This might be a bad time to ask for advice about Seattle

I was asked recently if I had any advice for people that might be considering the move to Seattle and possibly Microsoft. Given that Tuesday was the 4th day in the last week I've been trapped at the top of a road turned ice-skating rink it might be a bad time to ask. Anyway, here is a random collection of tips based on my experience moving to the Seattle area. There are some other recent transplants on my team that could probably offer their own advice.

  • If you love 90 degree beach days in the summer get a sweatshirt and a wet suit. Layers are required almost year round here and the few weeks that the temperature does break past the 90 degree mark the water in the sound or lakes is still cold enough to keep penguins happy.

  • If you don't live in Seattle you aren't cool. At least that's the attitude carried by most "West-Siders". I personally think there is a lot of character to the "East side" or even the "East East side" where I live.

  • Other than this year it really doesn't rain or snow that much. It's just overcast skies combined with short days in the winter that tend to effect people the most. I love the clean crisp air and being surrounded by mountains. There's a great sense of the outdoors all around you here.

  • It's rare that people are from here. Maybe it's just working at Microsoft, but I feel like a huge percentage of the population around Seattle is made up of transplants from other parts of the country. It leads to a lack of combined city character and gelling amongst the citizens. No southern charm or New York attitude here but rather something that's strangely neutral. It can take a while to meet people.

  • Commutes are terrible. Even busses take hour+ times during rush hour on a tour that shouldn't be longer than 20 minutes.

Here are some other relevant posts about life at Microsoft.

5 tips for Being Successful At Microsoft.

6 Months at the Empire & the follow-up at a year.

Maybe some of the other bloggers I know can chime in with their 2 cents on life in Seattle and Microsoft.

Comments (6)
  1. ausic says:

    I don’t think it’s ideal for a Microsoft employee (even a single) to live in Seattle downtown. The commute on the Bus 545 from downtown is almost 30mins and the return in the evening is even worse. It’s too painful. It’s insane to do it regularly.

    Plus there is hardly any supermarket in the city. Maybe I’m just a suburban guy. Clean air, open space, any time. Redmond town centre is good enough.

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    Clean air and open space in Redmond?  Must be a part of it I haven’t seen yet…  🙂

    I’ve been living in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle for a year, and found the commute to be better than the commute I had from downtown Kirkland, mainly because it was possible to take a direct bus.  General rule–if you’re married or going to be soon, the Eastside is great.  If you’re single, you better get over to Seattle.

    Other advice?  Sounds like a blog post to me… 🙂

  3. MSDNArchive says:

    We moved to Bellevue from Hawaii 8 years ago and love it here.  There’s so much to do outdoors and Seattleites often say, "there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes."  With enough GoreTex and down anyplace is comfortable.  

    Check out this slideshow of how beautiful (but cold) Microsoft main campus looked under a blanket of snow last week

  4. Darren says:

    I’m biased, but I think Vancouver is Seattle 2.0. Less rain, better urban planning, less violent crime and you can marry if you’re gay. Of course, the commute to the MS campus would be a killer.

  5. I really like Seattle, especially the East Side (bridge commuting is something I learned not to do when I lived in Florida). Snoqualmie is just down I-90 maybe an hours drive away, with good snowboarding day & night. Hey Darren, BC rocks! I remember when I seriously contemplated commuting from Whistler by small airplane, but I figured it would only be a matter of time before I ran into a ‘rock cloud’:)

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