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Old 11-11-2013, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Fargo
6 posts, read 17,114 times
Reputation: 11

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Am I the only one in the Fargo area that doesn't buy into all the media hype about the wealth of jobs here in Fargo? The Fargo Forum constantly publishes these stories and how it's such a great place for young people. I feel as if I've really been let down by these high staked promises. While Fargo does have low unemployment, I feel that much of this is due to underemployment of the massive amount of college graduates. I have many friends that upon graduation stayed in the area and are working VERY low wage jobs or even multiple jobs to just get by. Some people talk about the low cost of living, but when you combine that with low wages, you really don't end up any better off than being poor in another city. There are lots of jobs here for skilled/general laborers and professionals working in education, business or medicine, but what if you didn't graduate in those areas?

I am a 21yo freelance designer/student and been living with my partner in Fargo for the past 2 years. I study web design/interactive multimedia here and have thought of making Fargo my home for a while, until I decided to actually start looking at my opportunities in the area. There is almost no work opportunities here for web/graphic designers and when you do find work, employers ALWAYS want someone with 3-5years of experience, even though there is no entry level positions --even internships are sparse-- in this community. I've seen employers looking for web designers/developers for months and couldn't fill the position, even while there is a pool of talent available, just because they are so stringent on the 3-5years of experience. Many employers don't realize many local graduates are already advanced enough to take on these positions.

I am not asking for a job that pays $50,000 out of college....it would just be nice to find something around $30K-$35K and while money is definitely not everything, it has to pay the bills. Also, my partner, who graduated in film studies (while not a very employable field) still couldn't even find acceptable entry level work here in TV or video production after searching for over 2 years. The only entry levels jobs here for that pay $7.25/hour-$9.00 an hour and have NO advancement opportunities. I find that insultingly low, he worked very hard in school for 4 years to educate himself and when you are made an offer so low you can't pay your bills with it, you have no choice but to refuse it. He has been working in telecommunications for $8-$9 an hour and recently just took a customer service job at a call center for about $22k a year, which is still just barely enough to get us by and we are extremely frugal. He is the main income source because my freelance work has to be balanced with schoolwork and usually only brings in $400-$600/month.


Part of the reason jobs are scarce is because Fargo is such a tight knit community that many jobs are never even offered in the public space. Hiring becomes a back-room social activity and are given to the most well liked person instead of the most talented or qualified. Many are offered within companies or through the typical "so and so knows someone." As someone who doesn't really fit in to the drunken social culture here, it's hard to become good friends with people and network with other professionals. So in conclusion, I've really rethought our prospects of living here. My partner (realizing film studies isn't going to work) is going back to school to study Information Technology Systems and in 2 years upon graduation, we are looking to move to the twin cities which has a wealth of better entry-level opportunities for our fields and will offer more competitive wages. I just wanted to share my experience of living here and see if anyone else has encountered similar frustrations in Fargo?
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
418 posts, read 1,185,440 times
Reputation: 304
I'm not in your situation, but I know of several others who have been. Higher ed and medical sectors are definitely open to people who haven't grown up here, but I would say the business community is much more difficult to break into as an outsider.
And yes, even 25 years later, I'm still an outsider and frequently hear the condescension in the phrase, "well, you're not from here after all."
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:20 AM
 
1,842 posts, read 1,372,405 times
Reputation: 1298
Welcome to "any city" in the world.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Fargo
6 posts, read 17,114 times
Reputation: 11
I don't know if this really is "every city," because I've never experienced it while visiting other cities. It's just frustrating that everyone in the business world definitely seems to have that condescending view of outsiders. It's been my personal experience that a lot of business owners won't hire you unless they know your history or have some connection with you--I get the sense that it's a strong distrust. I have a extremely talented graphic designer friend (he's very friendly and social too) that recently graduated and applied at one of marketing agencies here....Of course he didn't get the job because he was from California and didn't KNOW anyone working there. The position instead went to a woman who is an ex-coworker of mine that was not as talented as him but is from this area.


Just frustrating...I am sure this kind of bias happens everywhere but I've never seen it as bad as here in Fargo.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:00 PM
 
Location: ND
47 posts, read 73,300 times
Reputation: 83
Sincerely and with all due respect, you are just 21.. You have plenty of dues to pay before you start making real money.. My 19 yr old daughter makes $12.50 an hr and recently joined the ANG. My 21 yr old daughter makes $14.50. Both go to college fulltime (unsubsidized by me), pay for their cars and such.. I grew up with the base philosophy instilled in me by my Dad - "If you want to work, there is always work..." Very true words. I passed that on to my kids along with the fact, if you want more, ya gotta go work for it, make sacrifices, move, etc.... But don't squawk about it not being in front of you, ya gotta go where it is... And they cant wait to move from here, start another new chapter in their lives and see the world..

Sounds to me like your in a specialized field and there is just not the demand in the area to support it. I grew up in the RRV and had to leave to make a decent wage in my chosen field and was only recently had a chance to come back to that field and make a decent wage. I am sorry, but you need to live where your chosen trade/field pays better.

Now if you were a diesel mechanic, welder, traditional tradesman, etc and will to work 60 hr weeks. You will make a good living in the Fargo.... But pretty dang tired to enjoy it

But like IDtheftV said "Welcome to any city", this is true most anyplace... You got to put in your time and climb the ladder... That simple.. Took me till I was 23/24 to figure out if I was going to make money in my profession, I had to move where the jobs are and I did just that.. Sorry but it rubs me raw a bit when people squawk about wages in chosen their field (regardless of where they live), yet there are jobs in a different state that will pay 3x and pay off student loans if you go to work for them. If this means moving to Indianapolis, then you need to move there if you want the money. If you want to stay where you are, then accept the wages paid in that location...

Please, I mean no disrespect towards you or your post. Just advising you of the reality of the situation in a blunt, yet honest manner.. With that said, I have been back here for 8+ yrs and am looking forwards to leaving shortly. Why, because I have hit the glass ceiling here... Time to move on and find the next rung on the ladder.

Fargo is a fantastic place to live and raise a family, but you wont make your millions here or any other single location.. Go chase that dream, re-evaluate & adjust and keep going till you find what your looking for.. But be forewarned, it may be in a great spot like Fargo today, but in 5 yrs it may be in Tacoma or Columbus or San Antonio...... But follow the dream and see the world.. Your much too young to settle for a life in Fargo......

Rod

Last edited by Nodak7mm; 11-14-2013 at 07:14 PM..
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:49 AM
 
4,230 posts, read 5,737,784 times
Reputation: 10032
No offense, but web and graphic designers are a dime a dozen these days.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Fargo
6 posts, read 17,114 times
Reputation: 11
Thanks for the honest opinion Rod.

I wouldn't say web designers are a dime a dozen...like any industry it's tiered, there are loads of crappy ones, a moderate level of good ones and fewer of the best designers. It's just probably true that Fargo just doesn't have the demand to support many of us here. I don't intend on staying here as I know there are other opportunities out there. I know I am young and have lots to learn once I do enter my field, but I'm just looking for the opportunities to get a head start! I've always thought it's best to start gaining real world experience as soon as possible. I would also like to say that just because I am young, doesn't me I am as naive or as unskilled as every other 21yo out there. I have some good marketable experiences and skills and I just don't see employers as willing to pay me fairly, they only see me as a student and nothing else....so cheap labor.

I should have probably mentioned, I know Fargo is a college town run by the students so I know wages are going to be low here no matter what, but when you are trying to support yourself on your own...$7.25-$8.00/ hr doesn't cut it. I mean no disrespect either, but I believe people should be able to live on their wages, including students who aren't being hand-held through college. Due to certain family financial situations, I am completely on my own and paying for school with loans, so it's frustrating that I can't even pay for my basic living expenses. I have to depend on my partner, putting undue strain on him--again he grosses ~22k and has his own student loan debts as well.

Just needed to vent and share the experience, sorry if that bothers.....I've just had a rough go of it living here.
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
1,541 posts, read 1,786,444 times
Reputation: 1570
Quote:
Originally Posted by kklo4 View Post
Am I the only one in the Fargo area that doesn't buy into all the media hype about the wealth of jobs here in Fargo? The Fargo Forum constantly publishes these stories and how it's such a great place for young people. I feel as if I've really been let down by these high staked promises. While Fargo does have low unemployment, I feel that much of this is due to underemployment of the massive amount of college graduates. I have many friends that upon graduation stayed in the area and are working VERY low wage jobs or even multiple jobs to just get by. Some people talk about the low cost of living, but when you combine that with low wages, you really don't end up any better off than being poor in another city. There are lots of jobs here for skilled/general laborers and professionals working in education, business or medicine, but what if you didn't graduate in those areas?

I am a 21yo freelance designer/student and been living with my partner in Fargo for the past 2 years. I study web design/interactive multimedia here and have thought of making Fargo my home for a while, until I decided to actually start looking at my opportunities in the area. There is almost no work opportunities here for web/graphic designers and when you do find work, employers ALWAYS want someone with 3-5years of experience, even though there is no entry level positions --even internships are sparse-- in this community. I've seen employers looking for web designers/developers for months and couldn't fill the position, even while there is a pool of talent available, just because they are so stringent on the 3-5years of experience. Many employers don't realize many local graduates are already advanced enough to take on these positions.

I am not asking for a job that pays $50,000 out of college....it would just be nice to find something around $30K-$35K and while money is definitely not everything, it has to pay the bills. Also, my partner, who graduated in film studies (while not a very employable field) still couldn't even find acceptable entry level work here in TV or video production after searching for over 2 years. The only entry levels jobs here for that pay $7.25/hour-$9.00 an hour and have NO advancement opportunities. I find that insultingly low, he worked very hard in school for 4 years to educate himself and when you are made an offer so low you can't pay your bills with it, you have no choice but to refuse it. He has been working in telecommunications for $8-$9 an hour and recently just took a customer service job at a call center for about $22k a year, which is still just barely enough to get us by and we are extremely frugal. He is the main income source because my freelance work has to be balanced with schoolwork and usually only brings in $400-$600/month.


Part of the reason jobs are scarce is because Fargo is such a tight knit community that many jobs are never even offered in the public space. Hiring becomes a back-room social activity and are given to the most well liked person instead of the most talented or qualified. Many are offered within companies or through the typical "so and so knows someone." As someone who doesn't really fit in to the drunken social culture here, it's hard to become good friends with people and network with other professionals. So in conclusion, I've really rethought our prospects of living here. My partner (realizing film studies isn't going to work) is going back to school to study Information Technology Systems and in 2 years upon graduation, we are looking to move to the twin cities which has a wealth of better entry-level opportunities for our fields and will offer more competitive wages. I just wanted to share my experience of living here and see if anyone else has encountered similar frustrations in Fargo?

Your partner would get a job in a minute in Atlanta with all of the filming and new studios being built. It is the the "Hollywood". Pinewood Studios from England is building a massive studio filming complexe in Atlanta.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Sheridan County, Wyoming
691 posts, read 1,447,250 times
Reputation: 610
Web design/Interactive multimedia can be done from anywhere with a high speed connection to the web. My nephew lives in Denver and does the exact same thing for a company in New Jersey. Sounds to me like you are not willing to do the footwork to get started in the first place!
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Michissippi
3,116 posts, read 6,969,401 times
Reputation: 2050
Quote:
Originally Posted by kklo4 View Post
Am I the only one in the Fargo area that doesn't buy into all the media hype about the wealth of jobs here in Fargo?
No. The news media will always be a little biased in favor of reporting optimistic economic and job market news. It's true that the area may have little unemployment, but a "job" is not a "job" and there's a huge difference between a near-poverty wage service industry job and a college-education-requiring white collar job.

Quote:
The Fargo Forum constantly publishes these stories and how it's such a great place for young people. I feel as if I've really been let down by these high staked promises. While Fargo does have low unemployment, I feel that much of this is due to underemployment of the massive amount of college graduates. I have many friends that upon graduation stayed in the area and are working VERY low wage jobs or even multiple jobs to just get by. Some people talk about the low cost of living, but when you combine that with low wages, you really don't end up any better off than being poor in another city.
At least there are jobs here.

Really. Other cities and states have higher rates of unemployment. It's probably better to be underemployed at $10/hour than it is to be completely unemployed. Don't take for granted the abundance of service industry (albeit low-wage) jobs. Also, if you have blue collar mechanical type skills, you'll find plenty of work in this state.

Also, note that our nation, as a whole, has a gigantic oversupply of college graduates. According to one recent study, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics stats, about 48% of all working college graduates are underemployed and doing jobs that require less than a four year college degree and often less than a high school diploma. (And that stat only counts college graduates who are employed and not unemployed or who have involuntarily retired or involuntarily become housewives.) Food for thought:

Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College? – Innovations - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Underemployment of College Graduates

From Wall Street to Wal-Mart: Why College Graduates Are Not Getting Good Jobs

Is America's Science Education Gap Caused By Career Planning Fears?

Quote:
Part of the reason jobs are scarce is because Fargo is such a tight knit community that many jobs are never even offered in the public space. Hiring becomes a back-room social activity and are given to the most well liked person instead of the most talented or qualified. Many are offered within companies or through the typical "so and so knows someone."
The situation isn't all that different elsewhere. In tight times, people will try to employ their family members and their friends' family members, etc. It's nothing new or unique to North Dakota. Consider that North Dakota has one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates. If there is underemployment and nepotism here, what do you think it's like elsewhere?
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