Companies don’t give a damn that Atlanta is “full”

I’m sure you’ve seen the meme above and laughed as hard as me. Anyone that’s tried to run an errand in the city between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. absolutely feels like Atlanta is full. However, corporations have not gotten the memo. Nor do they want it.

If you know me personally, you’re aware that my day job is in graphic design. My career trajectory has been corporate. I have avoided the mom and pop shops and ad agencies most people associate with my profession. What I can tell you is that, almost every position I’ve applied to in the last five years has had the option of being in Atlanta, Dallas, or Houston. My current company also offered Nashville and Tampa. And sometimes, there’s a Midwest option in say, Kansas or Missouri.

Often, the person that would supervise me resided in another state. New York and Los Angeles were popular areas. Have you figured out why? Well, I’ve had candid conversations with hiring managers (yall I know I love to talk) and they’ve flat out told me they’d rather get someone in the South. Three reasons are always listed:

  1. People like the weather.
  2. The cost of living is lower.
  3.  Labor laws are more lax. Companies love the “right to work” law.

As mentioned above, the Midwest option exists, though a state like Kansas may never be an attractive option for talent. “I can’t wait to move to Kansas!” said no college graduate, ever.

Put simply, Atlanta has all of the diversity and amenities that come with living in a major city, plus mild weather, and while the cost of living is going up, it’s nowhere near a city like New York. Why pay an employee $95,000 in Brooklyn when you could get that same skill set for $55,000 in Atlanta? Labor is a companies biggest expense. Millions can be saved by building a team in Atlanta versus Manhattan. You’d better know increasing profit margins is every companies bottom line. Opening a southern office is just cost effective.

So overall, there’s nothing you can do about Atlanta being “full.” Thanks to increased, evolving, reliable connectivity, you don’t have to be in the same state as an employee. I’m currently part of a virtual team. We have employees as close as Tennessee and as far as the state of Washington.

This is the new normal. Atlanta is going to keep growing. The best we can hope is that the cost of living doesn’t rise too dramatically and Marta keeps up with the population growth. And you can console yourself with the knowledge that, while Atlanta’s population falls on the top ten lists of metropolitan areas, it only sits at #9.

You should also console yourself with the understanding that work is the backbone of any society. People leave Mexico every day to find work. Work is awesome. We have a lot of work.

Finally, I leave you with this: WE BARELY GET A WEEK OF SNOW! Some of these native southerners don’t even recognize the blessing. I’m from Michigan. The snow tire struggle was real!

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