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Chaz moving to Washington, D.C. -- Update!

For those that do not already know about this, I hope this message brings everyone up to date on my condo/moving situation.

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...


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 11th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
Wow, that was fast. I have no advice to offer, I only know DC from vacation trips there. I checked the Metro times and this site says the trains run until midnight during the week and 3AM on the weekends.


The bus schedules are on there too, but you have to look at each line to see the times.

Very cool news for you and if I stumble across anything useful I'll pass it along.
Aug. 11th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)

I heard the Metro was open later, which is nice. The examples I used were not meant to be actual statements, but only examples (which is why I called them "examples") -- phew. I knew someone was going to say something about those! ;-)

Looking at the Metro closer, I find that Shady Grove is in Derwood, MD and is the very end of the red line. It is only 4m from my work location.

So, I guess, from a public transit point of view, living near Shady Grove would be best. It's located between Rockville and Gaithersburg.

Aug. 11th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
I think the cost of living in general is about the same in the Boston area, with some things costing less and some more.

Like a previous poster said, the Metro is open till 3AM on the weekends, so it's much more usable than the T.

The beach is 3+ hours away, so by Massachusetts standards, that's pretty far. :)

Aug. 11th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)

Well, the best beaches I've seen in this area (to actually swim and sun at) are several hours from Quincy as well. (Specifically: Cape Cod Beach, Hamilton Beach and Nantasket Beach) Even then, the water is frigid. Wollaston Beach is nice to fly my kites at.

Aug. 11th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
I would think this would be a big factor in your decision. Is this opportunity worth the change in your lifestyle? Are you ready to "settle down" into an office job?

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.
Aug. 11th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)

Considering the odd hours, I feel there will be substantial "flex time", which (if my new manager is reasonable), I should be able to accumulate into days off that I can use to travel.

Gone will be the days of a M-F work-week from Nottingham, England or Palm Springs, CA.
Aug. 11th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
that sounds reasonable
Aug. 11th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, did I mention that there will be substantial work travel?

Aug. 11th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
Change is good esp when it opens to you!!! Do It :) YOu would live your life in regret if you didn't!!
(no subject) - bearginner - Aug. 11th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 12th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
How long have I known you? What have I taught you??

You could live in a bus station and make it look like the Mayor's office......

Don't make me go Mary Tyler Moore on you........go for it......my next adventure starts very soon as well.....we'll have notes to compare........lol

Aug. 16th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Moving to DC/MD
Chaz - Traffic in/around DC is HIGHLY stressful and is one of the most congested in the nation. If I were you I would strongly recommend living as close as possible to the Metro to get to/from work. Yes, the DC Metro closes early, but for workaday purposes, I urge you to count on Metro rather than relying on driving,which will very quickly become not only tiresome but very stressful for you.

I'm speaking as one who has almost fifteen years' experience with DC and its environs (and having moved, happily, to the Albany, NY area, where I can to NYC in just a train ride anytime I wantand without paying the extortionary prices of NYC living).

Have you lloked at either Silver Spring or Bethesda or Rockville or TAcoma Park for living purposes? All have something of the urban feel you seem to seek--some more than others--and all are easily on the Metro.

Please be prepared for something of a sticker shock: Housing, food, and cost of living is high in the DC metro area.

Also, be prepared for a gay community that has its own internal problems, a crystal meth problem being chief among those, but also a rather transient population which makes lasting friendships a challenge.

Drop me a line, Chaz, any time, if I can be of any help as you make this move.

Aug. 18th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Moving to DC/MD

Traffic? Have you even BEEN to Boston? ;-)

Location, location, location: I'm looking for housing in the Rockville area, Shady Grove Metro Station vicinity as it's less than 10 miles (north, a reverse commute) to work, avoids the 495 (Beltway), but is yet on the primary red line that goes to Dupont Circle without changing trains.

As for the cost of living, Boston isn't cheap either -- and we've got our own set of problems, including meth here. No place is immune to that.

I already have many friends in the Metro area, plus a support structure of friendly, active leather/motorcycle clubs and organizations that simply does not exist in Boston.

Have you read my most recent blog posting where I address everything you mention here?

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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