Saturday, August 8, 2015

Weekend discussion topic: where should you move to, right now?

Derek Lowe noted Jones Lang LaSalle's ranking of biopharma hubs, with its absolutely ridonkulous placement of RTP over the Bay Area. Here's FierceBiotech's summary: 
A new survey from the property analysts at JLL, or Jones Lang LaSalle, ranked Beantown as the top biotech cluster in America, followed by Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, San Diego and New York City. 
The key factors for a top ranking centered on the concentration of biotech employment in the metro area (with a 25% weighting) followed by VC funding (20%), NIH funding (20%), life sciences patents (15%), the concentration of life sciences establishments (10%) and employment growth (10%).
Whaaa?

Here's my criteria: Boston and San Francisco are the only places where I would tell a new M.S. chemistry graduate "You could probably move there without a job, live in a closet of a hovel and maybe network and find some work in a couple of months." No other place in America would I say that.

Thoughts?  

21 comments:

  1. Moving to Boston or SF only makes sense if you've got your heart set on working in what's left of the pharma industry. Chemical plants tend not to be located in areas with ultra-expensive real estate, or overzealous regulatory officials.

    If I was giving advice to a new MS graduate, I would strongly dissuade him/her from pharma. Companies making things like coatings will always need formulators, tech service people, QC managers, etc.

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  2. I'm thinking someplace within 2 driving hours of an airport, forest/mountain area (where a dog can be like William Wallace- FREEDOM!), shoot my AR-15 in my back yard without the neighbors bitching (better, no neighbors nearby) and have a real, no-bandwidth restriction high speed internet connection, even if there is some latency. I have about 75% of that list now.

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    1. Yeah, we all want the house on 40+ acres along the beach, with mountains in the opposite direction, bucolic farmlands stretching one way down the coast, and the big metropolis just far away in the other direction along the coast that we can see it but not smell it.

      When everyone tries to do this, we get McSuburbs.

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    2. Yeah, but Chad, Harry's list is actually achievable in numerous places. Yours got lost with that hyperbolic first item of 40 acres along the beach.

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    3. @ Harry - Only problem with the list you've got (speaking from experience) is you'd have to watch for predators and bring the dog in at night for his own protection.

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    4. Harry, are you describing my home by any chance? This was my exact list for moving to my current area and I am just over a hr and a half from one of the busiest airports in the world and at the same time much closer to the mountains.

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    5. @Anon 2025: We have enough timber/swamp/farmland nearby where bringing in the dog and cats at night has become routine. We rescued our current mutt from a Christian County cornfield last December. When he misbehaves I remind him that he should be thankful he's not getting pooped out of a coyote. It doesn't change his behavior any though. He understands but a few things, "fun" being among the top three and that's OK with me. The predators could be thinned a little with some good night vision optics and a steady trigger pull. Need to keep them at < 300 yards though, ballistics start to get quite wobbly after that.

      @Anon 2151: You must live in Atlanta. Mrs.has, for some reason, nixed the deep south, though middle TN is on the list. I've got a few colleagues at ORNL that are trying to lure us down there.

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    6. I grew up in a place like Harry describes (and which is still without a decent internet connection). The number of good jobs in those places is trivially small, especially for chemists. God bless him that he appears to have found one.

      Not that I'm looking, but when I poke around to see who is hiring in my field, 95% of the jobs I see are in McSuburbs or on the gulf coast. You aren't going to get your 40 acres on the outskirts of Houston or Pittsburg. You get rows of houses on quarter-acre plots, strip malls and big boxes, and industrial parks. Whee!



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    7. @Harry; Anon2151 here, you are right! I am based in Atlanta and while the summers are brutal, everything else is pretty great especially the outdoors opportunities. To be honest, Atl and its surrounding mountain counties feel less and less like deep south due to a large number of transplants from northeast, and equal number of retirees who abandoned FL and moved themselves up to N. GA/NC mountains, however, its still an adjustment for various reasons if you are from outside this area. Middle TN is a great place too bad I didnt have a offer from ORNL.

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    8. @Chad Brick: I wake up every morning effectively unemployed. I'm a consultant.

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    9. "The number of good jobs in those places is trivially small, especially for chemists." I'm glad most people think this way. It shows how narrow-minded they really are, and keeps the competition down in some pretty nice places.

      As the Firesign Theater said, "Dig a hole deep enough, and everybody will want to jump into it."

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  3. Usually the best fishing is where all the fishermen ain't.

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    1. Yes, but one hunts ducks where the ducks are.....

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    2. ...which is generally where all the duck hunters ain't.

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    3. The basic problem is there are far more duck hunters then ducks, which means there are no more ponds to hunt at.

      Better take up fishing.

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    4. Maybe even better is to be in the business of selling hunting/fishing gear (being a "career coach" in these difficult employment times or being a university raking in large tuition fees as lobbyists keeping touting the need for more people in STEM)

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    5. I have yet to meet a career coach who is worth a damn.

      The only reason the tuition bubble hasn't burst is massive levels of subsidy - it's coming.

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  4. I think CJ is correct, but further add to do so only if one has a degree from a top 20 (top 10 better) school. Sadly, I don't think anyone with a MS from Podunk State will do well in btech these days.

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    1. Successful networks self-promote, but innovation has no alma mater.

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    2. @Biotech: I've found that after your first job, many employers really don't care where you got your degree. They care about "What can you do for me to make me more profitable." (See also, the gist of CJ's previous post about reneging on an acceptance offer.)

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  5. I would personally apply everywhere and move to where I found a job. If, however, I was going to do things in the opposite direction, I would think that choosing any of the top ~20 metro areas by population would give a chemist at least a reasonable chance of finding a job in a field that is tangentially related to chemistry.

    I also agree with KT above. I work at a spec chem company, and I feel like our situation is somewhat less dire than the pharma industry these days. Yes, we probably make slightly less money, but I also work less than a 40 hour week, have a stable position, and get paid plenty for where I live.

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