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Old 11-19-2009, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,837,713 times
Reputation: 42860

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairfax Mom View Post
Sorry for being such a wet blanket - my husband plans on looking for a new job in another area when and IF the economy improves and there are job openings again - I am hoping in a year or so - the economy has to improve sometime, right?
I think the economy's bound to improve one of these days, but it must be maddening right now if you want to leave Nova and look for work somewhere else. You definitely get sympathy from me on that regard.

It's OK about being a wet blanket, and understandable. The economy is annoying, and and you've had a very difficult year taking care of your mom. I know how that feels. A few years ago I moved to Arkansas for a year to take care of my mother. I have such mixed feelings about that year. In many ways I grew to like Hot Springs but the truth is I couldn't wait to get out of there. I never think of it as a place I lived, just as a long horrible visit that seemed to go on forever.

The funny thing is, as the years go by I remember more and more things about Hot Springs that I liked. Actually, it was a cool town and there were plenty of things I liked about the place -- but it was a horrible year and I was relieved when I could finally move back home. I don't know if this is what you're going through, but if it is, here's a virtual hug from me. And yes, things will get better.
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
306 posts, read 367,667 times
Reputation: 628
I don't want to speak for the poster but here is what the major difference is in the greater DC area for people who do not make a lot of money.

In lots of other cities (of course not LA, NY, SF, Boston and a few others)or smaller geographical areas there is a certian degree of equillibrium within the economies of scale.

In DC there are many people in the Consulting, Software, IT, Technical, Govt. Solutions fields that make huge money. It creates inflation in goods and services, especially real estate and rent. There are also tons of govt workers who have slacked for 20 years knocking down 100kfor just showing up. There are also a disproportinate amount of lawyers who make big bank here. Add to that foreign money competing against a ridiculously weak dollar.

For people who do not have those aforementioned backgrounds or want to put in the time to get easy money from a career govt job, it can be a bit frustrating. Even if you want to hustle and make 80k instead of the 60k your career pays you, you still are not living a real get-ahead-of-the-game lifestyle here.

The bottom line is that if the job or career you love does not pay a lot of money, then doing it in DC is probably not a good idea.
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:54 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,618,430 times
Reputation: 2722
Quote:
Originally Posted by movedoften View Post
I don't want to speak for the poster but here is what the major difference is in the greater DC area for people who do not make a lot of money.

In lots of other cities (of course not LA, NY, SF, Boston and a few others)or smaller geographical areas there is a certian degree of equillibrium within the economies of scale.

In DC there are many people in the Consulting, Software, IT, Technical, Govt. Solutions fields that make huge money. It creates inflation in goods and services, especially real estate and rent. There are also tons of govt workers who have slacked for 20 years knocking down 100kfor just showing up. There are also a disproportinate amount of lawyers who make big bank here. Add to that foreign money competing against a ridiculously weak dollar.

For people who do not have those aforementioned backgrounds or want to put in the time to get easy money from a career govt job, it can be a bit frustrating. Even if you want to hustle and make 80k instead of the 60k your career pays you, you still are not living a real get-ahead-of-the-game lifestyle here.

The bottom line is that if the job or career you love does not pay a lot of money, then doing it in DC is probably not a good idea.
I'm in the private sector, but the notion that there are tons of Government workers in this area who can knock down $100K annually for
"just showing up" for 20 years doesn't ring true. I think you need to be a GS 13 or 14 (with quite a few years of experience under your belt), a GS-15, or SES before you can expect to make $100K a year.

The notion that government workers can hold on to a job by just "showing up" for 20 years also seems ridiculous. Believe it or not, there are a lot of Government employees who are very good at what they do, and work very hard - in fact, often at salaries well below what they could command if they took private-sector jobs in other cities. Where on earth did you acquire such a condescending attitude?

Otherwise, what you call "inflation" with respect to goods and services is what economists call "demand" - there are more people with more money (and, perhaps, more ambition or marketable skills) competing for the same things that you'd also like to have (albeit at a lower price).

Having said all that, I don't disagree with the notion that there are other areas with a lower cost of living where those in lower-paying professions might be happier. City Data is full of posts, however, from those who've moved to places like Portland in search of what they thought would be the right "equilibrium," only to find that the local job markets are the pits.

Last edited by JD984; 11-29-2009 at 04:08 PM..
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,570 posts, read 33,297,972 times
Reputation: 32128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post

The notion that government workers can hold on to a job by just "showing up" for 20 years also seems ridiculous. Believe it or not, there are a lot of Government employees who are very good at what they do, and work very hard - in fact, often at salaries well below what they could command if they took private-sector jobs in other cities. Where on earth did you acquire such a condescending attitude?
Well, my mother is a federal employee and I work in a building of a federal government agency. While movedoften's statement isnt true in all cases, it's not like it doesn't happen often. I've been to federal government offices a lot and see some of the attitudes that movedoften refers to.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:40 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,618,430 times
Reputation: 2722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
Well, my mother is a federal employee and I work in a building of a federal government agency. While movedoften's statement isnt true in all cases, it's not like it doesn't happen often. I've been to federal government offices a lot and see some of the attitudes that movedoften refers to.
I'm sure there are some situations like that, but the suggestion that there are legions of Government employees who pull down over $100K in slacker jobs that just allow them to "show up" for 20 years in a row isn't enormously credible. Is this what your mother does? Judging from your own smarts and determination, I very much doubt it.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,102 posts, read 67,204,935 times
Reputation: 15753
In the case of my agency in particular morale is rock bottom, and the same can be said for my uncle's agency. On most Sunday nights I'll nearly be crying and have chest pains, fearful of going into the office on Monday morning and facing a supervisor who was thrust into her position, doesn't want to be in a managerial role, and deflects her lack of patience and lack of affinity for her position onto her subordinates by cutting them down. Accordingly many new hires spend their days feeling like they made a mistake instead of trying to work hard to succeed in their role. I worked my rear-end off for years working in retail sales and am quite honestly considering leaving my agency altogether, applying back at Lowe's, my former employer, and trying to quickly rise the ranks to become a manager. My former store managers saw potential in me and promoted me from within and encouraged me to reach higher in the company, but instead I told myself I'd rather pursue the Federal government path to serve a vital role in helping the American taxpayer while being rewarded with job security in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression (with no signs of abating).

If it weren't for my church and my newfound love of God I have no clue how else I would have survived here for six months already. I'm becoming less enthusiastic about Reston as I read the Restonian and see more and more people opposed to progress and positive change in the community, and I don't have a job where I feel appreciated or valued. My supervisor even implied that I need to learn to be a more effective writer, and that really stung me to the core. I'm one of the few I know in the government who actually takes the time to clarify and explain my positions in writing, and I really get irritated when I receive correspondence via e-mail from government contractor personnel riddled with typos and unprofessional slang---people who are paid considerably more than I am and can afford to live in a better place than Reston while exhibiting the writing skills of a 10th-grader.

All in all this is NOT a good place in which to reside if you're not someone with a Type A personality who is driven to mow others over and push people under a bus in order to get ahead financially enough to be able to enjoy what this area has to offer. This area has been increasingly orienting itself towards catering to the affluent. What about those of us who are too dedicated to hard work to rely upon government financial assistance but are also not making enough to live comfortably here? Are we just forgotten about?

As I said I really just don't know how anyone can justify the "bang-for-your-buck" factor here when you can move to another city, take a small cut in pay, cut your cost-of-living in half, and essentially live a more comfortable lifestyle. Pittsburgh is the city I'm consideing because for a small pay cut I can also enjoy a massive cost-of-living decrease and actually afford to live IN a walkable urban atmosphere---the same atmosphere the people in Reston are now fighting (I'll be at a very heated town planning meeting Tuesday night to counter them).

Scenario A: Live in Reston, a suburb a half-hour from DC that is devoid of historic charm, streetlights, or sidewalks throughout most of the community while paying $1,350/month for an older (no charm) 1-BR apartment (including utilities). Earn $41,000. Struggle to pay the bills.

Scenario B: Live in Pittsburgh, a lively city with museums, professional sports, nightlife, historic appeal, down-to-earth people, etc. while paying $700/month (including utilities) to rent a 1-BR apartment in a historic rowhome in the Mexican War Streets. Earn $38,000. Pay the bills with some left over to enjoy dining out, clubbing, and investing.

I regret not weighing the exorbitant cost-of-living here before I came. I feel like Billy Joel "Who needs a house out in Reston? Is that all you get for your money?" Paying $500,000 for a typical home here? Why? If you don't care about "good schools" or "proximity to DC" (when there's not even a train here because the Republicans in this state would rather NOT tax themselves to subsidize more mass transit to reduce traffic congestion), then what is here to justify a 23-year-old living on Ramen soup? Absolutely nothing in my eyes.
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,570 posts, read 33,297,972 times
Reputation: 32128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I'm sure there are some situations like that, but the suggestion that there are legions of Government employees who pull down over $100K in slacker jobs that just allow them to "show up" for 20 years in a row isn't enormously credible. Is this what your mother does? Judging from your own smarts and determination, I very much doubt it.
It's not just the ones making $100k. There are folk pulling down $60k+ (money i'd kill to make) for simply showing up and typing two paragraphs of work (something I do for every HW assignment in college) per month.

You would not believe some of the attitudes that a federal workplace has. Heck I went to a job interview for a federal agency in Skyline City a couple of years ago and there were people dressed like they were at the club or on the corner. What was more shocking was that this was actually encouraged by said agency. I mean a flexible dress code is okay but I would expect for folk to dress like they work for someone important.
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:35 PM
 
3,504 posts, read 7,920,903 times
Reputation: 3466
Thanks for the support. Senior care is also very expensive here - a good assisted living with daily living help costs $6,000 a month! My Mom has the money now to live in one - but - that money is not going to last forever spending 6k a month! So - I am taking care of her at home.
My husband makes very good money as an engineer - but - we are still not living high on e hog here - if we move he will have to take a cut in pay most likely but I think the benefits outweigh the pay - I lived in NJ and thought that was the worst place to live - boy was I wrong - now that I look back on it I could not believe how lucky I was to have grown up where I did. So - I guess it is all in your perspective.
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:21 PM
 
413 posts, read 1,042,837 times
Reputation: 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by clammy ear View Post
The_Fairfaxian

Yeah, I know what you mean. I went to FCPS from 2nd grade to graduation, and I saw it all first hand. Those two types you mention are prevalent in FCPS as well, it doesn't matter if you are in Chantilly or Mount Vernon, it's endemic. I didn't make many friends at all throughout my school years because I've always been a loudmouthed, outspoken conservative who would not hesitate to call out other people (even teachers) when they were wrong, and I'm sure you know that those people absolutely HATE being called out on their BS. Especially in liberal Fairfax County, where the teachers have to pass a test proving that they are sufficiently liberal to even get hired (God's honest truth, my liberal cousin is a teacher in FCPS, I've heard all about it). So believe me, I've lived it. If you don't conform, you don't make friends, period. But I never really cared, because I'd rather be alone and friendless than pretend to be someone I'm not. I'm weird like that!

Another thing that made me weird was that I knew I wasn't going to go to college right away, so I didn't get into the whole "OMG COLLEGE" attitude, which is just not done in Norva. So really, being who I am and refusing to conform probably made it harder for me than for most, but I never wanted friends just for the sake of having them...call me crazy but I want people who I can relate to as friends, not just superficial drinking and partying buddies, which is about all "friends" are in Norva. Besides, when I DID have a few friends, they always, without exception, screwed me over or stabbed me in the back. Why even try when you can't even have good, trustworthy friends that share the same interests as you? I mean, I'm sure you CAN find decent people there, but you have to go through a million bad apples to find one good person, and I just never had the patience for that. It's also hard as an adult to find friends because people are so standoffish and snobby. How can you make friends with people who would rather spit on you because you don't have a college degree/McMansion/the right car/etc., than talk to you? It is so superficial and fake, it's sickening. I just couldn't play the game, so I left. And I don't miss it.
I feel sad for you.
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
306 posts, read 367,667 times
Reputation: 628
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I'm in the private sector, but the notion that there are tons of Government workers in this area who can knock down $100K annually for
"just showing up" for 20 years doesn't ring true. I think you need to be a GS 13 or 14 (with quite a few years of experience under your belt), a GS-15, or SES before you can expect to make $100K a year.

The notion that government workers can hold on to a job by just "showing up" for 20 years also seems ridiculous. Believe it or not, there are a lot of Government employees who are very good at what they do, and work very hard - in fact, often at salaries well below what they could command if they took private-sector jobs in other cities. Where on earth did you acquire such a condescending attitude?

Otherwise, what you call "inflation" with respect to goods and services is what economists call "demand" - there are more people with more money (and, perhaps, more ambition or marketable skills) competing for the same things that you'd also like to have (albeit at a lower price).

.
To suggest that Government workers as a whole work harder and are underpaid compared to the private sector is absolutely ludicrous. I don't doubt that many work hard and I don't doubt many are extremely talented. However, the Federal Governemt, run by Federal employees is so inefficient it is scary. Those ineffeciencies are directly related to incompetence, tenured and secured employment status and a public sector work ethic. When was the last time the Post Office turned a profit? Any Private Company that was run like the Federal Government would be out of business.

For the record, inflation is simply a rise in the cost of goods and services.

Demand is the pressure consumers place on goods and services. Demand and scarcity can cause inflation.[/
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