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Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

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Old 06-03-2009, 09:00 AM   #1
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Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

Ok, I just was informed that I'll be getting a call from one of my higher ups later today offering me a job in McLean, VA (our corporate HQ). The position is similar to the one I hold now as IT Admin but with much higher visibility. I have some questions about the area and I'm hoping someone on here can offer some advice.

1) I make 75k now, this position would pay 80-90k. Moving from Lancaster, PA down to the greater DC area... will that bump make up for the increase in cost of living? Around here, 75k is a decent salary for someone in their 20's. Not sure about that area.

2) Housing. If I take the position, it's probably going to be with the understanding that it will lead to something else in the next couple of years. I currently own my home, but I think I'd be looking for an apartment, at least at first. Any good areas to look for (either renting or purchasing) that are not too terrible of a commute?

3) Wife is also in IT. How is the market in the area for the field?

Anyway, those are the big questions... Any help you guys can lend is appreciated.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:12 AM   #2
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

I have lived in NOVA before and I was not happy there. It is very very busy and very much a rat race. I currenty live north of B-more now and make a little less then I did in NOVA but my quality of life is a million times better. My commute is ten seconds (get a new job last year) but even when I use to drive into B-more it was like 45 minutes. In NOVA it was easily 1.5 hours with less miles then my 45 minute commute to B-more. Honestly for 10 or 15k more stay in Lancester your dollar is going way farther.

I worked in Tysons Corner area which is basically McLean. A decent apartemnt will run you around 1500 to 2000 and supposedly it is hard to rent right now because no one wants to buy. Also, in NOVA beleive it or not there are a lot of language barriers many many different cultures live there and at times it is hard to deal with.

Sorry to be a negative nancy here, maybe I am just burnt out on NOVA. I am postived there are people on here that will tell you all the good stuff and there is good stuff.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:37 AM   #3
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

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Originally Posted by BleedBurgundy View Post
Ok, I just was informed that I'll be getting a call from one of my higher ups later today offering me a job in McLean, VA (our corporate HQ). The position is similar to the one I hold now as IT Admin but with much higher visibility. I have some questions about the area and I'm hoping someone on here can offer some advice.

1) I make 75k now, this position would pay 80-90k. Moving from Lancaster, PA down to the greater DC area... will that bump make up for the increase in cost of living? Around here, 75k is a decent salary for someone in their 20's. Not sure about that area.

2) Housing. If I take the position, it's probably going to be with the understanding that it will lead to something else in the next couple of years. I currently own my home, but I think I'd be looking for an apartment, at least at first. Any good areas to look for (either renting or purchasing) that are not too terrible of a commute?

3) Wife is also in IT. How is the market in the area for the field?

Anyway, those are the big questions... Any help you guys can lend is appreciated.
1)I doubt it seriously. I have no ide about the COL in Lancaster but I'd bet it's on the order of 25% less than NoVa

2)Coming from Lancaster you'll probably not have any idea what you're getting into here. The Metro area is huge. You can live anywhere in a two state plus DC area. There are numerous "areas" to live in. Mclean itself will be insanely expensive. Same with Vienna. Fairfax would be a little better. Those are right near Mclean. Going farther out will get cheaper but will exponentially increase your commute.

3)IT in Nova is second only to probably to Silicon Valley. There are tons of Tech companies...but what does she do? Getting a job right now in any field is somewhat hard. Without a Security Clearance too she'll find it a lot more difficult.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:42 AM   #4
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

The increase in living is 163% moving from Lancaster to McLean so you would need an incease in pay to $193,000 to offset the cost of living.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:58 AM   #5
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

Cost of living in NoVA is high but not unreasonable. Housing in McLean area is expensive relative to other areas in NoVA. You need to asses the tax implications of living in one state and working in another. If the wife is a US citizen, has decent experience she'll have no problem finding a job cause Uncle Sam always makes it rain in D.C.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:01 AM   #6
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

Sorry I forgot the link to the numbers I gave. This say's housing is 633% higher in NVa.
Cost of Living Comparison: compare Lancaster, Pennsylvania to McLean, Virginia
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:07 AM   #7
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

1) 90k maybe, as it would be a 20% increase in pay. However, it also depends on your living arrangements and what your wife would contribute...

2) Commute wise, there is no good commute in the DC Area, unless you live and work on the same road, or have Metro/Train access. It's pretty safe to say that for every 1 mile of commute, it will take 2-2.5 minutes to travel. So a 20 mile commute will take 40-50 minutes depending on traffic. Keep that in mind when looking for a place to live. However, if you are apartment hunting and can afford it, check out the Rosslyn/Ballston/Clarendon area. Travel to McLean from those areas shouldn't be too terrible.

I used to drive a 54 mile one way commute (90 minutes, Frederick to Bailey's Crossroads), and you certainly get used to it after a while. And you figure out alternative ways as well. I did that for a year (It was 30 mile/60 minute before I moved to Frederick) before my company transferred me to their Frederick office. Now my commute is less than 5 minutes, and I can go home for lunch.

3) As FRPLG said, IT in NOVA is very easy to come by. The Dulles Corridor has tons of IT opportunites with some big players, as well as the Federal Government. But before making the move, I'd make sure she does a thorough search of the available jobs. Security Clearance is like Wonka's Golden Ticket...if you have one, you are set.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:09 AM   #8
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

jeebus. 163% huh, wow. Good info to have though.

Wife had an active top secret clearance but it recently expired.

Thanks for all of the replies.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:11 AM   #9
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

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jeebus. 163% huh, wow. Good info to have though.

Wife had an active top secret clearance but it recently expired.

Thanks for all of the replies.
If you intend to live in McLean it's that bad. MCLean is the area where a lot of well-off people live.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:18 AM   #10
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

I'm not sure how the whole process works, but if it's recently expired, I'd imagine it wouldn't take as long (or be as expensive) for a company to help get it reactivated...

As saden said, McLean/Great Falls is a very affluent area. But you can live relatively close to McLean for the right price...
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:21 AM   #11
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

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If you intend to live in McLean it's that bad. MCLean is the area where a lot of well-off people live.
yeah, i noticed that when I was down last time. I've checked some other areas and it seems more in line with what I was expecting. Still working out the details, i've got time before I have to make a decision.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:35 AM   #12
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

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Originally Posted by BDBohnzie View Post
1) 90k maybe, as it would be a 20% increase in pay. However, it also depends on your living arrangements and what your wife would contribute...

2) Commute wise, there is no good commute in the DC Area, unless you live and work on the same road, or have Metro/Train access. It's pretty safe to say that for every 1 mile of commute, it will take 2-2.5 minutes to travel. So a 20 mile commute will take 40-50 minutes depending on traffic. Keep that in mind when looking for a place to live. However, if you are apartment hunting and can afford it, check out the Rosslyn/Ballston/Clarendon area. Travel to McLean from those areas shouldn't be too terrible.

I used to drive a 54 mile one way commute (90 minutes, Frederick to Bailey's Crossroads), and you certainly get used to it after a while. And you figure out alternative ways as well. I did that for a year (It was 30 mile/60 minute before I moved to Frederick) before my company transferred me to their Frederick office. Now my commute is less than 5 minutes, and I can go home for lunch.

3) As FRPLG said, IT in NOVA is very easy to come by. The Dulles Corridor has tons of IT opportunites with some big players, as well as the Federal Government. But before making the move, I'd make sure she does a thorough search of the available jobs. Security Clearance is like Wonka's Golden Ticket...if you have one, you are set.
The secert clearence is not as big a deal as it was say around 04-06. Now a days a lot of contractors will hire you with the condition that you will get one while you are working for them. If she doesn't have one don't sweat it as long as she has good credit and a clean record she can obtain one.

Just last week my boss hired a non-clearence person over one that was clearence, the non-clearence was better quailfied. Some people think casue you have a clearence you can just walk into a General Dynamics, CACI, Boz Allen and they will just hand you a job, not the case. Now if you have a TSI with lifestyle poly diffrent story but those are very rare.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:42 AM   #13
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

Bleed, as far as cost of living. It's hard to say since I have no experience with Lancaster. So that's tough to say. You can probably find a decent place in Falls Church which is fairly close to McClean that won't clear the bank. There are lots of spots around the area where rent isn't unreasonable (expect to pay, at minimum, 1500 to be close to McClean at all. I rent a 2 bed/bath Condo in Centreville (one hell of a commute to McClean) and it's 1400 a month. The farther east, the more expensive. Another option is the reston/herndon area and taking the toll road in. 2 bucks a day round trip give or take if you get off on rt 7.

If you need any additional help, feel free to PM me and Ill be glad to do a little research for you~

When it comes down to it, if this position will lead to something in the future -- it's probably going to be worth it!
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:44 AM   #14
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

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Originally Posted by BDBohnzie View Post
I'm not sure how the whole process works, but if it's recently expired, I'd imagine it wouldn't take as long (or be as expensive) for a company to help get it reactivated...

As saden said, McLean/Great Falls is a very affluent area. But you can live relatively close to McLean for the right price...

You are right there is a grace period. How long I don't know, DOD maybe able to tell you.

Here is funny thing about clearences though now that Obama is in office a lot of Govt Contractors are looking for new paths/ business that is not defense spending. Anything that is "green" right now is very hot and they could give 2 craps about your clearence, you have to have skillz man. =)
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:49 AM   #15
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Re: Promotion Opportunity in Mclean, VA. Need some advice.

Also, there is no access to Tysons Corner/ McLean by Metro. Well at least not direct you could get off at Dunn Loring or Vienna and take the Metro bus close to where you will be working, which I imangine would be on Greenspring Ave.
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