It’s True: We’re Happy in Detroit

9/20/11Follow @XconomyDET

A few years ago, it dawned on me that I was driving to Detroit—80 miles each way–nearly every weekend. Why? Because there was nothing to freaking do in the city I lived in and Detroit seemed to have it all: concerts of every size and genre, live professional sporting events, awesome bars and restaurants.

I mean, I once went to a show in the basement of a small club and stood there, mouth agape, watching Questlove on the turntables as Black Thought rapped along on the mic while the rest of the Roots Crew sat smirking at a nearby table, all in the company of only about 100 other people. (In case you’re wondering who Questlove, Black Thought, and the rest of the Roots are, you may know them better as the house band for “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”) That kind of magical musical experience never happened to me in all my extensive travels: not in New York, or Chicago, or Miami, or Toronto.

Then, a month later, a similar thing happened, only this time it involved the rapper Common. (Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of hip-hop.) “Wow,” I thought. “It’s official. Detroit is the coolest city I’ve ever been to!”

So, to heck with it, I thought. I’m moving to Detroit. Yes, Dad—DETROIT. Detroit can be a hard sell to melanin-deficient Michiganders who cling to perceptions rooted in 1967 and its aftermath. But, as I tell everyone—in fact, it may even be part of my official Xconomy bio—moving to Detroit was the best decision I made in a decade.

I love my job. My neighborhood is off-the-wall just the way I like it, full of artists, students, and all-around colorful characters. I can walk or bike to my bank, my hair salon, my bakery, my dive bar of choice, and my favorite music venue. I met a nice man a block from my apartment, fell in love, and moved with him to a bigger apartment down the street. Detroit has been very, very good to me.

It seems I’m not the only one feeling the love. Forbes reports that, according to Careerbliss.com, Detroit is the sixth happiest city in the United States. It earned points based on data from thousands of employee-generated reviews between 2010 and 2011. Young professionals, defined by CareerBliss as employees with less than 10 years’ experience in a full-time position, were asked to rate eight factors that affect workplace happiness, including growth opportunities, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, senior management, job security, and whether they would recommend their employer to others.

It’s not too late for you to join the party down here in Detroit. Although you missed Quicken Loan’s career fair last weekend, there are more job fairs coming soon. Don’t forget: Detroit has more tech jobs than almost anywhere in the nation.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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