If you can’t stand the heat, go somewhere hot

Not the ideal start to a Monday.

About two months ago, I received an early Monday morning email warning that the air conditioning wasn’t working in the office. Given that the temperatures were in the mid-90s all weekend, the recommendation was to work from home. Given our company’s technology platform, that’s a no-brainer. Only fools would bother showing up at the office.

So when I got there, the thermostat read 87.9 degrees. My optimistic mind read it like a gas station price. “It’s only 87.” Ten hours of profanity-laden hot yoga later, the temperature had only dropped to 83 degrees.

I learned something that day. There are few things more gratifying than working distraction-free in an empty office. Air conditioning is one of them.

Last week, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting recent Census data showing that people aren’t moving like they used to. While there may be some truth to that, it doesn’t tell the whole story. That is, it leaves out that there are places still attracting talent. And there are places that are losing talent.

Spolier alert: People want to get out of the heat by going somewhere hotter.

Net Migration By State

Only two states in the Southeast are losing more talent than they are gaining: Mississippi and Tennessee. Tennessee is an interesting case because Nashville, specifically, is among the fastest growing markets in the country in terms of migrating talent, netting more than 45 more people every day. Every. Day.

The trend is relatively easy to see. Talent is choosing to migrate away from cold states to warmer ones. Although vacations sometimes have us venture in the other direction.

Every year my better half and I drag the kids to Maine to visit family and enjoy great weather. Ok… more the weather than the family. It is “my side” of the family after all. The weather is phenomenal — 16 hours of daylight with high temperatures in the mid 70s. Hard to beat.

This year was different. It was hot. The thermostat touched 90 degrees. This was Maine. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong. We left the Southeast, land of air conditioning, to enjoy a place where the weather deemed it unnecessary. Except it was, for that week at least. There was no respite, until we got home.

In the Southeast, air conditioning is absolutely necessary. And we are thankful for that. And you will be too when you move here.