Friday, February 13, 2009

Young, professional ... and leaving?

Used to be, they gathered after 5, sharply dressed and with few worries, in places just like this. Now they stood again, shoulder to shoulder in South End, a few with binders in their hand, and with resumes in their binders, just in case.

On Thursday, at Jillian's, hundreds of hopefuls filled an event for the jobless called the Pink Slip Networking Party. They sipped from plastic cups and ate free snacks. It was just before 5.

They were, mostly, the young professionals that Charlotte has cultivated for years.

Will they be the first jobless to leave?

"We want them to stay," said Moira Quinn of Charlotte Center City Partners, which hosted the event.

In the past decade, Charlotte has coveted these young men and women, wooing them with events like this, hiring consultants to tell us how we could lure more. Businesses, we knew, were attracted to cities with a vibrant and diverse workforce, and studies showed these young workers chose city first, job second.

Now they are the least anchored of Charlotte's jobless, mobile if they need to be, even if they don't necessarily want to go.

"I don't," said Hope Smith. She is 32, from Lawrenceville, Ga., a graduate of the University of Georgia. She came to Charlotte two years ago, found a job in property management, lost that job in November. She wonders if she should go back to school, maybe find another career, maybe move back home. "It's really, really hard," she says.

Over her left shoulder, Tricia Leo talked to a representative at one of the dozen tables offering recruiting services, volunteer opportunities, more education. Leo is from Sheboygan, Wisc. She moved to Charlotte in July 2007, found a job, a church family. "I want to stay," she said. "That's why I'm here today."

And so, on Thursday, they talked to others just like themselves, casualties of the recession, sharply dressed and full of worry. Used to be, some of them gathered at places like this, after 5, to swap stories about their boss or the next big things in their lives. They were from New Jersey and Delaware, Ohio and Michigan, and they were here because they'd heard Charlotte was a good place for young people. They wonder now if they can keep it a good place for themselves.


Anonymous said...

My suggestion...Go!

Charlotte is about to lose thousands of jobs during 2009 as Wells begins drastic cuts and B of A has to re-invent itself after the Countrywide/MLynch mess of 2008. These cuts will force Charlotte area workers to seek employment elsewhere, driving down home prices in an already bad real estate market for those who do retain their jobs.

You aren't seeing action at the state and local levels to handle this problem. In fact, the reporting of 1,200 job cuts at CMS is a prime example of the type of leadership you can expect. No discussion of strategy, reduce hours for non-classroom staff...cut salaries of top 20% of administrative salaried positions to ensure the quality maintains or is increased...just cut.

And what of our new governor? How many times has she been to Charlotte, meeting with the leaders, talking with citizens about what can be done for her constituents that provide tax dollars to the state coffers? I must have missed her many visits to this area...

Charlotte was a boomtown when things were good, but without leadership...time to move on.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion...stay.

If you like Charlotte, consider consulting so that you can live here and travel to work. Try a combination of marketing yourself to companies, including small companies(critically important) and creating profiles with consulting firms like M Squared, Resources Global, Tek Systems. Remember that firms don't have as much to offer as they recently did and don't feel down if you don't get a call.

Think about your skills that are transferable from one segment of business to another and focus on those. Write a resume to reflect those skills with less of a focus on where you used them (functional v chronological style.)

These are tough times, no doubt about it. Don't let people who have had little success in their lives or who have a decades-old ax to grind with local business and government get you down. Best to ignore them, since what are they offering other than venom, bile and hate?

Young professionals are Charlotte's future and I hope you can find a way to stay and continue to be part of the fabric of this city. However, if you end up with a new job somewhere else, take it and best of luck. Charlotte will miss you.

Charlotte Native

Anonymous said...

As someone who came hear several years ago as a young professional looking for opportunity in the growing city of Charlotte I can definitely relate. I am also unemployed after becoming caught up in the non-Merrill related BofA cuts.

However after looking around Charlotte for a few months I have chosen to focus on other locations. After speaking with many recruiters and a few trusted network contacts it appears Charlotte has labelled professionals like myself a "bargain" and are undercutting us left and right. I have had two interviews in other cities and did not find the "you have to come here for what I'll pay you cause you don't have a choice in this economy" attitude. Come on Charlotte...there is no desperation for those with the skills. Except when you push them away and become desperate yourself when the economy turns. And it will turn.....

Larry said...

What is surprising about all of this is how these young professionals, and major businesses, did not see the decay that had already started here in Charlotte years ago that would cause them to leave?

For the last decade or so the recruitment of these professionals has included among many things a special added benefit for the additional housing or living in a SAFE neighborhood and expenses associated with private schooling.

I challenge the Observer to see just who is in these private schools and how those new people would never had come here if they had only the option of our public schools or not had the extra to live in a safe neighborhood.

Until the last year or so did these perks dry up, and that created a real problem with the big businesses getting people here in Charlotte. The big business realized it was hurting their bottom line and they started looking for answers.

Too late to do anything about it now but perhaps they now realize that those expensive downtown toys, and not supporting our efforts (actually fighting thank you Chamber of Commerce, etc.) to make our schools smaller to focus on just the children or to get crime under control all over Charlotte was something that would have helped them if they had just listened to we regular citizens.

Our elected officials did all they could to make these big business happy even as it pushed us into this dark place.

It was a serious case of all these people forgetting that what made this City County was our family friendly, low crime, good schools and a great place to live which grew the big businesses here in Charlotte.

Until we get back to our successful core we are just like any other city which is trying to chase after the next bunch of people chasing after the next trendy trend and who are fickle when it comes to actually planting roots which makes a home a home.

Anonymous said...

Leave. Charlotte is beholden to an industry and corporate leaders who are incompetent. Its never a good move to put all of your eggs in one basket - but that's exactly what the town has done. Political leadership bends over backwards for the industry and those senior executives, further contributing to the incompetence. Charlotte has no soul and its best days are behind it. At least go to an area with a diversified economy.

Anonymous said...

As someone who left Charlotte during the last deep recession in the early eighties, I would say stay if you can. The thing about Charlotte is it won't be down forever, and will be one of the first to bounce back. Of course if you have a family to support it's a lot different. If I'd of stayed I would of probably started a business and caught the boom years. There is opportunity! And Charlotte is a great place for business. Good place to live.

Anonymous said...

They were from New Jersey and Delaware, Ohio and Michigan


Anonymous said...

As a small business owner, who can see the potential Charlotte has, I can only say do what your heart tells you to do.
For those of you bitter about your current lot in life due to your own overspending on cars and big houses, who wish to blame the city of Charlotte for your problems, I say go back up north and see what the dying cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia have for you compared to Charlotte.
For those of you who have spent money wisely, and realized that living beyond your means just to impress your friends and potential mates is not the best course of action - those of you who take personal responsibility for how your lives playout. I say stay. Charlotte is a young, dynamic city, which is much like a small business with the ability to change it's course rapidly to adapt to the challenges of a new time. The banking industry is not completely gone from Charlotte as BofA holds on and Wells is developing a new facility here. But the face of the corporate landscape could also completely change as young technology companies sprout up. Charlotte has the all of the key ingredients to survive and bounce back even better from these tough economic times.
Let the naysayers, whiners, and complainers go about their way and take their negativity with them.

Charlotte will survive AND be a better place for the purging of negative people that wish nothing else but to suck everyone else down with them.

chupacabra said...

You have to find your own path, but in all honesty if I were young, unattached, and out of work I would go wherever I could find a job.

Anonymous said...

Hey look. Forget the so called professional crapola. White collared jobs are leaving left and soon all gone. Back to the basics. Ditch the coat and tie and put on the jeans and work shoes.
Obama is going to shell out 3 million public works jobs soon to fix the eco system and for those who dont know what that is it means you got to get down and dirty and sweaty as a pig. Nomore easy soft office jobs.
You work outside in the blistering heat or rabid cold with your hands so better buy some gloves else you will be callouses.

Afterall Obama is the Democratic president of the working class blue collared masses aka the backbone of America like Joe the Plummer who makes his living working in sewage all day long.

So ditch the duds put on some ole work clothes and boots and get ready to bust ass doing manual labor jobs for 8 bucks an hr building bridges, roads, etc or the jobs nobody else will do as Bush put in.

Nomore young urban professional bourgeise under Obama blue collar workers paradise. Its young urban ditchdigger proletariats. Big fancy college degrees? Forget it. This is the school of hard knocks only.
Sorry but this is the guy you elected...

Anonymous said...

Why weren't these young, smart professionals advising their companies against the Goldent West, Countrywide, and Merrill deals? Maybe they are simply greedy and are reaping what they sowed. If I saw my boss running my company into the ground, I would speak up and stop it. Not keep on collecting my healthy paycheck knowing it was a bad decision. No sympathy here.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great place to pick up desperate chicks.

Anonymous said...

If you have the means to move, then I would recommend doing that. Charlotte is about to become the Detroit of the South. It will bounce back one day, and you can move back when it does, but why stay here and suffer through what is about to happen when the banks start laying off more and more people. Go find cities that aren't dominated by one industry, where salaries aren't being driven down. Charlotte is in dire need of new leadership. We need to diversify industry and stop trying to be the "city of banks". This town needs a huge makeover!

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the negative attitudes displayed in the comments submitted. This is my 4th recession, and I can tell you from much experience that those affected need to learn about living a simplified lifestyle in order to endure these tough times. Moving out of Charlotte is always an option - but do the research and be certain that you aren't moving from one difficult situation to one that is the same or worse.

This is a global recession - and unemployment is high across the country. Charlotte will recover.

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculous last comment. President Obama is actually trying to get our economy moving unlike the last administration who doubled our debt (through tax cuts for the rich and empire building), left us in Iraq which is nothing more than an expensive invasion that we had no reason even being in and that sucked the life out of our economy and gave the majority of tax cuts for the past 8 years to the wealthiest 1% (which doesn't stimulate anything). When you give bailouts to wall street with no pre conditions but you want to nickel and dime the average american when its there turn to get some help that just proves how ridiculous the party i'm sure you voted for is. The President is trying to change the damage that was done for the past 8 years of our econonmy and I pray that it works because this is a mess that my childrens children will be paying for. And by the way much of that spending is in green energy jobs and fields that we desperately need in order to rid ourselves of foreign oil so we can stop spending upwards of 1 trillion dollars fighting wars that have nothing to do with our security or well being, we have actually become less safe as a result. We could really use that trillion bucks we blew on Iraq and tax breaks for the CEO's who are driving companies in the ground to help out our economy now. Charlotte will survive as a Charlotte native I have seen this city morph and change with the times. Yes we are to concentrated in banking and hopefully this will wake people up in government that we need to diversify however Charlotte isn't even close to as bad as some these northern, mid west cities that have been dying a slow death for the past ten years. Times like this it is so important to understand every ten to fifteen years this happens, maybe not to this degree, but it happens. You get past it and you move forward and you emerge stronger. Charlotte will emerge stronger.

Anonymous said...

Lots of good ideas here, Peter. You should follow them up. Things are going to get worse before they get better, especially if the feds insist on trying to hold back the housing correction which MUST happen.

Accordingly, city and county gov't should expect and plan for revenues to come in 10% lower next year and then stay flat for the foreseeable future. Anything else is irresponsible.


Anonymous said...

They want us to stay. They advertise this city as if it has so many amenities for us to stay, but unless you are a banker what reason do you have (and even they are soon to be out of reasons to stay). It is hard to maintain a young professional work force when you cant offer them places of employment to get them to stay. You can advertise all of the cool stuff you want in this city but at the end of the day if I dont have a job then I dont really care about the extra activities. As to the first post I agree, leave while you can because the city is doing nothing to attract new business types (key word types GMAC dosent count it is still financial). Maybe just maybe Charlotte will then realize they need more industries to keep these people. Like many others I have turned my job search elsewhere that is more in tune with my industry.

Susan said...

I'm leaving. I moved here two years ago for a job in architecture and was laid off in August. I'm trying Birmingham - it's closer to home. I've found Charlotte to be a disappointment and won't really miss it, just the friends I've made here.

Anonymous said...

Th only ones preaching gloom and doom here are the redneck haters who still wish we were the dump we were 20 years ago. Ignore them. We've been through these things before and we'll get through this one as well. Young professionals are the ones who are going to bring life and vibrancy to this city and the chamber and others will find ways to keep you here. Hold tight for now.

Anonymous said...

@11:18: Like the Kenny Boys (that's Lewis and Thompson) are going to listen to a bunch of people under 30. That's silly. Those were the two biggest egos in Charlotte. Inncoent people are now paying the price for those egos.

@11:00: Stop sounding like another insular backward looking yokel and explain. How does a one trick pony town have the ability to fight those tough times when that pony is in ICU? Charlotte is anything but dynamic. No innovation comes out of the town that isn't financial engineering. I would like to see it adapt, but I certainly wouldn't bet on it. Charlotte is a stoic, fair weathered city that sold its soul to the banks. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. So explain your plan for pulling Charlotte through this. Better yet, present it to the Chamber and those wonderful elected leaders. Hope you have been saving, buddy.

John said...

I think it is terrible that so many people are stuck in this downward spiral of job loss. In hard times like this we need to pull together and pool together, invest in each other and look to start our own businesses. Independently we may or may not have the resources to kick start such a bold effort but if you have a strong idea share it. Plant the seed and get people to buy into your dream and we can create our own jobs and jobs for others.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte has great weather, but the underlying economy has always been a combination of "hotair"(banking, professional sports, real estate etc.) and low wage service jobs.

I warned people publicly back in the fall of 1997 when I ran for the office of Mayor that Charlotte would suffer a fatal blow as a result of the blow out of the US banking system.
Check out the Observer archives, you'll see for yourself.

Steve said...

It's a global recession, so try moving somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion: Keep your options open.

Living in Charlotte, it’s sometimes easy to forget there’s a whole wide world outside the I-485 loop. After ten-plus years in Charlotte, I left a comfortable job and a comfortable life just to see what else was out there. I’m not sure my timing could have been worse – quitting one job without another and moving to New York City just as Wall Street and the world began to unravel.

But I was very lucky and landed on my feet with not one, but two incredible opportunities. I’m now in a position where I’m learning new things every day, I interact with influential people from all over the world, and have the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree at little or no cost to me. Am I making a lot of money? Nope. But I never made a lot of money in Charlotte. As long as I’m paying my bills, have a comfortable home and a little cash left over for beer, I’m good to go. I’ve never pegged my success or happiness to the size of my paycheck, the name of my neighborhood or the make of my car, so in that respect, this recession hasn’t affected my day-to-day routine one iota.

In a few years, when the economy begins to right itself, I’ll be in a excellent position to move back to Charlotte, if I so choose. My friends and family are there. I own property there. There are elements of North Carolina that I miss dearly (UNC vs. Duke is just another ball game in the Big Apple). There are elements I do not miss (such as coming home from an evening out smelling like an ash tray).

Charlotte is home, but I’m going to take advantage of what’s in front of me, and we’ll see if the wind brings me back.


Anonymous said...

One of you said crime is low. Have you even looked at any data? Our crime rate is not that different from NYC in terms of burlaries, theft, etc. per capita.
Besides that, I'm having a decent time here... although the school system can be criticized, it works if accompanied by serious parental involvement---as in the case of ANY schooling, public, private.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I came to this city as a young professional 10 years ago, and took a job with a company that was not related to finance. As such, I don't work downtown, and I'm not really part of that culture. Ten years later, my career has progressed nicely, still with the same company. Maybe I get that from my Dad, but I found a company that I liked and stuck with it. Many of these "young professionals" the Observer likes to write so much about these days were not looking for permanency. They were looking for the bigger, better deal. I have friends who switched jobs every year because the pay, bonuses, or perks were just bit better. This culture was about hitting the bars at 5pm, buying condos in the 4th ward, and living it up on the lake on the weekends. It worked when the companies had more money than common sense, but that model can't last forever. Like the stock market, they took the short view of immediate returns, instead of playing the long game. I hope things get better for them, and they find a job somewhere. But I can't feel sorry for them, when other people are suffering so much more. People who don't classify as "Young Professionals."

Anonymous said...

As an older, recently laid-off member of the "financial" profession who has survived several economic downturns, I would probably say that someone without strong roots here (i.e., family wealth or clients) should "Go".

The thing I realize now is that past a point (unless you're a doctor or a lawyer), you aren't really in a "profession", but a job.

It doesn't matter whether you dress in a suit, have a degree (mine's an MBA), or much of anything else.

Unless you have an established set of clients who depend directly on you for services, you are most likely cannon fodder for some big corporation.

They will hire you today, fire you tomorrow, and hire you back at lower pay next quarter.

So, how can you increase your chances of winning this game?

I'd say go where you can when you're young.

Make and save as much money as you can.

Find a cheap place to live and prepare to live in the cheapest place you can in your older years (say mid-40's and beyond).

When you are older, you are much more likely to be under-employed with little or no chance of getting good opportunities when the economy "recovers" from whatever disasters will hit you and your family in the next few decades.

If you are "flexible" and switch "careers", then you are most likely starting nearer the bottom at a later age (not a good combination for advancement).

In your 40's, you will most likely have peaked with at least two serious "career" changes behind you.

I suspect that part of what we're seeing is another shift of power and prestige away from the U.S. toward other countries.

A lot of high-paying IT jobs left last decade, and now a lot more from all industries will also leave (or just get filled at lower wages)

The fact that Walmarts and McDonalds seem to be the two stalwarts of our economy should be seen as a sign of the future.

So, go where your skills are still unique or still in demand. If possible, consider international positions.

You never know where the best place to live will be 20 years from now.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I cannot believe the negative attitudes displayed in the comments submitted. This is my 4th recession, and I can tell you from much experience that those affected need to learn about living a simplified lifestyle in order to endure these tough times

This is not a recession, or business cycle downturn. This is a systemic crisis 45 years in the making.
BofA, Wells Fargo are all bankrupt thousands of times over.

What is required by President Obama is he needs the courage and nerve to declare the system bankrupt, place it under the protection of the US government. Then wipe out all the worthless derivatives contracts. Bank of America for instance holds $35 trillion in bad debt in the form of derivatives. You just cant bail out this amount of worthless paper.

Otherwise you'll see things you never thought possible.

Charlotte will vaporize if the collapse is allowed to continue unabated. There is no "bail out" possible. You have to change the current system completely.

This is not a recession, this is a system crisis from which there is no return.

Anonymous said...

"Young Professional" is a narrow term that only seems to apply to those that sit behind a desk all day and drive a BMW. I guess I am a rarity as a grad who does not care about raking in tons of money and being too miserable and stressed to enjoy it.

I do a carpet commute, freelancing and am also a pet sitter. Live by myself in Dilworth paying under 700 for a one bedroom apt. The whole work paradigm is shifting regardless of where one lives. Sitting in a office all day is fast becoming a relic. And that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I posted at 9:53 and clearly I need to clarify so people understand my comments...

First off, I am not anywhere near over my head. I have a mortgage payment, that's it. NO DEBT! I live well within my means...have a house that would be considered less than half what my income can easily afford, and have had the same FIXED RATE mortgage for 10 years.

My mortgage is current.

I have NEVER been late on a mortgage payment.

I would not be considered a redneck, though I know and enjoy the company of a few at times.

I have worked for both major financial institutions in Charlotte at one point or another and have ZERO axe to grind against either. They are both corporations and corporations are simply in existence to maximize the amount of money they make and NOTHING more.

All that being said...Charlotte is becoming a hole. Period.

Are there good people here...sure there there are good people just about anywhere you go.

Problem as I see it has to do with the changes in the last 15 years here. This WAS an up and coming city...can-do attitude and all that jazz.

But now look what you have...

Taxes...just like the same cities that people are RUNNING from.

Poor performing schools. Like it or not, that is what matters to parents. If the schools don't perform, people will move away from them either geographically or to privates.

And the "attitude" associated with the schools is probably what makes the issue worse. When the district is not "user-friendly", changes the locations to try and prop up their scores and continues to offer less and less solutions and more and more requests for tax dollars.

More off-shoring of good middle class jobs by the large employers here, taking away opportunities for growth in the area, not to mention the two big employers here bringing in more and more H1B visa applicants to cover for the workers they won't hire in their own local community.

This is a BIG country and a BIG world. Charlotte is nothing more than a small city with problems. If things change...come back. If intelligence returns and the city leaders do things light rail in the areas that NEED IT as opposed to spending money where it "looks good"...move back!

But in the meantime, Charlotte is too concerned with looking important on the outside and isn't sure how to fix what is broken on the inside!

Anonymous said...

Charlotte was not a dump 20 years ago. It was a beautiful city with tree-lined streets and it had a lot of character. I looked forward to Charlotte growing and adding different entertainment venues and exciting opportunities. But now it's just strip malls and steak houses. I guess that's what happens when you use Atlanta as a model! Sadly this recession (which is FAR from over) will take what little character Charlotte has left and destroy it leaving us with nothing by chain stores and chain restaurants. If I could sell my house and leave, I'd be packed and gone!

Anonymous said...

I'm outta here. Charlotte used to be a great place to live. Now we have rude people, horrible traffic and stupid, inpatient drivers (get off your d... cell phones and pay attention!, sprawl, high crime, high paid delusional people who lived off their base + bonus (hey, heard about saving the bonus for a rainy day?). I am counting the minutes until we can sell our house, leave our jobs (yes we're smart enough to wait this out and not take as bad a hit), and bye bye! We'll visit; we love our friends, the culture, restaurants and the tempo of a big city, yet not 24/7.

Anonymous said...

And for the posters who talked about Obama's plan...forget it. Pelosi and the pent up entitlement funding needs took control of the "stimulus" and turned it into "spending". Less than a third will go towards all of the infrastructure "shovel ready" projects.

And less than 20% will be into the system in 2009 and only another 37% in 2010 so almost half won;t come into effect until 2011..just in time for the next election cycle.

So don't count on this plan...

Anonymous said...

These people won't be leaving. There's no where for them to go! What's happening in Charlotte is no different than what's happening every where else.'s writers (and readers) should try reading some other papers for a change and see what's happening in other cities.

Adrian DeVore said...

Charlotte lacks industrial diversification beyond the financial sector. If someone really wants to get ahead, he/she has to be openly willing to extend themselves into the larger community and be active in it.

James Thomas Shell said...

The Hickory Hound Blog

I spoke of this exact issue at my blog. We are hurting in the Hickory Metro area, because our leaders have tried to turn this area into a retirement village and haven't worked towards cultivating industry geared towards the younger generations.

This will take you down the path towards fixed income economics. That is a losing battle. Your real estate values will plunge, because you won't have the people necessary to sustain a robust real estate market and the standard of living will fall, because the people that are today earning good incomes will be moving towards a precarious social security situation.

So household incomes in Charlotte could fall from the $80,000 to half of that or worse.

Don't be foolish enough to wish for that because of the current state of anxiety and depression. It is time to buckle up and move on to the "The Next Big Thing."

Anonymous said...

Leave the dirty city behind you like I did a few years ago. Take a lower paying job in a smaller community where the cost of living is lower, a place where there is a strong sense of community and your skills will be valued, a place where the air is cleaner and the grass is greener and the crime rates are lower. I'm glad I did. Now I live on the water in a coastal village - life is so much richer.

Anonymous said...

I know things are rough out there, but Charlotte is not the only area and its a fools mind to think that the golden bucket of coins is in another state. I have friends and family in NJ, VA, GA, & FL. All have suffered and some friends and family are loosing homes, cars, and savings - even though they have jobs although different from what they were doing - the money just isn't out there. That's the key..The money- its not out there. everyone is in cost savings mode (companies and people).

Consider taking something different until the economy improves even if its not something you want to do. You see, I hear so many people waiting for that 80-90K a year job & salary that they had.. Not gonna happen, thats why your unemployeed today (not anyone fault). You might need to take a 40-50K a year job and work part-time or for yourself to make up that extra 30-40k. We all have skills beyond corporate, just be creative think of yours and make it work for you - you'll do just fine. This has happened to American's in the past and they all survived. So can you, I know you can. Good luck everyone , stick around we want you here.

Anonymous said...

wherever there are jobs, people come. I don't think it matters if people start leaving charlotte or not. It's not like other cities aren't facing their own financial difficulties. So go where beside oing tback to live with your parents beside the fortunate few who will find jobs somewhere else. The problem though is that most of those people out of work have been tied directly or indirectly to the banking industry which is really stinkingin all over the world, let alone in the US. So the issue is not whether you want to leave or stay, ithe issue is can you find a job. NO job means moving back with your old folks or just toughing it out somehow until the economy starts turning around in late 09 early 2010. Good luck

Anonymous said...

I am a 50 year old resident, born and raised here, moved away for a decade (NYC), have been back for 18 years. I run a small business. The question for young people is where do you see your best opportunity for a prosperous future. No question the leadership in this town has failed to a large extent. The errors have been well chronicled (over-emphasis on banks, developers, stupid public projects, etc). My best advice is to consider carefully the STATE situation of wherever you think about moving. Our tax problems stem from paying for other regions far more than paying for our own sector. If you move, go all in. Commit to the new locale and get involved. If you stay, do the same. Understand something younger professionals: this country has gone off the rails. Older people think somebody owes them for the fact that they have survived. The public sector thinks EVERYBODY owes them for just existing. These two sectors have more lobbying power than you do. Charlotte's problems will pass. Maybe the city will regain the same mojo, maybe it will not. That guess is irrelevant. You are losing the race on population growth. you will have to stand your ground somewhere, whether her or Colorado or wherever. No state is going to say "we only welcome young, private sector workers." So you have to face some realities. You are going to have to work harder, and be more forceful in standing up for yourselves. I think NC offers one of the best climates for young people over the long term. SC is another excellent alternative. But wherever you go, understand a simple fact. You don't vote well. Consequentially, board rooms are not afraid in the slightest of your actions. So readjust your focus. COnsider private companies, perhaps that do not offer the same immediate benefits, but offer better long-term opportunity. Banks, at the end of the day, do not make anything. Maybe consider a company that actually offers something of value to society. And do not expect it to be easy or smooth. It wasn't for your parents, it's not going to be for you.
Good luck!
Crews Walden

Anonymous said...

Charlotte is definitely experience difficulties but those pale in comparison to other US cities. I moved from Las Vegas and can tell you that if you want to see economic stress and difficulty look west. The entire US and world are experiencing economic woes, but Charlotte is still in RELATIVELY good shape compared to other cities especially those in the rust belt and out west.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what my advice would be. I'm a rare Charlotte native who has seen Charlotte's soul die over the past 20 years. The banks may have built it into what it is now but I'm not really liking what it's become. The bank leadership is corrupt and the political leadership simply non-existent. I think it would depend on whether you're supporting a family or not. If single, I'd say go and go now!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:45 AM,

You wrote "ENOUGH SAID!" in response to the sentence "They were from New Jersey and Delaware, Ohio and Michigan." Just curious, how many Delaware transplants do you know and can you please describe their overall personality traits to me? I'm interested in hearing what opinions anyone can have of a freakin' Delaware native. I mean, it's kind of like saying "screw the Moldovans!" Anyone from Moldova can go straight to hell.

John Keels said...

I was reading all the posts in this blog. Actually, I am getting ready to graduate from ASU soon so I face a difficult situation with the economy. However, I am not panicked because it won't really change anything.

As far as Charlotte is concerned. I do think the economy will come back. I also agree with people that say that Charlotte's economy needs to diversity. Banking and Finance is GOOD. However, having most of the economy of a region in one industry is suicide in the long run.

Moving away right now may not solve problems unless you know you have a job waiting in another place. That is about the only way I would move out of the situation. Job losses are happening everywhere and Charlotte is simply one microcosm among many in the United States.

People do not realize that moving during a recession is sometimes higher risk than staying put. I would say the exception is if you have a good job offer in another place you'd like to live then go for it.

Realize of course that you will have to reestablish friends, community spirit, etc in a new place unless you really don't care about that. For me, I have moved many times in the past. It has usually been a good decision. Still there are things to consider before moving out of your current situation.

Anonymous said...

Yep, we're leaving and I won't miss much about this city. Moving to a smaller city with more family ties. Seems to be the best option. This city has nothing natural except trees. The rest is smoke and mirrors. Very disappointing place to live. Not enough good diversity and too much bad diversity.

Anonymous said...

I am actually leaving Charlotte next week after 3 years of great living to Washington D.C. to take a job offer after 3 months of no responses locally. I love Charlotte & hate to go, but I have no other options...

Hopefully one day I can return! Here's to all the good times!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but... I've lived here my whole life and I don't remember Charlotte having any soul 20 years ago. Not sure what some of you are talking about... I remember lots of fast food restaurants (that hasn't changed much), buffets, and horrible shopping, downtown was dead - especially at night - and there was a lot more crime in the Uptown area compared to now. It was nothing like it is today. If anything, Charlotte is a MUCH better city for singles now then it was 20 years ago. I'm from here and I like Charlotte better now than I did in the past (you can't go backwards anyways and nothing stays the same so get over it).

Charlotte is an attractive place for many reasons and it will continue to grow. Heck Atlanta at 5 million + people is still considered attractive and their metro area is still growing faster than Charlotte's (which hasn't even reached 2 million yet). Stop all the doom and gloom. I don't think a lot of you know what you're talking about and I think some of you actually hope this city fails. Pretty sad...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad so many of you small town folk are leaving to go to... small towns where you belong! This is a city and if you don't like it: GOODBYE! There are too many rednecks here anyways for a city/metro of our size so you won't be missed.

Anonymous said...

Crews Walden, well said, along with others on this post. Young professionals, step up to the plate and take responsibility for not only your careers, but for the state of the locale in which you decide to live, whether it's here or someplace else. Personally, I like Charlotte's location -- it's a pretty boring place to live (which is fine), but its within driving distance of SC, GA & FL which have great beaches and tourist attractions, and Charlotte has a lower threat of hurricanes because of its geographic location. In short, make your own choices based on your needs, but for God's sake, start taking the lead in municipal decisions wherever you decide to settle.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster from Vegas. There are so many cities out there doing worse than Charlotte. Notice people are blaming the banking industry for Charlotte's woes. If that's the case, then what's the reason for all the job losses in places like Atlanta and Tampa, and other cities with so called more diverse economies. If Charlotte can point to banking and say that's our problem, then heaven help the cities that have no clue why they're losing jobs.

James Leo said...

Two comments.

1. I've recently pledged to stop reading reader's comments because of the negativity and hatred. Can we all start focusing on being positive and coming up with solutions? We're all in the same boat.

2. I'm a young professional who lived here for 2 years after 6 years in the Navy, left for 2, and came back to make this my home. Admittedly, I not only bought a house at the most inopportune time (June 2007), but I bought too much house. It's in Plaza Midwood, and though it is only 1500 sf, it cost a pretty penny. I was optimistic, hoping for the continued revitilization of the area. Well, the tone is quickly changing for the worse, and I even had my house broken into last week. Conservatively speaking, my house has lost 10% of it's value. I'm sure I'm not the only person in this situation, and I think we all need to band together and share ideas. My plans are to get a roommate to help out with my monthly finances, take pride in my house, neighborhood, and city, and weather the storm. We can only emerge stronger after a time like this.

Anonymous said...

I can’t believe the amount of illogical and ill informed nonsense shared on this blog by disgruntled former bankers, so-called long-time residents and the like. Let’s start with correcting the misinformation:

1. The contract between big public companies and their employees was irrevocably broken in the 90’s. Your parents, advisors or heck even your friends should have told you that working for a big company (bank) is no more secure than working for smaller companies.
2. Your career and income can only go up. Re-read number 1. Sometimes you have to go backwards to restart your upward direction.
3. Having a narrow set of highly remunerative skills is all you need in a career. Sorry, re-read 1. and 2.
4. Charlotte has lackluster employment prospects now and that will remain the case indefinitely. Re-read 1, 2, and 3. Hands-down the growth in job opportunities has been firmly established in the broad swath of states in the southern half of the country including NC. Charlotte will recover because employees and companies will continue to want to be located here.

My advice to anyone is to lower your short term career and lifestyle expectations, broaden your job skills so they are transportable to a broad range of industries, and spend more of your time focused on finding a job with a privately owned company. By no means move simply because you are unemployed, as the cost of moving will likely out way any benefit given the nationwide deep recession. My own story is pretty simple- I was raised in Charlotte, started my career in Texas and returned to Charlotte in a recession similar to this one in 1983 to take a job in banking. I’ve spent most of the last twenty five years working for closely-held businesses in the region. Ironically I may next be working in Texas although I have no intention to permanently leave this area. Good luck!

Call me NC-TX-NC-TX

Anonymous said...

@5:22: Charlotte isn't a city. It's a couple of blocks of tall buildings and condos inside 277 and a bunch of suburbs (stereotypically great for being single (I'm dripping with sarcasm)). Cities are compact and densely populated. Charlotte isn't outside of 277.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your insight 2/13 5:20pm. I get so tired of all the negativity. It's ridiculous that we have too many people on here that want to see Charlotte fail and for what, just to say "WE Told You So!" If memory served me, Charlotte wasn't all that great in 1985. It's a much better place now and when this economic mess passes over, things will get better and Charlotte will be better for it. Here's for a prosperous future for Charlotte, a Place I truly love.


Anonymous said...

My Suggestion: Re-evaluate YOU, then worry about the Economy.

I'm so tired of seeing the negativity surrounding the Future for Charlotte. I'm a 2 year transplant, a single parent, and doing JUST FINE. I'm also in real estate and doing JUST FINE!

Yes my Edward Jones Statements make me want to cry, but that's part of the cycle of risk and reward! I'm not leaving. I'm so tired of seeing so much blame placed on everything else. How about someone stand up for once and take personal responsibility for their life and their choices. You don't need to drive a BMW, a Toyota gets you to the places you need to be in the exact same way and time. As a country we need to recognize that we don't have to keep up with the Jones'.

What it all boils down to is that EVERY person needs to take personal responsibility. If people did that in the first place, things might not have gotten so bad. I think some of the people in my fellow "Young Professional" age group need to Get up on Sunday Mornings, Go to Church and realize what is REALLY important in Life.

You can blame the government, the banks, the industry and everything else, but until individuals take responsibility nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

Folks -- this is a depression, not the recession people have lived through in prior cycles and the banks are at the middle of it. The government has de facto nationalized B of A and will liquidate the bank over time -- we need to find other professions (i.e. infrastructure) or wither away to Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Detroit South.

Gonna be big downtown full of gleaming empty buildings, surrounded by rotting suburbs.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Funny how the Charlotte haters all come out on stories like this. People saying "yea, I left this place X number of years ago b/c of this and that and am so much better off"... whatever. If you were, you wouldn't be logging on to this web site to say this crap. Bottom line is Charlotte is suffering like so many other cities are now. Charlotte will rebound and will do just fine. There will be jobs lost, but with that is lots of opportunity. The city may be different 5-10 years from now, but it will be for the better.

Anonymous said...

so funny ... i left in 2001, just could not take the fake charlotte atmosphere, a huge smoke and mirror show.... love this episode!!

Anonymous said...

These are scarry and uncertain times, but things will get better. All of us have to do what is in our best interests.

For those who do stay, most have not been horribly overpaid. Educated professionals should work hard and make a living that provides a middle class lifestyle. (If you made over $250,000 last year, you probably were overpaid.) Be careful about accepting jobs for salaries that are too low.

There is still a world of opportunity out there. We are talented and should be paid for the value that we bring to our work.

If employers think they can undercut compensation with strategies like offshoring to India, they are making a big mistake. Most of the work that comes out of India for $30 an hour is not worth $7 an hour. The quality is mostly horrible. Managers in Charlotte just have to keep acceptting it because they are told that it is the labor that the company wants to use.

I have nothing against people in India being trained and making a living. The true value proposition just needs to be realized.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte has the fifth-worst unemployment of any large metro area in the US, and Bank of America and Wachovia have only begun laying people off. The large population that the city attracted in recent years was only sustainable at a bubble level of employment. In addition to the shrinking financial sector, many of the jobs that attracted new residents were in construction. High employment in construction is only sustainable in cities that are growing, not flat and certainly not declining. Therefore, my advice to the unemployed and those thinking of moving to Charlotte is to find somewhere else to live. You wouldn't go looking for a better life in Detroit, would you?

Anonymous said...

To the naysayers out there, this is no Detroit. That city has on average 125 foreclosures a day... About 3x the average of the next worst city. And that's not Charlott btw. Housing values have gone down yea, but not hte 30+% in other cities. Not ever close. Try Phoenix, Las Vegas, or any FL city for that. I've been here 2+ years and believe it not, I'm not in the banking industry and life is good. There's plenty of opps here. You just need to actually need to get your head out of your arse.

Mark Gilman said...

Most the posters here need to get perspective. Where are you going to go? You want to see a city (state) that is suffering from really putting its economic eggs in one basket? Check out Detroit. Where are you going to go? Cleveland? Las Vegas? Arizona? Florida?Boston (good luck affording that)? we are in a NATIONAL recession and Charlotte is better off than most, trust me. Home prices have held here better than anywhere else in the country, there's a burgeoning technology, biotech, research and yes, Health Care industry here. Leave if you want, but those of us committed to Charlotte will only reap the benefits of your leaving. A little perspective would do most people here wonders.

Anonymous said...

I always laugh when I read Charlotte people's comments!

Read through the comments and laugh at the expectations...

- not as bad as "insert lousy northern city here"

- foreclosures nowhere near the bad places like Vegas, Phoenix, etc...

- Unemployment in Charlotte is only the fifth worst of major U.S. cities's like saying "I didn't take the FATTEST girl to the prom...just the fifth fattest"

People...come on. The premise is "If you are young, mobile, and professional, would you stay here and try to make a go of it or go somewhere else?"

The answer is...GO where the best chance for furthering yourself is!

Right now, in this "Worst since the Great Depression" economy, that is where a steady job with some chance for advancement!

Everyone's goal is the best possible life for themselves and their family (whatever version of that you relate to).

If that means that in Charlotte, you just got laid off and your home value has dropped 20%...


You can take a job in another location that puts you in a comparable position (home/rent prices and salary) and the economics of selling your home work...

DO IT!!!

If Charlotte is so will still be here! You can come back! You can retire here!

This concept that you must stay and weather the difficult times to truly be a Charlottean is idiotic! That's how the textile workers wound up with no marketable skills and no jobs. They missed out on opening their eyes and moving on to other things when the neon sighs were blinking "Dead End Career"!!!

Now...the concept that the banks here are no worse than anywhere else and blah blah have missed the point!

Corporate America is selling off the future of this country. People in positions much higher than anyone who reads are building facilities in India, China, the Philippines, Brazil...

They are hiring workers ate 40 - 60% less than workers here with no worries about benefits, laws, regulations...

They are purchasing product from outside the U.S. marking it up and selling it here in every way shape and form with nowhere near the level of regulation that an American should expect...

And YOU are paying for it! Shall we say...banks and auto industry...the high profile cases from recently!

But look at the offshoring of IT jobs...and the importing of H1B visa workers...think there are not qualified workers in the U.S.? No...they would just expect benefits and a salary! what will become of Charlotte...North Carolina...the United States in the coming years and decades. Don't believe it...look at the outrage from Europe when the "Buy American" was included in the stimulus bill.

Anonymous said...

Within a year Charlotte could be the hottest city in the nation for jobs. WF and BAC will cut overlap jobs but that will be offset. Within a year Merrill Lynch and Countrywide will be money makers instead of money losers. Good business principles of span of control, coordinating, and networking will necessitate central control of assets and employees to Charlotte. Result will be even more jobs here. GMAC will most likely move here ASAP, from Detroit. Morgan Stanley will headquarter it's commercial banking operations here. Life is a gamble, but if it were me I'd gamble on Charlotte before I'd gamble on any other city.

Anonymous said...

This isn't too encouraging ... already tied with Cincinnati, Ohio/Middletown, Ky. for America's 15th emptiest city?