Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Unconventional Living Situations: Moving For Work
First of all you might want to swing by Hermits place and give him some positive wishes. Tomorrow his wife and 20 something children are headed down to Florida to find work. Kids moving to find work and social stuff isn't anything new but well established and highly qualified adults (still can't consider us 20 somethings 'adults') needing to change states to find jobs is disturbing. It is one thing to need to make a long drive but it is another to move hours away.
I fear that unconventional living situations because of finances and moving to seek employment is a trend that is going to continue in the months and maybe years to come. Remember the roving groups of men who were searching for jobs in the Great Depression? I think this time will be a lot different because most couples are dual income. I don't have stats from that era but I imagine most households were not dependent on both people being able to work to stay above water.
What does this mean? Back then assuming you had a place to live the family could more or less stay intact in their community. Unless a family lost their residence and ended up doubling up with some relatives they could at least stay in the same place while the man went onto the road. For families with young children one parent needing to relocate in search of work could very well upset the somewhat precarious 'Dad takes the kids to school in the morning, mom picks them up from daycare at 5:00 after she gets off work' sort of situations.
Also since both partners need to work that is double the vulnerability to potential job losses. Yes it also means there is double the odds that one job will survive but for most people that is not enough. If a family needs 80% of their total income to survive (I am being generous there for most it is probably more like 90% or more) and all of a sudden they are making 50% while they won't starve to death there will probably be serious issues.
As for answers really wish I had some amazing solutions nobody has thought of. If you've got to go someplace to work you've got to go someplace to work.
It would probably be wise to minimize the expenses of a trip if you don't have a sure thing job there. The only thing worse then not being able to find a job would be not being able to find a job and spending $500 on lodging. If there is someone you may be able to crash with for a couple weeks that would be a good option. If you are asking them in a clear way with a definite ending time the odds that you will get a couch to crash on are higher. Something like 'I am going to look for a job for three weeks. After that time has passed I will either be headed back home, paying you rent or getting my own place.' will probably be better received then ' um I am going to look for a job and stuff when I get there. Can I stay with you?'.
Also don't forget about trying to work through friends in other places. The cliche that who you know is more important then what you know has a lot of truth to it. Obviously you need to be somewhat qualified (excluding engineers, doctors, etc) but a friend putting in a good word is often the difference between getting a job and not. I don't look at this as nepotism (unless taken to extremes) but that the odds someone who a friend vouches for will be a fuck up are lower then the odds that candidate #4 will be. If nothing else lots of places hire through word of mouth instead of big advertisements and such. A friend (especially in a similar job field) hearing stuff will often be at least as useful as the classifieds.
Based on these things if all other factors were close to equal I would choose a place where I knew some people over one where I didn't.
Once you get a job somewhere think outside of the box. Having that second income get going again but with another household full of expenses is not that much of a benefit to the family balance sheet. Maybe the traveling worker can find a few people to rent a little place with. Some jobs include housing and food which would be a big plus. If the goal is to send as much money home as possible having 5 guys in a 3 bedroom place makes sense. Instead of getting an apartment maybe you can rent a room in a house. Living in a little travel trailer makes sense also. Yeah these living situations can be kind of a pain but the goal is to make money. Working more hours or fewer longer days (4x10, 3x12) will let you make money and maybe go home every or every other weekend.
In these trying times I suggest that you lean more on friends and family and be willing to let them lean on you. The more we work together the better off everyone is. Maybe having a friend or two sleep in the living room for a month isn't your idea of fun but in a years time situations may have changed and it could be you calling them needing a favor. Often folks are too proud or whatever to ask for help.
Help friends and family if they need it and don't be afraid to ask them for help if you need it.