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Old 10-28-2009, 03:30 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,773,041 times
Reputation: 1510

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. .. I'd like to comment again on a few things:

Quote:
Originally Posted by d-fens View Post
My aunt, who has been a teacher for years, told me you'd better know someone in the districts and counties you applied or hope they went to the same college as you, or have some connection to you or you most likely won't get a second look.
Bingo! You hit it right here. What you do not appear to be doing is *networking* in DC. Trust me, the best jobs you’ll get won’t be from sending in a resume but from a friend or colleague who knows-someone-who-knows someone-else that can help you out. Did you know that many jobs in DC are never even posted? Many people recommend others by word of mouth which saves a recruiter money and time to fill a position. Furthermore, in some positions (i.e., temp) the federal govt is not even required to announce a position. The good part is is that people don’t recommend someone who is a lousy worker; only the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by d-fens View Post
As far as going out with people I work with, 1) I don't have the time, 2) While I have some money, it is to be saved so I can get out of here. Going out drinking is like flushing it down the toilet.
First, nobody says you have to go out and spend your money getting trashed. Be smart about it and get what *you* want out of these social situations.Take the time out if you are invited. You never know who you’ll meet . For example, maybe you’re not crazy about a co-worker, but maybe her brother-in-law went to the same college as you and is a now a Superintendent of Schools in NoVA. Maybe the guy in the cubicle gets on your nerves but turns out he’s on a really great soccer team and invites you to play (where you’ll meet even more people). Maybe another co-worker has a spouse who works at World Bank and they’re looking for education specialists in foreign countries and you have the perfect qualifications. See how it works? Also, not all people are the same. I had one job where everyone got along well, but left at 4:30pm every day. I had another job where co-workers always invited everyone out, taking turns at every Irish pub in the city (and, of course I went out on occasion -- and no one cared if I passed on the beer and indulged in wine or martinis)

Also, remember that a lot of people who are braggarts and a*sholes are very insecure about something. And no one knows everything. You can create your own strategy by talking about something people don’t know much about, thus creating your own niche. On the flip side, a lot of people are intimidated when you know MORE than they do on a topic. For example, I have a lot of degrees. But when I meet new people I never talk about them. Instead, one of the more common things I talk about are home improvement projects – big ones, little ones, bricks, painting, new kitchens, or sump pumps – people almost always will talk about ways to improve their space.

No one is going to pay much attention to you if you’re griping and miserable. No one really knows your class level, education, how much you earn, etc. unless you’re the one spilling the beans. What’s that old saying: “ You are what they think you are.” People are more willing to help out someone who is cordial, intelligent, and enthusiastic.

BTW, you’ve probably noticed from this thread that there will be those less compassionate to your plight than others. Everyone has a story of struggle and the blood, sweat, and tears it took for them to “make it.” If you make a statement about something, prepare to defend yourself in a logical and succinct way; otherwise everyone will chew you alive. It's not that people are mean or hateful; just look at it as intellectual exercising.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a tough city.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,188,022 times
Reputation: 15743
D-Fens, have you ever been to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

You sound a lot like me. You want to earn enough money to live comfortably, but in our case "comfortably" doesn't mean an Audi, designer jeans from Armani Exchange, a Starbuck's latte addiction, or a vinyl-sided McMansion in the suburbs, as it does to many here whom I have met. Someone on the Pittsburgh forum, also in their 20s, told me that they make under $30,000/year and own their own car and their own home within walking distance to Downtown. How could someone do the same on under $30,000 in DC? Seriously, folks. Tell me how. I can barely keep a 1-BR roof over my head in the DC suburbs on a much higher salary than that. I'm a big fan of quality over quantity, and I just don't feel as if the "bang for your buck" factor here is the same as many other places I've been researching. I'm paying more per month on rent for a 1-BR apartment here in Reston than my parents pay per month on the mortgage on a comfortable home on a nearly acre lot back in Pennsylvania. They have all that the city (Scranton) has to offer at their fingertips (nightlife, the arts, minor-league sports, casinos, outlet shopping, historic neighborhoods, etc.). Although I live very near to DC as the crow flies it takes a lot longer to get there (another 45-minute commute from Reston to Tyson's this morning has me burnt-out).

Caveat emptor, I suppose. I thought in advance I wouldn't be happy living in the suburban social experiment called Reston, Virginia, and sure enough after living here half of a year I'm very depressed. Why did I move here? I wanted an honest to goodness change of pace from my hometown in Northeastern Pennsylvania and thought that eventually this place would "grow" on me. Even though I've been volunteering in the community, making friends, etc. Reston still doesn't have any soul to me---it feels more like a place Mickey Mouse or George Jetson would live than anywhere else (no offense). When I visit Pittsburgh and walk down its streets I just feel like I belong. I just don't feel like I "fit in" very well in Reston at all.

What am I doing about? I've begun job-hunting in Pittsburgh. Since my job here included a relocation bonus (since retention is so poor at my employer in this area) I am NOT going to move until next summer at the earliest because I don't have that cash available right now to pay back if I leave. No, the salaries aren't as high in Pittsburgh (I'd probably be looking at making $34,000 per year instead of $41,000), but what's the trade-off? I could pay $600/month for rent (including most utilities) on a cozy 1-BR apartment within walking distance to downtown in a historic neighborhood with sidewalks in Pittsburgh (saving me $600/month). I could eschew my car because Pittsburgh has great mass transit and is a good walking city (freeing up another $400/month). Already combined I'd be getting a $1,000/month raise (through savings) just by moving to someplace where salaries have kept pace with the cost-of-living---which isn't the case in Northern Virginia.

My only regret is that at the time of college graduation I didn't apply for any jobs in Pittsburgh. I thought Northern Virginia was "the place to be", but if you don't like chain restaurants, big-box stores, drab housing, immense traffic congestion, a relatively inefficient mass transit system (because people are too far widely dispersed due to poor long-range urban planning), etc., etc. then this isn't going to be your cup of tea.

What will I miss about NoVA when I move to Pittsburgh?

-The diversity.
-High concentration of college graduates talking about global politics instead of NASCAR and football.
-Free museums.

That's about it. Struggling to keep a roof over my head for just those few perks when I could live COMFORTABLY in a 1-BR apartment IN THE CITY of Pittsburgh has shown me the path to a happier future. I'm not going to infect the NoVA sub-forum with a flood of "this place sucks" sort of posts out of respect for those with families who DO like this sort of suburban environment, but I'm also not going to sugar-coat the area to make it sound all "rosy" the way others do.

We should room together in Pittsburgh!
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,562 posts, read 33,282,476 times
Reputation: 32111
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-fens View Post
Let me give you some background on myself. I moved to Northern Virginia from Newark, NJ to take a job that is in DC last November. I was familiar with the area since my sister has lived here for about 7 years. When I would come down to visit, I generally liked the area (but then again this was during college and all we were coming down to do was hang out and party, see friends, etc.) At first when moving here, I did like some things such as my car insurance being cheaper, but other than that I've found it to be even more expensive here than North Jersey. My job doesn't pay very well, and while I am in the process of possibly getting another one (that only pays slightly more), I am wondering if I should even bother or just move to an area I want to be and figure things out once I get there. I want to live either in Florida (South Florida or Tampa) or back in North Jersey or NYC. Honestly, everyone in the DC area is some political nutcase that tries to push their agendas on you while reading The Economist and sipping wine they don't even like, but say they do because it fits their image. Other people my age here are in that "wealthy young professional" bracket and have no interest in anyone that doesn't make 75 grand or more a year. Everyone I'm friends with has two or even three jobs just to rent a bedroom of a house in questionable neighborhoods. On top of all that, I can't stand the guy that moved into the basement of my house (my landlord controls who moves in, not me.) Even if I get the new job, I probably won't be able to afford my own place, which I had in NJ. So much for this area being cheaper.
I very much hate in here but thank God I have only a few more months left.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:48 PM
 
1,195 posts, read 2,514,413 times
Reputation: 789
In the words of Jim Zorn, enough with the WAAAAHHH!

Just kidding, but really if you don't like it to the point where you are misreable, make some power moves, pull your socks up, and locate elsewhere. That is it, you will find a perfect fit at some point, and if you don't you will at least be well traveled. Highly unstable, but well traveled nonetheless
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,188,022 times
Reputation: 15743
Quote:
Originally Posted by cool rob View Post
In the words of Jim Zorn, enough with the WAAAAHHH!
To be quite honest threads like these are also very much of value to people considering moving into the area. While most people like to sugar-coat the quality-of-life here, luring potential newcomers and lurkers into a false sense of Utopia, every once-in-a-while a thread like this where several people disillusioned by paying so much to live in relatively characterless suburbs can help to provide more negative aspects of the region as "food for thought."

I only wish there had been more of these "I hate NoVA" threads and less "NoVA is amazing" threads when I was moving here so I, too, wouldn't have come here thinking that one of the nation's highest cost-of-living factors was justified by a superior quality-of-life to the rest of the country. All metropolitan areas have trees. All metropolitan areas have jobs (at least the ones that actually pay enough so single people can afford a 1-BR place at ONE full-time job without shivering in the cold). All metropolitan areas have culture, nightlife, sports, etc. All metropolitan areas have diversity (to some extent). People still haven't convinced me what the "edge" is about Northern Virginia (besides jobs with higher salaries that are devoured by a higher cost-of-living ratio) that justifies its high price tag. I can have (almost) everything in Pittsburgh that NoVA has for a fraction of the price. I'm going to feel badly in the end to know I wasted a year of my life here, but at least I learned my lesson about moving to a new area just for the sake of it being "different."
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,188,022 times
Reputation: 15743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
I very much hate in here but thank God I have only a few more months left.
Lucky!
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:19 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,773,041 times
Reputation: 1510
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
To be quite honest . . .
You are co-opting d-fens's thread . . . .
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,562 posts, read 33,282,476 times
Reputation: 32111
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Lucky!
Not really THAT lucky. I still have to worry about finding a job in Louisville. If/when that happens getting a decent apt and finally moving out on my own may be a reality, finally!!! Thankfully my family will already be out there so I can conduct the job search with a local address.

And good luck on Pittsburgh, I think its very underrated personally.
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:32 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,615,610 times
Reputation: 2722
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
I'm not going to infect the NoVA sub-forum with a flood of "this place sucks" sort of posts out of respect for those with families who DO like this sort of suburban environment, but I'm also not going to sugar-coat the area to make it sound all "rosy" the way others do.

We should room together in Pittsburgh!
Translation: I'll go infect the Pittsburgh sub-forum with a flood of "NoVa sucks" sort of posts...at least until I get to Pittsburgh, when I can start to compete with this poster if Pittsburgh turns out not to live up to my expectations:

In 2009...Pittsburgh has nothing to offer people aged 18-45

Who exactly was it on the NoVa forum who sugar-coated the area and tried to make it sound "all rosy"? I think posters - started with Normie and continuing from there - tried to give a fair picture of the area and offer you encouragement - at a time when you professed to be depressed living in Pennsylvania in a town that you said was "going nowhere fast." How many times do we have to say NoVa has its shortcomings and isn't going to appeal to everyone before you acknowledge that you are responsible for a bad decision if living in Reston turned out to be a mistake for you?
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:37 PM
 
168 posts, read 380,039 times
Reputation: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
D-Fens, have you ever been to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?
Went to high school there and hated it. My family still lives there now. Very cold, nothing to do, and almost no diversity. Only plus is they like football and I am still a Steelers fan. Moved to NJ once I finished college and was happy to be there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by South Jersey Styx View Post
. .. I'd like to comment again on a few things:


Bingo! You hit it right here. What you do not appear to be doing is *networking* in DC. Trust me, the best jobs you’ll get won’t be from sending in a resume but from a friend or colleague who knows-someone-who-knows someone-else that can help you out. Did you know that many jobs in DC are never even posted? Many people recommend others by word of mouth which saves a recruiter money and time to fill a position. Furthermore, in some positions (i.e., temp) the federal govt is not even required to announce a position. The good part is is that people don’t recommend someone who is a lousy worker; only the best.



First, nobody says you have to go out and spend your money getting trashed. Be smart about it and get what *you* want out of these social situations.Take the time out if you are invited. You never know who you’ll meet . For example, maybe you’re not crazy about a co-worker, but maybe her brother-in-law went to the same college as you and is a now a Superintendent of Schools in NoVA. Maybe the guy in the cubicle gets on your nerves but turns out he’s on a really great soccer team and invites you to play (where you’ll meet even more people). Maybe another co-worker has a spouse who works at World Bank and they’re looking for education specialists in foreign countries and you have the perfect qualifications. See how it works? Also, not all people are the same. I had one job where everyone got along well, but left at 4:30pm every day. I had another job where co-workers always invited everyone out, taking turns at every Irish pub in the city (and, of course I went out on occasion -- and no one cared if I passed on the beer and indulged in wine or martinis)

Also, remember that a lot of people who are braggarts and a*sholes are very insecure about something. And no one knows everything. You can create your own strategy by talking about something people don’t know much about, thus creating your own niche. On the flip side, a lot of people are intimidated when you know MORE than they do on a topic. For example, I have a lot of degrees. But when I meet new people I never talk about them. Instead, one of the more common things I talk about are home improvement projects – big ones, little ones, bricks, painting, new kitchens, or sump pumps – people almost always will talk about ways to improve their space.

No one is going to pay much attention to you if you’re griping and miserable. No one really knows your class level, education, how much you earn, etc. unless you’re the one spilling the beans. What’s that old saying: “ You are what they think you are.” People are more willing to help out someone who is cordial, intelligent, and enthusiastic.

BTW, you’ve probably noticed from this thread that there will be those less compassionate to your plight than others. Everyone has a story of struggle and the blood, sweat, and tears it took for them to “make it.” If you make a statement about something, prepare to defend yourself in a logical and succinct way; otherwise everyone will chew you alive. It's not that people are mean or hateful; just look at it as intellectual exercising.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a tough city.
I am not networking because I never really wanted to stay here. This was something I was hoping that would be temporary because I was hoping to get a position in Florida for this school year, which did not happen because of the economy (to all you political people from both parties, why have your saviors forsaken us? This is why I do not and will not vote). I honestly have multiple certifications and degrees, but have time and time again been told by people in Florida that unless you live there they pretty much throw out your resume. The reason I left my job in NJ was because a new manager had come in and wanted to change everything we were doing which would have very much hurt my commission as I was doing very well. I moved here when I was offered the position because I was familiar with the area and knew some people here. Well, people change with time and they were not the same people I knew from years past, so we rarely talk. So since probably February, I have been trying to network my way either to Florida or back to North Jersey or NYC. Problem is where i worked in NJ, everyone that was with me left for similar reasons.

Thing is, my interview is tomorrow. I am taking it, but if I am offered the position I am going to ask for more money than what they discussed. In my opinion, it is win-win for me because if they match my offer I guess I take it and can leave the jerkoff roommate situation I am in. If they do not, then I guess I set the date for when I move to Florida and hope to get some interviews before then.
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