I lived in Washington, D.C., for nearly eight years and am grateful I was able to escape the place. Things are moving rapidly there. You spend hours in traffic jams and hours more at the office. There is very little time to talk to, let alone connect with, your neighbors. And as soon as you get to know them, they take a job in another city and off they go.
I'm glad I live in Pittsburgh again. I'm glad I was able to go to a picnic last weekend. Though the heyday of community picnics is over even in Pittsburgh, the old park is still hosting its fair share of them.
Mr. Purcell is not alone in his odyssey experience. Now that I'm tuned into the boomerang phenomenon, I'm meeting more and more expatriates who would like to return to Pittsburgh. But there is considerable anxiety about how to make the move.
Finding that job in the Burgh that will facilitate the relocation is a tall order. Mr. Purcell's solution is to go the Guru.com route:
I've been self-employed since 1993. In addition to writing this weekly column, I provide communications services to corporate clients. My biggest client is in Virginia. I work from Pittsburgh.
There are risks to rootless employment. These are jobs that are more easily outsourced and vulnerable to intense competition. The hedge is an entrenched network that is rich in social capital, thereby approximating proximity economics. The greater the quantity and quality of the relationships you cultivate, the greater the value of your business (and the more money you will earn).
For most people, I would guess that this career option would require at least some retraining. But you could moonlight as a self-employed person until you have established sufficient income (and network critical mass) to justify the move back to the Burgh.