/ Jobs in the big smoke

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Andy DB - on 25 Mar 2014
OK UKC so I'm just coming to the end of a PhD in a University in the North East and lucky me I have managed to secure myself 2 job offers. Which I appreciate is good going in the current economic climate and I shouldn't grumble. The problem is I am having difficulty choosing between them.

One job is for a local IT firm, staying where I am. Looks like a nice job reasonable pay etc fairly interesting nice company who seem to really care about their employees.

The other is for an Oil industry consultancy but down in West London. Scientifically a really exciting job loads of potential opportunities a fair bit extra money working for a new dynamic company, in research and development, probably hard work and quite cut and thrust.

Now my head says that I should grab the job in London and go it will be a great experience I could do really well out of it. My heart says I love living in the North East it's cheap, the beer is nice the hills are close the Mrs's has a permanent job here and the job I've been offered here is good. Why make life complicated.

Anyway not really sure what this will achieve but let's here your thoughts.

imkevinmc - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

You're 25. Do the London thing and get it out of your system
thomaspomfrett on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

I had the same choice coming out of uni and took the London option. I've been here for six years and am currently planning my escape.

Pros:
- The money is good and has allowed me and my partner to save a good chunk towards a house deposit
- There are loads of jobs so you have bargaining power in terms work if you're valuable to your company as it's easy to get work elsewhere
- Amazing choice of restaurants and "things to do"
- For us, most of our friends are here
- There are loads of climbing walls

Cons:
- It's probably the worst place in the UK to live in terms of access to outdoor climbing/hiking etc (we spend a lot of weekends on the M1)
- It's crowded and getting on the tube is fairly soul destroying
- House prices are ridiculous(a friend recently paid 430k for a small two bed flat)
- Things are generally expensive (though the wages are correspondingly higher)

I don't think either option is bad, whichever you take there are pros and cons so just think about what's most important to you.

Cheers

Tom
ByEek - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

Being the young lad you are, going to the big smoke will do you no harm. The risk you face is that you end up getting stuck down there. Either because you end up specialising to the extent that the only jobs with your skill set exist in the SE or you end up putting down roots. It is a tough one. Life vs career and opportunity. Not sure which I would choose to be honest.

If you fancy a chance at London but don't want to stay, it might be worth thinking through a plan of action that enables you to bounce back up north after you have got it out of your system.
Creedence on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

Have you got a friend in London you could stay with for a week or two to give you an idea of what it will be like?

I was there for around 4 years altogether and never liked it, but got stuck there for work. I'll never go back and won't miss it for a second. But some people seem to love it there for some reason, so maybe you will too.

Look in to where you will live to see if it would be feasible to own a car so at least you could still escape at weekends. Some areas with parking and permits it just becomes a nightmare. Have a trial run on the tube at rush hour before you decide, because as Tom says it is soul destroying.
Dauphin - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

London or the NE? Get yourself down here. I've lived in both. Nothing would get me back to the NE except maybe a weekend visiting friends.

D
Andy DB - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Creedence:

Not keeping my car and to an extent the campervan would probably be a deal breaker. The job is not right in the city it's out Sunbury, Teddington, Kingston way. So am hoping I could live just inside / outside the M25 on the west of London and commute via the over ground trains. I am a bit worride about getting stuck there.
cander - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to imkevinmc:

I agree, also try and live close enough to work to cycle (be brave, you might survive) rather than tubing it (humanity stuffed together in a tube train first thing in the morning is gross) - also see if your employer will allow some level of flexi working - early start - early finish to avoid the peak of the rush hour.
JMGLondon - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

I've lived in London for approx. 7 years post uni and I've really enjoyed it but we're beginning to plot our exit, solely due to house prices. I'm hoping that we'll be able to swap our pokey 1 bed flat in Hackney for something more family friendly in the NW or Bristol / Bath.

I have loved every minute of living here, and frankly it'll be a bugger to leave. There is a lot of opportunity in this city - perhaps too much compared to other UK cities. It is a shlep to climbing areas but I've grown to enjoy the Friday night train to the Lakes / Peak / Font. Nothing better than getting on your 59 eurostar with an ale!

You don't have to take the tube - on the whole its a good place to ride a bike. There are lots of walls and a very active and friendly climbing community. It's also a friendly, broadly tolerant city with a vibrant cultural life.

If I could afford something with more than 1 bed it would actually be a pretty great place to bring up kids!



maisie on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

If I could give you two bits of generic advice:

1) keep your debt burdens low (importantly, your mortgage - getting that paid off will be the turning point in your life)

2) maximise your leisure time, not just in terms of day to day, but in terms of freeing up time to do big stuff as well

You might manage these in London, you might not. But keep them in mind, and choice of where you live becomes much easier.

Martin
Andy DB - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to JMGLondon:

Yes I currently feel very lucky living in the NE where a lovely 2 bed house garden and garage (rented) make a fairly small dent in our disposable income.
climbwhenready - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

I would much rather be somewhere with easy access to the hills. My job will move on in a few years, and then I'll leave.
Ramblin dave - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:
> Not keeping my car and to an extent the campervan would probably be a deal breaker. The job is not right in the city it's out Sunbury, Teddington, Kingston way. So am hoping I could live just inside / outside the M25 on the west of London and commute via the over ground trains. I am a bit worride about getting stuck there.

I think Tom's pretty good on the pros and cons. Living out west wouldn't be too bad if you like limestone - the Wye Valley, Swanage and Cheddar all look just about day-trippable if you've got keen mates.

If you're going to live out near the M25 rather than more central, it's really worth trying to get somewhere with good enough transport links to the centre that you'll actually go in for food / culture / entertainment / whatever from time to time, though. Some places out on the outskirts basically feel like living in a small provincial town but more expensive, which seems like a bit of a waste.

Living slightly in towards the centre from work can also be quite good - it might be more expensive, but you're always commuting against the flow, so you can sit in an empty train watching the sardines squeezing on to the opposite platform. Plus it's easier to get central if you want to do something interesting.
Post edited at 14:16
JMGLondon - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

Nice. Too many of us down here are spending over 50% of income on mortgage / rent, some considerably more than that. It can make saving very difficult so at some stage most have to take advantage of any property value gains and leg it (if you're lucky enough to own). Prices in my neck of the woods are currently way higher than the 'boom' of the mid 00's.

nniff - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

I live just inside the M25 (due South). We could move (jobs allowng and no doubt be better off, but it suits and has done for a while). I used to work in London, but lived on the outskirts and hated the commute with a vengeance. I now live on the outskirts and commute further out, which is fine (against the flow). If I need to go into town, I drive to where the traffic stops, park, take the bike out of the boot and cycle the rest of the way. Faster than train or car (but I do live on the slowest line into London).

Getting stuck tends to refer to people who move away and want to come back, and then find that they can't afford to (and don't want to spend a stupid amount of money on a roof over their heads). It's easier if you want to get started here.


The Wye Valley is nicely under two hours from Sunbury on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Peak 2-3. Portland 2.5. Wales on a Friday night - about a week?


wintertree - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:
I once spent 4 weeks living and working in greater London.

Lessons learnt that I had't anticipated:

1) After going boozing in the centre there are ZERO opportunities for a piss as you go pub>walk>underground>walk>overgorund>walk>home.
2) Black snot comes out of your nose. I shudder to think about the long term implications of this, but there are perhaps 10,000 early deaths from air pollution annually in the UK and I didn't fancy heading down that line.
3) I liked it a lot less than I thought I would.

Especially given point 3 I was lucky to have the opportunity to dangle my toes in it.

With two decent jobs between you it's hard to see why you can't be mortgage free in a reasonable house by the time you're 30 if you stay in the NE. Most of the people I know in London are in their 30s and are renting or far, far away from paying a mortgage off. There's a lot of peace of mind and freedom in finding the right job when you don't have the financial Sword of Damocles above your head.
Post edited at 15:18
thomaspomfrett on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

Much like JMGLondon our reason for moving is house prices. This pretty much says it all, a small two bed flat costs 600k!

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/32421459

And an equivalently priced property near Leeds (where we're looking to move)

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/30308862

AndrewHuddart - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

I moved to London for a cool job after working for a year in the NE. I thought I could hack it for 3 years, do the career thing and then escape.

Just shy of 10 years later, I'm still here. I own a great flat, have been lucky with work doing some really fun stuff I couldn't have done anywhere else and now have the option to work anywhere in any major world city. I do hanker after escaping though but when I do, I'll have had some amazing experiences and have loved my time down here.

You get used to leaving town on Friday nights, whether in the car, on trains or on a plane and when you do stay in London for the weekend, there's so much to do.

Get down here.
Andy DB - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to wintertree:

1) This is a problem currently I have a nice walk across some fields providing ample opportunity.
2) That does sound minging.
3) I am yet to convince myself that I will like it so may like it more than expected.

My main concern is the cost of housing and not being able to afford anything.
Jim Hamilton - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

> The job is not right in the city it's out Sunbury, Teddington, Kingston way.

That's not the Big Smoke it's suburbia ! would it make any difference if the oil job was elsewhere in the country ?
seankenny - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

> My main concern is the cost of housing and not being able to afford anything.

Well, you probably won't be able to afford anything, at least at first. But you can always go back up north after a few years, with work experience that you're very unlikely to get elsewhere in the UK, and buy a house then.

From a climbing point of view, London can be very tough, but there are lots of folk who want to get out so you can usually get to the crags. It's very easy to get to Font or points futher south. You'll climb more in Pembroke and the SW, which I rarely visited when I lived in Leeds.

From a non-climbing perspective London is great. There are lots of things to do, and if you live here you ought to do them, at least now and then. You know, museums, art galleries, gigs, restaurants, all that stuff. If you're not bothered about that kind of thing and just want to go climbing then London will be a bit of a drag.
Tom Last - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

The first climbing partner I had lived in Sunbury. It always looked like a bit of a dump to me, but probably one of the best points to escape out of town from. It's right at the start of the M3, so good for Swanage. The M4 is also very close (good for Bristol, Wye Valley and the west) as is Heathrow. Not even that bad for The Peak either since the M40 is only a couple of junctions away. Personally, if I had a choice between the two, I'd go for the North East, but then I've spent over half my life in London, wheras the opposite applies for you. Good luck anyway.
Andy DB - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Jim Hamilton:
Ok it's not popper central London but seems urban enough compared to my current residence.

I think the job sounds great just not completely sure about the location. If there R&D office was in Ambleside / Fort William I would have probably bitten their arm off.
Scarab9 - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

One thing I think that's been missed here (the rest is covered) -

we're all pushed to succeed and take the money, better job etc. But does that need to be a big motivator for you?

I've recently accepted a permanent contract somewhere which allows me to be home working, not closely monitored so when it's quiet (often enough!) I don't have to work too hard, make enough money to be happy on though less than I could make with some extra effort.

This is against my previous aims, but rather than worrying about all that extra money I could be making and taking on challenges, I'm finding I'm loving feeling pretty chilled through the day, getting more time to run in the hills and genearlly having little stress.

So don't be pushed into leaving a happy live for something you're not sure about if it's not really that important to you.

Good luck either way!
Trevers - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:
It's a choice only you can make.

London can be great or London can be the most alienating place. It depends on who you are really. If you're the sort of person that likes to be in the center of everything, surrounded by people, you may love London. If you value peace and quiet and the outdoors you may not.

London does high culture very well. For museums, theatre, proms at the Albert Hall, jazz and blues bars, fine dining etc. it can't be beat. It sometimes feels snobbish, although I do know a very good heavy metal bar which stinks of piss which is a breath of fresh air.

The one danger in the 'give it a go' mentality is that it can be easy to get stuck here if you find you don't like it. The other thing if you find you don't like it is that the people who are convinced it is the centre of the Universe and the best place ever will become unbearable.

Nearest outdoor trad is two hours away in Bristol. Scotland is a day's drive!

EDIT- For the record I'm turning 25 this year and been working very centrally for just over two years. Living with parents still to save money so that takes a lot away from it. I intend to move on from London in the next year. Drop me a message if you have any questions.
Post edited at 19:11
Gordon Stainforth - on 25 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy DB:

Go for it. The experience of living and working in London will do you a power of good. It's like a lot of small towns and villages, back to back, endlessly. Mostly very friendly and vibrant communities, v multi-national and with far less racism than you would imagine (virtually none). And there's no smoke. Yes, you'll be seriously handicapped re access to climbing venues etc., but all in good time, you can always return. The hills and rocks never go away; career opportunities do.

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