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City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

islandRach
July 19, 2017 10:28AM

Registered: 11 months ago
Posts: 2

Hi! My name is Rachel and my boyfriend Tim and I work and live in Washington DC. We grew up here, moved away for college, and then came back and found work after graduating. The city life has been good to us for a few years. We have good jobs and make okay money. But, we don't want to settle down here. It's crowded, loud, polluted, our commute takes 1.5 hours each way (even though we live about 11 miles away) and *very* expensive. We visited my Aunt and Uncle in St. Croix last summer and totally fell in love. They are teachers and take their summers on the island. We've talked a lot about getting out of the city rat race and living the simple slow life. I am an agriculturist and currently run a research greenhouse for a DC university. Tim is a television studio operator and works in live TV news for a variety of networks. We do have a nest egg saved up to relocate somewhere. Our biggest problem has been finding work. Every job listing I see online is either menial labor, front desk work, or tourism. I completely understand that these are the main sectors of work on the island but I'm worried I'm not looking in the right places (craigslist, indeed, monster, ect). Maybe island employers don't use these types of sites? I know there is really no television production to speak of but there must be local news, film companies, things like that. For me, as long as I am working with plants I will be happy. We are going to keep looking.

Also, of these forums say that the cost of living on the island is very high, but when I look at real estate/rent online it all looks MUCH cheaper than where I live now. So, is the cost of living actually high or just high in comparison to very cheap places to live? Although I make a decent salary now, of course both Tim and I are expecting to take pay cuts on the island, and trade those for a better quality of life and a cheaper cost of living than we are used to.

My question are these: do you like living on St. Croix? The people, the communities? Do you think it is a good place to raise children? Is the cost of living really as bad as people say? Do you think we will be able to find jobs that will pay us enough to get by?

For those who relocated out of a busy/city area: How did you adjust to island life? Do you like it more than you liked living in the city? Do you have any regrets about leaving your career behind?

Thanks very much! We will continue to do research but I wanted to get some opinions from those who have done a similar relocation in the past. Sometimes I think my dreams of living the "simple quiet life" are unrealistic and perhaps it's a rat race wherever you go.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

rosesisland
July 19, 2017 10:55AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 643

I can't answer all your questions, but, for me to move to STT would be moving to a rat race! I live on STX.

When I came in '95, I took a $25k cut in pay and the job I got here, I considered lucky to have.

Right now I know of several former teachers here that now wait tables or are in the service industry.
Remember HGTV only shows the best of things not the day to day dirty underbelly you'd deal with everyday.

For me STT is too busy, STX laid back, STJ unrealistic unless you have millions.

Just my opinion.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

pilatesgal318
July 19, 2017 11:37AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 406

For me, I much prefer STT to STX - I lived on STT for 8 years, STX for 3 - I would think that STT would be a better fit for someone coming from a big city, but that is certainly dependent on what you are looking for.

Cost of living is quite high, however, I am sure rents appear to be much cheaper than they are in DC (and STX rents are cheaper than STT) - keep in mind that rent may be cheaper but utilities may be considerably higher (WAPA for power, the need to buy water on occasion, propane for cooking and any other gas related appliances, etc.). You will also not make anything close to the same salary that you are making Stateside and you may not find any work in your career sector - that needs to be considered before you relocate.

Your dreams of living a "simple quiet life" are like many, many others who want to live in "Paradise" - I, personally, feel that there is some level of 'rat race' no matter where you are, the experience is simply different....you trade noise, pollution, crowds and long commutes for many inconveniences - inferior power/internet, slow 'service' (if you can call any of it 'service'...customer service is severely lacking on island, for the most part, however there are certainly some exceptions to that), expensive travel back to the States, when necessary, inferior health care and NO individual health insurance. All of these 'trades' may seem like they are not a big deal right now (and may not become a big deal for you or others) but they all need to be considered thoughtfully and carefully before you jump into the move.

It is not very likely that you can secure jobs without being here, although it is not impossible...just not probable. That is why we all suggest a PMV (or 2 or 3!) - pre move visit...this way, you can explore the island(s) to see what everyday life can be like, make some connections for possible employment, rental property, etc. I made 3 visits to STT over the course of 2 1/2 years before moving - I am very glad that I took my time, did my homework and asked a lot of questions.

I loved my time on STT - I felt a tremendous sense of community, made some fantastic friends, had a successful business, and thoroughly enjoyed the weather, beaches, easy trip to STJ and the BVI when I wanted a 'get away'. I have never felt that on STX, and it is certainly not for lack of trying....just not my 'tribe' of people, I suppose. Everyone's experience is very different and one cannot speak for someone else and how theirs will be. I will say that crime exists on STT and STX (STJ as well, but minimally, in comparison to her sister islands), as it does everywhere, however, you are exposed to it more readily on a small island...it is harder to avoid, I think. I never felt fearful on STT but I cannot say the same for STX - I can't quite put my finger on why...just a feeling. Then, I/we experienced my husband being shot by a customer of his business, at 11 am on a Wednesday - the customer owed money and decided he didn't want to pay his bill so he chose to put on a gangster show. He was in jail for 48 hours, is still out running around and nothing has been done with our case....the incident occurred 7 months ago.

Do your research on this forum and, when you think you have researched enough, research some more! Don't hesistate to ask questions and/or PM me, if you would like; I would be happy to help any way I can.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Alana33
July 19, 2017 11:48AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,773

I think you'll find most businesses that will have the type of work you might be looking for, won't be advertising on those sites. Most businesses also advertise in local newspapers and tend to hire those already living on island.

You can check the VI Dept of Labor site: [vidol.gov]

There are a couple of film production companies in VI as well.

[mjsvisionsvi.com]

[www.filmusvi.com]

If you're interested in working with plants:

[cruzangardens.com]

St. George's Botanical Gardens
[www.sgvbg.org]

St. Thomas may provide more opportunities for higher paying and wider range of jobs as well as having more to do.

Good luck.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

SkysTheLimit
July 19, 2017 12:31PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 1,856

Quote: "our commute takes 1.5 hours each way (even though we live about 11 miles away) "

Yikes! Move NOW!!! Anywhere! surprised

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

rosesisland
July 19, 2017 12:33PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 643

Since we are considered the "agri" island of the three, I'd think more opportunity for you would be here. I've lived in DC and can fully understand your wanting to leave that cesspool. Sorry, but, I hated it there.

I love STX and can get everything I need here to eat clean. The food choices are amazing with our diverse culture.

My Sister-in-law as been trying to procure a job here for a few years now and she has impeccable experience, a Master's degree in Anthropology/Archeology to no avail. She visits every year.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

vicanuck
July 19, 2017 12:34PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 2,255

If you want to avoid moving to another rat race, come to St. Croix rather than St. Thomas.

You'll love it here.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Alana33
July 19, 2017 01:22PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,773

Another thing to be aware of is that if your employer in VI doesn't offer healthcare insurance, you won't have any unless you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

STT isn't quite the "rat race" many on STX make it out to be.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

islandjoan
July 19, 2017 01:28PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 1,495

Damn that sucks.
I live mid-island STX and drive to the airport for work everyday. Takes about 12 minutes. I just love my commute!

Quote
SkysTheLimit
Quote: "our commute takes 1.5 hours each way (even though we live about 11 miles away) "

Yikes! Move NOW!!! Anywhere! surprised

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

speee1dy
July 19, 2017 02:05PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 8,445

a lot of people who live on stx, takes them 45 minutes to get to work. so just because its an island doesnt mean you dont drive.

housing may not be as expensive as in the dc area and surrounding suburbs, but the other costs are higher.

i used to live in waldorf and you cant really touch anything there for less than 500k, here you can. and rents are crazy high there too. and its also turning a bit scummy. even st marys county is turning the same way.

and virginia is worse. COL and traffic, you couldnt pay me to live there.

but seriously, if you work you are in the rat race.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Scubadoo
July 19, 2017 05:34PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,957

COL includes utilities, food, transportation, furnishings, appliances, repairs, insurance, yada yada..... The rents aren't so bad depending on what and where.

For what it's worth I think the HGTV shows use local production/filming companies. Our local TV news could certainly use improvement but there's probably no money for that. We have agriculture on STX so you may find something in that. There are specialty jobs for folks with skills.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work
avatar

Exit Zero
July 19, 2017 06:25PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 2,232

[www.cbstv2vi.com]

[www.wtjx.org]

Both of these STT based TV companies would be the best place for him to start.

For you agricultural interests - there are lots of nurseries, Dept of Agriculture, UVI Extension Service, landscape architects, The Bordeaux farmers Coop

ST Thomas is certainly not a rat race in any Caribbean way - smaller than STX and busier in concentrated areas but plenty of laid back vibe and more economic activity - I have lived here a long time - peacefully and contented.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2017 06:30PM by Exit Zero.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

STTsailor
July 19, 2017 06:49PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 481

Quote
islandRach
Hi! My name is Rachel and my boyfriend Tim and I work and live in Washington DC.

My question are these: do you like living on St. Croix?
The people, the communities? Do you think it is a good place to raise children? Is the cost of living really as bad as people say? Do you think we will be able to find jobs that will pay us enough to get by?

For those who relocated out of a busy/city area: How did you adjust to island life? Do you like it more than you liked living in the city? Do you have any regrets about leaving your career behind?

Thanks very much! We will continue to do research but I wanted to get some opinions from those who have done a similar relocation in the past. Sometimes I think my dreams of living the "simple quiet life" are unrealistic and perhaps it's a rat race wherever you go.

I live on stt after spending 25 years in the north east. I do miss the city, vibrant cultural life, variety of dining and dating/friendship options. I go away often and travel extensively through the world but I am always happy to return to my enclave on the island. You can definitely relax here and it's beautiful year round.

No regreats about career as it has not changed. Different challenges here but still hanging On.

Having children here pre-school age is fine. School age probably no if you care about education level. Even private schools here are average and overpriced. Most local people who were not exposed extensively to mainland education and life seem very unwordly, plain and simple people. They are nice and fun but just plain dumb. I would not want my children become such.

COL will be similar to metro D.C. Rents here are most likely less than D.C. STX is cheaper than STT. Electric more. Groceries and gas a little more.
Jobs in Agri are probably more on STX, filming, TV unlikely to find. If you move you may have to start w service jobs and look for your dream job. If MJ gets green light here your agri skills can make you rich overnight.

Life here has challenges. I spent half day looking for a shower curtain pole and battery terminals. No such luck. Will try again next week. Or in 2 weeks. That's my rat race here.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work
avatar

Exit Zero
July 19, 2017 11:43PM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 2,232

STTsailor wrote:
Having children here pre-school age is fine. School age probably no if you care about education level. Even private schools here are average and overpriced. Most local people who were not exposed extensively to mainland education and life seem very unwordly, plain and simple people. They are nice and fun but just plain dumb. I would not want my children become such.


My daughter an my son in law - both born and raised here in STT both graduated from a private non-sectarian school here and attended a top flight University and one of our Military Academies - many of the 'local' graduates here attend various Universities in the States Every Year - including many of the most prestigious available in America. Without exposure to 'mainland education' either - schooled here.
To make a generalization like - plain and simple - unworldly [ hope it wasn't 'unwordly?] and - just plain dumb -- well that generalization is the epitome of Just Plain Dumb!

I am extremely proud of what many of the Virgin Island children have become!

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Scubadoo
July 20, 2017 01:14AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,957

Quote
Exit Zero
STTsailor wrote:
Having children here pre-school age is fine. School age probably no if you care about education level. Even private schools here are average and overpriced. Most local people who were not exposed extensively to mainland education and life seem very unwordly, plain and simple people. They are nice and fun but just plain dumb. I would not want my children become such.


My daughter an my son in law - both born and raised here in STT both graduated from a private non-sectarian school here and attended a top flight University and one of our Military Academies - many of the 'local' graduates here attend various Universities in the States Every Year - including many of the most prestigious available in America. Without exposure to 'mainland education' either - schooled here.
To make a generalization like - plain and simple - unworldly [ hope it wasn't 'unwordly?] and - just plain dumb -- well that generalization is the epitome of Just Plain Dumb!

I am extremely proud of what many of the Virgin Island children have become!

The other night the local news anchor on the NBC station in Raleigh mentioned something about his mom on STT. Turns out he was born on Tortola and grew up on STT before going to college in Tampa. Has won several regional emmys. I've watched this guy for close to 20 years and never would have guessed he was from the VI (he doesn't have much of an accent)

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Alana33
July 20, 2017 06:36AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 11,773

Many Virgin Islanders are intelligent, articulate and don't have an accent, unless they want to.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

islandRach
July 20, 2017 09:04AM

Registered: 11 months ago
Posts: 2

Thank you all SO much for your advice.

We definitely have a lot more research to do before we make the move. I don't think I'm courageous enough to move without a job lined up so we will reach out to all the places you recommended and try to make some contacts. I love the idea of coming to the island for a few weeks to see if we would like it long-term. Thanks for explaining about the COL. It makes sense that utilities, health insurance, gas, and groceries are more expensive. Nothing is cheap these days, it seems!

Another question - before Tim got into TV news he was interest in concert set up/music audio engineering. Are there any concert venues or recording studios on the island? If not on STX, do you think a little concert venue would be popular? Maybe he could open one up or something. Just another pipe dream!

I'll keep the forum updated with our progress and maybe one day we can all meet up in STX and share some rum smiling

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

BeachcomberStt
July 20, 2017 10:41AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 1,014

STTsailor wrote:
Having children here pre-school age is fine. School age probably no if you care about education level. Even private schools here are average and overpriced. Most local people who were not exposed extensively to mainland education and life seem very unwordly, plain and simple people.
They are nice and fun but just plain dumb.
I would not want my children become such.

WOW, just wow! I'm flabbergasted.
Why did you move here?
After that statement you should be exiled from the island and never be allowed to leave the house you moved from in the states, with no form of media access or human interaction.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/20/2017 10:44AM by BeachcomberStt.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

speee1dy
July 20, 2017 10:43AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 8,445

there is a venue on STT, cant remember the name of it though

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

ms411
July 20, 2017 10:50AM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 3,398

WTJX hired a new GM from the States last year. Very personable guy but of course I don't remember his name.

The University of VI on St Thomas has Reichhold Center for Arts as performance venue. They have a huge party in August or September to announce their season. Co-sponsored with Chamber of Commerce. Date should be online somewhere.

Lots of audio "professionals" because there are plenty of events with live music. The Marriott Frenchman's Reef also has a service that sets up conferencing. In the Yellow Pages I see that it's Presentation Service. 340.776.9130.

Check with Fintrac for agricultural job on St Thomas. They do global consulting. I know an Agronomist who works there. They are currently looking for someone to create online learning content.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Gator's Mom
July 20, 2017 11:49AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 791

The gm of wtjx is Tanya-Marie Singh who was promoted to that position when potter became lt governor. Wtjx is a video production power house providing services to vi government. Live streams many local events. Jobs pop up in production on STT and STX.

Wtjx will hire from the mainland.

Local production is how wtjx proves its high level of support from the vi government.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

STTsailor
July 20, 2017 12:16PM

Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 481

That's my opinion. I stand by it.
You don't have to agree but don't snow ball me with PC.

We all generalize, profile, stigmatize, idolize or patronize. Everybody has personal bias. All opinions are formed by encounters and individual experience not careful statistical analysis . From my experience and observation anytype of successful individual story is tied in to substantial exposure to mainland be it through collage, military service or family ties. It translates to better education, wit, customer service and general awareness of existence of the world beyond the island. Sure there are exceptions to the rule. I never use qualifiers like "all" or none".
There is a reason why most jewelry business is monopolized by Asian Indians and gas station by Arabs. The West Indians monopolized government and you see what you get out of that.

When it comes to education the success comes from coordinated effort of school teachers and involvement of the family. I think we are experiencing giant failure on both sides here. Yes I do generalize and it's mostly about public school. When it comes to education private, selective schools are better than public. Why? Cuz the are selective. Being in a class of likeminded, smart, motivated individuals props up average studen. It is a constant challenge to keep up with the peers, work hard, bounce ideas, be creative. Sure you can grow in public school. Sure you can be successful in N Philadelphia or South side chicagO public school but overwhelming odds are Against that.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

ms411
July 20, 2017 02:13PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 3,398

I know Ms Singh. She's been there for years. The male I met may be CEO. There's another govermment access channel that records government events on STT, and they're separate from WTJX. I see their camera person at many events.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Gator's Mom
July 20, 2017 03:23PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 791

Tanya has been CEO since Potter resigned to become Lt. Governor.

She is highly respected among her peers in pubic media. The WTJX business plan calls for a deep dive into the local communities through programming for TV broadcast and streaming. This justifies the exceptionally large (by public media standards) annual grant WTJX receives from the VI government of $3.7 million. The overall budget is $5.7 million to provide PTV service to about 100,000 residents.

In contrast, the State of Florida provides $300K per public TV station each year for station's with similar budgets that serve larger populations (which makes PBS membership dues much higher).

It will be interesting to see how WTJX fares given looming VI government budget cuts and the imminent dissolution of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Those are WTJX's two biggest funders. WTJX has limited private support from the community.

Many PTV stations use independent videography vendors to produce and shoot for them. I watch VI government proceedings and special events via WTJX's Facebook feed.

WTJX's public radio station is just getting started.


Quote
ms411
I know Ms Singh. She's been there for years. The male I met may be CEO. There's another govermment access channel that records government events on STT, and they're separate from WTJX. I see their camera person at many events.

Re: City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work

Bigfacemoe
July 24, 2017 06:32PM

Registered: 1 year ago
Posts: 30

There are exceptions to every generalization.

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