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Old 03-20-2013, 07:43 PM
 
6 posts, read 27,662 times
Reputation: 16

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I'm contemplating a move to Santa Barbara. I've never lived in California, and I am planning on visiting before making the move, but I've always wanted to move to the west coast (who hasn't?). I've done a lot of research on several cities, and I really like what I've learned about SB. I am graduating from grad school soon with a Master of Fine Arts in Writing, so I'm hoping that will get me a great job with good pay. But I am nervous about the cost of living. I currently live in southeastern Wisconsin, so it will be a drastic change all around. But I'm ready for it!

So I have some questions (preferably answered by those who currently live in the city):

- I have a dog and a cat. Is it a dog-friendly city? Do a lot of rentals allow dogs? He's trained and a non-barker.
- I will have a Master's degree and can teach college, so I will be applying at UCSB and other local colleges to teach writing courses; however, I also have a lot of experience in editing, marketing, and executive assistance. How is the job market for someone with my skill set?
- How crazy is the cost of living? I know some cities in California are cheaper than others, so where does SB sit in that range?
- What are some good places to live? I'd really like to be within walking distance to the beach, because I'm also an author, so I know I'll want to write outside since I'll have year-round nice weather (compared to WI). I'm 24, no kids, etc., so I'd also like to be in an area that's close to shopping, restaurants, etc. But I'm not a big party person. I'd really like something with a yard for my dog--even if it's a shared place. It's just easier to potty him. Are there a lot of places (apartments) with yards? I've been searching online (apartments.com, apartmentguide.com, etc.), and there isn't anything listed for apartments, so I finally just checked out craigslist, which was much more helpful.
- How is the tourist situation? I bet living in FL is horrible, and CA might not be much better. Is it awful? Should I be prepared to sit in traffic forever? I like SB because it has a relatively small population (compared to where I currently live).

I really appreciate everyone's help on this! Hopefully I'll be your neighbor soon!

Last edited by CaliforniaTransplant13; 03-20-2013 at 08:28 PM..
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:01 PM
 
3,632 posts, read 5,804,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliforniaTransplant13 View Post
- I have a dog and a cat. Is it a dog-friendly city? Do a lot of rentals allow dogs? He's trained and a non-barker.
- I will have a Master's degree and can teach college, so I will be applying at UCSB and other local colleges to teach writing courses; however, I also have a lot of experience in editing, marketing, and executive assistance. How is the job market for someone with my skill set?
- How crazy is the cost of living? I know some cities in California are cheaper than others, so where does SB sit in that range?
You aren't going to get any kind of teaching job at a UC with a master's degree. You could try a community college, but even that is going to be difficult with an MA in writing. If you were older and had published well-known works or had a lot of experience already, you'd have a better chance, but fresh out of school, not likely, sorry to say. People with marketing degrees usually get marketing jobs. I do free-lance editing but I have a specialized science degree and all my clients know me from a research/writing position I used to have at another UC campus. You'll find that a lot of people want writers, but don't want to pay. If you're any good with Illustrator and the like, you might want to look into tech writing with some of the firms in SB. Silicon Valley is also a good place for tech writing; I have several friends doing it there.

Santa Barbara is extremely expensive - one of the more expensive places to live in the state. Check rents on craigslist to get a feel for them. My late stepson went to UCSB, and Goleta and Isla Vista are full of students and probably not the kind of place you want to live if you're not a partier.

Don't know about the dog situation. It seems like more places are accepting pets, but that just depends on the landlord.

Good luck! It's a beautiful area and if I could afford it, I would consider living there.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:22 AM
 
8 posts, read 59,759 times
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Pets: That's rough in SB. Just do your price range search on craigslist, then do the same search again but including "allows cats and dogs". The number of listings drops a LOT.

Job market: I'm not in your field, so I have no idea. But in general, it's a smaller city. It's great in some fields, like technology companies around UCSB, but it's generally not as varied a job market as bigger places. I would do a lot of searching before committing to a move.

Cost of living: Yeah, ouch. Again, just craigslist is the best way to go to get a feel for it. Pets + yard + on beach = that's not cheap or easy to find, you may have to pick your poison. But remember, the whole city is like 5 miles wide from beach to mountain, so you're never that far from the ocean anywhere in town.

Areas: Despite what some people tell you, there's not a truly bad neighborhood in town. As a 26 year old male, I am perfectly fine walking alone anywhere in this city late at night, no problems at all. It'll be about what you can afford and what your priorities are. You won't like Isla Vista, but the rest of Goleta is generally fine. Downtown is cool, but definitely a different feel to it.

Tourists and traffic: Not a concern. Like not at all. Occasionally the freeway will get backed up during rush hours, particularly the Friday beginning of a long weekend, things like that. But nothing like LA traffic at all. There are tourists around SB, sure, but it has never bothered me. It just reminds me I'm lucky to be able to live in a place where other people want to visit.


My overall advice: don't move here without a job lined up, and don't take the job until you've checked and double-checked the numbers for your financial situation.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:33 AM
 
51 posts, read 109,513 times
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As already was mentioned, it is an expensive area and on top of that, housing isn't always easy to find, so you'll have to really research thoroughly for something that meets your needs. Most all areas are decent, save for the Eastside and Westside, which are not over the top terrible, but have some gang activity and are rather shabby in parts. From what I know, there are not a lot of apartments within walking distance of the beach, but you can find some off of State Street. There is a shuttle that runs up and down State that goes to the beach. It can be difficult to find a complex that accepts pets, though. Really do your research is the best I can tell you.

Overall, the job market isn't that diverse, so you got take your time figuring out a job before you make the final decision on moving.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:18 AM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 14,154,067 times
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Try looking in eastern Ventura County (there is a forum here), like Thousand Oaks, or in nearby western LA County, like Agoura Hills, Calabasas. It's a 12 mile drive over the hills to the beach, but you have a clean, low-crime, not-so-crowded area to live in, PLUS you have access to Los Angeles and the jobs there.
Take a look at the Avalon/Archstone apartments. They are dog friendly (have special walking areas for pets) and fitness centers, pools, etc. One bedroom apartments start at about $1,500.

Southern California Apartments, Apartments for Rent in California
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:01 AM
 
6 posts, read 27,662 times
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Thanks, everyone! I appreciate that you all took the time to comment after reading.

I suppose I should clear up a few things in case anyone else decides to comment.

First, I'd definitely have both a job and a house lined up before going. I'm not that daring. Ha.

Next, though I'm about to graduate with my Master of Fine Arts (which is different than just an MA), I do have experience in teaching, writing, and editing. I'm an internationally published author and an editor with several publishing companies. So I'm not too worried about getting a job in my field. I'm just not sure that job will be teaching. I'm perfectly fine pursuing a career in marketing, editing, and/or executive assistance. I have a lot of experience in all three and am happy with working in them all.

Again, thanks for the help!
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,357 posts, read 8,053,078 times
Reputation: 8566
Quote:
I will have a Master's degree and can teach college, so I will be applying at UCSB and other local colleges to teach writing courses. How is the job market for someone with my skill set?
I have a doctorate, as does my husband and it took him 11 years before he was able to get a job at a U.C., and that was in a far better job market than today. I teach at a Cal State and will never get at a U.C. With a Masters degree, you will never get a job teaching at the university level unless it's at a J.C. and then at an hourly rate as lecturer. No benefits and the salary for a lecturer is minimal. And those jobs are extremely difficult to get. Academia is next to impossible to break into in California, and UCSB is highly, highly desirable. I've never known anyone to land a job there and I've taught at the college level since 1993.

As for cost of living in Santa Barbara, it's off the charts. Possibly only Malibu, Bel Air, Pacific Palisades and San Francisco (downtown living), would be higher. in all of California This is an incredibly wealthy area and the cheapest house is half a million, and that means a bombed-out house with fixtures stripped and 600 sq. feet. Apartment rents are very high.

You say you're an internationally published author. If so, are you making at least $125,000 doing this, every year without respite? Even if you are, you probably couldn't afford Santa Barbara unless you supplement it with another job which makes as much or more.

Almost everyone who grew up in Southern California yearns to live in Santa Barbara, but almost no one ever makes it there because of the cost. My husband and I have no kids and make slightly over 200K a year and we could never afford it. So I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. I understand someone from Wisconsin being naive about the costs of Santa Barbara, but it's kind of like wanting to move to Beverly Hills or Manhattan. It's an extremely upscale place which FEW can afford. Unless you have a large inheritance or are one of the idle rich, you just don't move to Santa Barbara.

I don't want to sound brutal, but this is reality.

Last edited by Ulysses61; 03-23-2013 at 10:34 AM..
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:31 AM
 
167 posts, read 267,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliforniaTransplant13 View Post
Thanks, everyone! I appreciate that you all took the time to comment after reading.

I suppose I should clear up a few things in case anyone else decides to comment.

First, I'd definitely have both a job and a house lined up before going. I'm not that daring. Ha.

Next, though I'm about to graduate with my Master of Fine Arts (which is different than just an MA), I do have experience in teaching, writing, and editing. I'm an internationally published author and an editor with several publishing companies. So I'm not too worried about getting a job in my field. I'm just not sure that job will be teaching. I'm perfectly fine pursuing a career in marketing, editing, and/or executive assistance. I have a lot of experience in all three and am happy with working in them all.

Again, thanks for the help!
Jobs are hard to get in California. With almost a 10% unemplyment rate and super high housing costs your be lucky to survive. You make it sound easier then it will be..trust me.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,357 posts, read 8,053,078 times
Reputation: 8566
Exactly. My students all graduate with a doctorate in history and some come from well-connected families with lots of pull. When they can't get a job in academia (and most can't), some try careers in marketing or executive assistance. Some have their doctoral theses published, so they come to the job market with:

1. A Ph.D
2. A published book which is not self-published

Almost none ever land a job in California, they have to go out of state. Someone from Wisconsin figuratively just off the boat will be swimming in a shark-infested pool when hitting the SB job market.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:46 AM
 
6 posts, read 27,662 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks for your input.

A few things:

1. I'm not self-published. I have contracts with big house publishers. And I have over 2 dozen credits to my name.
2. I'm not naive.
3. I realize this won't be easy, and I'm not trying to make it seem as though it won't be. Hence the research I've already done & going out of my way to talk to nice people like you. I'm really not sure where you're getting that I believe this move will be a walk in the park, because if that were the case, I definitely wouldn't have put all the research effort into it.
4. This post is becoming more about jobs as a professor/lecturer in California, and that wasn't my intention. I would like the other points in my post discussed further as I've said numerous times that I am perfectly fine pursuing my other skills. I almost prefer them to teaching!

I find it interesting that a few have mentioned that Santa Barbara is so much more expensive than other places in CA. While looking into apartments, I'm not seeing that. I've found several apartments that are in the $1500-$1600 range, which isn't expensive to me. After all, it is CA. I'm not expecting to rent a place at $600 a month. I have seen a few places at just above $1000, and usually, that means bad neighborhoods. Are there many bad neighborhoods in Santa Barbara? Because based on the images I've seen of the apartments, they look great (both the $1000 & $1500+ places). I have several friends who made the transition to CA from the WI area, so I'm not naive to what the CA lifestyle is like, but they all live in other areas (Dana Point, Encinitas, San Diego, etc.). Unfortunately, they're not able to give me an insiders look at bad areas, etc.

Again, thanks for your input, and I appreciate the comments.
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