What I take from this essay is that it's perilously easy to define success for yourself as whatever is most comfortable at the moment, regardless of any other considerations. We all have our blind spots.
@apples and oranges Moderately affordable-priced apartment buildings aren't desirable for developers because the trappings of a luxury condo are not actually that expensive to add once you've built the whole building. Spending $5k on a fancy-looking kitchen for each of 100 units is a pittance on top of the construction costs, which are going to stay the same regardless of interior finishings. There's a breakpoint in cost of necessary materials at a certain height--I think it's 5 stories, but don't quote me on it--when you can use still use wood framing instead of concrete and steel, but that's a whole 'nother matter relating to whether you want garden apartments, high-rises...and let's not even get started on the DC height limit and its impacts on the availability of housing. Oy. tl;dr - it would be nice to increase the supply of condos/apartments with fewer frills but it's so economically unsound that it's just not going to happening without drastic external controls like Josh suggests, especially in a market where demand is still outpacing supply.
DC is a weird scenario. Despite being the center of one of the biggest economies in the country for a very long time, its core was massively underdeveloped residentially for decades. It's basically packed three or four decades worth of growth into the past 15 years. That DC kept producing jobs and income during the recession that crippled the rest of the country only pushed things further into overdrive. The piece is dead-on about the challenges of finding a place you can afford to live in here (although I don't think I agree with the intensity of its contempt). The close-in suburbs have been expensive for a long time, and choosing the far-out suburbs means you spend an hour or more in brutal traffic on each end of your commute. So, everyone is rushing into the city, trying to find the last scraps of places they can live without granting control of their lives over to I-66 and I-95. "Am I contributing to the rapid displacement of long-time residents" falls to about 38th on your list of concerns, well behind "my spouse and I spend half our day commuting and never see each other" and "I just want 6 square feet of a backyard, man." High-speed change, all coated in desperation. Maybe I should move to Montana.
@guenna77 Right on. If a manager actually tells you that “the marketplace is unfair” and maintains that a new hire with no experience is worth the same to the company as you are, you should get out with the quickness. Those are the words of a company that will never truly value or understand your contributions as much as they should. If you start applying to jobs, you very well may end up at another company with just as despicable a view of its people, but you’ll probably also be making 5-10% more from the start just by virtue of being a new hire over there. Walking away happy during your negotiation is important, but your happiness can dissipate rapidly when you get info like this.
I live in DC and haven't found this that annoying, simply because I rarely go to the places where I can't make reservations. In principle I hate it, but there are too many good reservation-friendly restaurants to get heartburn about this trend...so far. Alternately, I go to the places that don't take them during what I know are the okay times; e.g., if I want Daikaya, I know we need to get there before 6:15 Monday-Thursday, and that we should just go to Mandu instead if it's the weekend.
I still subscribe, quite happily. Live sports are one big reason, as many of the games that qualify as Must Watch for me land on the ESPN family of networks. HBO is another reason. They produce enough quality material year-round that I'm always glad to have it. The depth of quality on TV is the last reason. Yes, I could buy all the non-HBO shows I like individually, but there are enough tremendous ones out there now that I'd be spending a fair bit of the budget on those shows. And yeah, I could get all this stuff illegally with relative ease, but that's kind of a cop-out of a response.
Great piece--but Judah, don't pay for it all in cash! If you have a good job and good credit, you can probably get some of it financed at a great rate through a local credit union. Like, 3-4% interest, which over the life of, say, a $10,000/3-year auto loan, would would come out to about $700-800. It is totally worth that small amount of "good debt" to keep cash on hand in case of emergencies or Other Things. Of course, you've already sold the stock, so my next advice of "invest the rest somewhere!" seems a little late to the game. And if you have money saved up besides your 10k and stock sale, then you're not draining your reserves.
The internet (and personal, unmonitored smartphones in particular!) have also made the 9-5 office job quite different. Just look at the timestamps on this site, among others, to see when comment traffic is highest. In my experience, more and more people have adopted the freelancer's "however long it takes me" perspective, even on the 9-to-5 grind--if they can, of course. I'm reading a Billfold article at 3:35, and I don't really feel bad about it because I did what I had to do today, and my corporate masters are often terrible, and this site is educational, and whatever other justification I choose. This also speaks to something that's been touched on in a few pieces here: that the productivity multipliers of modern technology have made today's 40-hour office work week massively more efficient than, say, the 40-hour work week of 1980. That makes it extra-sad that real wages in many industries have dropped since then. Or maybe not, since it's 3:35 and I'm commenting on a Billfold article.
Legit LOL at the Takoma Park people. Only in Takoma Park. You guys hit the DC market at just the right time--as I'm sure you know, given the whole UrbanTurf thing (woo UrbanTurf!). I remember reading that article back when you published it, thinking "I could do this!" and then not doing it. Whoops.
@garli Writing proposals for government contracts. Do you like 70-hour weeks, occasional 24-hour shifts without sleep, and only having limited control over your success because another company can just underbid you and that's that? Have I got the field for you! Good money, but the frustrations weren't worth it.