San Jose job offer - need advice

I have received a job offer from a company in San Jose, California. The position title is: Test Development Engineering. The salary offered is 67k/year with Relocation Assistance and a Benefits package. I already have a 60k/year job in Toronto, Canada as Applications Engineer.

The San Jose job is closer to circuit-design which is an area I would like to get into.

I was told that the housing prices of Bay Area will make this salary into a 50k equivalent of Toronto. So practically my "buying power" is reduced.

I have a dillema whether:

-Professional advantages of this position, closer to ciruit design.

-Working in Silicon Valley, the Mecca of HighTech.

outweigh the offered salary ?

Thanks in advance.

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HI, I made the same mistake in miss-calculaiton when I moved to New York from Sweden.

Life in the US is far more expensive that you think. Gas, electricity, tolls, federal, state, local, socialsecurity taxes adds up to a level very close to the ones in Europe, but the benefits are much less.

Check out what you want, look for a house similar to the >I have received a job offer from a company

Reply to
Farhad A.

I would guess you'd be financially better off in Toronto. I don't know how expensive Toronto is, but I know it will be fairly expensive to live in San Jose. And while the position may be closer to design, it's not terribly close.

I'm surprised about the comments from the guy from Sweden. He must have moved someplace very expensive, because Sweden isn't cheap. And their tax rate is like 98%.

Reply to
Kevin Neilson

I think you'll find it to be much worse than that, unless Toronto has a high cost of living (I wouldn't know). Real estate in the San Jose area is very expensive. Not the highest in the US, but close. It's about

2-3 times what it is in the U.S. midwest.

I wouldn't take it, but YMMV.

When I moved from the midwest to San Jose in 1989, it was for a $40K salary. I thought that was great until I got here and discovered that I could barely make ends meet even when sharing a condo.

On the other hand, job satisfaction is worth a lot.

Reply to
Eric Smith

And then some. A little trawling of Craigslist for Santa Clara housing:

random studios are about $900 a month (that's single room with kitcheette and bathroom).

2 bdrms are $1300+.

Buing is much worse, however. Even a 6 figure income has most bay area houses unaffordable.

People ask $490,000 for 2 bedroom, 900 square feet homes in Santa Clara. Yes, thats not a typo, 1/2 a million for a 2 bdrm bungalo.

Not to mention that the US dollar has further to drop, and Toronto is not ruled by a President who believes it is more important to be loyal than correct.

Nicholas C. Weaver.  to reply email to "nweaver" at the domain
Reply to
Nicholas Weaver

I don't know about Sweden, but in Norway the tax rate isn't actually as bad as that - only about 40% or so. It varies widely according to your income (children's author Astrid Lingrid in Sweden once had a tax rate of

102%), and things like mortgages are tax-deductable. Your taxes also cover the national health care, saving you from health insurance. As for the cost of living here (in Norway - Sweden is similar), some things are relatively cheap (like housing, and electricity), and others expensive (like petrol). Salaries have much less spread here - high-paying jobs are lower-paying than the UK or the US, but low-paying jobs are better paid. And as an indication, my four-bedroom house cost about twice my salary, although admittedly that was an unusually good deal.
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Hi Kevin, Interesting comment. It was actually the reaction I got from most of my American friends while I was working there. But the fact that the tax rate in Sweden is not much higher that the US, should come like a shock to most of people (it was for me deffinitely).

I was living in New York, the federal tax was about 23%, then you have the social security tax at 6.5%, plus NY State tax (I think it is

3.7%) then you have the NY City tax, plus an addition to that was the "cleaning" tax!

Ok, if you think this is nothing,then you have to compare to what I payed in Sweden. My tax rate in Sweden was 38.5%, it was slightly less because I choose not to pay tax to the Swedish Chirch. For that I was getting free education, free health care, excellent public service and a lot more.

BR, /Farhad PS. I am living in Ireland right now and the tax system here is kind of messy, I still havn't figured out how the system really works!

Reply to
Farhad A.

California is worse. Say a marginal fed of 25%, state of 9%, social security and medicare of ~8%, and the marginal tax rate is pretty high. Then add the >8% sales tax, the 1% property tax, and its quite amazing just how poor the state government is with taxes as high as they are.

Note those 103% tax figures you see in some horror stories are for MARGINAL tax rate, you earn another dollar, how much tax do you pay on it...

Well, I once had a case where because I made an extra $20, I was no longer eligible for a $60 california tax credit, making the marginal tax rate on that last $20 a whopping 300%!

Nicholas C. Weaver.  to reply email to "nweaver" at the domain
Reply to
Nicholas Weaver

Sounds like you should move to Toronto, Nick.

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I'm (in Norway) close to 50% income tax, sales tax (VAT) is 25%, a gallon of gasoline is US$ 6. Then there are road tax, toll, lots of extra taxes on certain gods, if you buy a high range Mercedes you can pay more than 1 million NOK (160,000 US$) in taxes alone on that single purchase. 0.5L beer costs 5+ US$ in the store and usually US$

10+ in a resturant.

You can't be living in a major city. In Oslo a four bedroom house cost at least 5x my annual income (or 10x after income tax).

I've lived in California and the only think I can think of which is more expensive there than in Norway is lift tickets at ski resorts...


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California is absolutely outrageous. Be sure to throw in the car taxes onto what Nicholas just enumerated, and the fact that firearms have essentially been de facto outlawed. Unlike Europe, most public transportation alternatives here are a joke and there are no serious interurban transit alternatives which makes the prices for getting around comparable. That said, there is a buzz you can kind of feel in places like SJ, you're rubbing shoulders with some of the brightest people in the world - if you're at the right company. To the original poster, sounds like the pay is too low and the job doesn't deliver enough to you. I'd keep looking, and hope your current boss doesn't read comp.arch.fpga :)

Reply to
Kadir Solid Gold Suleyman

I don't understand this comment. All of my friends in San Jose and surrounding communities own multiple firearms-long guns and hand guns both. I can buy guns from at least 12 firearms emporiums less than 30 minutes from my house.

Another though: With hundreds (if not thousands)of unemployed engineers in Silicon Valley, why is any employer trying to import a foreign engineer?

Reply to
Greg Lara

One of two things: the speciality pyramid, or the talent pyramid.

It's still hard to find the best people. They all have jobs, and don't stay unemployed long... even in this environment.

People with highly specialized skills don't stay unemployed long (unless there's no demand, which is a different problem).

I would wager most of the unemployed valley people are either Web/VB/Java programmers, or just not very good. Harsh, but probably true.

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Make a move, come to california, best place on earth. Don't worry about salary, you will jump in a year - gauranteed for the skills that you are going to gain.

For your reference here is the salary table in bay area for ASIC/FPGA/CKT designer

1-2 yr. from school : 55k to 65k 2-5 yy. exp, : 65k to 90k 5-7 yr : 90k to 105k 7yr to 11 yr : 105k to 135k

-Purvesh wrote:


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Yes, the cost of living in Silicon Valley is silly. Yes, the commute sucks. But the comment about the "buzz" out here is important, at least to me. The downside is that you can easily get trapped in a workaholohic mode.

The weather is generally good. Many people spend a lot of time outdoors, so you don't need as big a dwelling. This can offset a lot of the other costs if you like to hike/bike/whatever.

If you have a family and want a big place to live you will probably have a long commute (which takes time from your family).

If you are considering a job out here, I'd suggest coming out for a long weekend to check the place out. Talk to people face to face. Figure out where you are going to live and/or what to expect for a commute and/or what you are going to do in your non-work time.

Commuting is generally horrible. (It will get worse if the economy improves.) If you live close enough (or are crazy enough) you can bike to work much/all of the year. (Living close costs big $. Biking saves big $.)

Yes, the public transportation is not great. On the other hand, CalTrain isn't that bad if it goes where you want to go. I have friends who take it to/from Silicon Valley to San Francisco. CalTrain is bicycle friendly.

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Reply to
Hal Murray

Certainly alchohol is ridiculously priced, and petrol costs more than in virtually any other country, despite Norway being a major producer. An American living in Norway would find driving a different experiance - cars and petrol are far more expensive, and people generally have older cars with far better fuel economy than SUVs, and it's more common for families to have one car rather than two (personally, I cycle about 4 km to work). We don't have the same relationship to cars as is common in the USA, so for most people the price of a Mercedes is irrelevant when a Toyota will do just as good a job.

I'm living in a small town - prices are a lot higher in Oslo. But for much of the country, it is not hard to be in a fairly low property-price area while still within an hours commute to work (I am a half-hour ferry ride from the nearest city). However, I expect that a 4x or 5x income house price is far more common. But it's also worth taking into account that mortgages are cheap (I always find these "cheap mortgage" spam mails amusing - they quote rents fare above what I already pay) and easy to get, and tax-deductable.

It's difficult for me to give a true comparison (having moved to Norway from Scotland straight after university), but my impression is that Norway is not nearly as expensive a place to live as it is rumoured to be.


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I have some recent comparison on this subject.

I moved back to Sweden from San Jose last year after living there for 3 years. Taxes are higher in Sweden but not that much higher. In California I paid around 35%-40%, it depends on how many deductibles you have. In Sweden I pay around 50% in taxes. Kids health and dental is free. Adult has to pay a copay for each health care visit. Dental for adults is subsidized and not free and can be expensive.

Schools and universities are free in Sweden. I don't need to start saving to my kids college fees.

Even if we have 25% sales tax in Sweden, some stuff is actually cheaper here even if most of the part is more expensive. But the difference is not that much despite the 25% sales tax.

The house I rent in US cost $2100 which was a good price there. In Sweden I bought a house which would had cost at least $1.000.000 in San Jose for 1/4 of the price. I live in Gothenburg which is the second largest city in Sweden.

Cars are slightly more expensive. It depends on the brand and type. Gas is way more expensive (2.5x) here but I don't need to drive that much here. In US, when you had to do some shopping, you needed to use your car to drive around to all the stores or shopping centers. Here I can go down to the down town and park the car and walk to all the stores. That kind of downtown doesn't really exist in silicon valley.

The US salary was much higher than my Swedish salary. So in all, I had slightly more money in US after all the bills was paid. But here I have my own house. The infrastructure is much better and the social security is also much better plus all my relatives and friends are here.

Comparison with US is also dependent on the current currency rate on dollar. When I moved to US, one dollar was at most 11 Swedish kronor, now it's down to

6.7 Swedish kronor. That is a 40% difference. So now the prices in US are 40% cheaper to Sweden compared to year 2000.!!!

Göran Bilski


Reply to
Göran Bilski


This has been a very insightful thread! What I say is nothing new considering some of the other replies, but none the less here is my experience & opinion:

First, I would not take a position based upon salary alone... or upon salary at all (assuming it pays the bills) -- By now you have seen that living in the bay area is costly, and home ownership (if that is important to you at this time) is very difficult on one salary. Thus, if you decide to take the opportunity consider the other benefits and potential pitfalls that await.

I lived/worked in the silicon valley for a while and it is something I'm glad to have experienced. As the other posters note, there is something special about being surrounded by talent, and not merely at the work-place. The personal networking opportunities are priceless, as demonstrated by the many successful ventures that have sprung from the valley over the years.

However, it is not the place for everyone; things are expensive, the public transport isn't great (I was glad to have a good bike-commute path with good bike lanes... flying past the internet-bubble-induced traffic melt-downs in 2000 was great), and there is a definite materialistic streak no doubt inspired by the good salaries. Its also a very diverse area ethnically, but there are areas where this diversity doesn't equate to an interesting social experience (social diversity) as you'll find in San Francisco, Berkeley, or Santa Cruz for example; the valley can be somewhat sterile.

Perhaps the biggest draw of the bay area, though, is the fact that you have such communities and natural beauty within an hour's drive of each other. If you don't find one area to your liking, there is almost certainly another that doesn't require moving across the country to find. After San Jose I relocated to a community not far away and have enjoyed it immensely as it offers things to my liking.


Reply to

Kadir Solid Gold Suleyman wrote about California:

Greg Lara wrote:

The state legislature hasn't actually completely banned them yet, but the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Silveira v. Lockyer that the right to bear arms is not an individual right. Thus in the Ninth Circuit (including California) there is now no impediment to further and more draconian gun bans.

On the other hand, the Justice Department recently published a report concluding that the right to bear arms *is* an individual right.

It amazes me that otherwise rational people will maintain that the word "people" in the Second Amendment means something different than the same word when used in other Amendments such as the First Amendment. If the government required people to register and/or obtain a license before exercising their First Amendment rights, everyone would be outraged, but yet it seems that many think it is OK to require that for Second Amendment rights, or to disallow them entirely.

Reply to
Eric Smith

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