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America’s (21st) Happiest Working City

You know the old saying, statistics never lie, statisticians do.

I’m hoping the folks over at are statisticians.  They’re the ones who ranked Boston #21 in happiest working cities.  That’s gotta be a lie, right?  You’re telling me that employees in El Paso are happier than us?  Des Moines?  (The Hartford of the West!)  Minneapolis?!  I don’t know what my issue is with Minnesota.  But clearly, I have one.

CareerBliss conducted independent company reviews from employees nationwide.  They collected a total of 200,000 data points on eight factors of workplace happiness: growth opportunities, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, senior management, job security, and whether the employee would recommend the company to others.  The factors were then ranked on the importance of the factor in the employee’s overall happiness.  The numbers were combined to find an average overall workplace happiness rating.

Those seem like reasonable evaluators.  And my dad sent me the article, which gives it more credibility.  But how come we’re so low?  I love Boston!  I love working here!  I have never once thought I would be happier working in San Jose.  (What a commute!  Rimshot.)  I know a few people who fled New York City for the West Coast, but that’s understandable.  But leave Boston?!  Maybe if you got traded or something, but I’m pretty sure Career Bliss wasn’t targeting pro athletes.  (Let this be a lesson to folks who think Minneapolis has better job security!  Rimshot!  I am on a ROLL today.)

Of course, I’m also the girl who was waxing poetic about the T last week.  So maybe I’m not the best judge of awesome.  Not to mention, I was pretty content in #26, Hartford.  Hold up, Hartford is #26?!  People hate Hartford!  And Detroit is #23?  Okay, this is just madness here.  How on earth is Boston only 2 spots above Detroit!?  (Good news:  St. Paul, MN is 50th. Take that, Minnesota!)

I never answered one of these surveys, so I’m putting this on you people.  Why you gotta hate!?

Actually, let’s not point fingers here.  But really — what is falling short in Boston?  I know that we’re got a pretty high cost of living, so maybe that makes your salary seem lower.  Has the New England Puritan work ethic destroyed your work-life balance?  Is the metro-region’s 7.1% unemployment rate making you nervous about retaining your current position?  Or do you just hate your boss?  (For the record, I love my boss.  I love all of my bosses.  They’re the best bosses in the world.  In case they’re reading this.)

But I wanna know.  And I bet all those people spending tons of money doing surveys and trying to plan a city around our demographic (one in three Bostonians!) want to know, too.   And if you also love Boston, you should want to know, too.  We’re all in this together.

Spill it:  Why are you so unhappy?  How can we make it better?  Tweet it, Facebook it, or, best of all, break it down in our comments section.

Why is working in Boston making Bostonians unhappy?*

*Note:  Ending these posts with questions makes me feel dangerously Carrie Bradshaw-ish.  I promise never to ask you to reflect on your dating life or relationship history.  I’m embarrassed that it’s even a reference I can make.


What’s Happening There? - Fan Pier

When you work in government and live in Boston, one of the most popular questions you get asked is, “What is going on with such-and-such project?” Usually it’s about the old Filene’s space in Downtown Crossing or a new high-rise going up somewhere in town and sometimes it’s even about the renovations at Fenway Park. Well, since construction is building towards the ‘better Boston’ that will be lived in, worked in and run by the OneIn3 readers of the present, a recurring column providing updates on these projects would be helpful. So read along and pass on to your friends so we all have a better understanding of exactly what the Boston of tomorrow will look like.

The first in this series will be on the development of $2 billion Fan Pier development on the waterfront in South Boston.

For those that don’t know, Fan Pier is a 23-acre site on the Boston waterfront next to the $170 million federal courthouse (built in 1999) and the World Trade Center/Seaport Hotel complex. If you’ve been to the Barking Crab or Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant, the site is near each restaurant and the Institute of Contemporary Art, which relocated to the pier in December 2006. Also not a long walk or Silver line ride down Northern Avenue is the Harpoon Brewery and the Bank of America Pavilion.

This area – commonly referred to as the Seaport District but being refashioned as the Innovation District – has been receiving as much of a makeover as any area of the City in the last 10-20 years. Formerly industrial and maritime commercial, the area is being transformed into an area where businesses center and people want to live. And, until recently, the ‘living’ part of the Seaport District has trailed way behind the ‘working’ part. Several of Boston’s largest law firms and companies call the area home, but only recently has a residential component gone along with it.

Still, with the exception of temporary attractions such as “Puma City” in 2009 and Cirque du Soleil’s OVO last year and a smattering of businesses that include the relocated Louis Boston, the area called Fan Pier has been largely undeveloped thus far. As with most projects attempting to launch in the last few years – cough, Filene’s Downtown Crossing, cough – the down economy led investors to largely pull back. However, when it comes to the Fan Pier development, which was intended to be a blend of office, hotel/retail, residential, and open green space, it was seemingly going to take a major employer willing to relocate to the area to jumpstart the project.

Fan Pier

Last week, that employer finally emerged. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge-based drug manufacturer, has committed to relocating its headquarters to Fan Pier in a move that will bring as many as 1,800 employees to the waterfront. Vertex’s signed letter of intent with the Fan Pier developers, backed strongly by both city and state tax incentives, will likely prove to be exactly what the Fan Pier project needs to push towards completion. The demand for retail and restaurant space – not to mention residential space – caused by moving this many employees into an undeveloped area should prove a significant boon to the ever-expanding Innovation District. Vertex’s commitment is for two or three of the eight planned buildings in Fan Pier, so it will likely be much easier for investors to commit to this project in the near future – thus spurring development throughout the whole Seaport District area. So when you see cranes and scaffolds dotting this area in the next few years, you’ll know why.

What updates do you want? Post a comment on what areas of Boston you’d like to be updated on.


To Whom It May Concern – Keep Swimming

To Whom It May Concern,

Emerging into the job market today is scary for anybody. This is especially the case for college seniors. In the next few months, these people will experience nervousness due to finals, term papers and theses; all of which are compounded by their respective job searches.

I had the good fortune to be able to finish my college career after the fall term of 2010. I am finished with classes, I have secured a job from a prior internship, and I have a bit more time to job search for the career that is right for me, due to my distance from the classroom. As I go through the motions of an undergrad emerging into the workforce, I will continue to keep the ONEin3 Boston community informed of my progress, as well as provide tips and tricks that I learn during my job searching journey.

The best piece of advice I can provide at this point is to keep an open mind. It is sure that by now, many college seniors are considering something very specific in their job search. There are majors which afford this kind of specificity, but for most of us, it is important to consider all options in the working world before pinning ourselves down into only one field.

Personally, I would like to take a position as a paralegal or legal assistant en route to law school. This idea has become clear to me after much soul searching and practical questioning of professionals and of paraprofessionals. I have created a network of people who may lead me straight to the career I covet.

At the same time, I have kept my mind open to all possibilities. Later this week I will be interviewing at a medical school for a research assistant position and early next week, I have lined up an interview for a job as a file clerk. I am also looking (less actively) at part time jobs in retail and food service. I know that none of these four are exactly what I have mentioned as my career choice, but it is important to me to have a fallback. I would rather be employed and constantly learning than not employed and simply moving through life.

I have it on good authority that employers think the same way. It is important to employers that you remain active. It is important that you have a history which you can refer to during your employment so that you may grow as a professional. And, like Finding Nemo, keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming.

Your activity is a testament to your character. It is for sure a component of how a company will consider you as a candidate for a position. Definitively, related work and skills lead the breakdown of factors which employers use to evaluate prospective employees. However, it is important, now more than ever, to maintain activity and interests in a variety of disciplines.

The Vitruvian Man is coveted in this society and in this economy. Do not get discouraged should you not settle into the exact career of your choice early after graduation, but instead maintain an open mind and embrace your many skills. Emerging into the workforce for the first time can be unnerving, and it can even be frustrating, but in keeping with the philosophies of flexibility and of hard work and diligence, a job search can become not only fruitful, but also enlightening.