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Old 03-30-2014, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
141 posts, read 349,635 times
Reputation: 298

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alfoa,

I'm not sure where you got the idea from that I plan to move without a job. The plan is for both my boyfriend and I to have jobs lined up before we move. I only acknowledge the possibility of us moving without my having a job because circumstances may require it. My boyfriend is a RN with many years of specialized hospital experience who will only move when he has lined up a very particular kind of RN job; this means we have to be certain of his job before we move. Being at a point of career transition, I am much more flexible. I may choose to continue in social work for some time more, or, depending on what's available, do something different. I am building up my savings, and if we did have to move without my having a job, my plan would be to put constant effort into finding a career-level job in the first 1-2 months of living there, and from there outward, expand what type of jobs I would seek. I have some qualifications that might get me in the door to some non-programming jobs at Epic, for example, and also have work history in food service if it came down to that. However, the plan is for us to both apply and obtain professional-level jobs before moving.

I am not sure of the reason for your very negative and dismissive tone. I appreciate a reality check and am grateful to those here who have given me one, and made sure I am aware of the challenges to be faced in moving to Madison. But your post comes across as if you are determined to write me off as a guileless idiot. Do you think I haven't looked up, and experienced firsthand, exactly how far Madison is from my boyfriend's hometown? Do you really think being five hours vs. being twenty-five hours away wouldn't make a difference in how frequently he sees his family? Do you really think that UW is so extremely competitive that I couldn't get in to any of their programs? Or that I haven't done research on what specific programs require for admission and considered whether I meet those requirements or fall short? Of course, one cannot know all things in advance, and any life change involves risk. It's possible we could fall completely on our faces there and need to move again. It's possible we might do relatively well but end up moving away anyway. That is okay. But I don't think the amount of research and consideration I've done warrants the degree of cynicism you express.

I don't think factors other than the job market are irrelevant when planning a move. Many people move for reasons other than career, and it's clear to me many people choose to stay in Madison even at the cost of losing greater income or career options they could have elsewhere. Might it not make sense to think there are people willing to move to Madison despite knowing the work and income related sacrifices it may require? I know that many people are struggling and bitter in this economy, and part of the reason my boyfriend and I want to move to Madison is that we believe we can get involved in cultures and organizations that can help change things for the better. Part of our certainty we want to move away from here is not only that we are caught in a bad and declining economy and worklife, but that it's also an uphill battle to find people responding to this with anything other than fatalistic resignation.

People on this forum sometimes write as if Madison had the worst job market and worst ratio of income to cost of living of any city in America. Based on my initial research, that is simply not true. The job market is AMAZINGLY better there than here (Roanoke, VA) and probably any other mid-size city in the South. I don't get nearly as depressed reading job descriptions in Madison as I do for here. I believe that most of the South presents a much more challenging job market for a number of reasons, including the historically much more intense social inequality that the society down here is based upon. I think this bedrock inequality is more visible at times of poor overall national economy. Each year I've lived here, I've seen fewer and fewer jobs for people outside of healthcare that aren't low-wage labor jobs. The variety of jobs in Madison is much greater, and the attitude toward workers expressed in the listings much less demeaning.

As far as income versus rent - one appealing thing in Roanoke is that we do indeed have relatively low rents and housing prices here. Especially if you pursue one of a few select careers here, you can do quite well for yourself as far as how much you're earning and how much house you can afford. But it's all relative. Based on the job postings I've read, the social work jobs available in Madison both (a) include less soul-destroying and depressing options than what is available here and (b) pay an average of 25% more than jobs with similar education/experience requirements here. Social work jobs in Madison offer similar pay to what I found in New York, and rents are significantly less expensive at the heart of Madison than what I paid to live in Jersey City while working in New York. The majority of two-bedroom apartments in desirable areas of the city fall within the recommended range of no more than 25% of our combined income, even when considering lower-paying jobs we may get. Sure, if both of us end up not being able to maintain work at more than minimum wage, we'd be in trouble. Our research doesn't rule out any disastrous scenarios, but I believe I've based my supposition that we have a good chance of avoiding these scenarios on a decent bed of evidence.

Stephanie

* * *

beetpapp,

I appreciate your positive take on Madison! I do worry about how I'll react to the winter, and think in the end, if we end up moving and not staying, that would be a more likely cause than economy, job market, etc. That said, my boyfriend has experience living in northern climes and said surviving the winter is based on embracing it, learning to enjoy winter sports that get you outdoors, dressing for it, taking vitamin D, using sun lamps if necessary, etc.

Stephanie
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Roanoke, VA
36 posts, read 50,031 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by alfoa View Post
Hmm, I find this confusing, for a number of reasons:
1. There have been numerous (countless, actually) "I want to move to Madison without a job" posts, and almost unequivocally, the response is usually the same ("Don't do it"), even by some of the same people who responded positively here.
2. The UP isn't exactly "close" to Madison. You're looking at, what, 4 and a half hours (ok, somewhat close) minimum, but that's only if they are on the southernmost part of the Wi/Mi border. It could be hours more than that, depending on where they live. Its not like you can just hop on a train for a quick weekend getaway.
3. The OP has gone through detail after detail of things that don't really matter, but doesn't seem to have a plan as to how she will accomplish this career change. Could I go out and get a master's degree in social work, not having any background (work or education) in that filed? So what will she do to go from social work to a completely unrelated field? Take pre-reqs and then apply for the master's program? Get another undergraduate degree? Find work or volunteer in the environmental field? The dots aren't being connected, it seems.
4. The OP (briefly) mentions that she is worried about how moving would affect her relationship. Its not the change in location that would affect it. It sounds like both she and her boyfriend have professional jobs. To go from that to one partner possibly having to depend on the other is a huge stressor. Not just financially, but socially, psychologically, etc.
5. Overall, I'm just not seeing the logic behind the "reasons" to move to Madison (they sound more like excuses to me). If you want to move, then do so. Just be realistic about it. I don't think people have stressed enough that jobs in Madison are few and far between, and even professional jobs tend to be lower-paying than other places in the country. And yes, the reasons for that are because so many people want to live in Madison, don't leave, and will tolerate lower pay to do so. So the cycle repeats itself. Not to mention, how popular are the educational programs that interest you? Will you be selected over candidates with stronger backgrounds in the subject? My opinion (for whatever its worth): find a job in your current field, move, then figure it out.
Hello all - I'm the boyfriend. I'm from Iron Mountain - the winters there are immeasurably harsher than the winters in Green Bay or Madison - so I think I've got winter covered. I've lived outside the area for a while, but down here in the South, winter is not embraced the way it is up 'nort' - where there's ice fishing (okay, 'ice drinking'), cross-country skiiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding/downhill skiiing, etc. Winter is a very extended, slightly cold autumn where the outdoor activities are the same activities you'd do in summer only colder and not as much fun. I'm ready for real 'winter' again - although I agree that nearly eight months of it can be oppressive.

1. She's only got pick-up shifts here and she's doing just fine. This is not a woman who jumps into things without a significant safety-net/backup plan. Any hesitancy you hear in her posts are coming from that incredibly thorough sense of planning.

2. Iron Mountain is just over the border from Wisconsin and Madison is roughly 4.5 hours away. That's vastly closer than Roanoke, VA. Further, if you think the job situation in Madison is 'bad', just try Iron Mountain - or the vast majority of Upper Peninsula cities. They also offer much less culturally than does Madison. I frequently get four days off from work in a row (the benefits of working a 12 hour shift) and sometimes get as many as eight days in a row (without taking PTO). My family is, once again, five hours away. I can get there in less than half a day from Madison.

3. Details that don't matter? To whom? To you?

4. I'm already making more money - but she's got the more significant savings. I'm working on my debt which is why we're not moving tomorrow. By myself in Salem, VA I was paying $900 for a small two bedroom just by myself. In Savannah, GA, I was paying closer to $1k by myself. If we don't go crazy and get more apartment than we need and assuming that an RN with 10 years experience gets at least >$20/hour (I haven't even seen a new grad getting <$18/hour outside of VERY economically depressed areas in the south), we'll be just fine.

5. Have you spent any significant time in the south? Have you ever had to have a two-hour conversation with a coworker explaining/defending the reasons you haven't accepted Jesus as your lord and savior? Have you ever had people wonder what's wrong with you because you didn't get married at the age of 22-24 to your high school/college sweetheart and haven't yet gotten busy making babies?
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:48 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,266 posts, read 28,049,045 times
Reputation: 35540
Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadStephanie View Post

I am not sure of the reason for your very negative and dismissive tone. I appreciate a reality check and am grateful to those here who have given me one, and made sure I am aware of the challenges to be faced in moving to Madison.

People on this forum sometimes write as if Madison had the worst job market and worst ratio of income to cost of living of any city in America. Based on my initial research, that is simply not true.

There are always some negative nancys out there. I moved to Madison w/o a job and developed a career. It can be done, it's done all the time. Easy? No, but nothing worthwhile is. When I moved there the negative types were almost always conservatives going off on the people's republic of Madison and other such nonsense. I never found Madison to be all that liberal though, but I grew up in the Northeast. I guess that's relative. What is more distressing to me when I return is the negativity coming from the more progressive set. Scott Walker has brought out more depression that I ever thought possible, it's nothing like the Tommy Thompson era.

Anyway, I think Madison is a fantastic place to live and while not as affordable as it was, it is still a good cost of living place comparatively. Great quality of life.

I since had to move for family issues, but I'm back in Wisconsin once or twice a year (will be there in May again) and I'm happiest there. Best of luck!
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
141 posts, read 349,635 times
Reputation: 298
timberline,

I appreciate your feedback a lot, especially about career! It sounds like I may soon be on a similar path as you.

I just read a news story in the NYT about the decline of environmental advocacy in Wisconsin, and a mine that has been greenlighted that brings with it the threat of ecological disaster. It's sad, and I hope that some of the negative political outcomes of recent years might inspire a bounce back in the other direction.

That said, I don't mind being somewhere that's not Shangri-La, where you might have to fight on behalf of what you believe in... it's just that there has to be some basic foundation to build upon. I just don't have the energy or vision to try to start my own cultural movement from scratch, especially in a place that's so politically and socially conservative. I would like to participate and share in the energy of other people who want to see things change. I get a sense Wisconsin is a good place to be for someone who aspires to be involved in environmental work, to have the opportunity to go into the field locally but also advocate for conservation on a larger scale. You never know where you'll end up in any career, and I've become quite aware of the competition in Madison--but it seems like a good place to start.

Stephanie
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:18 PM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,266 posts, read 28,049,045 times
Reputation: 35540
The frac sand mining is a real concern. Super destructive, and the fact that Moderator cut: snip prevent communities from being able to re-coup costs from the wear and tear on their roads from these mine operators is a nasty blow, to be certain.

I was there while the Crandon Mine (a nickel / zinc operation) fight was going on. Thankfully that was finally defeated and two native tribes bought the property to protect it. Hopefully the right thing to do will prevail, and the destruction won't be too great, before it does.

Good luck!

Last edited by 7G9C4J2; 04-02-2014 at 01:33 PM.. Reason: Please keep political comments out of the Madison forum. Thanks.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Austin, Merry Old land of Oz
59 posts, read 41,409 times
Reputation: 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by NomadStephanie View Post
MBW - Thanks so much for your reply! I've noticed your posts on this forum and appreciate your experience and insight, I'm glad you responded. I'm eager to hear what you have to say about the lake pollution and the impact of the large college population.

I am not concerned about "Midwestern Nice" and think I might actually prefer it. One of the things I liked about the New York metro area was how blunt and direct people are. I think "Southern Charm" is overrated. It's a false front, and I hate not knowing where I stand with people because it's socially normative to be friendly to everyone, no matter what you really think of them.

I don't think there's any place where it's easy to make long-term friends when you're in middle adulthood. ......

Anyway... Something I have to realize over and over is that I can't control life, or the future. The more research I do, and the more I think about it, the clearer it becomes that Madison is a great place for us to make the changes we want to make in our lives right now, to go back to school, to gain skills and knowledge to take us in different directions. But whether or not we can take what we learn and start to build and make it work over the long term in Madison is something we can't know in advance. I truly am tired of moving, and hope we can make it there and put down roots, but also realize that I may never stop being a "nomad"!
Stephanie,
I am a recent visitor to this site for similar reasons to yours -- my wife and I are seriously pondering a move to Madison in the next year or two. So your posts are asking many of the same questions we have and I am catching up with these topics and forums with great interest. I trust there is excellent information to be gained despite the occasional veerings into political debates and parochial squabbles.

I have lived in WI before, at least -- once as a boy in Waukesha, and again, with my wife, as young adults in Lake Geneva. Now we are planning to take early retirement from Texas state employment and may be forced to become tax exiles, since Austin's boomtown mentality has only meant horrible traffic and skyrocketing property taxes, which we cannot indefinitely afford. I would like to get back to the northlands and escape the heat, the droughts, and the ever-increasing cost of living in the Sunbelt. Hoping that Madison will be a feasible option! We plan to make an exploratory trek in 2015 to check things out firsthand. If you all have made the transition to Madison successfully by then, maybe we can meet for a lunch and some strategy brainstorming! Cheers! -- Kevin <piper909>
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
1,735 posts, read 4,876,048 times
Reputation: 818
Hi Piper,

Welcome to the forum. I can actually address one of your concerns because I investigated moving to Austin pretty thoroughly. Madison is just as expensive as Austin, surprisingly enough, and while I can see that the heat would be oppressive, you don't ever have to shovel heat off of your driveway.

I couldn't move because my house's value has plummeted and I couldn't afford to buy an equivalent house in Austin with what I would get for it. Honestly, I couldn't afford to buy my own house in Madison today. I have actually decided that if I get the opportunity to move it will be to Seattle or Asheville, NC. Because the weather is better than either Madison or Austin. Both moves would require my having substantial savings so that I could afford a decent home.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:26 AM
 
Location: Austin, Merry Old land of Oz
59 posts, read 41,409 times
Reputation: 120
Thanks for your comments and feedback!

Housing costs in Austin continue to skyrocket. As do the taxes. We received another 20% increase in county taxes since my last post, after a 28% increase last year. I hope the housing bubble lasts long enough for us to sell at these hypothetical "market rates" the tax appraisers hold us up for, so we can afford to move to a place like Madison or the immediate environs. What might be a good spot within 15 miles of Madison that escapes some of the city's taxes and home costs? (If any.)
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
1,735 posts, read 4,876,048 times
Reputation: 818
15 miles won't make a difference, I'm afraid. However, there are some communities that are close that are bit better than Madison. Sun Prairie and Oregon are less expensive, but I've heard Sun Prairie has less than stellar schools. I've never heard anything bad about Oregon.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:51 AM
 
Location: WI
3,895 posts, read 9,348,564 times
Reputation: 2384
i'd say Megan is correct; we used to live in a 'burb there and our taxes were no lower than other areas. And as we're looking to move back up, I have seen it hasn't really changed. Some communities may have played with the mill rates or assessed values, but the prop taxes are still high. I've even looked at some places in Columbia County (1 county north of Dane) and it's still the same.
I'd say if anything the prices of homes themselves may vary, but plan on paying higher taxes regardless.
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