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Old 07-19-2017, 05:40 PM
 
8 posts, read 2,837 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello Everyone,

I thank you in advance for taking the time to read this, and I really appreciate any replies. I am a recently married, criminal analyst in a police department in the lower 48. My husband is an attorney.

I am unhappy in my career now largely because it's grant funded and insecure. My husband isn't in the best situation career wise either. I grew up in a small town, and am from the North (in Canada), and when he brought up the possibility of moving to Alaska I was excited. Although he hasn't been hired yet, (so this is premature) I like to think ahead. I understand that a lot of lawyers in Alaska get there start in smaller places, and then after two years trying to move to Anchorage (or an other bigger place), but we may end up loving Bethel.

My husband has applied in several places, but this includes a couple of government jobs in Bethel. I have reached out to people there as well and feel confident I could be employed.

If he's hired in Bethel and we move there for a few years, could anyone tell me what to expect?

I know food costs a ton, we'd try to order what we could from places that ship things in from Anchorage. But beyond that, and the size of the town I don't know a lot.

Some specific questions I have:

1. What are rent prices like? These are hard to find online. Is it possible to find something with heat and water included?

2. I know the food is expensive, and I don't doubt rent isn't cheap, but beyond that do people save money? What would primary costs of living be outside of those two things?

3. Are people generally pretty friendly? I know it will be an adjustment coming from a bigger place.

4. My specific background is a Masters of Science in Forensic Science, and outside of government job websites, I wanted to reach out to people in Bethel to let them know I very likely could be coming and would be interested if there were any openings. Does anyone have any suggestions of who I could contact in the Bethel police department, or in Forensics?

5. Assuming we come, I am more worried about my husband adjusting than me. Do people come from all over the lower 48?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for anyone who takes the time to respond.
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
6,286 posts, read 10,887,730 times
Reputation: 4804
There are no forensic jobs in Bethel however the police department always seems to be hiring officers. They do supply all of your uniforms except boots. Good luck out there!

Law Enforcement Recruitment - City of Bethel*
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,433 posts, read 3,553,463 times
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Would it be possible to make a visit first?
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:45 AM
 
8 posts, read 2,837 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKStafford View Post
Would it be possible to make a visit first?
I am not sure, not super likely. One of those jobs is interviewing my husband next week. It may be hard to work in a visit, if he is hired he'll have to tie up lose ends before moving.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Anchorage
81 posts, read 27,772 times
Reputation: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by mledwards87 View Post

If he's hired in Bethel and we move there for a few years, could anyone tell me what to expect?

Expect it to not be like any place you've ever been in the lower 48. It is different for sure. I've only spent a few days at a time out there for work, so I can't tell you anything about rent, but I did find the people I dealt with friendly enough. There are a lot of social problems in that region so the police seem to stay busy. If you are competent and can show up to work sober and on time, I think you will also be able to find a job there.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Deltana, AK
854 posts, read 1,495,230 times
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Full disclosure: I have not been out to Bethel and everything I say is second-hand. That said though, since you can't visit, someone should probably tell you that Bethel is not commonly considered a very nice place. It's located in an enormous swampy flatland without any good way of getting anywhere else (in other words, probably not how you're envisioning Alaska). From what I understand, it has an exceptional problem with alcohol/substance abuse, and related issues like domestic violence. It is cluttered and junky even by Alaska standards. Obviously it's home to a lot of people, and I'm sure it has redeeming factors, but personally, the only way I can see an outsider being happy there is if they have a boat on the river, and really enjoy getting out of town, hunting and fishing, and all that (though you won't be able to do any of that for your whole first calendar year). I think you'd have to be really sure of your career path to make Bethel a worthwhile temporary stop.
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Old 07-20-2017, 12:09 PM
 
8 posts, read 2,837 times
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Thanks for the responses everyone! My husband is pretty set on his career, but still, it's good to know this because it gives us something to talk about and prepares us for the type of environment we could walk into.
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
6,286 posts, read 10,887,730 times
Reputation: 4804
Lots of attorneys get their Alaska starts in bush communities. On the governmental side I worked with/around a number of them that have since moved on to be Alaska superior & Supreme Court judges. If he's looking to make Alaska a career move bush experience is very helpful for upward mobility.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:01 PM
 
1,635 posts, read 2,902,021 times
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My wife works with hospital staff who are in Bethel on temporary assignments. Some that didn’t visit prior to accepting the position have actually just gotten on the next flight out leaving the job behind.

On the other hand, if you can accept a rural life that can be ridiculously expensive with limited services and embrace the culture, you may do fine. It can be difficult for an outsider to get a foothold but once you do, people in Bethel are very welcoming and family oriented.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:08 PM
 
19,000 posts, read 24,521,189 times
Reputation: 10421
It's probably important to enjoy outdoor activities to get the most out of living in Alaska, but you'll also be spending a significant amount of time indoors. My stepmother was not an outdoor enthusiast, but she loved teaching and living in Bethel. She kept busy with arts-and-crafts, good books, and other indoor pursuits.

As far as expenses, one of the biggest ones that people often forget to budget for is travel. Will you be flying back to the -48 for family stuff often?
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