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City Slicker Couple Wants to Relocate - Need to Find Work  

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islandRach
(@islandRach)
New Member

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 1:28 pm
rosesisland
(@rosesisland)
Island Expert

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 1:55 pm
pilatesgal318
(@pilatesgal318)
Reputable Member

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.

pilatesgal318

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 2:37 pm
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Islander

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: http://vidol.gov/job_seekers.php

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

http://mjsvisionsvi.com/commercial-video-production/

http://www.filmusvi.com/contact-us/

If you're interested in working with plants:

http://cruzangardens.com

St. George's Botanical Gardens
http://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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 2:48 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Noble Member

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

Yikes! Move NOW!!! Anywhere! 😮

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 3:31 pm
rosesisland
(@rosesisland)
Island Expert

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 3:33 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Noble Member

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

You'll love it here.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 3:34 pm
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Islander

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 4:22 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Noble Member

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

Yikes! Move NOW!!! Anywhere! 😮

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 4:28 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Islander

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 5:05 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Noble Member

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 8:34 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Noble Member

http://www.cbstv2vi.com/

http://www.wtjx.org/about/

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 9:25 pm
STTsailor
(@STTsailor)
Island Expert

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.

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2017 9:49 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Noble Member

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!

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 20, 2017 2:43 am
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Noble Member

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)

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Posted : July 20, 2017 4:14 am
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