/ Pratik Mallya

On Moving to SF

I was warned that this would happen at some point in my life; for me it happened early last year. On considering new opportunities, I finally decided on one in SF and reluctantly moved.

My time in Austin has been an important part of my life. My first time in Austin was for an internship at Enthought. The internship turned out to be a great experience. I never imagined that I would end up reconnecting with friends from college, enjoy amazing BBQ, listen to live music, float the San Marcos river, among many, many other things. I fell in love with the city and when extended a full time offer, accepted it gladly.

5 years later though, it did seem I had enough of the city, and I started taking interviews for positions outside of Austin. It was a confluence of many different reasons:

Although Austin is a fantastic city to live in, it still lags behind SF in terms of the exciting technical opportunities to work on. The ones that did sound interesting were too small to consider Visa sponsorship (an important requirement for an immigrant such as myself). The bigger ones were satellite offices of larger tech firms.

So I decided to look outside the city and within a month had multiple job offers from SF, LA and NYC … which was just a little bit surprising. Perhaps that was what really made me wonder whether Austin was a good place to stay, career-wise. Mobility in the job market is extremely important; it makes both employers and employees stay competent and constantly improve. Without that competition, its easy to feel stuck, and that’s exactly what I felt like. I wanted to learn, to grow, to contribute to the growth of my workplace, but it all seemed incredibly hard and frustrating to do at my job, and in my city.

Starting out in a new city is incredibly hard: you have to find new friends and social circles, new favorite restaurants, bars, coffee shops, new places where you feel at home and new things that you like to do. Perhaps the hardest thing was to find/create a new social circle: in Austin, it seemed like I had a family that would meet every weekend and hang out. I was in a relationship that I was happy with. It was a something I looked forward to, and now I had nothing.

Over 6 months in, I feel that the decision to move has been a good one, all things considered. I feel lucky that I ended up with an incredibly talented, smart and empathetic group of individuals to work with, and have learned a lot so far. I look forward to the work that I do, which is exciting, and gives me a sense of purpose. My social circle is growing, slowly but surely, and I’ve had many memorable experiences and look forward to many more. Its not all rainbows and unicorns of course; I now have concerns of working too much, about being too absorbed/affected in work politics (which I absolutely detest but seemingly can’t avoid).

There is still much to explore, and that feeling of exploration, of not knowing about the city and wanting to explore, is amazing. I remember feeling that when I had first moved to Austin, and I feel it now in SF. I haven’t been to a single technical meetup yet. I haven’t been to the East Bay (!). I haven’t been to Outside Lands, Napa/Sonoma and many many other interesting places and events. All of that is exciting, and I look forward to the future with a sense of hope and excitement.