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Moving to Seattle/Portland thread #305

juggerbotjuggerbot NebraskaRegistered User regular
edited March 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I am graduating from college with a history degree this May, and I’ve been affected with wanderlust for a few years now. I live in Nebraska right now (and have for all my life) but I’m looking to get out of the Midwest, and looking specifically at moving to the Pacific Northwest. I visited Seattle during PAX back in 2009 and I loved the area. I have heard good things about Portland as well, so that is also high on the list. I know Northern California has a similar climate, but I’ve heard the cost of living statewide is in a class of its own. I’m not against living in a smaller city nearby, but since I’ve lived in rural/small city environments until now, why not go all the way?

Let me first emphasize that I will not be moving anywhere unless I have a job already lined up. I imagine searching from a long distance will make it much more difficult to find employment, but I’m not going to go broke doing this. I do have a work-study with the VA Regional Office in town, and I’m a veteran, so that might favor a job at the Seattle Regional Office (which is in the Downtown area), assuming they don’t have a hiring freeze due to the federal budget fiasco. Other than that, being a history major who doesn’t want to teach or go to law school pretty much leaves things like museums for employment. I would love to work in IT, but I have zero job experience with it and no certifications. As far as rent, I realize it will likely be much more than I am used to (maybe 1k a month for a nicer 2-br apa. in Omaha), but I don’t really go out to bars or clubs and don’t spend much at all on frivolities, so as long as I’m not living paycheck to paycheck I can handle it.

I know there are tons of “Moving to Seattle” threads already which have talked about which neighborhoods to check out, but can anyone give advice as to employment for the Seattle/Portland areas? Thanks in advance!

juggerbot on

Posts

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    Just FYI, you may be pleasantly surprised by housing prices here. My 2-bedroom apartment, which is in a pretty decent area, is $1200 a month. It's big, but right next to a freeway. However, it's also two blocks from a lake. Really, as far as coastal cities go, housing prices in Seattle and Portland are about as cheap as it gets.

    Finding a job while not living here is seriously difficult. If you can get some work out there, save up for a few months so that you have a cushion, then move out here, that is probably about the ideal. You also shouldn't write off office admin work; it's not a bad industry to get into, and if you know computers, you frequently end up doing some IT with it, anyhow. People love admins who know computers.

  • finralfinral Registered User regular
    Having just moved from Seattle to the Midwest, $1200 for a 2 bedroom seems pretty funny to me now. I do miss Seattle though. When I was renting there, I shared a pretty nice 4 bedroom house for 2000 in mapleleaf, utilities included. 500 per per person was pretty nice. Anyway, I second Thanatos in that getting a job while not living there will be difficult, unless you are working with some really specific skill set. There are temp agencies out there than can get you temp office work while you find some sort of real career to get into. I will say that people in Portland tend to be friendlier, although I've heard the job market there is worse off than Seattle at the moment.

  • superhappypandasuperhappypanda Zug Island Sport Fishing SeattleRegistered User regular
    Seattle has a few larger companies than Portland which helps in finding a job. I've been thinking about relocating to Portland since the couple of times I've been down I've loved it but every time I start looking for jobs down there I don't see as many options as here.

    But yeah, I miss the rents back in the metro-Detroit area. I could have a mortgage on a 3bd/2ba house back there in a decent neighborhood for half of what I pay in rent here.

    What Thanatos said about finding a temp gig out here is gold unless you can by some miracle land a job without living here first. I was fortunate to get transferred out here by my previous company when they needed IT support for their Seattle office.

    There are a ton of contract gigs out here so finding work shouldn't be impossible once you get here. Heck, I know a ton of people that don't do much other than sling coffee and get by.

  • juggerbotjuggerbot NebraskaRegistered User regular
    I should have mentioned that I do have a decent cushion built up. Or rather, I did not blow $30k on a brand new car or partying when I got back from deployment. I will probably have a bit over $15k liquid left by the time I graduate (yay GI Bill!) and I've put $10k into a Roth IRA over the last two years I can fall back on (minus penalties/taxes/I'm positive it's gone down in net value). I suppose if it's next to impossible to successfully phone interview my way into a job I could feasibly survive a few months without one. Also, I did human resources work in the Army for 6 years, but so far that hasn't really mattered to prospective employers, or maybe I'm not explaining it right on my resume. That and twisting some story about how a history major is right for Company X is getting pretty old.

    Do they have good temp agencies in the area that will work with someone who is not, or are most of them listed online?

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    Without a job, I would say Seattle is your better bet because there are just more jobs there to stumble in to. Portland has a more constrained job market, because it's 1/4th the size. That said, I prefer Portland as a place to live over Seattle. It has all the good parts of being a big city without a lot of the headache, because it's just a million people.

    If I had my druthers, I would say move to Seattle, get a job, live up there for a bit, then visit Portland (it's a three hour drive/train ride or a 45 minute plane ride), and if you like it more here, start looking for a job here while you're working in Seattle.

    As a side note, I got my current job in Portland while I was still living in Texas, purely through phone interviews. It's possible, though not easy.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Portland is definitely not 1/4 the size of Seattle. Even 1/2 would be pushing it.

    But, the job market is definitely better in Seattle.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    According to Wikipedia, by pure numbers, Esh is right....but having lived in both places for extensive amounts of time, Portland feels very small compared to Seattle.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    I think it's because Portland has many
    more contained neighborhoods. I've lived in both as well. I understand what you're saying though.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    Seattle's population density is nearly double that of Portland's. There' a lot more water taking up space.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    Stupid Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington, taking up so much livable space!

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
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