Job searches and "Island Time"....  

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RandyNTaj
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April 12, 2014 8:39 pm  

Taj posting here today..... we're thawing out in CB..... and I'm doing a lot of online job apps.

Randy has not heard on the position that was suggested (GM of a condo complex) and we've emailed hoping they will respond as we'll schedule a PMV with consideration for that position if we can get positive feedback. We indicated we'd schedule our PMV and make ourselves available to interview or discuss the position, and even consider renting one of the available condos for our stay to get a complete idea of what is involved....and no response thus far. (keeping fingers crossed!)

I'm on the job boards myself, applying and posting my resume- responding to ads and requests.

How realistic is it--- especially at the higher and more professional levels (salaried and professional jobs vs. hourly/temp jobs) to have things move on 'island time' and not hear back? I know the preference is for you to be 'on island' to apply/be considered-- but if you're qualified and looking to get there--- is it likely that it's as laid back as with the hourly positions in shops and tourist-related options?

We'd like to PMV later this month, next month-ish....turns out the CB house sold and we close June 3.....and we'd rather not expend resources staying here when we'd rather be there!!


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speee1dy
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April 12, 2014 10:07 pm  

have you looked at careers.vi and the local dol job listings?


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RandyNTaj
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April 12, 2014 10:47 pm  

Yes....I have done over 15 apps for us (primarily me) today....my brain is oatmeal... 🙂

Just hoping we hear some feedback soon on things--- we may be coming down to visit anyway but a few contacts to work with would be excellent for maximum efficiency in doing so!


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stxer
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April 13, 2014 2:54 am  

I don't think you get the islands. Things take time here. "" Maximum efficiency"" is not a term we understand. If you move here with that kind of expectation you will be very unhappy. Hope things work out for you...


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RandyNTaj
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April 13, 2014 3:00 am  

I'm willing to try... what I meant was that to set up a trip...it'd be good to have a list of people/places we have arranged to see. I'm old school, propriety of setting up appointments as opposed to dropping in is first instinct..... but I will learn Island ways I'm sure! Thank you, though, for your input- I appreciate that. 🙂


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St X
 St X
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April 13, 2014 3:16 am  

Being here will make your job hunt infinitely more productive.
You should count on accomplishing one thing a day- anything more is a bonus.


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Exit Zero
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April 13, 2014 3:31 am  

Even if you are here on island communicating by email I would expect maybe a !0-!5% response rate -- it is much more of a face to face experience -- even using a phone call can be discounted - if it is not a 340 area code it may not be answered and very likely never a return call.
Get yourself a stack of places to hit up on your PMV and make it a worthwhile time here - try and have a definite moving date in mind so you can make an honest comittment statement if you do find something you want to do - if things look good overall to you during the PMV see if you can secure suitable housing while you are here, even if it means signing a lease and renting it before you actually arrive. It is all about actually convincing someone who offers you a position that you are going to be here which is why it usually works easier if you are living on island when job hunting.
Use the PMV as a time to really decide if this is a place you would want to live - using it mainly as job search can lead to questions like "Can you start on Monday?" "Where are you living?" " Do you have reliable transportation?" "Do you have a local phone Number?" " Are you certified in the USVI?" " Do you have your food handlers card?" Do you have a VI drivers license?"


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DonExodus
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April 13, 2014 4:57 am  

Many employers won't take you seriously if you are not physically living here. Over the years we all hear the "man, this sounds great, I'm totally moving" line and they simply never move down (or leave in 5 days). I personally don't waste money on applicants who are not physically present. This mentality exists to an extent on a professional level as well.


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RandyNTaj
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April 13, 2014 5:29 am  

That's somewhat discouraging as having a job there is one of the things that would making moving there a bit less of a leap off a cliff. I guess it's a leap first....hope you land, second.

We are of the mindset that if we are asked to come down- we're booking the flight there, immediately. If we're offered jobs, we're there within 10 days. That's our mindset--- but I think we're going to have to go with being/getting there, and finding something to 'root' to and then roll the dice and take our chances.

I can sympathize with the mindset you mention.....I (Taj) do legal work for women's advocacy groups up here and it's very discouraging to do a lot of leg-work, preparation and set up for a client and then have her back out, vanish, bail...etc. It doesn't change my mindset that it's the right thing to do...just makes it hard sometiimes.

We'll see what we can do. We need and want to be there. Thanks for the input!


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speee1dy
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April 13, 2014 10:41 am  

it took me almost a year the first time i was out of work. the second time only about 1 1/2 months. went to the now gone temp agency in christiansted and got a temp job that has since turned into a permanent job.

if hovensa opens up soon you would do well to get a twick card. ( not sure of the spelling ) which allows you to work in the plant. you could call the airport to find out if they still do that there. it is about 200 bucks

i got one and shortly thereafter got my job where i am now so did not need it.


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Afriend
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April 13, 2014 12:49 pm  

Yes, "having a job there (in the USVI's) is one of the things that would making moving there a bit less of a leap off a cliff" but that's simply not the way it is for most people. And while YOU may be "of the mindset that if we are asked to come down- we're booking the flight there, immediately" the reality is that the vast majority of the people who say that to a potential employer never actually make the move. It's been that way for almost "forever. Employers learned this lesson the hard way long, long ago - they get inundated by inquiries from people who never show -up - and so they concentrate their efforts on interviewing people who are already living on island - you'd do the same if you were hiring. It's a facet of island life that's not going to change. Same with either slow or even no existent responses to your emails and inquiries - everything moves on island time and island time is never convenient for anyone on the "waiting end".

That's why the people on the regular contributors on this forum routinely recommend you not only make a PMV but also when you do relocate you bring a nest egg with you in order to help with living expenses until you find a job.

Good luck in your search.


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Gator's Mom
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April 13, 2014 1:23 pm  

My advice, move with enough money to settle in, find your footing and some friends and then begin to worry about job hunting. You have to be willing to adjust to a different life rhythm or the VI just won't work for you. Figuring this out is part of the joy of island living though.

For a permanent move, I would have 3-6 months of cash on hand. Spend some time building your network of relationships face-to-face - this will make your job search much easier. Become culturally acclimated. From my experience, people can smell desperation so don't put yourself in that position. In the VI, politeness is highly valued and balanced with assertiveness.

BTW - a sad fact of life now is that an employer is not compelled to let you know the status of a job unless you're interviewed. That's most any where stateside or in the VI. Electronic communication breeds indifference.

VI employers are willing to wait until someone shows up on island with a particular skill set - many good jobs stay open until that happens.


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OldTart
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April 13, 2014 2:05 pm  

I was offered and accepted a job here while visiting friends. To cut a long story short, the job just didn't work out and after 3 months living here I was without a job. Over the next several weeks I sent out probably around 25 resumés (and mine was very good) to prospective employers and received back a grand total of two responses, both of which were very pleasantly professional but advising there were no current openings. It was total serendipity that I lucked into a wonderful position through a friend of a friend and I most happily stayed in that same job for the next 10 years.

I can only repeat what others have said which is that the majority of newbies just don't stay here which is why employers are leery of hiring them, let alone those who aren't even yet on island. Less the case where waitstaff and bartenders are concerned as there's always a high turnover in that field and the positions are easily filled.

Don't be discouraged at the lack of responses, just be aware of the facts. Once you settle in, things will be easier. Good luck!


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RandyNTaj
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April 13, 2014 6:43 pm  

Thank you all for this advice and responses with suggestions and what I perceive to be good intentions...do know they are appreciated! 🙂

I spoke too soon on 'thawing out'....we are in the middle of 'thundersnow'...it's sleeting, snowing, high winds...and...thunder. I shot some video for my FB page as it's just ridiculous.....it's nearly MAY!! Ugh. Motivation to get that PMV out of the way....

We will adjust to 'island time' I am sure. Randy is very easy-going and less of a list-maker than I am....but being in the legal field...I do live on timetables, schedules, deadlines, regulations....it is hard to break a habit of being used to that. It is true that electronic communications breeds a level of 'whatever' to people...and I do not reduce the validity of the mindset you describe about employers not taking off-islanders seriously, it's just one more thing we will learn and adapt to.

We're going to see about a PMV in the next 30 days so that we can indeed get some of this 'face to face' time....and I am going to post an ad on the classifieds here for my services that I can do remotely to try to build a little clientele with my graphics/web/design skills as that can be done easily from anywhere, but would serve me to possibly pick up a connection or two. I've also started looking for FB groups that are STX based- including the STXDirect group which I have asked to join so that I get a feel for what is there and how it works. I've already 'liked' the pages of vetrinarians, some furniture/furnishing shops, and other service providers so that I can get a feel for the social climate there.... as one of my areas of expertise is social media marketing--- which may also be helpful once I'm on island, we'll see.

Randy would like to look at putting an ad out prior to our PMV for his services--- seeing if he can get some handyman work and bids in while we're there- and plan to return-- bringing any equipment, tools and supplies needed as well- but we'll see how feasible that is.

It's a learning process...and we're learning--- with a great deal of help from those here, so thank you. Hope everyone is having a good weekend--- I'm going to continue to sit here and watch this weird CO weather, bundle up in a blanket, and do more reasearch!
Cheers! 🙂


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Alana33
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April 13, 2014 7:33 pm  

Not to burst your bubble but Randy really should be Licensed prior to working on anyone's plumbing, electrical issues, etc.


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RandyNTaj
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April 13, 2014 7:47 pm  

He's a master electrician, plumber and general contractor of 30+ years with his credentials here in CO....so we'll be getting the necessary 'formalities' there, yes. 🙂


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ms411
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April 13, 2014 7:50 pm  

There's a good chance you won't hear anything even if you are qualified for the jobs. Nobody knows why people don't get back to you after you've submitted your application. It happens even if you're living here.


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Alana33
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April 13, 2014 11:23 pm  

He's a master electrician, plumber and general contractor of 30+ years with his credentials here in CO....so we'll be getting the necessary 'formalities' there, yes. 🙂

In that case, once he's licensed he'll be in demand, especially if he returns phone calls, responds promptly has a great work ethic and does a great job;).


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jwidjaja
(@jwidjaja)
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April 14, 2014 12:19 am  

I work in the medical field and it took me 6 months to get a job, even though the territory is a medicallly-underserved area. I didn't start looking until I am physically on the island. When I am on the island, some who interviewed me seem skeptical that I would stay here long-term. I ended up getting an email a few months after I interviewed - inquiring if I was still on island and if I was still interested. My husband on the other hand, got a job right away by talking to some people on this forum - so it depends.

Everything moves slower here and what ExitZero said aboud response rate through email and phone calls are absolutely correct.
I hand out resumes to multiple offices and follow up with phone calls and that went nowhere . Nobody ever returned my phone calls - granted it was worse for me because I didn't have 340 area code.

Oh, and it took me almost a year to secure a license to practice in the USVI .... I don't know how fast/long it will take to get your licensing as master plumber/eletrician...


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caribstx
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April 14, 2014 3:57 pm  

Its not easy to get licensed here as those who have licenses and control the licensing process aren't always excited to have more competitors.


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jsc173
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April 14, 2014 4:12 pm  

I do not live in the VI but plan to on or near retirement. Used to own property on STJ and have spent a lot of time there over the past 35 years as well as most of the islands throughout the Caribbean.

I do live on an island (Hilton Head) that is in many ways like islands in the Caribbean, given it's nature as a destination resort. Getting a job here isn't that hard provided you're willing to work and don't expect to make much money and, most importantly, you're actually here.

Most employers here are inundated with unsolicited resumes and email inquiries and mostly trash them unless they have an opening. If they have an opening, they will usually only consider someone who's already here and can come in for a face to face interview. They do not "hold" a resume in their file for the future and honestly most of the better-paying jobs are filled almost exclusively by word-of-mouth and referrals from existing employees.

It's not uncommon to find "over-educated/over-experienced" workers (for their position) or people used to a six-figure salary working for $15/hour just to be here. For many, being in "paradise" comes at a price. Once you're here and get to be known, your opportunities multiply.

We see the same phenomenon I'm sure you see down there of folks coming to the island with a dream, not finding it and leaving discouraged. We also see people come here, fit in to the island culture and flourish.


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rosesisland
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April 15, 2014 11:26 am  

Jsc173, very well said and that's the way it goes here on STX as well.


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