I'd love to move to Colorado (Denver, Colorado Springs: to rent, house, unemployed)
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I'd really like to move near the mountains, and I need help finding the right town. I've read some threads on here, but answers don't come easy. I currently live in Wisconsin, and am unhappy. I thirst for mountains and Colorado! If you live there, I'm sure you understand the passion. I've been there a few times, Denver, Boulder, Breckenridge, Estes Park... and can't get enough of the beauty and culture. I need help finding a town where I can wake up to mountains, make a living, and be happy. I am a college graduate who is sick of the office lifestyle. I don't really care what I do as long as I can live and pay school bills. I don't need much. I'd be happier living in the mountains as a waitress than living in Wisconsin stuck in an office working for a big corporation. Anything. It's all about location. I have friends in Denver, and I'm not looking for that big a city. Something near Denver wouldn't be out of the question, however. A small town near a big city, perhaps? I love being and doing things outdoors, local music, photography, and a sense of community. Is there anyone that can help me?
No, the answers don't come easy. No-one is going to tell you that there is the perfect place in Colorado that meets your requirements because it just doesn't exist. Right now, with the economy, people who already live in Colorado are looking for whatever work they can find to just live and pay the bills. You're not going to find a small town in the mountains that has any work available. The only place that you're going to have any luck finding any work is in the big cities -- Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins/Colorado Springs. You might check the Colorado Springs thread for Woodland Park or you may also consider some of the smaller cities along the Front Range such as Loveland, Longmont, Erie, etc. You should think about looking at the Denver suburbs; you can find reasonable places to rent and still have access to the outdoors and the mountains whenever you want. Denver has lots of parks and trails, and the mountains are not far away.
Dreaming of Hawaii pretty much sums it up. Colorado, rural Colorado especially, has never been a particularly easy place to make a living. With the economy as it is now--and it may get even much more rigorous--just plopping into Colorado and expecting to make even a subsistence living is getting much more difficult.
People tend to think that, in times like these, there will still be entry level jobs available where one can subsist. Though it seems counter-intuitive, exactly the opposite is actually true. The people finding and holding jobs in Colorado these days are the ones with specialized experience or skills that are still in demand, and/or people with extensive and successful management experience. The entry-level "generic" workers--especially younger ones--are having a real rough time of it and are getting laid off in droves all across the state.
Wages are absolutely stagnant at best, and living costs continue to inflate. In an economy like Colorado's, where living costs compared to local incomes have not been especially favorable for a long time in many places, the current economic environment becomes especially poisonous for anyone in the middle class or below who actually expects to stay here for the long term.
And, as noted, there are plenty of people already here who are desperately trying to stay here competing for any available job. That both drives down wages and makes it difficult for outsiders to have an even chance to find employment.
This from someone who did, just picked up and went to Summit County, got a job at a ski area, skied and lived there. Never regretted that decision.
However that comes with a few caveats. For one, that was a different time and economy than now; all else being equal, probably more competition than when I did it. The mention of school bills raises some questions. I was young and free, without any obligations. It would be far more easy to survive in such a place if your needs are modest, or the higher your salary requirements, the more of a challenge. Something else to consider is the allure of the mountains, particularly from the easy vantage of a vacation, versus the harder reality of dealing with such a life on a daily basis. I love the mountains, as you may as well, but I also remember many the minus zero morning out scraping recalcitrant ice off the windshield. That was when I had a vehicle; before that memories of standing at the roadside in a very heavy jacket waiting for the employee bus to show up. Try something like this, and you'll have some stories of your own. Oh, and while there I always had roommates.
We had a jovial party one night, just we employees, at the close of the day when the skiers had left and the mountain was quiet, ours. A special time. It was a farewell celebration for one of the ski patrol who had been there some time. But now he was getting married, and considering finances and responsibilities beyond the horizon he had first considered or lived by. There are certain realities that lie beyond a season, and within dream.
The bargain many have made is to live within sight of the mountains, such as along the front range, preferring the greater comforts and opportunities in lieu of actually being in the high country. It is subjective. There is no substitute for really being within the mountains all the time, as home, but most are unwilling to pay such a price, moreover possibly content to visit on occasion, and that enough. With some experience one will have to look to their own Gods to know what suites them best.
If the answer is not enough then perhaps even remaining farther removed, such as in Wisconsin. The economy is difficult all across this nation, in many other places around the world, Colorado no exception and indeed with a higher cost of living than some other areas of this country. So from a strictly practical standpoint, if simply money, one would not usually choose it. But your reasons and heart are otherwise, or should be if you hope to succeed. Love enters the equation, and that will answer when much else will not.
Everyone that speaks of the practical difficulties involved is only telling the truth. But people still work and live here, people are still hired. In balance, though, there is the distinct likelihood that Colorado will actually lose population in the coming years as result of this near depression. Its population of some 5 million is forecast to double to 10 million by 2050, all else being equal probably would, but there are many mitigating factors against that which many ignore. So the question comes, for yourself or any other already here, to what degree they are determined to remain? What sacrifices, in which ways adaptable, and how willing to fight to be the one with an income when others find it easier to find greener pastures elsewhere?
I have to agree with all of the above posts. I've lived in Denver my whole life and I won't live anywhere else. However, I couldn't possibly imagine just walking out of a job to come here in these unsteady times. This depression has hit Colorado hard.
Fresh out of highschool I got married and started my family. (Got divorced, now a single mom) I had a steady job that paid very well (without a degree) for over a decade. I owned my home for 7 years. I even bought my brand new VW off of the show room floor and paid it off. I did it all by myself, without ANY money from my ex-husband or any kind of gov't assistance.
Then in 2008 life as we knew it just stopped. I got laid off, applied for hundreds of jobs, countless interviews and as of 2010 I'm still unemployed!!!! Yep, I lost my house and had to move back in with Mom and Dad in my 30's! Please give your plans some serious thought before coming out here. The jobs are not here and the cost of living is very high. You know how they have "greeters" at certain stores, usually held by the elderly? Now those positions are going to the young because almost nothing else is available.
I know many people who have degrees and they've been forced to take jobs below their education level. If they can't find jobs in their field, how am I supposed to find one? Especially one that would come close to what I'm used to living on. Shame on me for marrying the wrong guy. Shame on me for not getting a degree in something and shame on me for never waiting tables or work in retail. At least I'd be able to fall back on those skills.
Good luck finding work or affordable housing in the mountains or near ski-resorts. All of those jobs are taken by 18 yr olds. The price of fuel alone is enough to send you packing back home. Our taxes are high too. It's your call, but I personally wouldn't quit my job without getting a rock solid one here first.
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