So what's the lay of the land in the product design market like in these post-recession times? Myself (and 27 other people in all sorts of positions) got laid off from our rapidly failing Scottsdale, AZ company a few weeks ago, and I'm actually looking at it as a bit of a good omen.
I'd been the Sr. (and only) designer there for over three years now and got about all the experience under my belt as I feel like I could, and I've been itching to get out of Arizona as it's not really the work-life balance I'd like at this point.
I've got no regrets on the career move. It was precisely what I needed at the time, but I can't say the time I've been back here that I've enjoyed The Valley of the Sun. As a single guy looking for the right lady to move into that stage of life with, and as a passionate musician who really misses being active creating within the artform & scene that I'm into (heavy stuff), the area has proven pretty fruitless. I've tried to keep a positive outlook and put myself out there in a variety of respects but my experiences here haven't been great. I mean I haven't had a date in well over two-and-a-half years, and haven't met one person really enthusiastic/interested in doing anything novel on the music front the entire time I've been here. I feel like I just need to take myself somewhere else. But where to?
I want to stay here in the U.S., and I'd like to stay somewhere in the sunbelt(-ish). I grew up in Upstate New York, and I spent a little over five years in Portland, Oregon. Brutal winters are not my thing, and while the cold was never unbearable, the gray, drizzly nonsense of the Pacific Northwest was the worst. The. Worst. Somewhere like Denver, on the other hand, is fine. My brother and his wife live up there and I've visited for weeks on end seven or eight times now, all during the winter to boot. The snow/cold is completely tolerable, IMO, as there's plenty of sunshine there even if it is chilly.
Outside of work, my hobbies center around the aforementioned musician/muso oriented stuff (writing/playing, producing), an interest in automobiles & motorsport (F1, WEC, MotoGP, high performance cars, green technology, and the like), an appreciator of cuisine and cooking, a fan of comedy, particularly stand up (edgier stuff), and design, art, new tech, modern architecture, & science in general. I have the mean$ and like to travel (and would like to do more with a partner), like hip, urban environs, like staying reasonably fit (mainly hitting the gym, I'm not super outdoorsy so far as exercise goes anyway), like coffee shops, art walks, and live music of course. I'm a secular guy, fairly progressive socially (though apolitical in general), a polymath, an ambivert, and don't really have much of a sense of nostalgia. That's the me in a nutshell.
Given the demographic of the forum here, what suggestions do you all have? The following places are the ones that have piqued my interests the most:1. Denver.
Like I said, I've visited a number of times. Gentrification all over the place, i.e. cool, walkable neighborhoods. Great restaurants, gastropubs, coffee houses, music venues, etc. Lots of youthful energy. Music scene isn't crazy, but way
better then Phoenix (it doesn't take much). Fairly progressive socially, but a good balance of commerce too. Endless fun destinations for day trips. I've heard the singles scene (for guys in particular) is total garbage there, and that scares the crap out of me, frankly.
At this point I need any advantage I can get. Cost of living is climbing steadily as well from what I've heard. I really don't care about biking, skiing/snowboarding, etc. Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, tho.2. Austin.
Muso central. Doesn't matter what genre, you name it. SXSW. A bit like Portland in that respect. Pretty left leaning. Equally as gentrified (perhaps more so) than Denver. Heard it's foodie heaven (BBQ!). Heard the job market is pretty good as well. No idea on the dating scene. As a motorsport fan, COTA is the place in the U.S. for non-redneck racing. Can't beat that. Negatives? Technically it's in Texas... LOL. Humidity.
3. Big Florida cities.
I don't know what to say here. It's the butt of endless jokes, but I've been down there a number of times over the years and I have a great time every time I go. I love Caribbean/Cuban/Latin food, I love traveling in the islands, I love sunny weather, I love the architecture, I love the ocean, my dad has a summer place in Daytona Beach, and I want to learn to sail. Florida cities always come up pretty high when lists of places when "singles" are the topic. Tampa Bay and Orlando are good cities so far as the rock/metal scenes go. Tampa seemed the more livable of the two when I visited last, and more affordable than Miami. Orlando seemed like a bit of a hole, TBH... and landlocked. Miami obviously has the most diversity to offer... but, I just can't get into the music scene there. It's big, granted, but all the wrong stuff with respect to my world. I really wish it wasn't. I'm quite into to hip hop actually, but Minneapolis is where it's at, IMHO.
4. San Fransisco?
Another place I love every time I visit. Another great music scene, particularly alternative/rock/metal. Known for it's design market still I think. But cost of living is simply berserk. I'd have to be pulling down serious money to do it... and it's not worth being outside of S.F. proper, in my experience. San Jose is a sausage fest from what I've heard, and our engineering team lived/worked at an office on the peninsula there in-between. Way too domestic and banal for my tastes. I've heard the Berkley area might be an okay option from a good friend who came from the area. I don't know much about it. I've heard less than great things about the dating scene there as well.5. Atlanta?
I really don't know anything about it other than a somewhat decent music/arts scene exists there. Love me some soul food. Heard traffic is a nightmare. ¯\(°_o)/¯
I've had some people recco NOLA, but it doesn't seem like the economy or the industry are the best down there. The heavy music scene is healthy, but pretty doom/stoner/sludge-centric. I'm more of a progressive/tech kinda guy. Some Southern cities like Raleigh-Durham and Richmond have come up too.
I guess the inquiry is ID/design-centric (I've got posts on other forums for the other aspects) but chime in with whatever. Thanks in advance. I've let Google do the walking but it's tough to get clarity with respect to much of anything on the Internet.