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Old 02-04-2014, 05:41 PM
599 posts, read 835,121 times
Reputation: 585


I was having a conversation with a friend last week about all of the young people who suddenly seem to be wanting to move to Colorado. He has a nephew and a friend's daughter from elsewhere who want to move here, and I have two nephews who want to move here. All are between 20 and 24 years old.

This guy had also dropped everything back in 1982 at age 21 when the economy was very bad, and moved here out of the blue from the east coast. He claimed it was much tougher to do then than now, and I had to argue the opposite, that it is much tougher now. With that said, he did it the right way, and I'm not so sure some of the people posting on here are down with that.

He had $2000 saved and a reliable, paid off car when he moved. Doesn't sound like much now, but consider:

1) Minimum wage then was $3.35 an hour. Gas was $1.10 a gallon, COL for everything was lower, taxes of all kind were lower, and there was a shortage of minimum wage workers. You could literally walk down Pearl or 28th street in Boulder in the morning and score a minimum wage job that started that afternoon. If you were a good worker, you would be bumped to $3.50 within six weeks and $4.00 in another six weeks. That simply doesn't happen now. Competition for even minimum wage jobs is fierce, and they expect you to take $7.75/hr forever.

2) He had friends who were already here, who let him sleep on the couch for a week until he met some people at a party who were looking for a roommate. The room in a house was $150 a month, so he had over a year's rent saved already, and within three months when he was making $4.00/hr, his rent was less than a week's gross wages at 40 hours, and he worked a lot of overtime on top of that. Fast forward to today, and a room in a house in Boulder is at least $500. To cover that in a 40 hour week, you have to be making $12.50 an hour but almost no one can find an unskilled job over $7.75, AND almost no one will let a minimum wage worker work more than 30 hours because of Obamacare.

3) Back in the early 80's, there were still companies that would hire someone off the street and train them for a job that had advancement possibilities. After a year working fast food, my buddy found a job working in the mailroom at a company in downtown Denver. In ten years he went from the mailroom, to the computer printout room, to the computer tape library, to a computer operator, and on up the chain to being a self-taught programmer. He had no degree, in Comp Sci or anything else. This simply doesn't happen today, at least I have not heard of anything like this in the past 15 years. You either have a degree and the skills necessary, or you don't get a job. Once you are hired, you do what you are hired for until you quit. There has been a fundamental shift in employer's attitudes about their employees, and this makes it dramatically tougher for young people to get ahead. Also, in the 80's and 90's, there were a lot more corporate jobs in Denver. Most of the national and regional headquarters that were here have been bought up or closed, like US West, Public Service, Samsonite, the list is long.

So to recap, when he made his big move, he had a paid off car, over a year's rent, friends on this end to help him out, easy job prospects at a wage that would allow him to float while looking for something better, and a sense that eventually he would be able to latch onto a career.

The equivalent today would be a paid off car that gets 50 MPG, $6000 in the bank, $12.50 an hour jobs by the dozen that would let him work 40+ hours per week, lower taxes and expenses than today, and the good prospects of getting a permanent job with advancement potential. I simply don't think situations such as this exist in Colorado today. Maybe a few young guys score jobs in the oil fields with similar results, but in general, I believe things are *much* worse for the kids moving here and I don't see anything on the horizon to make things any easier.

Old 02-04-2014, 06:17 PM
8,317 posts, read 25,837,799 times
Reputation: 9133
Right on all counts. There is another "biggie" that won't make a lot of wannabe's happy. Education standards have dropped a bunch in the last 30 years. Most employers want an employee to have at least an Associates degree because a high school diploma doesn't mean anything, anymore. I have a friend whose wife is teaching freshman college students what would have been the equivalent of 8th grade English thirty years ago. Math skills are even worse. Bluntly, most high school grads today are not really competent enough to make their employers money at $7.75 per hour. Truth is, some college grads can't, either.

Colorado has one of the highest levels of education attainment of any state's workforce, yet I know a lot of employers who constantly complain that they can't find competent employees to hire from that pool. Sadly, a lot of young people will never earn enough to attain the living standard that their parents enjoyed. Worse yet, a lot of them have such a poor concept of personal finance and saving that they will never save enough money to have a hope of a decent retirement. They squander their money on silly consumption, put themselves in debt to buy stupid toys that they really can't afford, and then b**ch about why they can't get ahead. Of course, having a good time and living in a place with high living costs and less-than-stellar job prospects puts them farther behind the 8-ball. Lest someone think that I believe that my generation (the Baby Boomers) walked on water, they didn't. In fact, a lot of today's young people learned a lot of those bad habits from the Baby Boomers--it's just that the Baby Boomers had a lot of accumulated national wealth produced by the generations that preceded them to play with. Most all of that has been squandered in the last 30-40 years. The current generation of young adults have essentially no net worth of their own, and the economic circumstances of the country are such that their parents will likely have burned through what wealth that they have before they die.

All of that is going to have profound social and economic implications. One that should be obvious is that areas and regions that have geographic realities that make them less likely to be able to compete for the essential industries necessary to maintain an economic base are going to be in real trouble. In many ways, Colorado sure fits the description of a place that's going to be in trouble.

Last edited by jazzlover; 02-04-2014 at 06:35 PM..
Old 02-04-2014, 06:30 PM
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,868,193 times
Reputation: 9317
Granted, everything you ( coloradoalimony ) say about the difficulties of making it in Colorado ring absolutely true, but WHERE are conditions significantly better?
Old 02-04-2014, 07:54 PM
20,896 posts, read 39,162,901 times
Reputation: 19172
It's a lot tougher everywhere. Doesn't pass the so what test. Thread closed.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:47 PM
Location: Arvada, CO
13,236 posts, read 24,403,441 times
Reputation: 13004
I moved here with my wife and three kids in 2007. I was 23.

I am a high school graduate. Dropped out of community college more times than I can remember. My wife is a high school dropout.

We both got jobs at pizza joints initially, within weeks of getting here.

We quickly found that it wasn't enough money to support us (ironically, it was in CA).

Wife lost her job due to one of the kids getting cancer.

I pounded pavement. Was willing to take whatever I could find.

Got turned down several times by prospective employers.

Had a good interview with the place I'm at now, but never got a call back.

A week later, I CALLED THEM.

Went down, filled out the paperwork. It was a contract driving job.

I availed myself to work basically any hours. So they gave me work at all hours.


2 years later, I was offered a transfer to become an area manager. I accepted and transferred.

We lost a big contract there, so back to Colorado we came.

In exchange for a pay cut (2011, down to $$$), my wife gets hired on part-time ($).

My wife turns her part-time into full-time.


We both get promoted to high-level management.


I learn that human resources is a gigantic PITA. We can't keep good people for one reason or another. We hire people that interview well, then 2 weeks later they decide they would rather back to not working/this wasn't for them/I need $19/hr/3-4 days off a week/all holidays off/can't work late, early, or during the day, or weekends/can't do requirements of the job/etc/etc/etc.

Or they don't show up to interviews. Or during the interview, they tell me they plan on quitting in a few months. Or they have backgrounds that won't past muster. Or drug/drinking issues. Or they are hired and never show up. An old manager always said, "We get the people who can't be security guards".....but COME ON!

I don't think much has changed since 2007. Blame society.

Or laziness.
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