Sunday, February 08, 2009
East Coast / West Coast Cultures
Anyone who has spend time on both the east and west coasts of the United States acknowledges that there is a tangible "cultural" difference between the two worlds. On both coasts, I grew up in similar areas, but they couldn't be more distinct. When I came out to California, I recognized that the school system didn't value education in quite the same way as the system - or rather, the school - I'd experienced in New York. My public school in New York, with all of its enrichment programs, could only be duplicated in a private school in Los Angeles. And I knew it - even at eleven years old. We're also somewhat of a transitory society in Los Angeles. I see little of the ongoing (though infrequent) connections individuals back east seem to have had. We don't seem to follow prescribed paths (though that is probably more related to family history), unlike virtually all of my early friends in the east. I'm not sure if that's good or bad - or whether that would have changed my own career path, but I think choices tended to be more practical - lawyers, doctors, accountants, and teachers. Those sorts of choices were probably encouraged in my crowd in California, but not as strongly as elsewhere. Of those that I'm aware of, many of my Los Angeles school friends became entrepreneurs of one type or another, or artists of various kinds. I don't see a similar pattern, or sense of practicality as easterners tend to have (at least where I came from). After all, the choices that I and my latter friends made about our futures really made career development a much longer process.