A latecomer to the list of potential employers and cities, Gaithersburg entered the scene at a bit of a disadvantage. The other cities and jobs had been vetted, favorites were being picked, pros and cons laid out. It had an advantage, though: "The Plan" will take us to the FDA in a few years, and we'll wind up in DC. If we have to move, this would be a one time move for quite a long time (as compared with Boston, Philly or Cali, where we'd move there, then move to DC).
I've always liked DC - it was on my list of places to investigate coming out of college and only missed being selected by a small margin. I love the colonial feel, the east coast vibe. I love the deciduous trees and the cherry blossoms, and yes, I even like the government part (no comment on the content or output of said government). I like feeling so close to "where it happens". I love the museums and the art and theater. I love the winding roads through the rolling topography, and I love the smell of a wood fire hanging on the humid cold of a winter's night. That smell always takes me back to vising DC throughout my life.
I was born in the area - Maryland, technically - but we lived in Arlington, and 3 days later, that's where I came home to, for the next 2 and some years until we moved to Hawaii. I have pictures of me standing in snow higher than my head, and picking flowers with Mom. We went back to visit friends when I got older and that's when I fell in love with the Smithsonian and the Air and Space Museum. I could still spend hours, maybe days, wandering those museums, reading endlessly about the cool stuff.
I love the subway there, and the running paths, and still, being so close to the "history" of our country, the New England stuff as well as Virginia. In terms of weekend getaways, the location definitely meets the requirements.
All said, we were ready to like it.
And then...he went there. The job was not set up to be as good as the others. It would require lab work, much of the job would be at the lab bench - not exactly what someone coming out of grad school looking for a job is bargaining for (someone coming out of grad school looking for a post doc would be in that category). Then he met the people at the company. The company is successful, has a lock on their market and on a novel nasal drug delivery system. On paper, it would be a great place to work.
In reality, it was weird. The people were weird. The attitude was weird. It was confrontational. Many of the people didn't seem to have bought into what the requirements of the position would be, and why they should be that. As a new position, the idea was to look for this new skill set, not replicate previously existing skill sets, and yet many of the questions and responses seemed disappointed, or downright sarcastic about a difference in expertise.
The area around the company seemed nice, but not residential. It was trafficky, with big roads going everywhere, and with the job being so low on the overall list of opportunities, it was hard to even have the interest to look around and try to find that place to live and make a home.
The FDA offices are not far away. Ultimately, we are planning to wind up near there, and will most likely figure it out when the time comes, but for now, for a lot of reasons, it definitely is not the right thing.
At least one choice was easy...