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Old 07-05-2014, 09:27 AM
 
Location: USA
6,231 posts, read 5,512,055 times
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Unless you're a farmer, own a local business, or retired/already wealthy I'd imagine it must be hard for a young person (or anyone) to find a high paying career unless they do the long commute to a larger city or can telecommute. I live in a small town of 6,000 which is essentially a bedroom community since everyone commutes to the city. Local jobs tend to pay around $9 an hour, if you're lucky maybe $12.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
38,012 posts, read 46,820,052 times
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I think a good auto mechanic will always do well. A clean diner/restaurant with good affordable food will do well. Plumbers and electricians can work anywhere. A liquor store or a gas station will always have business. Teachers are needed in the local schools.
Your question seems to be how to get a high paying career when you are young, untrained and inexperienced, and this is not going to happen no matter where you live.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:52 AM
 
Location: USA
6,231 posts, read 5,512,055 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
I think a good auto mechanic will always do well. A clean diner/restaurant with good affordable food will do well. Plumbers and electricians can work anywhere. A liquor store or a gas station will always have business. Teachers are needed in the local schools.
Your question seems to be how to get a high paying career when you are young, untrained and inexperienced, and this is not going to happen no matter where you live.

I should have been more specific. I am trying to refer to someone who has a college degree and is looking for high paying white collar careers with advancement opportunities.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:57 AM
 
35,108 posts, read 41,293,047 times
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We live in a town of about 1500 and those around here do quite well in regards to jobs close to home.
We have 3 gasoline stations, a few mechanics shops, a tire shop, 6 restaurants, 4 churchs, 2 bars, a couple hair salons, a pizza restaurant, a few attorneys, several doctors, a dentist and several insurance companies. There is also a smaller grocery, a couple laundromats, a library, Dollar General, and the plant that processes all of the meat for the Subway Sandwich Shops.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:14 AM
Status: " down to just 2 old dogs" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Floyd Co, VA
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In my rural area (about an hour Sw of Roanoke and 1/2 to 3/4 hour from Blacksburg) the only white collar jobs that probably pay well are the few attorneys, accountants, doctors and dentists and perhaps the school superintendent and the county administrator.

Many people here do commute to either Blacksburg/Christiansburg or Roanoke for higher paying jobs.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,099 posts, read 6,267,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s1alker View Post
I should have been more specific. I am trying to refer to someone who has a college degree and is looking for high paying white collar careers with advancement opportunities.
Yes, unless one is a medical professional, lawyer, school administrator, or bank president, the only other things I can think of are insurance agent in a company where one can advance to higher positions or some types of online work where one can somewhat work from anywhere.

I'm not sure you'd consider owning a farm store white collar, but the owner can make a decent salary. Also the owner of a large scale repair shop for engines/farming equipment does okay in certain areas.

I would love to live in a rural area! But I gave that up long ago because there were no jobs in any of the fields in which I have decent skills. I have to be content with living in a 'burb with lots of trees and going camping several weeks a year.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Middle America
37,131 posts, read 43,052,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s1alker View Post
Unless you're a farmer, own a local business, or retired/already wealthy I'd imagine it must be hard for a young person (or anyone) to find a high paying career unless they do the long commute to a larger city or can telecommute. I live in a small town of 6,000 which is essentially a bedroom community since everyone commutes to the city. Local jobs tend to pay around $9 an hour, if you're lucky maybe $12.
Not that many people farm in small towns anymore...family farming of any kind of scale is on the decline. Corporate factory farming is much more common. Young people who go into agriculture (and there aren't a ton of them to begin with) are generally not "farmers," at least as the non-farming world envisions them. They are crop geneticists, agrobusinessmen/women, people who work in marketing for large agrobusiness corporations, engineers who work on the mechanical side of things, etc. You will always have your small-scale greenie types who grow organic vegetables and fruit or raise a small number of hormone-free, free-range livestock and sell goods at weekend farmer's markets, but these aren't generally self-sustaining career paths for most.

I grew up in a rural midwestern town of 7,000, well over 100 miles from the nearest population center of any significant size. My family on my dad's side has lived in the area for generations, since immigrating in the 1700s. My mom's family is similarly small-town, just from a neighboring small town area in the same region. My hometown is too far from any metro center to function as a bedroom community (few people will tolerate 3+ hour commutes one way into the nearest large metro). So I have firsthand seen, over the three-plus decades I've been alive, the way commerce, goods, and services have come and gone in small communities, at least from the late 1970s until now.

What small towns like mine often have:

-Banks. They're not local banks, usually...they were when I was a kid, but have since been bought by large corporate banks and exist as outpost branches. They need people to work in them. Most people are tellers, loan officers, maybe a marketing officer. If you're a young person with a new business degree, you might start out at one of these, learn the business on the small scale, and eventually move on, unless you prefer to stay in a small town. They are not bad income, given the lower COL of living in a small rural community. The bank employees in my hometown generally live in the nicer homes, newer subdivisions, etc., are active in the chamber of commerce and city government.

-A hospital. It's not a large hospital, and has gotten smaller. They closed their obstetrics unit in the mid-2000s, no babies are born in town anymore; expectant mothers go to a slightly larger hospital in the next small town. It is mostly in operation as a clinic for general-family practice, has no real array of specialists anymore. They will do minor surgeries, operate a small ER, and are basically a triage unit that sends serious things on to larger hospitals in the region. But, they need nurses, doctors, lab techs, phlebotomists, etc.

-Police. Not a huge force, but it's not a bad living, and it's fairly low-risk, as law enforcement positions go.

-Firefighting-EMT responders. Again, not tons of positions, as most positions in a town of that size tend to be volunteer. Many people I know from my hometown are volunteer firefighters in addition to working their day jobs. But there are a handful of paid, ft positions, such as chief, captain, etc.

-City employees - some city government positions are elected, and are generally not paid a large salary and are considered part-time in a small town. The current mayor of my hometown has been mayor there since the early 2000s (no term limits), and generally runs uncontested. He runs a trucking company as his full-time career, and being mayor is a PT job. But there are city jobs that make a salary, like public works, streets, parks and recreation, sanitation, etc.

-Insurance - no matter the size of community, people buy insurance. Independent agents are a business mainstay, and tend to operate for decades, because people tend to develop a personal relationship with their agent, and don't always shop around. Online insurance has caused something of a hit, but in small towns, people still like to be able to go into "their buddy Kurt's" office and deal with questions with their policy rather than be on the phone for an hour waiting for their call to be answered at a call center.

- Assisted living/senior living/rehabilitation centers - Most communities have access to care facilities for senior citizens, even if they are small communities. Many of the jobs are low-wage, fairly unskilled labor (custodial and minimal certification, lower end nursing assistant positions), but there are also administration, activities coordinator, and health-related positions such as more skilled nursing, occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc.

-Schools and early childhood centers - some communities are so small that they cannot sustain schools, and consolidate with other surrounding communities and bus students, but many do support their own schools. These come with an array of instructional and support positions.

There is always self-employment/running a small business, as well. My parents ran a small general carpentry business for decades. Being a small business owner is a crapshoot, and it's not for everyone, but it's an option in small communities, if there is a need to be served. Attorneys, accountants, etc. in small towns typically work in their own small offices and and small partnerships (maybe one other partner), versus working in a large firm as they might in a larger city.

The majority of these jobs are not top wage earners, but the truth is that rural areas generally have overall lower costs of living in most regards, and while there may be lower wages, the dollars earned stretch further. I lived well on a beginning print journalist's salary in a small community in the early to mid 2000s (I started out making 19k a year), because my huge 2BR apartment cost $300/mo., for instance.

If you are looking for white collar, the standard work available in small town areas is going to be "foot in the door" kinds of things, and you may eventually need to move on to rise higher. People who stay in white collar jobs in small communities are people who want to live in the community, and accept the limitations of their career aspirations when that is a priority. If upward mobility in the job is the higher priority, know that the time will obviously come when you will need to move to a larger community to access the next rung on that ladder.

Last edited by TabulaRasa; 07-05-2014 at 12:48 PM..
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:41 PM
 
1,971 posts, read 2,538,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s1alker View Post
I should have been more specific. I am trying to refer to someone who has a college degree and is looking for high paying white collar careers with advancement opportunities.
Most jobs like this in smaller towns are with the county, state or federal government.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:46 PM
 
Location: West Madison^WMHT
3,353 posts, read 3,286,777 times
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Many rural areas have pretty darn good Internet connectivity, this enables telecommuting, or running your own business from home, or trading stocks. True, these aren't entry-level jobs, but they are also not uncommon.

Also some "rural" areas are not actually uncommutably far from a city. I'm 5 minutes from the center of my small town, I can drive another 15 minutes and reach either a highway or the largest city in NH (which isn't saying much). An hour from there takes me to Boston. So you can live in a small town and still get traditional white collar cubicle work, if that's what you want.

I work with dozens of IT vendors, about a quarter of the technical and sales staff who I work with live in "rural" New Hampshire. Sure, their actual office (which they rarely visit) is along a major highway somewhere near Burlington MA, but that's no excuse to live in a condo or a McMansion on a quarter acre when you can have a horse farm in NH instead.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
2,707 posts, read 5,432,420 times
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And then there's always petroleum. If s/he has something marketable in that industry, they're set.
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