June 14 - 21, 2006
By MARY C. SCHELL, The Hartford News Staff Writer
As I walked into last Thursday night's H.Y.P.E. convention (see article at left), I was unexcited to say the least – just an intern going on an assignment, grumbling to myself about how much I had just paid to park in an unpaved lot for a couple of hours. As I mingled with and picked the brains of dozens of twenty-somethings, the one consistent theme was that a small city like Hartford has genuine appeal to those seeking professional employment for the first time.
Growing up ten minutes outside the capital city, I had never been too excited about Hartford; our neighbors Boston and New York have always been a bit more appealing to me. Although I assumed I would leave the capital area in a couple of years as I began the search for my first real job, I was surprised to see a lot of the things I imagine for myself in the future in the young adults at the H.Y.P.E banquet. I was surrounded by over 400 well-dressed, well-spoken, successful, and most importantly, very satisfied young professionals. They were laughing, networking, discussing nightlife and exchanging phone numbers.
Upwards of 20 young professionals told me the same thing-that they couldn't think of another city they'd rather work in. This same sentiment came from people working on research grants, at talent agencies, and as mechanical engineers. They acknowledged Hartford's problems, but dwelled more on their successes and the rewards of working in Hartford.
It seems that many of the things I wanted out of a big city are also available in Hartford, perhaps even in a more intimate and welcoming setting. I will definitely look for work in Hartford after I graduate – as long as I can find a well-maintained and affordable parking facility close by.