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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Guest Post: How Would You Feel About this Tuition Gimmick Reduction?

Another Guest Post with thanks to another wonderful reader and contributor. I do believe I will come back to the "life insurance" Areivim issue also. Guest Post follows:

The day school in an out-of-town community has been doing a massive PR campaign to move to the city, spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in advertising. The pitch is 75% off day school tuition, as well as other perks to shuls, camp, and the JCC. The discount is a declining discount over 4 years. The ads are geared toward the “affordability” of the community, highlighting tuition as a big motivator.

Anyone with kids understands that there is a “tuition crisis”. And every year when the tuition bills come, we all wish there were some other options. But generally, they work with what they have, modify where necessary, and continue making do, as best they can.

And then there’s the “housing crisis” of the tri-state area. Yes, housing is expensive. Young families with stable jobs might never dream of owning a home unless they get outside assistance from family. But with this too, people work with what they have, and continue making do, as best they can.

There are several issues with the pitch in these advertisements. First off, the lure of the “tuition crisis” discount attracts people who are otherwise not able/willing to pay tuition. Generally, a family with upwardly-mobile jobs (think attorneys, doctors, finance) doesn’t have the ability to pick up and move to a new city, because their careers are keeping them grounded. (I understand that plenty of people today can work from home, are self-employed, or can telecommute, and I don’t mean to discount those jobs, since I am only referencing generalizations.) So the family without careers tying them to their home are typically the targets of these advertisements. Stereotypically, these are not upwardly-mobile jobs, and are not providing the income-producing potential to pay for full tuition.

The “housing crisis” pitch is generally for younger families with no kids or young kids. Owning a home is the dream, and generally not reality with a young family’s economic situation. The ads and the salespeople highlight cheap housing, so the first step in the process is to look at dream homes. Suddenly, the focus of the move becomes owning the home - not finding a job, not paying their obligations, and without any true thought to the real cost of owning a home.

While you can argue that the short term benefit of “filling up the classrooms” can attract more people to the school and the community, in the long run, you are still likely going to increase the percentage of families on financial aid. While most schools still run at a deficit even with every family paying full tuition, this is only going to hurt the school long term.

Which leads to another issue, the families already living in the community who have sent their children for years to the school and shuls. They are still being asked to pay full tuition, when the newcomer with no stake in the community - and maybe no job yet, because buying the house comes before the job, and mortgage payments come before tuition bills - pays next to nothing. The tuition is increasing, the services are decreasing, but the classrooms are filling. So is all good?

After a quick look at the community, any potential family looking to relocate will realize that the grass isn’t any greener in an out-of-town community. Yes, housing is cheaper. But taxes are still killer. Jobs are still a struggle. And food still costs plenty. And eventually, you will have to pay tuition. So does moving make sense? I hope these families looking to move are thinking about this.

What are your thoughts on this tuition gimmick?


JLan said...

1) "After a quick look at the community, any potential family looking to relocate will realize that the grass isn’t any greener in an out-of-town community. Yes, housing is cheaper. But taxes are still killer. Jobs are still a struggle. And food still costs plenty. And eventually, you will have to pay tuition. So does moving make sense? I hope these families looking to move are thinking about this."

The lack of mentioning which community we're talking about makes it very difficult to make a judgment about your claims in general.

The fact is, housing is a huge expense, which can greatly impact the average (or even not so average) individual, and it's much, much worse "in town" than it is "out of town." But there's also a difference here: prices in, say, Austin, TX, or in Cleveland, OH, are far cheaper than, say, the Boston area. And tuition there is also much cheaper, again, depending on what it is that you're paying. The DC suburbs, on the other hand, are commensurately expensive with the NY suburbs, and the pay is often less. Not telling us where you're talking about really hurts the argument.

2) "The “housing crisis” pitch is generally for younger families with no kids or young kids. Owning a home is the dream, and generally not reality with a young family’s economic situation. The ads and the salespeople highlight cheap housing, so the first step in the process is to look at dream homes. Suddenly, the focus of the move becomes owning the home - not finding a job, not paying their obligations, and without any true thought to the real cost of owning a home."

You make it sound like young people are idiots. Let's give people the benefit of the doubt: before actually buying a house, many young people will actually look for jobs. I can't imagine moving to an out of town community with no jobs, because housing is cheaper. I can imagine moving, having found a job, knowing that tuition is cheaper, and knowing that housing is affordable.

3) "Which leads to another issue, the families already living in the community who have sent their children for years to the school and shuls. They are still being asked to pay full tuition, when the newcomer with no stake in the community - and maybe no job yet, because buying the house comes before the job, and mortgage payments come before tuition bills - pays next to nothing. The tuition is increasing, the services are decreasing, but the classrooms are filling. So is all good?"

Presumably the community is willing to pay a little extra in order to grow and to add to the population. One presumes that's a tradeoff they were willing to make.

JLan said...

(cont'd from above):

4) "Generally, a family with upwardly-mobile jobs (think attorneys, doctors, finance) doesn’t have the ability to pick up and move to a new city, because their careers are keeping them grounded"

I might grant you lawyers and finance, but doctors? If we're talking about young doctors, who are likely shortly out of residency, the possibility of moving to a new community shouldn't be a particularly daunting one. In fact, given that pay between regions is not THAT much different for doctors, moving to an out of town community may will give them a much bigger bang for their buck.

5) "Anyone with kids understands that there is a “tuition crisis”. And every year when the tuition bills come, we all wish there were some other options. But generally, they work with what they have, modify where necessary, and continue making do, as best they can."

For a person who so advocates the possibilities of charter schools and homeschooling, I'm amazed SL had no objection to this line. Moving to a community where tuition is lower relative to one's earnings is certainly an "other option"; at the very least, it's as much of one as sending your kids to a cheaper school in the NY area (Staten Island has a school that has often been mentioned for this). This, of course, requires analysis on a case by case basis, for communities vs. incomes.

ProfK said...

Have to agree with JLan that without a mention of the specific community there is no way to look at the community's offer objectively. And 75% off of what tuition cost? After 4 years are you talking about full tuition in the 5-10K range or in the 10-15K range or more? Yes, many places oot are far cheaper for housing costs than the NY metropolitan area, but not all. Comparing a home for $200K to what that would cost in the NY area is far different from comparing a home for $500K to one in NY. And is this community in one of the states that has no state income tax? Also can make a big difference.

Re the jobs, check with places like the US government publications and the Forbes list of most lucrative jobs and places you can find them. Lawyers, particularly now with the economic problems, may find themselves doing better oot since there is not the competition from the big firms killing individual opportunities. Jobs in the computer fields are still available across the country. Same with finance jobs.

Presumably if a young couple can check out housing they are also checking out employment opportunities, and doing so first. Sure, many young couples are not as well educated in the real cost of things as they should be, but I don't know many, or perhaps any, who assume that no money coming in doesn't preclude an expenditure on something like a house unless their parents have said move and we will pay it all.

In short, lots of information missing in the posting without which a logical analysis cannot be done.

Anonymous said...

The community is Houston, TX. There is no state income tax and although real estate taxes are higher than some states - they are much much much lower than bergen county, Nj and other NY/NJ suburbs. They have some of the most affordable housing in the United States - four bedroom house in frum area for less than $150,000it is the fourth largest city in the united states and they have one of the best economies in the US right now. it depends what profession you are in - but for doctors and lawyers it should be easy to find something there - especially doctors. if you are in finance it may be more difficult as those jobs tend to center in the dallas area. if you can swing the move - it certainly pays.

Anonymous said...

I can't do the math right now, but over the 30 year life of most mortagages, I would have to imagine that the difference between paying for a 150K home and a 500K home is huge and will cover many tuitions. You also are getting more home for that 150K in Houston than 500K in NYC. I think its a terrific idea to grow and develop more OOT options.

ProfK said...

Thanks Anonymous. Naming the city makes it easier to research on job opportunities and cost of living expenses, as does knowing that Texas has no state income tax.

SL, didn't say it before, but I'd like to object to the word "gimmick" in the title of the posting. The word is highly negative in use and could color the way that people look at what is being offered. A gimmick is "A device employed to cheat, deceive, or trick, a significant feature that is obscured, misrepresented, or not readily evident; a catch." Without a lot more information there's no way to call this offer a gimmick.

Anonymous said...

I agree with prof K - please drop the word gimmick - I use gimmick when schools say tuition is only $13,000 per year and then fail to mention the security fee, the journal dinner, the script, the building fund, the registration fee - by the time you are done it is more like $17,000 - the add ons are a gimmick. but i know fools who say tuition is $13,000 and the regisdtration fee and security fee are something else. so i guess the gimmick works.

Anonymous said...

More than one poster has implied that doctors can move anywhere. My husband is a physician, and in our experience, this isn't true for all specialists. My husband is a pediatric specialist and spent the last year of his fellowship looking for a job--networking, interviewing, etc. He ended up with one job offer and several rejections--b"h we are very happy here (tri-state area).

Orthonomics said...

JLan-I published the Guest Post without comment. I understand this parent's concerns about this method of attracting families. Granted, the automatic tuition reduction phases out, but I can understand the trepidation of what could happen if a significant number of people come and are not prepared to pay whatever the tuition will be 5 years later.

I don't necessarily agree with everything the poster says, but I do know that living in "cheap" communities is not an automatic ticket to Easy Street.

I think it is a good idea for people to keep their eye on more affordable areas of the country. My advice on relocating is that one should always follow opportunity. I'd choose a career opportunity in a more pricy place over a stam job in another place. But if you can find a niche in a career track in a less expense place, go for it!

tesyaa said...

Rabbi Horowitz has a brand new post up about Areivim here .

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with this as long as this is something the community has committed to fund. In particular this is not a cost that should be passed on to the other parents unless they have agreed to it, which they might if they believe it is in their and their families' interests to grow the community.

Let's also face it that most jews are not in the NYC area first and foremost because of job opportunities. It's because that is where they were born, grew up and have families, and the institutions to serve their needs and wants.

Anonymous said...

The statement about attorneys drs. and lawyers shows a great deal of misunderstanding of these professions. You definitely have a great deal of mobility during the first ten years in the profession. It gets harder later, but by no means impossible. It also depends what the area of specialty is. To suggest that there are so many fewere opportunities in TX than NY is pitifully geocentric. I also think its pitiful to assume that all MO's are in one of those three fields. I hope the MO world is not that narrow.

conservative scifi said...

I think the previous anonymous 3:48 hit it on the head. I lived in the deep south (though not Houston or Atlanta) for several years getting an advanced degree and it was dirt cheap. My apartment (which I shared only with my wife) was around $200/month (for a junky place). Since we couldn't get kosher meat (except what I brought down from my Parents on the plane or picked up in Atlanta, hours away), we ate very cheaply (and healthily on vegetables, fruit, grains, etc.).

But as soon as I finished, we moved back to the more expensive (though less than New York) location near our families, even though financially we would have done better to stay. (Though, over time, we have had opportunities which have made our salaries much higher than they would have been had we stayed).

So while people who don't mind (or perhaps even want) being away from family might love Houston or other less expensive cities, and probably can live for much less with quite good employment opportunities, I think that many people prefer being near their families too much to live so far away.

mlevin said...

As a computers professional I can say that our jobs are not secure. The average length at one place is between 6-8 years. Then it's time to look for another job. If you move to oot, then once you lose your job you would have uproot your family and move to a different city/town. In addition to uprooting them, you would also have to spend money on closing costs and moving. If there are two people working, then the situation is even worse. So, staying in NY is a lot more secure. Also, while houses in NYC (Brooklyn, Queens) are more expensive once the mortgage is paid off, you are almost living for free, especially when you are renting your basement and/or garage. And when time comes to retire, your paid off house is a great nesting egg.

tesyaa said...

mlevin: two points. One, once your house is paid off, you're still responsible for real estate taxes. In NJ and the NY suburbs, property taxes are very high. In NYC taxes are low, but residents are subject to the city income tax, which makes things more or less a wash. Re renting your basement or garage: I'm assuming you meant legally, of course.

Dave said...

Uhmmm, changing jobs OOT for computer professionals doesn't mean relocating.

Or rather, it doesn't have to mean relocating, any more than changing jobs as a computer proffessional in New York means relocating.

When looking for new work, you can look for the best position for you, or the best position that doesn't require relocation.

ProfK said...

Just curious mlevin, that house is a great nest egg how? If you stay in it after retirement then you reap no economic benefit from any increase in real estate or from the house's being paid off. If you sell it to get the money, always assuming that when you sell it you won't have one of those down cycles we are going through now, just where are you going to go? Buy something smaller in NY? You're talking mega bucks and all the expenses of relocating. If you plan on moving oot, which many retirees do because living here in the NY area can be economic pain for such people, then why cavil about moving now at a younger age and gaining the savings now?

While moving oot may not appeal to some people for a variety of reasons, it is an excellent answer for many others.

Anonymous said...

mlevin: One should not count on their home as their nest egg. As we have seen recently, house markets can have wild swings -- although less so in the greater NYC metropolitan area. Unless you are willing to move, and move into a fairly smaller home and/or to a less expensive area, you might not net as much out of your home after realtor fees and moving expenses as you hope. Often the home being sold by a 60 or 70 something person is a bit dated and in need of repairs and may not sell as well. Also,I have known several older people who just haven't been able to tear themselves away from their longtime family home. I was not able to get my parents or my inlaws to move even though they were paying a fortune to heat and pay taxes on big houses that they could no longer maintain. Emotionally it was too hard for them to leave.

Lion of Zion said...


"especially when you are renting your basement and/or garage"

hah! that is such a brooklyn mentality. (nothing personal, i always joke with my friends who sing odes to their suburban lawns that the first i would do if i bought a house like that is pave the lawn and rent it out for parking.)

"paid off house is a great nesting egg"

a) this is a very debatable point
b) so is a house outside of NYC

Anonymous said...

One thing I've regretted is not using my college and grad school years, including summer jobs and internships, to try out other areas of the country. This is something that I would definitely encourage my children to do.

Lion of zion said...


"In NJ and the NY suburbs, property taxes are very high."

i'm learning that if you are careful where exactly you buy in the suburbs you can do *much* better taxwise than staying in the city.

in marine park (the brookyln neighborhood where frum jews looking for "affordable" housing generally buy these days) the taxes on a semidetached (shared driveway) shoebox "house" (if you want to call it that) runs between $2-3k. then of course you pay city income tax.

if you buy on the right side of woodmere, on the other hand, your taxes on a home that is 3 times as big on a lot 5 times as big is only about 7k and no city income tax. similarly in engelwood (where property taxes are much lower than in neighboring tennafly), i know someone who recently bought a house that 3 times as big as a marine park house on a lot about 10 times as big: purchase price was less than for a marine park house and propery taxes are $6500 (again, no city income tax)

from what i understand the main reason for the price difference in taxes (at least in my two examples) has to do with quality of the public schools, with the better school districts having the higher taxes (about double).

Anonymous said...

When considering OOT v. NYC economics, don't forget the enourmous commuting costs if you are going to live in a burb and work in the city. I only see those costs going up. Also, quality of life issues are not just how many kosher restaurants, but how clean, crowded, noisy and polluted is the area? Will you have to spend a fortune on bungalows/summer camps to get close to nature and some fresh air in the summer?

Lion of Zion said...


my problem with this post is that it is basically repeating the typical response to any cost-reduction suggestion: if it doesn't work for everyone then it doesn't merit consideration. i think this is where a lot of us fail. let us do what is best for ourselves and not worry if it can be a universal panacea.

as far as houston is concerned, can a wall street exec do as well in houston? probably not. some people will make less and maybe some more (a classmate of mine accepted a job in texas [i don't recall if it was houston] and she makes a few grand more than those of us in new york). my understanding is that houston has a large network of medical centers and there is a demand for doctors. this is who the jewish communty is hoping to attract.

Anonymous said...

In these matters, one size does not fit all. Each family has to weigh its own particular pros and cons, both objective and subjective, about moving. It's hard to imagine giving up a job in the old city until one is found in the new one, especially in this ecomomy. A new city may have jobs, but the main thing is jobs that suit your goals, talents, and needs.

Pilot trips and candid talks with local people (especially those who moved in from elsewhere, maybe from your own city) who don't have axes to grind are essential.

Losing friends in the old city is not a minor thing, either.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:37: I don't think anyone is suggesting that someone pick up and move before getting a job, particularly if you already have a job. However, if you are young and don't have a job or are just graduating and deciding where to job hunt, why not consider other options.

Staying in NY if that's what you love or don't want to leave family and/or friends is terrific. Staying because of inertia may not be so fine.

mlevin said...

Tesyaa - In NYC property taxes are low, and your city tax is proportional to your salary. So, if you are retired or without a job, your city tax is low, so you cannot equate it with high property tax outside of NYC. And yes, we are renting our basement legally. You'd be surprised, but there are tax advantages to renting it out legally as well as an insurance, that if you have a bad tenant, government will aide you in eviction. If you don't do it legally you would be hit by numerous fines from all types of agencies, until they will be willing to help you to evict the freeloader.

Dave - there are more computer jobs in tristate area then there are in oot area, so the chances of you finding a job in the comnutable area in oot are much smaller and therefor, the chances are you would be relocating.

ProfK - Even with downcycles, houses are still higher in price then they were 20-30 years ago. So, in your retirement you can sell it and move to a warmer climate. I hear you can get a nice condo in Florida for 35K. Imagine you sell your house that is around 600K in this down market and buy something else for 35K. I see it as a nice nest egg.

Regarding moving at an earlier age, see my comment about job availabilities above.

Lion - this house is in Brooklyn, legal two family where you are allowed to rent out your basement. The income from the rent alone covers the taxes and heating and maintenance fees. There is always a possibility if you need cash to rent out your garage or even a driveway. That's additional income that comes from simply owning a house in NY.

Lion - if you live outside of NYC, but work in NYC you are still paying NYC taxes.

To all - I was talking from a computer professional point of view. Moving oot is not a good idea. For a young lawyer and a young doctor it would be a great idea because once their practice is built, they are set and do not need to worry about looking for "another job". Of course there is another plus to NY, like many restaurants, choice of shuls, family and friends...

Miami Al said...

NYC is a thriving and bustling metropolis, with many advantages.

However, Houston's economic growth has been higher than NYC for decades, and has many advantages for someone starting out.

Also, out here in the sunbelt, the work ethic is less, and people from "up north" are seen in high demand, as they bring professionalism and a work ethic, plus an education, not always available from the local talent pool.

A 25 year old with 3 years in a NYC firm may be shocked at how well they do trying to relocate. You might find a 10%-20% salary hit for a 50% cost of living adjustment.

There is a reason population has been leaving the northeast for the southeast and southwest, which the 2010 Census will nicely measure and confirm.

tesyaa said...

"Lion - if you live outside of NYC, but work in NYC you are still paying NYC taxes."

This is just not true. The "commuter tax" was taken away YEARS ago. Every five years or so there are rumblings about bringing it back, but Albany is unlikely to let that happen. I don't know why people think the commuter tax is still in existence.

Anonymous said...

mlevin: what type of computer professionals are you talking about? Working for hi-tech companies developing the next cutting edge development -- or are talking about being the IT manager for a non-hi tech company. What about hardware development? "Computer professional" covers a lot of territory and for some areas, I'm not so sure that NYC is the best place.

Lion of Zion said...


i just double checked with a friend of mine who works in NYC and recently moved from brooklyn to woodmere. his takehome pay is now $200 more (biweekly)

tesyaa said...

From Wikipedia:

Until 1999, New York City had a commuter tax, and there are periodic calls for its reinstatement.[2][3] A commuter tax in New York City would have to have support from the State Legislature in order for reinstatement, and since the majority of state legislators represent people who do not live in New York City, the tax tends to be unpopular.[4]

Orthonomics said...

LOZ-the reason I put this guest post up was not to reject the idea of young people seeking more affordable communities. If my husband had a great job offer in Houston tomorrow (full tuition or discounted), I'd be very interested in packing up.

What I think is interesting is the view of the poster regarding how parents feel about this tuition reduction program. I do see some merit in wondering what type of families will come, if they will be able to meet full tuition in the long run, how an influx of students will affect the services current students receive, etc.

Lion of Zion said...


i was responding more to the naysayers who don't live there and look for excuses why it won't work.

but i thought was a good point from the community's perspective.

i would have assumed that there is some type of vetting process to ensure that new families don't become lifetime scholarship cases?

ProfK said...

One piece of information that we don't have is what the tuition is at present in the school in Houston. If lower cost of living combines with a fairly low tuition, then it is quite possible that there are few people in the school requiring tuition assistance right now, so offering a four-year plan to any newcomers won't put a crimp in the budget. If tuition is on the higher end what does the school have in place to avoid persistent raises that would result in more parents having to ask for tuition assistance?

And just a comment about "the computer field." Now there's a job description that says absolutely nothing. Businesses of all kinds are computer reliant today, and most have someone working on-site to take care of computer needs. Not everything associated with computers is about being a programmer, and even there there are multiple types of programmers. There are plenty of jobs in that "computer" field outside of the NY area, and the professional journals in the field have long pointed out that the sunbelt and surrounding states are where the action is.

Dave said...

Seriously, you are arguing that New York is a better place for a computer professional to look for work than:

San Francisco Bay (Silicon Valley)
Boston (Rt-128)
Austin (Silicon Gulch)

Anonymous said...

Saying you are a computer professional is like saying you work in healthcare. You could be a neurosurgeon, the CEO of a health insurer, a life sciences bioengineer with a phd, an x-ray tech, or an lpn.

mlevin said...

Yes, all those places hire people, but they tend to "renew" their staff every 6-8 years. In my shul we have programmers from all aspects of the field(Including operators and engineers). PC, mid range and mainframes. Only one of them has had his job for 30+ years, everyone else has been downsized every now and then. Half of my family is in computers, the same story. Now with the younger generation, I have two relatives who into PCs (installation, configurations and etc.) same story. In this relatively young field, companies are replacing old timers. Silicon Valley hires young geeks and their average is about five years, then they either go into management or leave the field altogether. Seattle is a bit more stable, but if you lose a job in Seattle, what are your chances of finding another job in Seattle? Chances are you will end up moving to where the software clients are.

Like I said, I had been in this field for 23+ years. Half of my family is there too. I can't even start listing how many people I know who moved out for a "better job" and then moved back in to this area because of better job prospects.

Dave said...

Do you seriously think that the people in Seattle, Silicon Valley, Austin, Raleigh, Boston, etc, all end up moving to New York?

tovarena said...

Taken from the Robert M. Beren Academy's website:
ECE18 mos. – 3 yrs. (till noon) $6,100
ECE 4 yrs. (till 2 PM) $7,960
Kindergarten (till 2 PM) $10,170
Grades 1* – 5 $14,110
Grade 6 Montessori $14,110
Grades 6 - 8 $15,500
Grades 9 – 12 $17,375

Not exactly inexpensive, but on par with many "out of town" Modern Orthodox communities.

My husband and I are also techies (or as he likes to put it - a two-geek family). More specifically, we're both programmers. And neither of us have lived in NY at any time during our careers. Even so, we have done just fine finding good jobs, even during economic downturns, without having to consider NY as a requirement for the next good job (though relocation opportunities have come up from time to time). IT jobs are pretty plentiful in most major metropolitan areas these days.

We have seriously considered Houston even before this latest "promotion" (maybe a better term than gimmick?) appeared. And while it's possibly more doable for us than some because we happen to have some extended family there, we would certainly never consider a relocation without a job in hand (with the exception of aliyah). I can't imagine too many people would.

But these ad campaigns do a good service of letting prospective job seekers know where to focus a search if they're looking to get out of wherever they're currently living. Another small-ish community ran a similar campaign a few years ago (minus the massive tuition discounts). A common thread with these sorts of campaigns seems to be that they have resources to assist in a job search in advance of a move to the area.

Anonymous said...

Per above, the families attracted are likely to have small and growing families. Thus, the tuition subsidy sounds more attractive than it actually would be. It seems like a very good way of positioning and grabbing attention. Then, let the community sell itself.

mlevin said...

Dave - where did I say that they end up moving to NY. I said they must be open to relocating. Meaning there are fewer (much fewer) job opportunities in their area and they have to pick up the family and move. Moves cost money. Buying and selling houses cost money. Children get uprooted. There are many negatives to living like that.


Dave said...

We've had similar length careers. I suspect we're of a similar age.

I have chosen to relocate in the past because I wanted to be in a different part of the country.

I have chosen to relocate in the past because there was a particular job that I thought was going to be interesting and rewarding. (*)

I have never had to relocate because I couldn't find competively paying jobs where I was.

I have friends and colleagues in all those areas who have remained over the decades, all gainfully employed.

Now, as it happens, I don't intend to relocate, because I am quite happy where I am. And I happen to live in one of the regions you declared would require relocation if a job was lost. And if the steady unsolicited recruitments are any indicator, I won't have that problem.

(*) In no case was there a job I actually wanted in New York, as it happened.

Avi said...

Outside of Aliyah, nobody moves first/finds job later. Nobody. So I think that concern is just ridiculous.

I love the idea of promoting OOT communities, because the myopic people here in NY/NJ don't even consider it. The job opportunities and lower housing and tax costs ought to be enough on their own, though. I don't know that you should have to offer tuition discounts, too. Just spend some money advertising; that money would be well spent to ensure continued growth.

Oh, and if you lose a "computer" job in Seattle, you have pretty good chance of finding another one. Microsoft, amazon,T-Mobile, clearwire, Nintendo USA,, Getty, corbis, RealNetworks, not to mention Boeing, REI, and Costco are all located there. If you're doing banking tech, then the NY area is your best bet. And there is a tremendous variety to the economy overall in NY/NJ. But seriously, the notion that you have to live here for stable tech employment is just plain stupid.

mlevin said...

Avi - I said that there is a chance to get a job in Seattle after you lose your current one, but the pool of jobs available is not as wide as tristate.

In tristate there is Banking and wall street (there are a few stock exchanges and commodity exchange and other exchanges located) and real estate and publishing and movie industry and tv industry and shmata business and music business and higher education and commerce inmort/export and international ie UN and traveling/tourism architecture and department stores to list a few major ones. There is a reason why NYC is called a capital of the world. All of these industries use computers and need people to hire. Seattle is a drop in a bucket compared to it.

Avi said...


Yes, all these industries use computers. They also use light bulbs. Why not recommend that the tristate area is great because there's plenty of work for electricians and maintenance workers? You seem to be referring to "computers" as "fixing and keeping servers and productivity software running." Indeed, a large diverse economy has many of these relatively low paying jobs. Good luck supporting a frum family and paying taxes/tuition/housing costs with those jobs.

I'll grant you the financial industry (I already did in my original comment), but if you are a talented programmer, you aren't going to work in real estate, shmata, movie, tv, import/export, UN, tourism or architecture. You're going to work in technology, where your skills are valued because they are part of the sales/production side of the house, not a cost of doing business, like janitorial services and payroll (which are often outsourced). Now, there is Silicon Alley in NY - which you didn't mention - so if you're doing web 2.0 content creation or server architecture, NY really may be your place, though Silicon Valley and, hey! Seattle, are still at least as strong according to my contacts.

mlevin said...

Avi - the conversation up above was about ease of portability of lawyers, doctors and computer people (don't remember the exact wording and am too lazy too look it up.) both lawyers and doctors said that unless it is someone young, their professions are not easily portable, but no one said anything about computers, making it sound like all computer professionals can easily move around and get jobs.

There are jobs which are easily portable such as nursing and writting, but those were not discussed for some reasons. And of course everyone needs light bulbs, but I don't know anything about that business to make any suggestions.

Miami Al said...


A gentleman I knew made a pretty penny recruiting lawyers for various firms. The key time frame was 4-7 years at a firm, when the person realizes that they aren't making partner and needs to move on.

They had a bunch of firms always looking for mid career talent, and they would call firms hunting around for people that would "raise their hand" and be open to being recruited. That also might mean retaking the Bar Exam in their new state.

Computer professional jobs use more online networking and less off line networking, and it relatively portable.

Doctors in private practice are stuck, as they have a practice. Those that work for others or in a hospital, totally portable.

Unless you are in a service business doing sales, most of your skill sets are portable within the US. Also, in rapidly growing areas like Houston, nobody is that established, and there are just WAY more opportunities opening up for newcomers, in a way that would make NYers heads spin.

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