So We Jumped…

Posted on August 8, 2011 by Haymaker

Durham! Renowned Around The World

We had followed the right path: the right families, the right educations, the right internships, the right career paths at the right institutions in the right cities. So why didn’t we feel right?

Last summer, after a long day slogging through institutional politics, we were mid-drink and mid-complaint when a little shoulder-devil started poking at us. “What are you afraid of?” it said. “Just jump off the cliff!”

We started to say those words out loud to each other. And the more we talked, the more exciting that cliff edge looked. So we started to look at where we might want to land.

We had worked at the top of the game, in big-name companies in big cities. But again and again, the work that meant the most to us had been built with a small group over months of steady work for a wide audience. We wanted to clear away the clutter, and spend our time working that way.

But where could we do that? Not in the city where we lived: it loved bigness too much, and the rent was too damn high. Most of the other usual suspects were stuffed too full; we’d get lost underfoot.

Then the shoulder-devil came back. He pointed south. “We’ll bite,” we said. “What’s a Research Triangle?” “Only the third-fastest-growing combined statistical area in these United States, morons!” he shot back. We started to read all about Durham, North Carolina: overflowing with under-40s and retirees, educated to the gills, with cutting-edge chefs and restaurants, the prettiest minor league baseball stadium around, a world-class performing arts center, a great music scene, and rent so cheap it made our toes curl.

So we jumped.