STX Job Search
For those of you who left your jobs stateside with no job planned on island, when you interviewed with future employers, how were you received? Did you get many questions of "why' you left your "good job in the city"? (so to speak)
I would love to hear about your experiences.
I have been visiting the island for over 20 years and spent over a month each time on St Croix after returning from 2 tours in Iraq(1991 and 2004). Always felt St Croix was in our future.
The wife and I had always planned to be living in St Croix to be with my parents and the fact we love the island life(ps we are normal , but OKAY with the lifestyle of St Croix).
Our initial plan was when our kids were all done with college and on their own to move too St Croix. Sadly, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago and after battling cancer for almost a year, she lost her battle. Some of my Mom's final words, were for the wife and I to take care of Bob(step-dad). Where he wasn't moving from St Croix, we moved up our plans to be here with him and fulfill my Mom's wishes.
Whereas our children were down and college paid for by us, and the loss of my Mom, we decided to move to St Croix sooner than later.
I moved here in November 2009, the wife followed in March 2010. ST Croix is now our home.
However, still under 50, I was not ready to being retired and continued my job search in St Croix. Every single interview I went on(over a dozen), I had to same question asked:
"....Why are you on St Croix and choose to start a career on St Croix. I would explain our plans were to be living on St Croix, however, due to the circumstances I describe above, we expedited our plans. I would try to be brief, but understood I had to "convince" the interviewers, I was on St Croix for good and our future.
Although told "off the record" several times after being notified I wasn't selected,
"..you would have been selected for the position, however being a newbie on the island was the reason someone else was selected over you......
Simply put, be prepared to convince the interviewers you are here on St Croix for the future, and if you are not , you will have a huge hurdle to overcome and probably won't get the type of job your are seeking.
Don't get frustrated, as the interviewers more than likely have been burned by someone they selected new to the island and are doing what they believe is best for their organization.
In fact, one of the organizations I was interviewed for and not selected, recently contacted me to see if I was still on the island and if I still had interest in the position if it opened up again. Although I advised the individual I was still interested, I also told them I have a position with an organization with a good reputation and unlimited potential. Moreover, currently I am not actively seeking employment elsewhere.
Fortunately, I had some buffers to withstand almost 9 months without a regular paycheck; step-dad who helped the wife and I out when cash-flow was tight and also had some income coming in(unemployment and have a small military disability). And most of all, great friends on St Croix who helped in my job search .
So be prepared to go on several interviews without being selected----and not because you were not the most qualified and best candidate, for the simple fact you are new to the island.
Some tips I can offer
(1) Register with Department of Labor(i.e allot of positions are only advertised with DLT).
(2) Don't wait for a position to be advertised, if you think an organization might have a position that match you qualifications, apply with the organization's human resource department.
(3) If an organization offers you something less than what you are looking for, accept it as long as you think the organization has opportunity to what you are looking for.
(4) Be proactive on your job hunt
As a former employer, I understand the investment you make in hiring someone and want them to be productive and to make long term commitment. That said, employees come and go no matter the locale. I found that providing a realistic living wage really helped with retention. I am sure the transient population through the islands is larger than some areas and that the "seasonal" nature of the islands has much to do with that.
I am heading down shortly and having been self-employed for the last 12 years, I fully expect some difficulty finding work. I would hope that folks can see a sharp and industrious gleam in my eye and understand that I really want to make a go of living on STX.
Thanks for your responses.
InnAtPelicanHeights, that is what I felt would happen. One of my very good friends that lives on island doesn't think I will have much of a problem finding work because of my personality. I, on the other hand, know that I am not financially prepared to live a year without having an income.
islandboy, I am currently on that side of the desk where I hire and manage staff. I know that I am going to be a very productive employee. I, too, hope that whomever interviews me would recognize that gleam in my eye and know that I am in it for the long haul.
Thank you for one of the best answers regarding new arrival employment. You have been very helpful to newly arriving job seekers. It gives hope and a path to follow. Obviously people's results vary. Some get great jobs soon and others need to go through the process.