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Old 07-09-2009, 01:32 PM
 
20 posts, read 87,694 times
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I am wondering if anyone can share their experience of moving to AK from a large city. Is the transition hard? I am moving into the Anchorage area in a few months and don't know what to expect.

Also, what would be the best approach in terms of finding work (Customer Service, Call Center). My ideas so far have been to look on Craig's List, Anchorage Daily News and send my resume to various Temporary/Placement agencies in the Anchorage area... but how soon should I be doing this? Will employers take me seriously if I am not yet residing in AK?

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Alaska & Florida
1,629 posts, read 4,761,474 times
Reputation: 823
I lived in San Francisco before. However, I was born and spent my childhood in Alaska. After moving around a lot, I'm back in Alaska part time now.

The transition may be hard, it depends on if you enjoyed living in a big city or not.

I miss being able to walk to an authentic ethnic restaurant from my house, followed by a bar and then a night club. Than having the option to just wave a taxi to get back home. However, you will really appreciate the fresh air and the many outdoor opportunities without having to drive an hour outside the city. For me, I couldn't live only in Alaska at my present age. I enjoy it while I'm here, but I am also happy when I get to leave. I love city lights, sound of cars and people everywhere etc...maybe when I reach retirement age, Alaska will be more appealing to me. It definetly is a beautiful state though!
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Over the Rainbow...
5,963 posts, read 10,496,834 times
Reputation: 3135
Quote:
Originally Posted by catlady_07 View Post
I am wondering if anyone can share their experience of moving to AK from a large city. Is the transition hard? I am moving into the Anchorage area in a few months and don't know what to expect.

Also, what would be the best approach in terms of finding work (Customer Service, Call Center). My ideas so far have been to look on Craig's List, Anchorage Daily News and send my resume to various Temporary/Placement agencies in the Anchorage area... but how soon should I be doing this? Will employers take me seriously if I am not yet residing in AK?

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
You mentioned you do not have a job. If you don't have a spouse that has already been promised a job in Anchorage, then the most important question here about your move is: Do you have at least 8-10 months or possibly a year of living expense saved to live off of; apartment, food, gas, daily essentials, etc.

You'd also want to keep an emergency fund to leave if things go bad for you. Not trying to discourage you just stressing that work in Alaska has slowed down some and although there is work it doesn't mean you would find a job right away. Just a word of caution here. There was an article in the Anchorage Daily News a couple of months ago regarding many who have moved here ended up homeless. Just some words of advice here.
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Old 07-09-2009, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Homer Ak.
243 posts, read 411,082 times
Reputation: 130
Will be able to answer your question in 2 weeks. Moving from socal to alaska very very soon. Oh answer question about transition only, jobs are set already. I would heartily agree with the above posters to make sure you have the ways and means before making the move solely because of the extreme cost of the move.

Last edited by socal4now; 07-09-2009 at 10:48 PM.. Reason: caznt spell
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Casa Grande, AZ
8,685 posts, read 14,170,637 times
Reputation: 10300
Quote:
Originally Posted by socal4now View Post
Will be able to answer your question in 2 weeks. Moving from socal to alaska very very soon. Oh answer question about transition only, jobs are set already. I would heartily agree with the above posters to make sure you have the ways and means before making the move solely because of the extreme cost of the move.
So did you luck out, how did it go?
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
322 posts, read 769,978 times
Reputation: 176
I moved to Fairbanks from Boston (am originally from Fort Worth). Having always been a city girl, it was a hard adjustment - in fact I'm leaving. However, the hardest adjustment was actually the weather and that's the real reason I'm leaving. Getting used to living in a small town and an isolated place is hard too - but I found enough activities to keep me busy. There are tons of organizations, clubs, etc... up here. Also, the traffic is almost nonexistent. There isn't much shopping and the dining is outrageously priced compared to most big cities of the lower 48. So, it will be an adjustment, but being involved in civic organizations over endless shopping and dining is a good thing. When I move back to Texas, it's not that I won't enjoy the ample shopping and dining, but I won't shop as much for "entertainment." But seriously, if you sing, play an instrument, take up a sport, want to learn a martial art, knit, sew, paint, do pottery, etc... you can find a group of like minded people and have a social life up here. While it's hard to find STYLISH furniture and clothing up here, it is not hard to find the ESSENTIALS you need to live.

I wouldn't move here without a job of some kind. Okay, so I did 6 years ago - I moved because I came up here and married a guy I met on the internet. And I can't be too critical of cold moves in general, because although we're both applying for jobs in the Austin area, we will move the first week of August either way. But then I feel so awful in the winter, I don't think I could stay employed another winter here at the job I have, so I'm far more likely to make ends meet in a sunnier place. The last 2 winters when I went outside, I cried when I had to get back on the plane and go back to winter because 2 weeks away from the cold and dark is not enough. Seriously, for an outsider coming here, I think the climate will likely be the biggest issue.
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,850 posts, read 19,599,365 times
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I moved from Los Angeles to Anchorage in 1991. I did not have a job or a place to stay when I arrived, but it only took me a week to obtain both. I did not find the transition difficult at all. In fact, Anchorage had more than I was expecting to find in a city with only a quarter million people.

The hardest part, for me, was getting used to all the daylight during my first Summer in Alaska.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Palmer
2,518 posts, read 5,873,806 times
Reputation: 1365
[SIZE=2]"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold
Till I'm chilled clean through to the bone."

Robert Service -- The Cremation of Sam McGee


Yep, the climate is the main reason that Alaska is not as populated as other states.

[/SIZE]
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
322 posts, read 769,978 times
Reputation: 176
Interesting Glitch should say that. I've noticed that a lot of women struggle with the dark winters, but enjoy the summers, and a lot of men don't like the excessive daylight in the summer, but don't mind the winters. Just a generalization and anecdotal evidence more than anything else, I know, though I've heard medical types say they notice that in their patients. I've also heard that a lot of people like living here for about 5 years and then that 5th year, the winter really gets to them. I suppose that was the case with me. I didn't *hate* living here until my 5th winter and then I just couldn't stand the winter. But when I first moved here and a realtor was showing me houses she said, "There are 2 types of people who move to Alaska. Those who decide that it fits them so well, they can never live anywhere else and those who when they get to their 5th winter decide they can't stand it anymore and then the house goes on the market that spring. Most of them BELIEVE they're the first type when they get here." Again, anecdotal evidence, but something to point out. Then there are the kids who grow up here because their parents were the first type who sacrificed everything to come to Alaska for a more self sufficient life. They've been told all their lives that life in the lower 48 is more difficult and yet, they wish they had better shopping, more career choices, don't really like the winters, and they've been culturally conditioned to think you can't actually live someplace nice until you retire. So they sacrifice their youth on a hard life that was really their parents' dream.

There's an ad that one of the banks has been running in the paper that says that "Alaska's Economy is a 3 legged stool." One leg is government, the other leg is petroleum and the other leg is the other resources. I think this is an important point for someone to consider when relocating here. Most of the high paying jobs have to do with natural resources - petroleum, mining, fisheries biology, timber, etc... or else are with the government. In those careers, you can make far more money here than in the lower 48. But I see that you intend to apply for customer service type jobs in Anchorage. Yes, there are indeed *some* of those jobs because there is enough of an economy here to support some of them. But the demand for that kind of stuff up here and the advancement potential is not all that high. A major telecommunications company or computer company is not going to relocate to Alaska no matter what tax breaks were given. First of all, most of the people who come here for "Alaska" come to get away from that excessive growth because they don't want to see the population quintuple in a few years. Second of all, it is so expensive to build here and difficult to get people to really stay for the long-term, so a major employer isn't going to seriously look at it. The economy is driven by the resources that Alaska produces.

That's not to say you won't be able to find a job here. What I'm saying is that your advancement potential and choices will be lower due to a limited and isolated economy. If you're the sort of person who can work in the classified department of the same newspaper for 30 years and land the job, then great. But white collar opportunities are going to be less here (that's fine, unless that's the sort of work you want) and the pay differential for living in Alaska isn't going to be as great as the blue collar jobs either. On the whole, it seems to me that here blue collar people make more money and have nicer houses and cars, whereas a lot of white collar people don't have nearly the pay and benefits they would in the lower 48. Nothing wrong with that - it's honest labor and those are the jobs Alaska actually NEEDS the most.

I guess I'd ask what is about Alaska that makes you want to move here. If it's a smaller town and more winter sports or outdoorsy activities, I'd look into New Hampshire or Maine. The reason I ask is because you want a customer service job in Anchorage. Anchorage is considered by most Alaskans to be a "city" like "Seattle." Not to say that you can't get out and see Alaska by living there. And if you're single and that's your goal, you don't really lose anything by trying it - provided you can get employment. And yes, Alaska hasn't had as many layoffs as the lower 48, but the economy is taking a hit, and there aren't a lot of new jobs being produced. Tourism (which generates a lot of those customer service and advertising jobs) is really down this year. That's true everywhere, but this is a harsh place to risk being alone and stuck. It's expensive to leave if you get stuck here. The type of job you're looking for is the type that will get cut if revenue is down. If you looked for customer service work in New Hampshire and got laid off and had to look further, you could expand your search all the way to Boston. Get laid off here and you don't have many options. If you're the self sufficient type, you can replace some income with labor - hunt, fish, trap, garden, build a cabin, etc... A lot of people come here to do that too. But if you're not the self sufficient type and you end up unemployed, it's expensive to leave and harsh to stay. I watched an administrative assistant from Texas struggle with the winters to the point that she got fired for incompetence. She was competent in spring, but when the winter came, she was so sleepy and depressed, she couldn't function. She had no money saved up to leave and ended up at Wal-Mart to eat because she couldn't even afford a plane ticket out of here. If she doesn't leave this summer, she'll probably get fired from that job this winter for the very same reason. That sort of stuff happens because people don't know they can't take the winters until they get here and then they have nothing saved up and no where to go. Oftentimes, they don't even know that it's the winter that's making them feel so bad, they just don't feel good and then they start feeling better and think they're well until next year when it happens again.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,358 posts, read 32,312,626 times
Reputation: 13696
Kittymama, I think I speak for everyone else...when you move to Texas, we don't want to hear you whine about you wanting to come back to Alaska when you don't make near as much as you did back in Fairbanks...lol
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