Just my "opinion" about some of the jobs I see listed on the LAND 8 Jobs Board.
Most of the jobs I see listed on the jobs board are located in either NY or CA. IMO, neither of those States are a good place to start an LA career. Very high cost of living and taxes had always kept me from considering either State for an LA position...and I was born in Southern California.
Unless an LA is living with there Mom & Dad in NY or CA....an LA job there doesn't make sense, but, that's just me. NOTE: For annual incomes in California over $47,000.00....the State Income Tax rate is 9.3%. Then, you add Federal Income Taxes.
An LA firm in NY or CA is not going to compensate an LA a higher than normal salary to help you deal with the high cost of live and high taxes. The cost of an apartment alone in NY & CA is ridiculous & apartment rental rates are skyrocketing these days nationwide.
Before considering any LA position, I would do a ton of research on the city & state. I would consider looking at cost of living, does the State have a State tax?, weather, living standards, crime rates, apartment rental rates and availability, Google the City you are considering relocating to a job for...learn everything you can about it.
J. Robert (Bob) Wainner
Some of it is influenced by where the applicant is in their life. In the big cities there is a lot to do (often for free): lectures, gallery openings, vendor parties, etc. In NYC, it seems the younger folks all go out, and are less concerned with living in a smaller apt further out (you can still easily pay well under $1k/month in Manhattan for a room). The range of firms (and jobs in related fields) is quite large and the ability to network with a diverse population is quite exciting for many. In my experience the salaries, once a few years established are quite higher than rural areas (though dependent on firms, there are types of firms that could really only function in the cities with clients are there)
I would have to agree with Rob here. I work in a well established firm in San Francisco and starting salaries for entry levels are probably higher than most of the country, but still do NOT correlate with the cost of living, which is SIGNIFICANTLY higher. Your starting salary is in the upper 40s, but a single bedroom rent in SF is 3000-3500 average. Cross the bay where prices are more "reasonable"...Oakland has an average one bed at $2,000. Home prices are the most expensive in the country- a 4 bedroom in the suburbs start at 800,000 (average around 1 million). Southern CA is slightly cheaper.....with emphasis on the word 'slightly'. In my opinion, if you want to live a solid middle class lifestyle in CA (or NY), as a landscape architect, then you should get licensed and work for yourself. Working for a firm will not cut it....unless you consider a 1 bedroom apartment with your wife and two kids as 'middle class'.
There are three ways to go about it. One is to figure a way to get started where you are. Another is to try to get hired somewhere else and then move there. The third is to relocate where you think you'd like to live and do the best you can from there.
My preference in life is to be where I want to live over living somewhere that I don't want to be just to advance my career.
If I were to relocate to up my chances of advancing my career I would try to go to a place where I could safely assume that I could get an unrelated job to survive until I could get an LA job.
Cost of living and wages tend to be parallel in areas where the people live in the same area in which they work. Resort areas are examples a different story where goods and services are priced to sell to the tourists and the locals have no alternatives.
We should be well trained in problem solving for design. It would seem reasonable that we would be able to apply the same way of thinking to advancing our careers. Treat the job market (or other opportunities) like a site analysis. Match your goals and objectives to the site. If that does not work, get a new site.
Andrew......you've made some VERY good points here! You're right, we are "creative" people, we should be able to resolve career issues too.
I was lucky in that, after a 1 yr. internship in Sarasota, Florida....I moved back to my hometown of Dallas for an LA job. Was with that firm for 13 yrs. (we had 6 LAs when I began and it grew to over 40 LAs at one point). I handled pretty much 100% of every project (after the first 2 yrs.)...so, it was great hands on experience working with many very experienced and talented LAs. The cost of living in Dallas was and still is pretty reasonable (no State income taxes either). Pay wasn't all that great at this LA firm.....typical, I think, when you work for someone else.
Started my own LA firm in 1991 @ age 41 with about 14 yrs. exp. Took me 2 yrs. to really get up and running......but, my income increased by 6 to 7x what i was earning working for that Dallas LA firm and I wasn't working any harder or putting in any more hours in my own LA firm. I drew everything by hand...none of my clients had an issue that I was not on autoCAD. My only over-head per se was Federal Income Taxes.
I think maybe, if an LA has substantial experience.....maybe 8 to 12 yrs..,searching for an LA job in Calif. or NY....or other areas where the cost of living & taxes are high is a possibility. Also, if an LA has quite a bit of design experience....and overseas LA position is something to consider. Just have to really do extensive "research" on any overseas jobs...to be SURE you understand the income, benefits, all about the location & culture, etc.