How to Job in the Pacific Northwest

My friend David asked that I blog about:


The short answer is we came with our own jobs. It seems to be the only way to get up north right now.

The long answer is at the beginning of 2012, Ben and I decided to get serious about moving away from LA. We sat across from each other and wrote a list of all the things we wanted in our new city. We compared them and realized that, in addition to being basically the same, both lists looked a lot like Portland. But we knew that jobs were few and far between. None of our friends could find good jobs, and they’re definitely as smart and as educated as we are, if not more.

The majority of our efforts then shifted towards being able to live in Portland. Every new accomplishment was viewed in the lense of how it would help us with the move. Opportunities that would have made Los Angeles more bearable, changing apartments, for example, were deferred in favor of anything that would make leaving easier. I applied for every relevant job in a 100 mile radius of the city. In two years, I averaged about one application a week. As you know, I got none of them. One called me back, but immediately dismissed me for being from Los Angeles.

Even as job application after job application went into the broken vortex of the digital wasteland, we were both getting more and more attention on the freelance front. After I got laid off, I was able to focus entirely on freelancing, paving the way for Ben to join me at the beginning of the year.

As I’m summarizing the steps we took, it looks sort of logical, but it really wasn’t. We pin-balled from effort to effort, trying anything to find purchase. If you’ve been reading since 2012 or before, you’ll know that even this blog was subject to attempts for some kind of location-independent income stream.

It was really fucking hard. At times, I had no idea if we would ever be able to get out of here. I still wonder if we’re making the right decision. Freelancing isn’t a cakewalk, but we’re far more desirable as free agents than we ever were as full time employees. The difference is staggering. As a full time applicant, no one would touch me with borrowed dick. As freelancers, Ben and I regularly get unsolicited calls from potential clients.

Some might think all this work is pretty silly. People move to new cities every day with just the shit in their car, or the clothes on their backs. And if it had dragged on much longer like this, I would probably have broken down, sold all our shit, packed the car, and booked. Living like we’ve been living has been really stressful. I think we’ve gone about this in the safest way possible, but our lives have basically been on hold for the last two years waiting for the stars to align. Which they seem to have done.

If you’re following me on social media, you know that we’re leaving for Portland today, and that this is a pre-scheduled post. I don’t know how this is going to work out. Like anything, there will be disaster. There always is. But I think of myself as a person to sets goals and achieves them. Two years ago, I wasn’t sure how we were going to move, I had an idea that we’d probably have to take a pay cut, which is technically not the case. Technically, I took a pay cut in May when I got laid off, and have been steadily increasing my income ever since then. I’m still a long way from what I made before the lay-off, but our expenses are dropping so significantly that it almost doesn’t matter. It even seems like moving to Portland might make us more desirable.