It was interesting to read this article in Web Guild about how top talent are starting to leave the Silicon Valley for other areas. It takes me back to 1997 when I did just that. Family first, career second. So we moved from Santa Clara CA to Lexington KY.
While the cost of living is less in smaller cities, those leaving Silicon Valley should be ready for a culture shock. After 10 years out there, it can get hard becoming used to an area where technology and software are not #1 on people’s minds all the time. In Mountain View, over lunch, you can hear people talking about APIs, web services and biotech venture funds for an expansion. In Lexington, you have to seek it out.
But in the years since I left Santa Clara, I’ve learned that career didn’t have to suffer that much – it just had to change a bit. Being a web worker I’m definitely less affected by the city I live in. I tend to have clients outside of the area because hiring a SEM consultant is still not forefront on the minds of most businesses in my immediate area. Definite exceptions, but I still get regular calls from people wanting me to install their networks.
On the social side, there is far less tolerance in most midwestern cities. This is improving and you can find oasis from this if you look. You’ll probably find that things change rather radically after you’re 20 miles from downtown in midwestern cities. A college town like Lexington works pretty well - there’s a good mix of people, places to eat and such. And it’s working hard to become a creative class hub for the area.
So go into it with your eyes open – and good luck.
picture by R.P. Piper / used under Creative Commons Attribution License