Why Colorado? Achieve a Greater Feeling of Work-Life Balance

The people make the job as much as the place

Before graduating RPI, my entire life was spent on the East Coast grown up in New York City and going to college upstate. After tossing my cap [in] gown in 2008, I packed my bags and moved to San Francisco. Like many computer science graduates, I went in search of that good life out West, full of ocean views, delicious food, killer skiing, a laid-back lifestyle and, hopefully, a hip startup with a chance of going public one day.

After a few gigs, I moved back to Manhattan to be closer to my family and landed a job at iHeartRadio, leading the operations team through a massive data center migration. New York didn't possess the charm I remembered when I was young, and after a year back, I found myself out West again working for Apple Maps and living in Mountain View. Working for Apple was an amazing experience – at scale, one-in-a-million chances happen every second – which is the weird kind of thing that I find fun. After some time at Apple, I began to feel like my impact at such a large company wasn't as substantial as I was looking for. And besides, who wants to live in Mountain View, much less pay a fortune to do so?

During that time, I often found myself traveling to Colorado for live music and skiing. Denver not only has thriving tech, art, music and food scenes, it also put me closer to the recreation I love – so off to Denver I went.

People describe California as "laid back," but Colorado truly embodies that feeling. The people here are genuinely nice, love being outdoors, enjoy amazing craft beers and the scenery is simply to die for. Being here makes me feel happy, humble and always hungry. SendGrid, the Denver-based publicly traded company I now work for, believes in supporting a healthy work-life balance; working late or on weekends is discouraged, so our corporate culture encourages people to take advantage of all that Colorado has to offer.

This has drastically changed my lifestyle for the better.

It took a bit of courage to leave Silicon Valley, but I now own a house for which my mortgage is less than my rent on my old 12×12 room, and I don't have any roommates … besides my wife! Colorado is a refreshing change of pace. When you meet new people, they ask interesting questions instead of homing in on where you work – a very Bay Area and East Coast mentality. Living by the RiNo neighborhood feels like being back in Williamsburg sometimes, and I've even found a couple pizza shops that can hold a candle to the best of Brooklyn. If you are into live music, Red Rocks may be the most beautiful outdoor venue in the country. I also spend far less time commuting, with the added bonus of picturesque, snow-capped mountains in the background.

The Pivot to Colorado initiative is going to help expose more of what this great state has to offer to those who have thought about making the move, but might not yet know they have job security. Denver's tech scene feels primed to explode over and over again. There's talk of unicorn tech companies setting up shop and being centrally located means there’s an abundance of ISP hubs here. I don't think people realize how many growing companies have planted roots in Colorado and how rapidly that number is expanding.

I made the move and got a job working at SendGrid on the operations engineering team. I've been so lucky to work with a stellar team that supports me, full of people who I think are genuinely great and I enjoy working and hanging out with outside the office. The people make the job as much as the place, and Denver provides the best locale for what has become hands-down my favorite job to date.

"Why Colorado" is an ongoing series from The Colorado Technology Recruiting Coalition, highlighting the region’s thriving technology industry and all the great things Colorado has to offer. Here's more information on The Colorado Technology Recruiting Coalition.

Jake Plimack is a devops engineer at SendGrid.

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