, and there's a commuter train. it's a soul-draining slog, though. imho, if you work in santa fe, it's better to live there. very walkable town, beautiful weather, lots to see. young professionals socialize around hiking, skiing, and also bar hopping, art openings.

you indicate this is a good move professionally--i'd say it's an opening to a fascinating chapter in your young life.


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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2013, 08:25:51 AM »
5 year Santa Fe resident here.  I was there as a 26 year old and loved it, but I wasn't single.  My single friends seemed to get on fine though,  Other posters here are pretty much on track.  I second the suggestion to visit and look around.


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Re: Santa Fe, NM - Job opportunity
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2013, 10:20:20 AM »
*unless you hate hiking, skiing, and mexican food. Then Santa Fe probably isn't for you

Reminds me of another thread about being able to date and still be mustachian.  Many advised to do outdoor activities which cost little or nothing rather than the bar scene.  Sounds like the main game in town in Santa Fe.

I have spent a fair amount of time exploring the outdoor scene around Santa Fed (skiing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, wild hot springs) and feel like I have only scratched the surface.


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