Tuesday, January 02, 2007
The interview was not unlike any other. I always think they go well. The uncomfortable part was the last 15 minutes where I talked to the lab staff. Between them they had been in the U.S. for less than a year. The conversation was slow and awkward.
I decided not to drive to the interview. I got a ride and headed downtown afterwards. Rain was coming down sideways as I tried to find windblocks in the wasteland of Paul Allens biotech hub of south Lake Union. I ducked into the Whole Foods at 2200 Westlake. I didn't buy any food or coffee, I just took a seat by the window to watch the rain. I could see that no one had moved in to the biotech hub. The U of W was building and so was Vulcan. Vulcan is Paul Allens company. They are the ones who are to deliver the dream of south Lake Union becoming an urban oasis of affluent people. Above the Whole Foods was the Pan Pacific hotel where rooms start at over $200 a night. The condos at 2200 Westlake went as high as $2 million and they were all sold out. But there were no companies moving in. A little further east is 1616 Eastlake and the Hutch but they too thrive on low paid foreign nationals who did not move to the U.S. to pay $600 per square foot for their home. The oasis was doing okay with affluent people buying up the residential space but those people weren't coming from the biotechnology companies.
The problem is that Paul Allen wanted an industry that will make money and feed into his other plans. Instead he got affluent people who feed on people like Paul Allen. If an engineer develops a new mouse trap and the whole world wants one there will be a lot of jobs. The jobs will put money into the pockets of locals who will spend at the shops. Doctors and dentists and mechanics will have to move in and the next thing you know you've got a community. What we are seeing in South Lake Union is an unbalanced community. The new buildings are soothing to the tastes of Paul Allen but those who work inside are not paid enough to live in the neighborhood. Artists could never live there. Bars and restaurants could never survive. The future is looking dim, but maybe it was just me sitting there in the rain.
The interview was fine. I wouldn't be able to eat at Smoke'n Joes BBQ or have coffee at the corner shop due to the pay. I would be able to stick around and see what will become of the biotech hub of Seattle however. For that reason I hope I do get this job. As for curing Malaria... we'll see about that.