Education

The happiest and unhappiest cities in which to work

Looking for a happy city in which to work? Here is a breakdown of the happiest and unhappiest.

In yet another listed breakdown of work trends, a company called CareerBliss has compiled lists of the happiest and unhappiest cities in which to work. Here are the happiest:

  • San Jose, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Miami, FL
  • Washington, DC
  • Memphis, TN
  • El Paso, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Birmingham, AL

CareerBliss says the list is based on growth opportunities, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, senior management, job security and whether the employee would recommend the company to others. (As another qualifier in the press release I received, Matt Miller, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of CareerBliss says "A field that often yields happy employees is information technology.")

From the looks of the list, I'd say the most common characteristic is sunshine. Aside from DC, most of these places stay warm most of the year. I'm not trying to be shallow here, but it has to play into the equation, right?

The list of unhappiest cities in which to work includes:

  • Saint Paul, MN
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Omaha, NE
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • Tampa, FL

The inclusion of Tampa and Tucson kind of blows holes in my sunshine theory, but I'm sticking to it.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

53 comments
sedunov
sedunov

I didn't see any mention of Vancouver, BC or Seattle in this article and I'm not surprised. People in the NW tend to be low-key, low-profile, higher-than-average-IQ types that prefer not to call attention to themselves - in other words, they often make absolutely ideal employees. It rarely snows in the winter (i.e. at sea level) and as for the long wet winters, that only adds to the ideal employee theory because if it rained much less than it does, people would want to be outside even more than they already are - and this would surely have an adverse effect on the ideal employee theory because they would most likely start to show up for work a couple of days less. But even worse, they would start to tell their friends and relatives... However, the BIG SECRET known only to NW locals is that whenever the sun does shine it instantly transforms these two (still quietly growing) but otherwise-gloomy metro areas into perhaps two of the most geographically-breathtaking dopamine-generating outdoor-adventurous metro regions in the world. Luckily (for employers) this brilliant transformation occurs only when the sunshine appears after several (or too-many-to-count) days of gloomy, cloudy rainy days. It is well-known that the sun only shines a certain number of days each year, so employees typically have no problem getting their work done and then some - meanwhile they are busy planning and/or fantasizing about their next outdoor adventure, which keeps them fresh, invigorated and healthy-happy because of the obvious mind-body-health benefits from this diverse plethora of outdoor activities that are available, ranging from the more serene power-walk (or jog) around Vancouver's seawall or 18 visually-mesmerizing holes of golf to the more intense - downhill mountain bike racing, sea-kayaking in view of sea otters, sea lions, dolphins and killer-whales, or an afternoon of heli-skiing in 4 to 6 feet of virgin powder. All of these - and so many more - beckon quite literally from one's very own front door, if not a short transit ride, mountain bike or (electric) car ride from your chosen area of residence. Gosh, what a place to live and work! Ssshhhh - don't tell anyone...

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

I'm based in San Diego. There's lots of tech jobs but city life offers a lot of recreation to help balance the stress. The weather alone is almost enough. I used to live in Upstate New York and had a hard time getting good jobs even when I moved back a second time. Screw it! Back to Cali I go and forever will I stay. I'll endure the traffic and deluge of illegal immigrants.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

How did El Paso and Fresno make this list and Raleigh and Milwaukee not make it? The latter two have higher populations. I smell a cooking agenda...

Tigger_Two
Tigger_Two

Seemed to miss that one critical point. It's as if they pulled this together to either crank out some content or prove their own thinking. Sad, really.

bjswm
bjswm

It may be worth pointing out that there are cities outside the USA.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Majority of the "happy" cities are in the southern half of the country and the "unhappy" campers are mostly in the north. Was this after all these snow storms? :-) Maybe they should redo the survey in the summer time.....

Twilight23
Twilight23

I used to live and work in Washington, DC and moved because I got tired of the city (way too much traffic, way too much rudeness, way too many companies expecting you to work 60-80 hour weeks, etc). I moved to Minnesota and now work in St Paul - it is 100x better than DC was. On the other hand, I would move to San Diego in a heartbeat if real estate wasn't about 4-5x the cost of here.

suzan.reagan
suzan.reagan

Is that all the walmarts in the world or mcdonalds? Could be that the sample of companies is skewed. I think careerbliss needs to put a bit more details in that news release.

mjstelly
mjstelly

CareerBliss has no cache' to make these announcement. Without access to their methods and findings, there's no way to determine their objectivity, biases, or whether they're paid off by someone in the "happy" cities. Toni, I'm disappointed that you would lend credence to this company. I'm more apt to pay attention to Money or Forbes magazine when making these announcements. At least they have a track record.

bshunk17
bshunk17

Why? Great work opportunities, only 1 hour from the Rockies, - and in Canada, if you get sick, all you have to pay is parking at the hospital..oh, and NO HANDGUNS, so nobody is going to shoot my butt - ya gotta love it! Should I mention that the Canadian economy generated 10,000 more jobs than the US economy in November? That the Chinese energy company PetroChina is going enter into a $5.4 BILLION dollar joint venture with a company in Calgary today, their biggest foreign investment ever... BTW, I AM pro-American, and spend 1/2 of my holidays in your fair country!

aandruli
aandruli

I've been to Los Angeles a few times -- incredible unfriendly, rude, and often hostile people. I've been to Indianapolis many times -- friendly, warm and hospitable. Maybe you accidentally switched those two towns

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

I think such lists would be more useful if they presented a grid of factors, so people could match up what works for various people in certain niches (good schools, public transportation) vs. things that would make anyone miserable in a given area (high pollution, high unemployment rate) etc. It also sounds very ethereal but this is a good reason to bring your happiness in your head wherever you go, in order to make the best out of any situation. Attitude helps (or worsens) any place.

sissy sue
sissy sue

Like all "best" and "worst" lists, this is totally subjective. A city that you love just might be a city that I hate. BTW, I've had a good career as a consultant in Pittsburgh. And Cleveland is not really "the mistake on the lake." It has some great ethnic neighborhoods. I think that this list was compiled by someone who just wants to reinforce old (and incorrect) stereotypes.

maclovin
maclovin

I've been in quite a few environments here in Indy, some large, my current one being a small business, and the larger environments tend to take a bit more advantage of people than the smaller ones. Also, they don't always allow for advancement, choosing rather to hire an outside manager rather than someone who knows what the hell is going on in the ranks currently. There's also some companies in Indy that hire only through a temp firm, and then may rotate temp firms on a regular basis, and others that specifically do quite a bit of outsourcing, as well. The problem? While you may have a bit less responsibility in the larger environments, then smaller ones taking a bit more time out of your days, the possibilities are better to gain experience in the smaller environments, dealing with many different technologies. Just be honest up front, and say what you can and can't handle! I've made the mistake of not doing that in some situations, and it's not worth it! Some are better than others, though. So, you may have better luck than me.

douglas.gernat
douglas.gernat

Hmmm, I'll have to contest this one. I worked in DC for 10 years, and moved because I just couldn't take it anymore. The traffic, the people (cited as top 5 rudest cities by cnn or something), the roads, I just couldn't take it anymore. Just my $.02

yovincent
yovincent

I have visited Memphis and it is a terrible place that neither has a lot of sun/warm weather, good jobs, nor things like a high number of college graduates and low crime that usually make a place happy to live. Miami is only happy if are from Cuba, or you like getting robbed. Makes me question the validity of this list, even though I live in Jacksonville and consider it a pretty happy place.

RockerGeek!
RockerGeek!

That makes me sad. I live here. Go to IUPUI and work on campus. I enjoy it. While there's not much room for advancement at my job (other than part to full time), I don't plan on making it a lifelong career investment. Funny enough, the availability of IT jobs that outnumbered Cincinnati, OH's was a big reason for me wanting to live here for, perhaps, the rest of my life

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

Now you've spilled the beans, and we'll be overrun by even more California refugees.

Tigger_Two
Tigger_Two

I have to agree. The only gripe I have about St Paul is that it can be a challenge to get around in. I wince when I have to go there, only because it can make my GPS crazy. But not happy? That doesn't sound right to me at all. What has me wondering is if the accepted standard of living/cost of living difference is a factor in these rankings. If I have significantly more cash once standard bills are paid every month, I might be inclined to favor a less enjoyable place over another. And then, only [i]might[/i]. It wouldn't matter how much extra I brought home if I had to deal with an hour plus commute in order to live someplace without a significantly high crime rate. Makes me wonder how they judged these "happy" and "unhappy" places. Oh, and Twilight, I lived in San Diego. I moved here. That's just me.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Its a nice spot, close to great skiing. Its undergoing the typical growing pains, expensive hard to find housing, even in the burbs. I don't live there but have friends who do. With the price of oil where it is, Calgary will be booming for a while.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I visited Los Angeles for a couple of weeks a few years back. I didn't meet any hostile or rude people. Even in some of the less affluent areas. What I didn't like about Los Angeles was the traffic. Toronto isn't great either for traffic, but there are a few times during the day when you can move freely at the speed limit. Los Angeles seemed to be in perpetual rush hour.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

I lived in Los Angeles for years. I found a number of people to be well-meaning, but flaky, not rude or hostile. I've passed through Indianapolis and I didn't find anything significantly amazing about either the people or the place, it was as nice or friendly as many cities I've been to. I think it takes being a native to really determine the character of a given place.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Our company's US HQ is there. It's completely rebuilt itself from the decline and fall of 'Steel City'. Carnegie-Mellon and Duquesne are factors in the town establishing itself as a technology innovator. Great museums and zoo, and the football and hockey teams more than compensate for the lousy baseball. The South Side is every bit as eclectic and diverse as any other city's hot spot. Sure, the traffic sucks and the airport is practically in Ohio, but the traffic sucks everywhere any more. I wouldn't live there, but only because I won't live anywhere north of I-40. Too cold for this candy @$$.

rxgirl
rxgirl

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and it's a GREAT place to live AND to work!

john.a.wills
john.a.wills

Is it some operator to the function of which my limited knowledge of English has not yet extended?

meryoyo
meryoyo

i agree with you, the traffic !!!

maclovin
maclovin

The infrastructure suffers only because we are keeping all these tax cuts in place.... And, all you have to do to understand how little the gov't is getting done is to look at the city that houses it! (meaning DC) The capitol IS a mess, and if DC is like that, how the hell do you expect anyone to get anything done in the other states. People bitch about the roads, but want their tax rates to stay the same. People bitch about national health care and costs is would incur on them, all the while not understanding that the money they pay in taxes changes every year because of people going to the Emergency Room for every little ache and pain that could be prevented by having once-a-year doctor checkups!

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Like the best Blues groups in the country? Like great dry rub BBQ? Like nite life?

seaneff
seaneff

i think the major issue is that alot of midwest cities are hurting for jobs. the unemployment rate in the city i live, Dayton, OH, has skyrocketed in the last few years. i have a few friends from naptown who say the same issues apply there. so while you may love your small town and be proud of it, (i know i am mine and I love Indy as well) the cities listed as unhappy probably just dont have the oppurtunities for growth and advancement that the cities listed as happy do.

Twilight23
Twilight23

Your comment got me wondering - I wonder how well a GPS works in DC? The roads were designed to confuse invaders (which certainly does a good job of confusing drivers and snarling traffic).

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

Good to see you again, TT. I've been afk (afTR?) for a few weeks and didn't see you sneak in. Every time I leave, something changes around here...this time there's a new interface as well as you. :)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Never have no traffic, they only have less traffic. These are four I know of, there may be more.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

The 405, at least at the time I was living there, was supposedly the busiest freeway in the US. I don't know what is worse, 6 lanes of heavy traffic, or 2 lanes of heavy traffic. You're still moving at 40 mph, but I guess at least I think if I can sneak over to one of the other lanes, I've moved up a few feet.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

'offa' Compare: Beats the pants offa DC. Bowls the hat offa me. Rip the files offa this here, putem onna that there. 'onna' can be alternatively written as "on to". You do know the spoken language is the actual language, and the written only a representation, right? ;)

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

Traffic is the worst and drivers the rudest. crime is rampant Continuous construction projects interfere with all levels of transportation and cost ten times what a similar job would cost anywhere else, ripping taxpayers new anatomical features. But people who use the ER for seemingly simple problems do so because they don't have access to a Doctor and no insurance company will cover them. No Doctor will give a worthwhile checkup without insurance, and checkups only find some health issues, they do not treat or prevent them. Then there's drugs. Nobody can afford the hyper-inflated prices we pay in America, and yet we cannot legally buy identical drugs from other countries at much more reasonable rates. But this reply is off-topic, so I'll shut up now.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

the poll is tailored for Otaku, never leaving their home/cubicle ;) Nice to see you again!

Twilight23
Twilight23

I haven't seen figures in a while but Minnesota was below the national average for unemployment.

JamesRL
JamesRL

To an extent. I've been in traffic jams at midnight. But its the exception not the rule. You could almost never get on the highway in Toronto and put your right foot to the floor and travel any distance - there is too much traffic. We have a toll road that you might get away with it, but not the 401. My average speed for the morning/evening rush hour commutes is about 25 MPH, and I spend 80 percent of my distance on roads with a speed limit of about 65MPH. I've been to NYC, never wanted to drive there. In LA I drove around a fair amount, one long trip to Santa Barbara, shorter trips to Disneyland etc. Father in law took us to Joshua Tree, almost no traffic that far out.

Tigger_Two
Tigger_Two

I was still able to make the drive from my dad's house to the "House of Mouse" in about 40 minutes (10 and 57 fwys). While I have seen the traffic increase, it seems to me that more people are making use of alternative transportation as well. That said, I only visit. I doubt that I would ever live there again.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It took an hour and a half to drive the 40 miles in to Disneyland on the 91 and just over a half-hour to drive back. In 1982, those times had each increased by an hour.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

the workplace, the stadium, the movie theatre. I was badly mistaken in growing up believing that it issued forth from Mrs. Youngless' mouth and blackboard. and though it was comprised of 26 letters, it all boiled down to A,B,C,D,and F. What useless, futile effort we made when it was discarded in favor of random mutilation.

meryoyo
meryoyo

it sounds interesting !i agree with u

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