What do you do for work?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by kesoaps, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Dh has been unemployed a year and a half. He's part of the trade act program (fortunately!) and they're putting him through school, but there's that nagging little thought of 'what if he can't find work when it's all done?'

    We're currently in NW Washington, and prices real estate is beyond expensive, definitely a sellers market. I keep wondering if it would be plausible to sell and buy something with the equity...oh, to have it all paid off! If it weren't for a mortgage here, we could probably swing it...

    But what does one do for a living in other states? Those places with Andy Griffith and Barney Fife....where everything is still black and white?
     
  2. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    Get a CDL and drive for a while! its paying my place off -- course I like to drive a lot!
     

  3. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    People do the same things for a living everywhere. I live in a small town and we have doctors, lawyers, businessowners, bank tellers, insurance agents, car dealers, fast food workers, child care providers, firemen, police officers, etc etc etc.

    I'm sorry if I sound...snotty...but I find your statements naive and kind of insulting. Andy Griffith was a TV show, it was not reality then and it still isn't. Nothing is black and white anywhere. You do the best you can with the opportunities presented. There is no magic method of working somewhere else...the people who live here have jobs and they got them the same way you get jobs anywhere else.

    Payscales might not appear to be as high, but the cost of living is less. The well paying jobs are out there, it just takes more work to find them than it might in a city. I have also found there is much more opportunity for starting a business as many smaller towns are underserved.

    Forget Andy and Barney. Open your mind to realizing that where you live does not define living, but also that no matter where you go, there you are. Things are very much the same, even if they are different.

    Jena
     
  4. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

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    Try looking south. You live in the most spendy part of the state. How about Levenworth area? Wenatchee? I am SW and its starting to get pretty crowded here. I think middle state is starting to look like the place to go...but its too blasted hot!! Have you checked the Olympia area? I like it there even Shelton is nice. Granted these places are not the big city but personally I like the smaller towns.
    Like Jena said people work everywhere...and the Andy and Barney thing?? UUmm that was a TV show. Andy and Barney world does not exist.
    If you ment the simpler life you make that yourself. Your home is what you make of it. And that can be in the middle of nowhere or in the tallest tower apartment. Its your world make it what you want. ;) :eek:
     
  5. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I tend to agree with Jena. There's no such place as Mayberry, except in our dreams. But, if you think about it, everyone in Mayberry had jobs. They were sheriffs, deputies, gas station owners, mechanics, pharmacists, school teachers, barbers, etc. just like in any small town.

    We live in rural Mississippi and my husband commutes 45 minutes to Memphis where he works as an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA. I don't work outside the home due to health problems, but honestly there's so much to do here I wouldn't have time for an offsite job if I wanted one.

    When I was a single mom living in a small town I worked at whatever job I could find, and if I couldn't find one I made one up. I've worked as a rural carrier for the Post Office, Office Manager for a gas pipeline construction company, ran my own home daycare, worked as a reporter for my hometown newspaper, as a substitute teacher, had my own bookstore, etc. etc. Many times I had more than one job and once I had four parttime jobs at the same time!

    You work at whatever job is available and if there are no available jobs, you get creative and make your own job.
     
  6. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    I am on a temporary assignment as an administrative secretary for the VP of Instruction at a local college. In my 'free' time, I started a Quilts for Kids chapter in my town, have free quilting classes every Tuesday evening, go to school meetings for my own 3 children, have a small farm w/about 100 birds, help my husband with his civil war reenactment hobby (2x a month), organic gardening & a small orchard to take care of.

    Quality over quantity. If I didn't enjoy any of it, I would be as miserable as I was in my federal job of 11 years that I quit. I do 400% more now, and still have more time to myself, because what I do makes me happy.
     
  7. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    If you can do it: sell your fancy NW Washington place, and come on up; buy a quarter for $30,000 USD; get a tractor and grow some hay and a garden.

    Our new Barley field on our quarter, we paid $22,000 USD and spent another $15,000 USD clearing, plowing, planting. We built a log cabin out of poplar logs and love it.

    [​IMG]
    55 Acres of New Barley -- Last Fall -- Looking Out Our NE Windows


    Then you: work for the neighbors, or have money from rentals, or sell hay, or work in town at the mill, or drive equipment, or . . . you figure it out.

    All the best, good luck,

    Alex
     
  8. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    I would focus my energies on getting dh employable and employed in the area you are currently in. Then, after some stable employment, you could look at re-locating if you desire. I'm in NW WA as well, and am painfully aware of the high cost of housing here. However, I also believe that many times people severely underestimate the costs (both long term, and short term) of "moving away" to a "supposedly" lower cost area.

    You did not say what trade your dh is going to be in, but I would suggest that he start paving the way for a job right now (if he hasn't been already). My experience with the re-training programs is the folks that get the jobs upon completion of the training program are not necessarily the ones who were the most skilled.

    In this society it's not only about being skilled, getting good "grades" etc, but it's also about networking. My brother in-law recently graduated from a re-training program and landed a good job right out of the gates. While it helped that he received some sort of student of the year award, and got good grades, the real reason he got the job was because he made himself known in the industry. He got good grades, could communicate well, and most importantly made efforts to know his potential future employees in the area.

    The other thing he did was make sure he worked closely with the placement folks at the school. He got to know them well, and when it came time to place him, they knew he was assertive, motivated etc. You'd be surprised how many people go thru re-training, "graduate" and then sit around waiting for the phone to ring.

    Again, not knowing what trade he will be in makes it difficult to make specific recommendations. However, he should look at joining any of the major professional/trade associations/groups for his field of expertise. He should join them now, not after he graduates. He should attend the meetings and get his name out there with prospective future employer's. He must be assertive, make up some personal business cards and hand them out etc. If he is not a particularly social person, he needs to become one, quickly.

    In addition, he may want to "volunteer" his time to prospective employer's during the time he is not in class. Even if it is just doing grunt work, he has the opportunity to get his name (and his story) out in front of prospective employers. Believe me, they WILL remember "that guy with moxie and a heck of a work ethic" when it comes time to hire.

    In today's ultra competitive job market (for most professions), you need to go after the jobs assertively, not wait for them to come to you.

    Best of luck to you guys!

    Wayne
     
  9. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you think your husband might want O T R just P M me and I will put you in touch with the outfit I run for There basicly a Training Company and they will train him to get his C D L in 17 days and they have good freight out of your area.
     
  10. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well Kesoaps you'd be more than welcome to come to Canada as Alex says! As it happens we (Canada) needs skilled people here and employment in some parts is easy to find. I'm swapping places working off farm with my wife, I picked up the phone and had a job on the first try. Nothing fancy or even within my education which would have been even easier to get and paid better but too painful for me to endure. This job suits me to a "T" working with people I like, and for money I can live with. I'll be running excavators dozers dump trucks yadda yadda yadda, and have the winter "off" if that's possible. We also run a boarding kennel, farm (as you know), and have a couple of things we want to try as businesses, wool processing and tool sharpening. Debt free or near enough does help, so if relocating does that....... I would.
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    There is really two issues at play with most people feeling trapped about job and property.
    The first thing is that we are prodded to believe we must do the job we have training, or specific schooling for, but if you don't live in an area wanting those skills, you are left behind.
    The other thing is not adapting to making a move where it's affordable. I hear so many times about people with properties not affordable near the area they currently live. It never will be. But it might be if you can transport skills to an area with maybe less expectations, and therefore more affordable property values.
    Along with this is the trapment of work, regardless of where you settle. Overtime and the feeling of 'need' to get more money to buy more things and keeping up that mentality is hard to break, because most people do it.
    It's not easy to be apart in thinking outside of that arena about 'expectations'.
    Accepting less is achievable, but is also a sacrifice. You have to balance what you think you'll get out of a 'homesteading' lifestyle that requires your time and effort, which is also a resource you should consider. Employment is employment, whether of self initiative such as saving by doing more self sufficiency or gainfully supporting yourself to do enough by setting skills or ventures to self employment. It's not for everyone, I'll be the first to admit that.
     
  12. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    My Dh has been unemployed since May 2002. Fortunately, in 1993, I left the Real Estate profession and got my nursing license.

    Now to your question. Not having any debt makes a huge difference. There is no way we could live on my salary if we had a mortgage and car payments and credit card debt. I believe that most large areas that have seen huge increases in real estate prices are going to see declining values, so my vote would be to sell now, even if you end up renting something for a short time. That said-------it is just my opinion and many a person has been talking of the real estate bubble for years and prices continue to go up and up. So, take this with a grain of salt.

    As far as the job market. It is a changing scene every day. Who knows what jobs are going to be available. The biggest reason there is a "Nursing shortage" is that there is a shortage of nursing schools. The day that everyone wanting to be a nurse can get into the nursing programs is the day that we will have a glut of nurses and all be working for minimum wage----maybe we will be outsourced. My Dh does freelance stuff. He does the computer work for the Chamber of Commerce. He does web sites. He has a wood drying kiln and that brings in a tiny amount of money. I do pottery and he has taken classes and now helps me with that, but the amount of money we make is only around $2K a year at most. And I nurse at a hospital in the closest large town. The county we live in has about 4000 people and most have multiple income streams because one thing doesn't make enough. One of our friends drives a school bus, works as a realtor, and has a 140 acre farm. Another friend is an electrician and also does yard work for some of the part time people that live here and his wife works part time at the real estate office in town. Another neighbor travels around doing sound system set up for bands and has retirement income from the railroad job he had. Another neighbor works at a local manufacturing plant and also at the local Sak and Suds nights and weekends. All these friends have places paid for, have a garden and they are frugal.

    A lot of people get to dreaming and think that moving out to land and living off the land is the answer to all money problems. When I go back and look at our budget in Dallas and I take out the mortgage and water bill and trash pickup and taxes, insurance etc-----then add in the taxes, insurance etc here, the end result is about the same. We were pretty frugal then and we haven't changed much. We have a phone bill, food, propane, electricity, insurance, property taxes, gasoline for the cars and car repairs, and, and, and............. we don't have a mortgage and that is really the only change.

    I think there are lots of changes coming to our country. Our standard of living is being attacked and IMHO I think people that have land and home paid for will be the new upper middle class in the years to come. We stand the greatest chance of maintaining a decent lifestyle. But this lifestyle is not a miracle worker.
     
  13. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Jenna, sorry to have offended you...but I do think it was reality. In fact, I do believe there are still towns out there like that. Guess that comes from my growing up a cops daughter (very Andy-ish personality), and back then there were enough small towns here for me to recognize that they certianly existed. In fact, we've still got a town here that's closed on Sundays...but the rest of the world is encroaching, unfortunately!

    Really, I'm just wondering what's out there in other communities. I've always lived here, dh worked this job for 25 years. Bank tellers can't make ends meet here...there's not a retail job around that will pay the mortgage on 5 acres. Those jobs are for the families who are after the second income, not primary. So...if land is less expensive somewhere else, and the cost of living is less, then it would stand to reason (in my mind, at least) that the income would be less as well, and you'd have the same problem.

    I don't mean to sound rude to those who've offered up those suggestions, just trying to share my reality here and wrap my mind around what the reality is elsewhere. (I'll have to ask him about the CDL...if the electrician thing doesn't work out after school, maybe he'll consider it!) If you live some place where a bank teller is making the primary income, with the spouse staying home, I'd be happy to hear about it!

    I think life would be so much easier if dh were a farmboy wanna be :) At least we'd be on the same page of having the land working for us instead of against us...instead he thinks 5 acres are for mowing...
     
  14. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Electrician? I'm not sure how things are in your immediate area of NW WA, but in many areas electricians are in high demand. I know that if an electrician in my area is not working, it's not because there are not jobs available.

    The amount of new residential construction and remodeling going on is staggering. The amount of new commercial construction is a bit slower, but still booming by most definitions. Commercial re-construction is very hot as well in this area.

    Wayne
     
  15. mommymushbrain

    mommymushbrain Well-Known Member

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    My hubby's a licensed Master Electrician. :) And yes, he is in high demand... but no one around this area (Arkansas River Valley) wants to pay a flying flip for what he is worth. He is currently working for a large company that came in from Mississippi to work on the huge Gerber project and he is making 2x what all these local companies have ever paid him. We are quite enjoying the money, but once this project is over, it's either follow the company all over the states or go back to the nickle and dime local crap companies.
     
  16. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In the small towns I have lived usually the pay scale is near minimal wage, and some one skilled usually has a hard time clearing double the min wage, my son a expert certified welder can hardly clear $10 and hr, when I was doing carpentry and construction I did charge $20, but I owned the company and provided the tools and equipment and we did all phases of construction, from concrete to cabinets, but the issuance issue basically made me decide it was no longer worth it,

    the best paying places in town are the school (and the pay is not high) the coop grain company and if your wanting to drive 35 miles you can work at the state prison,

    most are just getting by,

    in many small towns some times the whole economy is based on one major business and many times that is not stable,
     
  17. thelowefarm

    thelowefarm Member

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    I found that comment very rude and silly as well. I understand that you're struggling and it's nice to think there is a different "reality" out there for you to understand. But there's not. You're judging these small towns by what you see when you drive through, or you "remember" from childhood. "Small town" is a definition of population, and has nothing to do with income or "reality."

    Yes, it seems we know everyone in our small town. Which is why we know that most of the people here have lived here for GENERATIONS and that their houses have been paid off for years and/or were most likely inheritated. We know that living on the bank teller's income means that you're struggling to make the taxes that keep going up every year so you can hang on to the house your parents built and died in.

    We know that the family farm which use to support four separate households with income as well as food has tripled in size and now only supports two households and produces nothing for human consumption.

    And we know that people from the City keep moving to our little town to find "the simple life" and then complain about the smell of fertilizer and getting stuck behind tractors going down the road when they're on their way to work and insist on County garbage collection so our taxes go up again. Your post of full of ridiculous stereotypes.
     
  18. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    How is it that your current 5 acres can not work for you? Are you allowed to plant a garden? That is the simplest way I can think that you can start making your land produce. It would save some mowing for your husband.

    You say you are wondering what is in other communities, yet you fail to read the responses. You focused on "bank teller" when I listed many other occupations as well. For the record, the two electricians here in town are very much over-worked. There is plenty of room for another electrician to come set up shop. That's probably true in many places.

    This town is closed by 10pm and all day sunday, except for wal-mart. So??? What does that have to do with anything? Small towns do exist, but what do you think??? Aunt Bea just brings home cooked meals to everyone and no one actually works for a living? Oh yeah, we have gomer at the gas station, but we pay him $30,000/year just because we are a small town?!?!?!

    I happen to be working at a gas station at the moment. I get $6.50/hour which is minimum wage here. This is not my primary income, but it certainly is for some of the folks I work with. These people own homes, have children and live on gas station wages. It can be done.

    For those who choose to have a higher standard of living, well they go out and find better jobs. Same as anywhere else. Or maybe like me...I have other avenues of revenue, but things got slow so I decided that working with some really nice people to earn a few bucks would be ok. Maybe I don't even need the money as much as the human interaction....I spend waaay too much time with cows and chickens.

    The most important thing about living in a small town is not what you do or how much you make, but who you know and how you treat people. Snobs usually aren't tolerated too well, nor are the dishonest, lazy or irresponsible. Honest, hard working people will find a way to make it.

    For the record, the first job I had in this town paid me about $60,000/year for doing a highly specialized position (power scheduler). Those are low wages for the job I was doing, but it was more than I ever made back in the city. I could probably find another position doing the same thing, but I'd have to move and this is HOME. I'll take filling in the slow times with minimum wage instead of moving. Now that is probably a mulberry type of thing....I believe in the town I live in, I believe in the people who live here with me and I believe in my ability to make it ok with whatever comes along as far as a job.

    Jena
     
  19. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    I still believe that one can pay off their debts (hopefully on a piece of land they already hold). build their home and be self sufficient within a 3-5 years. Then work won't be such an issue.

    That's what I plan to do after college.
     
  20. terriv

    terriv Well-Known Member

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    As a side note, we have no health insurance. That would add about another $800 a month for a family of 4.