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Old 03-11-2014, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 237,127 times
Reputation: 177

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I never said that there aren't issues with the area. I'm well aware of the fact that many who are dependent on the local income are not making anywhere near our salary. However, income isn't always the only factor in happiness or satisfaction of life. A lot comes from expectations. I grew up in a low-middle middle class family in a very rural area. My husband came from a similar upbringing. My parents didn't have money for expensive camps for me or more than a handful of extracurricular activities. Fun for my family was a Sunday drive, going to visit family for the day, a decent dinner out at a local place with no frills. Fun for me was spending a lot of time outside with neighborhood friends, riding bikes, climbing trees, typical rural stuff. My days weren't managed by my parents with playdates and shuffling me from one activity to the other. I'm not criticizing parents who do this now, just explaining. Because of this, my ideas of fun for both myself and my family tends to be very simple. While I enjoy the nice things in life, I don't crave them or even need them.

Our disposable income is spent on donations to organizations we support, our cars and right now, college expenses for the oldest two. Because we know my husband's retirement pay will be around 60-70% of his current income, we already know where we can make cuts if necessary to still be happy at significantly less pay. Our enjoyment doesn't require a 6 figure income. Granted, it is nice, but I can think of plenty of things we would do without the money we have now.

Things we do:
Hiking - gas to get to the starting point, but otherwise free
Motorcycle - granted they can be pricey, but I know lots of lower middle class people that own a motorcycle and enjoy it.
Potluck cook outs with family and friends - everyone brings a dish or two and it's a inexpensive party.
Bicycling - Yes, I have a mid-range bike to ride, but these can be bought for less with as much enjoyment.
Weekend drives around the area - gas money
Geocaching - might have to look this up, but gas money if you need to drive for this, but a lot can be done walking or biking.
Movies/TV - Even folks making $23k or so usually have TV of some sort for this.
Games in the yard with the kids - Heck a cardboard box even entertains my teens on some level, but usually I'm thinking kicking around a soccerball, playing basketball, etc.
Card games - our family is VERY competitive with this and we can spend hours on cold rainy days doing this.
Books - Granted, we buy a lot of our books, but the library is free and don't forget the activities they host as well. I have a house of avid readers and we have times not a TV is on and everyone is curled up with a book.
Events at ETSU or just around the Tri-Cities - you have to watch for these or get on notification lists, but many free or inexpensive activities abound. Museums often have discount days or larger public events.

That's just a sample of some of the stuff we do fairly often that doesn't cost much.

I also mentioned the places as weekend trips, not necessarily day trips. Leave out Friday night and return Sunday night. Maybe even take advantage of a three day weekend and leave Thursday.

I'm not trying to say people get paid plenty here. Yes, there is an issue with pay, but that is happening all over the country. Small pockets of places might pay well, but it's more standard here than I think you want to believe. Something is happening all over the country with the middle class disappearing. It hasn't hit every community yet, but a lot. I think the Tri-Cities may see more of this before other places and it is rough. However, this doesn't mean that Tri-Cities has nothing to offer people, even the ones with low income. Happiness isn't only affected by money. I've been poor. In my first marriage, we had times where our household income was under $30,000 with four kids. It wasn't easy, but we still managed and we still had a pretty good quality of life overall. The marriage actually fell apart once we started having more disposable income. I don't think it was related, but I've never thought about it that way. I know people that make very little money and have very little, but they are some of the happiest people I've ever met. Sometimes it is about perception.

Maybe your quality of life could be better without so much negativity? Maybe if you had a more positive outlook on life, you could get by on less? I don't know. I don't totally buy into the money doesn't buy happiness cliche, but there is a grain of truth in it.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:15 AM
 
125 posts, read 139,280 times
Reputation: 134
Queenladybug - I do think it's great that you have such a positive outlook and that you find so many things to enjoy that are not expensive! I hope that my family can enjoy the area as much as yours does.

However, I can't help but notice that the "things we do" you mention above are not at all place-specific and really aren't anything that anyone can't do anywhere else. With the possible exception of hiking and motorcycles, the Tri-cities certainly don't have a unique market on potlucks, card games, backyard playing or books/movies/TV. These are not activities that are special and specific to the region.

When the Eastman CEO talks about "amenities" that will draw people to relocate, family games and libraries are just not a big selling point. People like us want to know what's nice about living there and what "plusses" we might find. Telling us that we can continue to do some of the things we already enjoy like reading books and playing outdoors, but pay far more for a house and groceries and give up our favorite sports just doesn't make people want to move there. I really do want to have a more positive outlook… but, please, somebody - throw me a bone! Give me something - a bigger house, or more land, or great schools, or higher pay, heck, just give me a skating rink and, maybe, a sports team! I think there are many people like us who want to make the move, and want to find the positives of Eastern TN, but keep realizing that we give up far more than we gain.

Every move I've made, there are things I will miss, but there are always things to gain as well. When we came to our current place, we gave up 4 seasons, moved farther from family, said goodbye to some great friends, missed the feel of New England. But we were also gaining a larger, more affordable house, a pool, great weather, great schools, proximity to a big city and a big university - meaning sports, performing arts, etc. Of course there are negatives - mostly the weather and the politics, for me, but you just always take the good with the bad and weigh the pros and cons. I hate how whiny and negative I sound, but I really, truly am searching for some positives! Please, anyone, keep the good info coming and I look forward to reading the new thread about the "must" see/do activities in the region!
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Old 03-12-2014, 02:34 AM
 
Location: Seattle
6,514 posts, read 14,780,071 times
Reputation: 2842
I think if you have to search for the positives of the Tri-Cities area, you've missed the mark and don't belong there.

I'm TRULY not trying to be snide. But the upstate is an area that either hits you with its old school lifestyle and killer natural surroundings, or just doesn't.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Kingsport
184 posts, read 215,179 times
Reputation: 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdatl View Post
I'd bet within a decade Eastman has moved its headquarters & as many professional jobs as possible to somewhere like Atlanta or Dallas. I think the days of Fortune 500 companies like State Farm, BB&T, John Deere, or Eastman maintaining the bulk of their professional (finance/IT/management/engineering) jobs in small metros is numbered. Over a decade ago when I was looking during the awful 2001-02 recession most companies wouldn't interview non-local candidates. But those companies would; they were desperate for talent even with many people out of work. I'd have headhunters contact me about them, but I'd pass. Little appeal there. The world's a lot more connected than it was 30 years ago and people know what else is out there, massive amounts of information.

Some kid in the 1960s who grew up in rural Illinois and went to the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana might have been thrilled to start his career at State Farm because he didn't know as much about other options. Not so in 2014. The Internet changed everything.

I think the only smaller metros that will be thriving a few decades down the road are the ones that have some sort of special appeal, like Asheville (natural beauty, tons of outdoor activities, booming arts/culture scene that attracts young folks). And we'll have a lot more Youngstown, Ohios & Charleston, West Virginias.
Who knows what the area will look like a decade from now, and there has been talk about Eastman relocating its headquarters for the past 20 years. Currently, construction of $1.6 billion worth of new infrastructure is underway in the form of a corporate office expansion. In 10 years it may be in Eastman's advantage to walk away from that. No one knows for sure.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,536 posts, read 21,393,949 times
Reputation: 35009
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdatl View Post
I'd bet within a decade Eastman has moved its headquarters & as many professional jobs as possible to somewhere like Atlanta or Dallas. I think the days of Fortune 500 companies like State Farm, BB&T, John Deere, or Eastman maintaining the bulk of their professional (finance/IT/management/engineering) jobs in small metros is numbered. Over a decade ago when I was looking during the awful 2001-02 recession most companies wouldn't interview non-local candidates. But those companies would; they were desperate for talent even with many people out of work. I'd have headhunters contact me about them, but I'd pass. Little appeal there. The world's a lot more connected than it was 30 years ago and people know what else is out there, massive amounts of information.

Some kid in the 1960s who grew up in rural Illinois and went to the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana might have been thrilled to start his career at State Farm because he didn't know as much about other options. Not so in 2014. The Internet changed everything.

I think the only smaller metros that will be thriving a few decades down the road are the ones that have some sort of special appeal, like Asheville (natural beauty, tons of outdoor activities, booming arts/culture scene that attracts young folks). And we'll have a lot more Youngstown, Ohios & Charleston, West Virginias.
I agree that the days of major companies like Eastman keeping professional jobs in small markets like the Tri-Cities are probably numbered. I've seen a bit of a different experience at Eastman. Without getting too detailed, many new hires at Eastman, especially younger ones, are NOT from the area. With the economy the way it is generally, Eastman can pass on an ETSU/Milligan/King grad they would have hired in the past, and probably get a VT, Georgia Tech, or Vanderbilt grad. I applied for jobs at Eastman right after college, as well as jobs that matched what I'd done at work more closely as time went on. I never got an interview with Eastman itself. I was amazed at the early-mid 20s engineers that Eastman was hiring that were not local - virtually none were.

I do think that it's going to be harder and harder for Eastman to retain talent, especially as the economy improves nationally and the area declines further. Some ado has been made about their insurance changes. I have a good personal friend who works for Eastman and her insurance is worse than my TN ACA Silver Plan. I worked for a contractor that provided no benefits at all. Eastman holidays were unpaid furloughs.

If Eastman is going to outsource so many services, pressure needs to be put on contractors to offer a competitive pay and benefits package.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 237,127 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
I think if you have to search for the positives of the Tri-Cities area, you've missed the mark and don't belong there.

I'm TRULY not trying to be snide. But the upstate is an area that either hits you with its old school lifestyle and killer natural surroundings, or just doesn't.
This. Tri-Cities is perfect for me and our family, but may not be a fit for others.

There were people in our previous town in Upstate NY that loved the winter and the area. I was so ready to leave.

Tri-Cities may be a metro in size, but the mindset is a bit more of a smaller town. This may be part of the problem for some people. May also be why people expect more amenities, but they haven't come. Leadership still has a smaller town mindset too. Growing pains and all that.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 237,127 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombattver View Post
Queenladybug - I do think it's great that you have such a positive outlook and that you find so many things to enjoy that are not expensive! I hope that my family can enjoy the area as much as yours does.

However, I can't help but notice that the "things we do" you mention above are not at all place-specific and really aren't anything that anyone can't do anywhere else. With the possible exception of hiking and motorcycles, the Tri-cities certainly don't have a unique market on potlucks, card games, backyard playing or books/movies/TV. These are not activities that are special and specific to the region.

When the Eastman CEO talks about "amenities" that will draw people to relocate, family games and libraries are just not a big selling point. People like us want to know what's nice about living there and what "plusses" we might find. Telling us that we can continue to do some of the things we already enjoy like reading books and playing outdoors, but pay far more for a house and groceries and give up our favorite sports just doesn't make people want to move there. I really do want to have a more positive outlook… but, please, somebody - throw me a bone! Give me something - a bigger house, or more land, or great schools, or higher pay, heck, just give me a skating rink and, maybe, a sports team! I think there are many people like us who want to make the move, and want to find the positives of Eastern TN, but keep realizing that we give up far more than we gain.

Every move I've made, there are things I will miss, but there are always things to gain as well. When we came to our current place, we gave up 4 seasons, moved farther from family, said goodbye to some great friends, missed the feel of New England. But we were also gaining a larger, more affordable house, a pool, great weather, great schools, proximity to a big city and a big university - meaning sports, performing arts, etc. Of course there are negatives - mostly the weather and the politics, for me, but you just always take the good with the bad and weigh the pros and cons. I hate how whiny and negative I sound, but I really, truly am searching for some positives! Please, anyone, keep the good info coming and I look forward to reading the new thread about the "must" see/do activities in the region!
Correct, most of our inexpensive things to do aren't exactly related to the area. However, things like weather, the views!, and having a decent selection of stores and restaurants we frequent here, plus some of our more expensive activities makes this for us. I was just trying to emphasize that many people that don't have lots of money may be just fine here for reasons other than what the area offers with inexpensive amenities. Everyone has reasons and it may even just be that they like their house or neighbors, family is close, the want the weather, they actually like their lesser paying job enough and sacrifice other things to keep it, etc.

You seem to be coming from an area where other sports were "king", the schools were better and the cost of living was lower. We moved from previous areas where my kids have access to the same activities as they did, either comparable or better (than KY) schools and the cost of living is a LOT less. Our previous home was 20 miles out of the bigger town in a rural village and now we have almost everything super handy, within 2-3 miles, like shopping, food, movie theater, etc. Our expenses with just gas for the cars has decreased massively. I'm going to see things much differently just based on this. Do you know how excited my kids were to have a Barnes and Noble less than 5 minutes from here? How happy I am to have Target close by and places to eat that don't require a 20-30 minute trip to town?

We also were already looking at nearby for our retirement property because we had some experience with the area and knew it was a good fit for that time in our lives.

We have sports here, just maybe not the sports your kids are used to. They may also not even be the caliper you would like. TN has a strong pull to football and some amount of basketball. Soccer is gaining popularity, but it's still considered a little kid sport by many. Hockey? Yeah, not really a big thing, especially not for kids. You may have some people following the NHL, but it's few. Baseball/Softball is fairly supported, but in pockets. No chance that this area will get any kind of big pro sports. Getting the Titans in Nashville took nearly an act of Congress. For following sports here, I've mentioned ETSU is average. More people attending games regularly could bring this up to better than average and might help the teams perform better. (I went to the ASun Quarter final last week and WOW was that place rocking. It was a blast! Wish that was the way it was there more often.)

Performing arts - Well we have ETSU, Milligan and several other local things that I'm still working on time to attend. My daughters and I didn't get to see the Nutcracker Ballet put on by the City Ballet group back in December because we didn't get tickets ahead of time and they were sold out at the door. We have a Symphony that is supposedly not too bad (trying to fit in going to see them), Bluegrass music groups that perform and some pretty active theater groups in all the areas. A lot of these groups seem to be doing fine by Word of Mouth and don't advertise as much as I'd like, nor are the websites fantastic, but I guess that isn't a priority for them if they do well without.

Hopefully more people will post things in the thread I started. I see a lot of things I want to do, but miss them because we are busy with other things. I'll try to post those when I see or hear about them or after we go.

We have friends that moved here shortly after we did from Middle TN. They are up in Kingsport, while we are in JC. She seems more isolated and doesn't hear about as much as I do. She was lamenting the lack of things to do when they first arrived, but after visiting our house and talking to us about what all we are doing, she wishes they had picked a home in JC. If she was here, it would be closer for many of the things her and her kids would enjoy more. I don't know if Kingsport is just that different or what. So apparently, your choice of the three Tri-Cities can be a significant difference in perception. Just throwing that out there.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
185 posts, read 237,127 times
Reputation: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I agree that the days of major companies like Eastman keeping professional jobs in small markets like the Tri-Cities are probably numbered. I've seen a bit of a different experience at Eastman. Without getting too detailed, many new hires at Eastman, especially younger ones, are NOT from the area. With the economy the way it is generally, Eastman can pass on an ETSU/Milligan/King grad they would have hired in the past, and probably get a VT, Georgia Tech, or Vanderbilt grad. I applied for jobs at Eastman right after college, as well as jobs that matched what I'd done at work more closely as time went on. I never got an interview with Eastman itself. I was amazed at the early-mid 20s engineers that Eastman was hiring that were not local - virtually none were.

I do think that it's going to be harder and harder for Eastman to retain talent, especially as the economy improves nationally and the area declines further. Some ado has been made about their insurance changes. I have a good personal friend who works for Eastman and her insurance is worse than my TN ACA Silver Plan. I worked for a contractor that provided no benefits at all. Eastman holidays were unpaid furloughs.

If Eastman is going to outsource so many services, pressure needs to be put on contractors to offer a competitive pay and benefits package.
Odd, how someone said that the mindset is still rampant here of needing an "in" to get a job here, but is Eastman different from the norm? That would be interesting to examine more. Do they have something against the things ETSU grads learn or are they just trying to diversify overall? Is that just with specific departments?
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,536 posts, read 21,393,949 times
Reputation: 35009
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenladybug817 View Post
Odd, how someone said that the mindset is still rampant here of needing an "in" to get a job here, but is Eastman different from the norm? That would be interesting to examine more. Do they have something against the things ETSU grads learn or are they just trying to diversify overall? Is that just with specific departments?
Eastman is different from other large local businesses like MSHA and Wellmont because Eastman is a Fortune 500 public company. It's a good name to have on your resume if you are in the chemicals industry. Because of their prestige, name recognition, and size, they can be a bit choosier in candidate selection than the average local business. They also probably get a lot more out of area applications as they're fairly prestigious and well known.

I think some of this problem is they basically only want the "name brand" new hires out of college instead of a local from a less prestigious school, if all other things are equal. Granted, academics at somewhere like ETSU are not as prestigious as a VA Tech or some other similar school. I don't think it's diversity for diversity's sake.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:41 AM
 
125 posts, read 139,280 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
I think if you have to search for the positives of the Tri-Cities area, you've missed the mark and don't belong there.

I'm TRULY not trying to be snide. But the upstate is an area that either hits you with its old school lifestyle and killer natural surroundings, or just doesn't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenladybug817 View Post
This. Tri-Cities is perfect for me and our family, but may not be a fit for others.

There were people in our previous town in Upstate NY that loved the winter and the area. I was so ready to leave.

Tri-Cities may be a metro in size, but the mindset is a bit more of a smaller town. This may be part of the problem for some people. May also be why people expect more amenities, but they haven't come. Leadership still has a smaller town mindset too. Growing pains and all that.
I do get what you're both saying. I'm not trying to be snide either - I'm not saying that the area has NO positives. It is a beautiful place - scenery, weather, outdoors - these are certainly positives. My point was that, in attracting potential workers, companies like Eastman need to be able to show positives about relocating there - positives that the worker and family may gain from the move. Positives in terms of comparison - HERE I have this vs. THERE I could have that. For example, in our situation, our current locale has so much to offer that we are having a hard time finding the comfortable trade-off, finding reasons why such a move would offer more for our family rather than less. We had those typical TN expectations - everything will be cheaper there! Bigger house! More land! Quaint! - and found that not to be so accurate.

It IS a lovely place and many people love it and are happy there, of course. But if you want to attract workers from elsewhere, it's desirable to have amenities to draw those families to relocate, which is what the original post suggests. It's about having more pros vs. cons in comparison to other places, which is more dictated by what the worker's current town has to offer. Anyone thinking about relocating anywhere wants to find that the pros outweigh the cons and I think companies like Eastman are seeing that and do need to learn how to better "sell" the region to potential employees.
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