The Diaspora Grows By One Three

Frequent Pittsblog commenter and Pittsburgh gumbander Jefferson Provost is on the move. He and his family have left the Burgh again after two years here, this time moving on to Seattle. At The Q Function, JP writes:

The move is really two big changes for me: leaving academia, which would require a whole blog post on its own, and leaving Pittsburgh, about which my feelings are actually not all that mixed. As the kids used to say when I was in high school: it’s been real; it’s been fun; but it hasn’t been real fun. In the two years since moving back here from Austin, I’ve had a strong feeling of “how you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm after they’ve seen paree?” Leaving for the second time, I definitely don’t fit the stereotype of the Pittsburgh diasporan who would move back if only I could find a job. But frankly, I think that stereotype is mostly a local myth. I have met many
diasporans who are happy where they are, and none who long to be back.

Just when Pittsburgh is getting ready to blow out the candles on its (cup)cake, something like this happens -- the sort of thing that Lenore Blum and Project Olympus are trying to avoid by building stronger connections between local academic labs and local business.

As Myron said, bye now -- and we'll see you sometime in Seattle.

Comments

1 Response to "The Diaspora Grows By One Three"

Jefferson Provost said... 6/21/2008 1:19 AM

Well, I hardly think that our leaving will ruin the semiquincentennial. Some of my recent comments here were negative enough that some of your readers will probably say good riddance. After all, isn't that the old refrain: "If you hate it so much, why don't you leave?"

However, the root cause is the same as it has been for all the economic questions in Pittsburgh: Jobs. If you have a good job (and live in the right neighborhood, and you don't have to ride public transportation or go through too many tunnels) Pittsburgh can be a nice place to live. But if you can't find a job, why stick around?

I don't think I really knew how I felt until the moment when I knew for sure I'd be leaving. That moment came during the week in March when I scheduled on-site interviews with three major west coast tech companies and I still did not have anything in process with any Pittsburgh company. Once I knew for sure that I was leaving, I started to feel that my only regrets would be leaving my friends and family here, not leaving the city itself. Then late May rolled around and the flowers started blooming, and I thought that maybe there were some things I'd miss. Then my wife reminded me that I found a great job in Seattle and I was S.O.L. in Pittsburgh, and I realized that there are flowers everywhere.

Incidentally, the one Burgh tech company that did contact me got back to me more than two months after I first inquired with them. Most of the Pittsburgh companies I applied to didn't even bother to acknowledge that they had received my resumé. With Amazon.com, the total elapsed time between my first contact and an offer on paper was 29 days. Are there any good engineers left by the time the Pittsburgh companies get around to talking to them?

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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