By Ryan Healy — Soaring education, housing and health care costs in recent years have made simply staying afloat in a large metropolis next to impossible without a huge salary and benefits package.

These rising costs are causing the well educated to “sell their souls” to law firms, investment banks, and management consulting firms to maintain the upper middle class life most of our parents provided for us, According to social critic Daniel Brook, whose debut book is The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner Take-All America.

I know what you’re thinking: Those college grads making $80,000 bonuses on Wall Street do not deserve any sympathy; They made a choice to live in the most expensive city in the country and they made a choice to work like slaves for a few years until they can retire to their yachts and country clubs.

But if you really look into the situation, Brook has a point. Wall Street I-bankers are certainly earning more than enough to simply “stay afloat,” but the rest of us are selling out for the sole reason of living in a “cool” city.

Junior year of college, I realized my passion was to become an entrepreneur. It didn’t matter. I sold out. I moved to the big city with the enormous rent payments. I took the decent paying job to support my living and partying expenses. Most people I know did the same. Some are content, some are looking for a way out, some are happy.

Some of us grew up with dreams of becoming artists, musicians or non profit executives. Regardless of the dream, most of us settled for the same thing; a decent paying job in an overpriced city. What I now realize from first hand experience is unless you’re an investment banker with semi-realistic plans of retiring at 35 with a couple million; the big city is overrated.

Is it really imperative to live on New York’s Upper East Side, San Francisco’s Marina or Washington D.C.’s Dupont Circle? Why not say “screw you” to the boring job in New York and take the exciting job in Cincinnati, Ohio?

My friends from college, Matt, Cole and Adam, knew from day one they didn’t want to work for a corporation. They came up with an idea, raised some money and toured the country to find the best place for their first in a chain of restaurants called Fat Sandwich Co.

They opened in Norman, Oklahoma. All three are from the Philadelphia/New Jersey
area and all of our friends told them they would hate living in Oklahoma. Last
week Cole told me that none of them even want to move back to the east coast.

From the outside, cities like Cincinnati, Ohio and Norman, Oklahoma aren’t nearly as exciting or trendy as New York or San Francisco. According to Brook, and I completely agree, chances are we will just be able to “stay afloat” either way. Since that is the case, I will not hesitate to choosethe fulfilling, under paying job in a small city rather than grind it out during the week to party until 4a.m. on Friday with the rest of the yuppies in the big city.

My lease is up in two months and it’s finally time to pursue my passion. I want a relatively inexpensive city with good entrepreneurial opportunities. I no longer care about trendy bars; I have no desire to eat at expensive restaurants. Some things are more important. It’s time for me to make a decision, because there is no reason to be bound by geography or the “coolness” factor of a city.

Ryan Healy’s blog is Employee Evolution.

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  1. DJ FunkyGrrL
    DJ FunkyGrrL says:

    This is one of the reasons why real estate prices in LA, Miami, Chicago & NYC are over the top. Although cool cities have an advantage personality wise over the less stellar its more due to perception. Alot of people working in NYC are actually living in Jersey or hours away from the city center. Anyone from the midwest who happens to visit NYC (or read prices for apts in the Times) are shocked. A small $2000 a month apt in NYC (poor side of town) would rent 2-3 houses in the cool part of town in most cities. Big cities have a reputation for openness, entertainment (things to do), a 24 hour vibe. Although for the vast majority of Americans,
    if one is working all the time, can one really enjoy the amenities of the big cities?

  2. Lee
    Lee says:

    >>chances are we will just be able to "stay afloat" either way

    You might be surprised. You can buy a nice 1700 square foot 3 bed/2 bath house in Norman for about 135k.

  3. Dave
    Dave says:

    Good advice. I have found that while you can do all sorts of things to minimize your monthly expensive and “survive” in expensive cities, the most fundamental, inescapable issue, after student loan debt, is housing cost. As you get older and if you start a family, you will find yourself pressured by many factors (how do we raise 3 kids in a small condo?, will we *have* to send them to crazy expensive urban private school because public school is not safe? Where can the kids play?) and while many young professional couples have managed to stay in the city, most people end up migrating out to the suburbs. So, you might have initial plans to live in downtown Boston, but then you find yourself living out in the suburban towns and commuting to work every day. And you find that most of the cool stuff you were attracted to isn’t as attractive anymore.

    We live close enough to Boston that I can ride my bike to work, but it feels like we’re outside the real core. And while I’d like to develop more sense of community with my town, that seems hard to do when I am in the city or on a train from 730am-6pm every day.

    If I were starting my own business, no freakin way I would start out from the suburbs. It just doesn’t make any sense. It would be better to be in a town that was a small center than in one of the many satellites of such a big core because I think most people who live in these towns either 1) use the town as a bedroom community, or 2) are “townies”–i.e. they have strong, independent ties to the town itself and don’t need the city. Those are the people who are always freaking out about property taxes going up, up, up because their small Cape they lived in all their lives is now valued at $500,000 and they are paying $5,000+/year in taxes.

  4. L. Bates
    L. Bates says:

    Great advice, Ryan, and not obviously apparent to many 20-somethings. I can tell you, I was much happier in Loganville, Georgia in a 3,000 sqft home I bought for $127,000 in 2007 (at age 30) than I was in Los Angeles, CA in the home I bought at 23 for $250,000.

    Showing my age with those prices, huh? :-)

    But – question – is it harder to find a girlfriend/boyfriend in a smaller city? Is that part of the draw of the large city? Honestly, I dunno – I met my spouse in college.

    *******

    Good question, I’m not sure if it is harder to find a gf/bf in a smaller city. I would think it may actually be a little easier because you often see the same people, go to the same bars etc. In a large city, it is rare to bump into someone more than once or twice. But I guess I will find out when I make the leap.

    -Ryan

  5. William
    William says:

    Come on out to Australia, Penelope, and and be completely unbound by geography! We have Internet here, I’ve heard, and we do have some cool cities if you feel the need to party occasionally. There are entrepreneurial opportunities, and we speak the same language more or less…

  6. Liz
    Liz says:

    Hi Ryan,
    I blogged yesterday about frugality and the place where you live. Since moving to the middle of nowhere in Israel, I am able to live on a very small scholarship because there is nothing to spend money on unless you really love food…
    However I spent much of my youth in cities (Austin and DC), and had a lot of fun, and still managed to sock money into retirement accounts and paid off all my student loans by age 27 (while working at a nonprofit at an entry level job). In fact it was while I lived in the DC area (Arlington) that I met my dear husband. If you budget, live cheaply and think about spending (before going forward with it), I think it is possible to be financially solvent wherever you are. By the way, I ate out, drank out, and took classes and vacations. My secret was having a roommate and not having a car. When I met my husband, who is not from the US, he also taught me a lot about prioritizing and being frugal.
    Best wishes whichever path you take.

  7. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    Ryan, when you live in a city where you have enough money left over each month to take vacations, then VISIT the “cool” places. I’ve been to several big cities and probably seen more Broadway shows in NYC than a lot of the people who live there.

    I don’t know how difficult it is to find a boyfriend/girlfriend in a big city, since I’ve never lived in one. But it seems that when you have the time and money for a social life, it would be easier. The small city I live in has a thriving social atmosphere and lots of things to do – I’ve never had any problem meeting new people to date.

  8. Nina Smith
    Nina Smith says:

    I once asked Abigail Garner (author and voice of the Queerspawn movement) in an interview which was more important: how much money you make or how you spend it?

    Her answer: "Neither. It's where you live. Choosing to stay in Minneapolis, with its manageable standard of living, strong public services, and lots of free and low cost cultural opportunities has made all the difference in my quality of life. I wouldn't have lasted a year as a social entrepreneur had I been trying to make rent in a housing market like San Francisco or Manhattan."

    Middle American worked for Abigail as a twentysomething paying the price of activism. As your post suggests, more people should consider it!

  9. Dale
    Dale says:

    Unlike many of the ‘coasties’ that come out to the midwest for college, I never thought twice about going back. Just about all of them planned to move back to the city after getting a cheaper education. Today I’m 26, live in Madison, WI, own a house close to downtown, and am one of four founders of a small startup. Just last week Penelope gave a talk here in town about Madison being a great place for entrepreneurs. Between her talk and your post, I realized that I couldn’t ever see this having happened in NY.

    ********

    Dale,

    You’re right, a start up in NY is nearly impossible unless you are backed by big time Venture Capitalists who will inevitably own you and you’re company. I’m from Connecticut originally and my brother is in his senior year at Ohio State, he has no plans of returning to the East Coast either. I continue to hear great things about Madison, maybe I should check it out.

    -Ryan

  10. Matt Bingham
    Matt Bingham says:

    I think this is a great self realization of what is actually making you happy. Being young and hip is a place where everyone wants to be, but as age wears on, your wants and needs change. You don’t have to concentrate on small towns per se…there are plenty of up and coming communities that are attracting a number of businesses. Penelope did some great research to find Madison which is a great city with great surrounding areas. Finding a small metropolis will give you all the benefits of a “larger” city with the attitude of a small town.

    ********

    Matt,

    Agreed, I have no plans of moving to a small town or rural area. But I continue to hear there are hundreds of small cities brimming with business, culture and excitement. That is what I’m looking for.

    -Ryan

  11. Aaron W. Thorne
    Aaron W. Thorne says:

    I find this article interesting, considering that Fast Company’s recent article on Fast (and slow) Cities doesn’t really agree with you. Granted, I didn’t agree with Fast Company, but then again I’m the guy that took a $16,000/year pay cut to move to St. Louis, MO from Washington, D.C. and doesn’t regret it (especially that my new job is now paying more than my old government job ever did).

  12. Matt Rearden
    Matt Rearden says:

    Ryan – Great Post! One of the perceived problems my company has in recruiting good, yound talent is that they want the “big city experience.” I am located in Central Florida, but not Orlando, Tampa or Jacksonville. I find that living in a city with more affordable everything, but being close enough to a bigger city (i.e. an hour away) gives you the flexibility to enjoy a “regular life” during the week, but does not require you to miss out on the offerings (concerts, good resturants, shopping, culture) of a larger city. It also help you avoid the other “offering” of a big city you can live without (high rent, traffic, higher crime, etc.)

    Chosing a good balance is critical and must clearly fit your personality. My experinece has been wonderful living close enough to larger metropolitan area to enjoy their officering, but far enough away to live a peaceful, productive and sane life!

    ********

    Matt,

    I hear attracting young people to smaller cities is becoming harder and harder. My suggestion is when you recruit them stress all the reasons why you’re area is great. Tell them they are an hour from the beach or an hour from the big city. Find out what other young people who live in your area do and highlight those possibilities when recruiting. Those are the things we really want to know.

    -Ryan

  13. Raedia
    Raedia says:

    Great post! My boyfriend and I always thought that we’d “have” to live in Boston, NYC or SF while we’re young, but realized recently that it isn’t really what we wanted. Now we’re moving to small town Vermont where we can build a house, be close to family and friends, and still do our jobs (freelance animator/graphic designers) – as long as we have internet, we can work anywhere! We know another couple that’s moving out of Boston, and they’re right now embarking on a tour of the US to find cities where they might want to live – Asheville, NC, Santa FE, NM, and Portland, OR are on the list. I think that’s such a great idea, to visit places and check it out before you decide that you MUST live in an expensive metro area.

  14. Justin Driscoll
    Justin Driscoll says:

    Ryan

    I would recommend you consider moving to Pittsburgh. Believe it or not we have a vibrant technology sector and a vibrant entrepreneurial community. I work for the Pittsburgh Technology Council. We are the nation’s largest and oldest technology council in the country. http://www.pghtech.org.
    Have a great day!
    Justin

  15. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Ryan,
    Thanks for the shout-out to middle America! I love it here. I think every once in a while about moving somewhere with more glam, and at one point, I truly believed there were more opportunities for creative people on the coasts, but I don’t know these days. Experience teaches youa lot. Plus, I am a homeowner in my mid-twenties, and I know that couldn’t have happened many places. Great article. I hope a lot of young professionals really pay attention to this great advice!

  16. wayne
    wayne says:

    Ryan,
    this is my favorite post from you by far. You sound positively Gen X. I’m finding it hard to go off on some drama tangent with this post. Keep up the good work.

    ********

    Wow, that is a first. I guess I will take it as a compliment! Thanks.

    -Ryan

  17. Peter
    Peter says:

    Here’s where I have to disagree with you, Penelope (and Ryan). I know you love Madison (though I’ve been there and didn’t see a lot to love), but I grew up with the midwest steel industry, and have worked with midwest companies steeped in the views of the US auto industry, and these are absolutely the wrong cultures for a young person looking to the future. I know it’s starting to change, but it’s going to take at least another generation before these cultures come to grips with how the world has changed. There are exceptions, but the old industrial way of life still permeates too much of the midwest.

    ********

    Peter,

    I am not from the midwest and have only visited a few times, but I understand what you are saying about it being the wrong culture. However, if its going to take another generation before the culture comes to grip and embrace the change, then it is going to take my generation to help make that change. If the well educated continue to flee to the coasts then we will continue to have the divided America that currently exists.

    -Ryan

  18. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    Peter, I agree with you, and I think stodgy, old-school, bureaucratic attitudes permeate the insurance industry here in Des Moines, too. But a big influx of creative young people is exactly what this place needs – it would be beneficial to both sides.

  19. Steve
    Steve says:

    This is what I’ve thought all along. I live in KC…the big cities probably would have more cultural activities, more excitement, and a higher “cool” factor. I would probably even get a pay raise, maybe up to 20%. Of course, there would also be more competition, more traffic, longer commutes, a smaller living space, and more stress. Employers would pay 20% more but housing would cost 100% more. It just isn’t worth it.

    I was really shocked by two friends of mine from NYC who came to visit. They were having a difficult time adjsting to pleasant people, less noise, and the slower pace in general.

  20. DJ FunkyGrrL
    DJ FunkyGrrL says:

    I forgot to add this in my earlier post… With regards to NYC, for a recent college grad (or any one making minimal wage) not only does one have to deal with cost of living issues in housing, one deals with transportation costs. NYC it’s so expensive to even travel, in Chicago we have a variety of passes for the train but still it can get expensive.

  21. thom singer
    thom singer says:

    I moved to Austin Texas 16 years ago when it was still dirt cheap. I had thought I would never leave California…certainly not for Texas…but it was the right move for us. We were young, we made friends, started a family, etc… We grew up here (we were in our early 20’s when we moved, still very very young!). Now it is a tredy city with all the bars, restaurants, etc… but still cheap compared to NYC or LA. We thought we would stay two or three years. Now 16 years, two houses, and two kids later…this is our home.

    I think this post is a good one for those young twentysomethings who think the big city is the ONLY option. There are some very cool places out there that have other advantages to give you a great life!

  22. karry
    karry says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Texas speaking up here. Cost of living is low, cost of eating out is crazy low, and (drumroll please) the housing market didn’t totally tank.

    I live 15 minutes outside of Dallas and throughly enjoy it.

  23. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    There are a few decent-sized cities that have somewhat the “best of both worlds,” especially if you’re not looking to buy property for a while or are willing to commute. Justin mentioned Pittsburgh above, and living there now I can totally second the low cost of living and abundance of cultural and educational opportunities. (Can’t speak to entrepreneurial culture, as most of my friends are either connected with the universities or solo artsy types, but I’ve heard good things).

    Atlanta’s another. Not nearly as cheap as Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, at least if you’re looking to buy a place intown, but lots of techie startups, very cheap apartments for a city its size, low cost of living as far as groceries, gas, etc.; and good nightlife, music scene, and excellent restaurants inside the perimeter and in a few pockets OTP. The public transit’s useless unless you’re going to the few places that are convenient to the train, and traffic’s awful on the interstates and on some major roads in the suburbs, but if you don’t have a long commute you can pretty much ignore the vaunted traffic, especially if you live intown.

  24. Hope
    Hope says:

    Great post, Ryan. I’m back in the Midwest after living in the Bay Area for a while. Agree with all those discussing cost of living, traffic, etc. I also applaud your insight in seeing that if your generation doesn’t help turn around the automotive manufacturing mentality here, it will take much longer. Kudos! I highly recommend being near Lake Michigan…we have the strongest economy in Michigan along the lakeshore, and you’re welcome anytime!

  25. JayDawg
    JayDawg says:

    And become tornado bait? No thanks.

    Move to middle America in your 40s after you’ve had fun, lived life, and seen what the world has to offer culturally. Don’t make yourself rich and insular, there’s more to wealth than affording a 5BR/4BA McMansion.

  26. Ken
    Ken says:

    Ryan…shhhh! Don’t tell everyone about the opportunities or the peaceful, affordable lifestyle in the middle of the country.

    Now everyone will rush to the mid-section causing rents to sky-rocket and traffic to back up about a mile during rush 1/2 hour.

    PS: Melons and tomatoes from the roadside stand are great this time of year…but don’t tell anyone else…got it!

  27. Erica Mauter
    Erica Mauter says:

    [responding to:]”I know you love Madison (though I've been there and didn't see a lot to love), but I grew up with the midwest steel industry, and have worked with midwest companies steeped in the views of the US auto industry, and these are absolutely the wrong cultures for a young person looking to the future. I know it's starting to change, but it's going to take at least another generation before these cultures come to grips with how the world has changed. There are exceptions, but the old industrial way of life still permeates too much of the midwest.”

    I have to beg to differ with you here. I grew up in Detroit and now live in Minneapolis. While folks on the coasts may think it’s all the same, it’s actually pretty different once you get west of Chicago.

    And I’ll put in another plug for the Twin Cities. The culture scene is amazing. You have most of the perks of a big city without a lot of the problems. Also heaven for biking or pretty much any outdoor activity.

  28. badxmaru
    badxmaru says:

    it’d be nice to live somewhere cheaper, but unfortunately you can’t.

    if you’re going to be near VC’s, meeting daily with developers and designers, you must move to one of the hotspots in the US.

    Like if you want to work in financials, you have to be near the Street, it’s an timely information transfer decision, not one of monetary substance.

    Just if you’re going to go for futures trading, you have to go to Chicago, you don’t move to SF to be a keen rancher or move to Wisconsin to work in the film industry.

    It’s a choice, and you gotta do cost/benefits analysis on it. You can move to a lower cost area and still struggle with employment and making ends meet.

  29. DJ FunkyGrrL
    DJ FunkyGrrL says:

    badxmaru …I think it’s true if one is looking at a specified field of work. For example people in the ‘weather industry’ (weathermen) have to go where the jobs are. I think the same is likely true for reporters. The downside to small town Ameria is the perception of closed mindedness. Though not all of this is true in all communities. But one has to keep that in mind if one moves too a place with few minorities or cultures.

  30. Jacqui
    Jacqui says:

    I’ve always thought “Coasties” can be kind of arrogant about their exciting lifestyle. There seems to be some perception (echoed occassionally through some of these comments) that any state capable of sustaining a healthy farming industry must be boring. There are lots of midsized/big Midwest cities that have just as much to offer as some comparable coast cities.

    Not only do we have the city amenities, but we can step outside the city for county fairs, small-town festivals and other rural pleasures that many of my mega-metropolis-dwelling friends have never experienced.

    Being 20 minutes away from cows and corn fields isn’t “quaint,” it’s a blessing. :)

  31. Jenflex
    Jenflex says:

    I live in Peoria, Illinois…probably one of the top 10 uncool places to live. I moved there 13 years ago because it was A) a job, and B) was within interviewing distance of Chicago.

    I never did make it to Chicago, but I can still hop a train up for weekends and enjoy a lot of the good of the big city, but I get to live on a half-acre, in a good school district for my daughter, in a home that’s almost paid for, working for a company whose mission I truly believe in, with a family I adore. What more could a girl possibly want?

  32. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    How about Tucson, AZ?

    We have:
    * wonderful, balmy weather almost all year long
    * authentic, down-to-earth people
    * scenic mountainous landscape – perfect for hiking, biking, running, camping, etc.
    * several major employers with national excellent reputations (great opportunities for start-ups too!)

    Plus, our county just hit the million mark and we’re just two hours away from Phoenix (5th largest city in the U.S.)…and you can get to Southern CA and Mexico in a snap…

  33. Aimee
    Aimee says:

    Honestly, I tried living in middle america and hated it. I moved back to my hometown (just outside of Knoxville, TN) for a year after college. I couldn’t find any interesting or fulfilling jobs. I hated the hours (8 am is not a hour at which my brain functions and everything closed down a 10pm). There were very few people in their twenties or singles to hang out with (I met 4 the entire year). Worse, few of these people shared my interests. There was only one “art house” theater and one art museum which only housed 2 exhibitions at a time. I had to literally scour the alt weekly magazine for concerts by bands I was interested in. There are a few decent restaurants, but the variety isn’t terribly wide. Plus you have to have a car and you have to drive every where. No one walks and you certainly can’t run your errands on foot because everything is so dang far apart. In a way I admire people who can live in middle america and not be bored completely to tears. Perhaps, I am a snob, but I work 2 jobs so that I can afford to live here without sacrificing my financial security.

  34. Erica Mauter
    Erica Mauter says:

    Aimee, I don’t think that’s a knock on “middle America” so much as it’s a knock on Knoxville. That’s not at all what it’s like where I live.

  35. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    If you are a young, single, minority (who would like to have lots of same-race dating options) that has to factor into your decision of where to live as well. Unfortunately most of the middle of the country, outside of college towns, likely wouldn’t be the best choice.

  36. Lola
    Lola says:

    “If you are a young, single, minority (who would like to have lots of same-race dating options) that has to factor into your decision of where to live as well. Unfortunately most of the middle of the country, outside of college towns, likely wouldn't be the best choice.”

    Minorities can live comfortably in the Midwest they just have to be in a city. Ohio’s major cities are about 40% black. Now that I’m considering relocating for my first job I realize how spoiled I’ve been by the predominately black cities. I have a phone interview with a place that is only 3% black! I am willing to relocate to an area to get my foot in the door for a few years but eventually I’m going to have to move to an area with more minorities.

  37. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    I moved from Boston to the semi-suburbs of the Lehigh Valley PA almost a year ago after 2 years of scraping. At first I really regreted the decision, but like anything, the pro’s started to emerge after awhile. I now drive my dream car, my bedroom is bigger than my apartment used to be for half the rent, and I honestly don’t miss the going out much anymore. When I visit my friends in the city, I can go all out and not worry about money as much. On the down side, the dating scene is worse than bad. Thank god for football season (and I’m closer to PSU also…) Good luck with the move.

  38. Erika
    Erika says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I understand your thought process but, I think you are missing the big picture. Choosing to live in a major U.S. city is not necessarily about having to “sell out” in exchange for trendy bars and expensive restaurants; it is all about opportunity cost. Or, it should be, at least.

    After graduating from college three years ago, I choose to move to Boston instead of a suburban area. I did so because living in a major city offered me opportunities that would not have been so vibrant elsewhere: job with a major financial institution with extensive career potential, huge community of other twenty-somethings with the same goals in mind, opportunity to network with a larger scope of individuals, multitude of cultural events at my fingertips, and so forth. These are things that I want in my life right now, so it is worth the cost of city living to me. In order to partake in the opportunities afforded to me here, I must subsequently forgo other things. It’s one big trade-off.

    I would agree that some people move to big cities when they are in their twenties just to be part of the “cool” scene. In doing so, these are probably the same people who take a job that isn’t what they love doing just to afford their lifestyle. But, who are we to judge?

    Everyone has to do what is right for them in their own time. You can still fulfill your dreams – whether it be banking or art or entrepreneurship – no matter where you live. It is simply a matter of keeping things in perspective and not living beyond your means.

  39. alexa harrington
    alexa harrington says:

    My husband and I live in Seattle with our two young children. Seattle’s expensive real estate-wise, and we’re stoked that we have a cute Craftsman-style bungalow. And then my husband went to Atlanta for his high school reunion a few months ago. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, puke or pack up the fam and move when he told me that in Atlanta you can buy 3 times the house for half of what our house is worth in Seattle. Atlanta’s a city; I can’t imagine there’s anything Seattle has that I wouldn’t be able to get in Atlanta. Excepting the rain, of course.

  40. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    I think both sides of this issue have valid points, but your post didn’t really dwell on one important thing: while the cost of living *is* cheaper in places like Indiana and Ohio and Oklahoma, you are also going to be paid substantially less.

    I think it’s great that you are thinking of giving Middle America a try. I gave it two years and was not happy there — I found the people to be far too conservative, the cultural opportunities lacking (and I was in a college town!), and the dating life difficult (most people seemed to get married at a really young age).

    I wish you the best and hope you have a very different experience than I did. I guess it really depends on the specific community you are moving to.

  41. annie
    annie says:

    This is a really interesting topic. I am from Madison and am planning on moving back to the Midwest some day but definitely not in my 20s! I have friends and family who live in Madison and it is a great city but the employment and dating opportunities are very limited. The job market is incredibly tight and many people marry early. For the industry I work in, there are approximately 300 employers in NYC, in Madison there are 5–I like having career options. If I were ready to be an entreprenuer, if I were married, or if I wanted to scope for dates on campus/State Street, I know I would feel differently but I do not dream of starting a sandwich shop or marrying a Philosophy PHD student so I’m going to stick it out in NYC for a while longer…see you in a few years Penelope & Ryan.

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