Last week, whilst working on a disaster recovery in the Washington area, I was asked to apply for an permanent position with IBM BCRS (Business Continuity and Resiliency Services) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which is 43km (27 miles) from Washington, D.C. Considering I've been interested in a career in BCRS for over five years, I consider this a golden opportunity for me. Just as my move to Boston in 2003, I'm trying to determine if moving is in my best interest.
Working in Washington/Gaithersburg
This position should result in a larger salary and benefits. I am currently in negotiations with management about this. My office (yes, a real office with walls, windows and a door again!) would be in Gaithersburg, MD. The new position would be a "traditional office" position, meaning I wouldn't be working remotely any longer, thus eliminating a lot of the travel opportunities I have been enjoying the past two years. Until I actually work the position for a few weeks/months, I won't know how personal travel will work for me. Chances are that if I take this new position, any travel that I do would need to be adjusted from flex time, vacation time, holiday time or personal choice holiday time. In addition, this position will have bizarre working hours due to the inherent nature of disaster recovery procedures.
Living in Washington/Gaithersburg
From what I've seen, the cost of living in Gaithersburg/Washington is slightly higher than Quincy/Boston. Unlike Boston, I know there are active leather, biker, bear and gay communities. The climate is warmer than Boston, winters are more mild, I might be able to ride my motorcycle almost all year. Just as with Boston, there are museums, galleries, restaurants, historic places in the area -- but there's also the Smithsonian, the National Mall and I can harass elected officials on a national scale, not just in one commonwealth! ;-) Of course, there are three nearby airports for travel (four, if you include Philadelphia). I'll be 2 hours closer to New York City, 1 hour closer to Rochester, and closer to some very dense population areas (such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Richmond). I understand there are even some beaches nearby.
I need your help and input!!
I can live in Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC and commute to Gaithersburg daily. Which is better? Why? (Please keep traffic in mind if you recommend a place more than 10 miles from my work address: 800 N Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20879)
Knowing what you know of me, what should I know about the areas? (for example: Washington's Metro closes at 10PM!, Baltimore has dangerous crime rates, Virginia is full of right-wing, bible-belting gay-bashers, etc.) I like to go out once in a while, and prefer to take public transit (Metro), I prefer to have a choice in wearing a motorcycle helmet, I prefer living in an urban area in a high-rise with reasonable rent/taxes. Please, advice is needed here!
When will this take place?
We have not hammered out an actual "start date" at this time, as we are still in negotiations over the position. In order to facilitate a move and integrate me with the local area, IBM management wants me to attend several additional disaster recovery tests in Gaithersburg and spend some additional time in the area to look for a home. Until that time, I will cease buying furniture for this condo. I will cease looking for a roommate (unless they want to assume the payments on their own!) I will go "month-to-month" until a move date has been established. Then the JOY of packing, moving, registering my vehicle(s), insurance, licensing, etc...