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Old 11-07-2018, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
4 posts, read 476 times
Reputation: 10

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I'm 33 years old and originally from Orange County, CA. In December of last year, I moved to Arlington, VA in search of better job pastures because I was a substitute custodian in OC for a school district for 12 months. I was trying to gain permanent status but it didn't pan out, and my Mom received a management job offer in Arlington, and offered to bring me with her to try the DC job market. About a month after moving here, I started working at the Natural History museum in retail and did so throughout tourist season (what an experience!) At first I loved DC but now I'm starting to hate it. The vindictiveness of the people is starting to wear on me. Of course, coming from SoCal, that is a perception. I'm not really used to East Coast aggressive (comparatively) behaviors so it's shocking to me sometimes. However, I'm not here to bash anyone.

I'm highly considering a move to San Antonio, Texas and would like to know if anyone from there or another part of America can speak to the issues I will bring up here. I can only post this in one forum and I'd like it to get better exposure so I'm posting it here, as I'm undecided but pretty sure I need a better environment for me personally.

I have a B.A degree in Geography and most of my experience is in retail. I developed bipolar disorder in my senior year of college, so even though I graduated with honors and solid academic references, I was not able to work for a year after graduation or get an internship during senior year, which really destroyed my career trajectory. I had to start off doing janitorial work for Goodwill and gradually work my way up. I received that job after almost two years of unemployment and treatment through a job coach at Goodwill and I was a custodian the next five years. Finally I was able to move into retail. First, Home Depot, and then, Smithsonian museum of natural history. I have good references but no real job skills. Mainly the degree and cash handling skills. I deal with a seemingly insurmountable wall when it comes to motivating myself. I'm trying to work this out through my County assigned case worker and of course I regularly see a doctor and am faithful to treatment.

I've applied for about 10 federal agencies since being here and it's been crickets. Currently, I'm driving for Lyft while planning my next move. The retail job at Smithsonian lasted 7 months and I received Employee of the Month for June of this year, and received the same award at my Home Depot store in CA. I like working with the public.

Since I have a hunch that San Antonio might be a good place for me, but want to spread the question out a bit further, I want to share the criteria I'm using to pick a place to live. I don't have a lot of money in the bank but I will have enough to live for 60-90 days in a new moderately priced city until I find basic employment. I assume with my experience that retail or food service is where I will have to start, unless I start studying GIS again like I did in college. I love working with people, but I've learned that just smiling and being friendly with people isn't a well compensated skill in the economy. Employees at Walmart, Target, and other establishments earning minimum wage are expected to do that. So, I'm looking to start building a skill that will allow me to actually earn a living wage that the economy deems valuable. I'm a believer in the fact that people are compensated (generally) according to the value they provide to a society. I don't see a lot of injustice in the economic system. I guess that makes me a conservative.

Here are the criteria I'm using to try to find a place that will allow my mental health to flourish, or at least, flourish compared to the DC area.

1) Climate. Coming from SoCal, I severely underestimated the impact of a pleasant climate on my well being. I love sunny climates. The East Coast has not been good to me that way. Anything below 50 degrees and I start to get depressed. I get sick more easily too. I spent the entire month of January this year extremely ill and unable to get out of bed. I thought death was waiting for me, and saw that many people last year died of the flu even if they were otherwise healthy. I don't want to spend another full winter here. Basically, any place that is as cold as DC or colder is "out" for me. Heat and humidity hasn't been a huge deal. I took Metro and walked the National Mall every day in summer to Smithsonian and I don't mind DC summers. I do have to say though that the sun beats down in a way here that is much more intense than CA. Nonetheless, I'd rather have that than cold winters.

2) Pace. I like calm. Now, calm relative to say, Orange County. It's a metropolitan area, much less active than NYC or Boston but significantly more active than many smaller cities. I like industry and activity, but not too much of it.

3) Friendliness. Boy, the weather here is not the only thing that feels cold. DMV is cold! Then again, coming from SoCal, maybe it's just a perception. We are seen as shallow in SoCal but in my biased opinion, not necessarily unfriendly, unless we are compared to TX or anywhere in the country not named DC, SF, etc. I definitely value people being friendly. I have found that to be the single GREATEST want in my life since being here, working in DC and living in northern VA.

4) Access to mental health care, preferably through Medicaid initially until I can find a better paying job over time.

5) Job or retraining opportunities. Having a mental illness and also learning about the principles of economic success and what provides value in a market economy, I definitely want to be in a place where there will be ample opportunity to provide value to the economy and train in my down time for a job with a solid enough wage relative to the area to begin saving.

6) Social. Church is the biggest factor in my life socially and I'd like to build community around that, but I also love sports and especially basketball. Ironically, I was a Spurs fan from 1999 all the way until Tim Duncan retired. They were my team after Jordan retired. However, access to the Spurs is not a factor as it relates to considering SAT. Not a major one.

7) Nature access. We all need to unwind sometimes, but in particular, I do enjoy the geography I've seen online in videos of West Texas (which SAT is not a part of). I like dry, desert climates. I hate the fact that there are scorpions and things unique to that environment to contend with, but that's why I wouldn't live in the countryside.

8) Culture. I speak Spanish, and am very fond of Mexican culture. I've traveled (prior to developing bipolar) in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina. I'd love to meet more people of Mexican heritage, as they generally are more joyful than many of my countrymen and I enjoy the cultural exchange generally. Having said that, I've worked at Disneyland, Smithsonian, and briefly taught ESL here in DC so through my work and travel experiences, I find cultural exchange and friendship to be a valuable part of life to begin with and wouldn't want to live somewhere without access to speakers of other languages and especially Mexican people. Having close access to another country (Mexico) would be even better.

Ideally, I would love to live abroad, but with bipolar disorder and everything that represents in real time, coupled with the lack of mental health care abroad, it's not a wise decision. Access to mental health care is absolutely foundational and if I didn't have bipolar disorder and had a few thousand more than I will have in the bank, I'd probably just move to Mexico City. Having a lot of patriotic feeling, I have a hang up about leaving my country because I just feel I belong here, I feel I should spend my talents here, and I would feel like a deserter if I left. But maybe that's something I can talk with a therapist about. Learning about capitalism has allowed me the opportunity to think in terms of concrete realities and what has to be done, and less about what is possible and what I'd like to do. Daydreaming is nice but it doesn't pay the bills. Regarding the above list, I can see clearly that DC hasn't been good to me in matching my criteria, which I thought very little of before I moved here. In the words of the president, all I saw when I considered coming here with my Mom was, "jobs, jobs, jobs." But breaking into that civil service sector is a little harder than I thought it would be, with my experience and skillset. DC is a place where you want to get that "public service" job or get out. It's not a place to work for minimum wage. And that's if you're lucky enough to work DC minimum wage and not in northern Virginia where the wage is cut almost 50% but the living expenses are the same. Politically, it's been tough too, in terms of a 91% Democrat population and only about 5% Republican on a generous day. Even my church life here has been impacted by politics.

Thank you for any guidance! I am usually scolded for not giving enough criteria or relevant content in asking a question, so I hope this is helpful.

Last edited by thedreadedskyhook; 11-07-2018 at 05:21 PM..
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:44 PM
 
524 posts, read 206,686 times
Reputation: 412
I don’t know San Antonio, but have you looked into Phoenix or Tucson? They both seem like they could be a good fit for you.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
4 posts, read 476 times
Reputation: 10
Hi Vincent. Yes, I've been to both. I have sort of a love hate relationship with Tucson. I was going to attend U of Arizona and ended up studying in CA. AZ is a place for which I feel polarized feelings. Parts of it feel stagnant and I definitely don't want that to be a factor. I'd have to get to know the various parts more.

Last edited by thedreadedskyhook; 11-07-2018 at 06:20 PM..
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:34 PM
 
524 posts, read 206,686 times
Reputation: 412
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedreadedskyhook View Post
Hi Vincent. Yes, I've been to both. I have sort of a love hate relationship with Tucson. I was going to attend U of Arizona and ended up studying in CA. AZ is a place for which I feel polarized feelings. Parts of it feel stagnant and I definitely don't want that to be a factor. I'd have to get to know the various parts more.
Yeah, based on your criteria they’re not a perfect match, but they seem pretty close. I agree Tucson is kind of boring (although I like 4th Ave and downtown is improving) but the outdoorsy opportunities with places like Mt. Lemon and Sabino Canyon nearby are very good. The Phoenix metro area definitely has quite a bit more going on though.

I am interested to hear someone who knows San Antonio weigh in on if they think it would be a good fit.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
4 posts, read 476 times
Reputation: 10
If it helps anyone to give me an opinion, I'm looking to train for a career intersecting IT and customer service. Tech is a good field and apparently, I don't need a lot of tech knowledge to get in the door. They train and provide good benefits. I'm really wondering if I should just use the money I would use to move to just train for a career here and get some success and traction before leaving. One of my best friends moved from NYC to CA, where I'm from, and to this day he has nothing good to say about his home city. He advised me once, "Never leave anywhere in defeat. You carry that history with you." I hate this place and it's sucking me dry but I don't want to move to TX or anywhere else as "that bitter guy who badmouths DC and couldn't handle it."
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:59 AM
 
524 posts, read 206,686 times
Reputation: 412
I would try the San Antonio forum:
http://www.city-data.com/forum/san-antonio/
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
101 posts, read 118,087 times
Reputation: 99
I would not move to Texas if you need Medicaid. The blue states (California, Illinois, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, NJ, etc.) are more expensive but they have a strong safety net for people who fall on bad times.

Also, people in the South may be friendly to your face, but it you don't look like them, speak English, worship like they do, have sex like they do, then they talk bad about you behind your back. People up North (DC, NY, New England) may seem aggressive or cold, but they're real. When you make a good friend, they will be your friend for life. I live in Brooklyn, and I know the attitude you're referring to.

Try to look at this way. Up North, you'll notice the assertiveness but it's perceived as aggression. There are plenty of nice people that aren't assertive with their friendliness because they're not fake. Down South, the assertive people are "friendly" but it's a fake friendly. The nice people again are the quiet ones.
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Old Today, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Naples Island
832 posts, read 497,568 times
Reputation: 1684
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedreadedskyhook View Post
4) Access to mental health care, preferably through Medicaid initially until I can find a better paying job over time.
Unlike California, Texas has not expanded Medicaid. Therefore, if you are working full-time, regardless of your hourly/annual compensation and/or disability status, then you are unlikely to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Additionally, Texas has one of the largest coverage gaps in the entire nation with upwards to one (1) million residents who are ineligible for Medicaid coverage as well as Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC) subsidies due to highly stringent Medicaid eligibility guidelines.

In short, don't count on being eligible for Medicaid coverage, if you move to Texas. Based on the information provided in your post, you should probably move back to California.
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