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Old 02-05-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Verona, WI
1,201 posts, read 2,117,405 times
Reputation: 816

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Quote:
Originally Posted by timberline742 View Post
I moved from New England to Madison after undergrad (without a job) specifically because of the strong number of environmental agencies, the DNR, and the good ecology related programs at UW. It was a good fit for me.

I understand things are more expensive now there, and I moved there at 23, so things were culturally different, but I loved it there. Ended up at UW for grad school and paid in state tuition at that point so it was a win win.

Honestly, I wish I never left Madison.
I wasn't planning to do so, but I ended up attending UW-Madison for graduate school (MS) as well. When I enrolled after my internship, I still had out-of-state tuition, but I had a project assistantship for two years that granted a tuition wavier, so in the end it didn't matter.

At this point in your career, a MS may be a decent option for you, OP, especially if you can receive a tuition wavier. Although it started as Agricultural Journalism, the ever-evolving Life Sciences Communication Department may connect well with some of your social/environmental/educational/career interests, so you may want to look into a MS from that program. I'm sure there are other fits for you as well.

I've been in Madison for ~15 years now, and I think it has been about 10 too many. I've had a lot of great opportunity during this time, both personal and professional, and am very thankful for it, but half of every year could have been better spent in a place with a more temperate winter climate. Once you get established somewhere, it can get tough to break free, so choose your landing spot wisely.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Baltimore
2,345 posts, read 1,657,650 times
Reputation: 739
As a native of Madison that now lives in Baltimore. I would highly encourage you to move to Madison. I miss walking the streets late at night and having the freedom and security in the city. I can't even walk around Baltimore during the day without the fear of being mugged. Move to Madison! West side..
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:05 AM
 
Location: Arkansas
128 posts, read 402,728 times
Reputation: 135
I can add that I like Madison itself, have been here for many years, it's a nice city. We are leaving Wisconsin because of the brutal winter, but leaving Madison because of the high cost of living. An 830 sq ft apartment in Fitchburg is now 805 and will go up to 835 in September if we were to renew our lease. I got this place originally at something like $100 below market value because I was at that time with a "preferred employer" - whatever that was worth. I looked at the website and a new person coming in here would pay 905 to 950 for a 1-bdr, whether flat or loft. Good grief!!! Up the road some are lesser cost apartments, but not the best neighborhood, and still not much of a savings from here by the time you break down the amenities and cost of moving. Even the smaller outlying communities are not much better.

It's pretty liberal around here, I shouldn't think you'd have much problem with your beliefs. Sounds like you've found some groups that may be good for you.

The unions are broken, so I am very glad I no longer work for UW. Don't be so fast to be impressed with the UW system - university or hospital. They are conducting horrible animal experiments currently on cats, have ads on the side of some city busses about it. Animal experiments are a very sore subject here. They are about to do away with a whole clerical department within the hospital, and are doing this very sneakily, not telling the employees much of anything at all. They do this to save money, yet beg public donations for the children's hospital on television. I'm not proud at all to admit that I used to work for UW. They're no better than any other corporation. Anyone going there as a patient had better start watching the quality and accuracy of their medical records, as that's going to be outsourced and done in India by the end of next year.

Bookworm has a very good point about jobs and the fierce competition for what there are available in your fields. Even the university is tightening up. I would think very carefully about what you want in a career and then start looking in the hiring websites to see what's available for either of you and try very hard to have jobs in place before you come here.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:47 AM
 
4,060 posts, read 4,785,262 times
Reputation: 2871
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlett O'Hara View Post
I can add that I like Madison itself, have been here for many years, it's a nice city. We are leaving Wisconsin because of the brutal winter, but leaving Madison because of the high cost of living. An 830 sq ft apartment in Fitchburg is now 805 and will go up to 835 in September if we were to renew our lease. I got this place originally at something like $100 below market value because I was at that time with a "preferred employer" - whatever that was worth. I looked at the website and a new person coming in here would pay 905 to 950 for a 1-bdr, whether flat or loft. Good grief!!! Up the road some are lesser cost apartments, but not the best neighborhood, and still not much of a savings from here by the time you break down the amenities and cost of moving. Even the smaller outlying communities are not much better.
Housing/rent isn't much better in a lot of desirable areas. The markets are borked on both the supply and demand side.

There are still some places out there that aren't as bad, but the coasts and many college towns are squeezed.

I'm curious where you're leaving to.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:52 PM
 
2,940 posts, read 9,176,905 times
Reputation: 2709
Her status says moving to Colorado...
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
141 posts, read 351,522 times
Reputation: 298
Hi all,

Thanks for the continuing replies!

I don't know how I will respond to the winters before living through them. It could end up being a factor that drives us away after some time, or something we both adapt to well. It's a non-issue as one of our motives in wanting to move is being closer to my boyfriend's family in the U.P.; anywhere even a day's drive away from there is going to be on the colder side

I've been looking at job listings more frequently. While I appreciate that the job market is not the best it's been in Madison, it's still amazingly better in Madison than it is here in Roanoke, VA. You must understand the dire limitations of the area we're currently in. I don't even have the option to apply for jobs outside of certain sectors because they're not there. Basically, in Roanoke, if you're not in healthcare or sales, don't have a law degree, or aren't a public servant of some type, you have to know people to get in anywhere you can do anything else. The breadth of job types and the range within different sectors / fields in Madison is a vast improvement.

Now, the thing that suffers is the ratio of cost of living to income. Madison has much more jobs available that pay better than jobs here in Roanoke, but there's jobs where the pay is just as low as it is here while the rents are at least 50% higher. But I've seen that in a lot of cities where, out of curiosity, I've looked at social work job listings, including the New York metro area, where I got paid only a few thousand dollars more a year than I make here. That has more to do with the crap that comes with social work - minimal pay for jobs that require a master's degree, that are exhausting, if not slowly soul-eroding. Hence, my desire to change careers

Which brings us back to the topic of UW. I picked up on the animal experimentation issue through a couple passing mentions of animal testing in articles about other things, plus job postings for animal care technicians (I guess it's proof there's at least one job more depressing than a social work job ). I'm not thrilled they're doing it either, and lean toward thinking we should never test on animals for any reason, but I can also see both sides of the issue.

I've no doubt that any educational institution these days, public or private, is prone to corruption. I think that sitting pretty on a financial arrangement that leads to a lot of tax-free $$$ flooding in tends to make people and institutions more corrupt. I loved my college but the cost of tuition was insane, and even with a billion dollar endowment, they still hunt down alums asking for donations. I think America in general has really lost the plot financially. I don't think anyone should have to go in debt for an education or for healthcare. I think many aspects of our educational system in this country are broken and need a lot of work.

One thing that's nice about a town having a large university is how it changes the thought-landscape of the place. It opens doors to opportunities people don't have in cities where there are no large educational institutions. I'm not impressed with the pay or limitations (many jobs that are only temporary and/or part-time) of the university jobs I've read about, but I'm glad they're there. I'm glad it's possible to find work that is intellectually engaging and rewarding. That is in very short supply here in Roanoke. I know it's in greater supply in even larger cities but I personally don't like being in a mega-urban megalopolis. I wouldn't want to live in NYC again, or in Chicago, etc. I might be able to adjust to Los Angeles as far as urban aesthetics go but it has other issues. I actually like the size of Roanoke. I just have run into a dead-end as far as the culture and opportunities here.

I am currently considering pursuing a second career in either writing or environmental work (or both). Writing I don't have to go back to school for, it's just a matter of whether I find an intersection of opportunity, ability, and interest to pursue. If I did go back to school for anything at this point, it would be for something in the environmental field. I am blown away by the mix of long-standing, well-respected environmental programs (the wildlife ecology department founded by Aldo Leopold!), and newer, more innovative approaches (the interdisciplinary programs at the Nelson Institute) at UW-Madison. Given that I hadn't even decided whether I'd be willing to go back to school for anything when we first started talking relocation, it makes an even stronger sell for Madison.

There is no way we would move without at least one of us having a job first. The logistics of us both getting jobs lined up before moving may be difficult, but I'm still going to try for it. I have savings in case I have to hit the ground running with a job hunt as soon as we get there. I've also been encouraged by what I've been finding searching for apartments. There's plenty of places that are well within the recommended 25% of budget for us, even considering I may only be able to get a lower paying job initially. I can't believe though that it is dangerous to be out on the streets of Madison at night?? I saw another thread where people were talking about it being dangerous in Fitchburg, which is a suburb... Maybe I've just got a different frame of reference. I always used to walk the streets of Jersey City and NYC at night alone and never had a problem. I wasn't in the worst parts of town, but there was certainly crime, including shootings, but none that made me fear a random attack. I've definitely heard Baltimore is one of the harsher cities in the US to live in crime-wise these days.

Stephanie
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:40 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,454,845 times
Reputation: 43756
Any city this size has a few rough areas, and Madison is no exception to that rule. There are neighborhoods where I'd not want to live, and sidewalks where I'd be reluctant to walk alone after dark, but that doesn't in any way imply that the whole city is a crime-ridden cesspool. There is indeed an area encompassed by south-Madison/north-Fitchburg that is pretty iffy, and there are patches on the north side that's also kind of sketchy, but that's nowhere near the whole city. I also don't recommend walking around drunk late at night in the downtown area, but that's just common sense. If you have experience living in major cities, you won't find Madison very threatening, though it's important to be sensible about ordinary precautions and being aware of your surroundings here just as it is anywhere else.

I hope that you can indeed land a job ahead of your move, but I have to caution you that it's hard to do unless you are in a very high-demand field. Given a choice between a local candidate who can start in a couple of weeks compared to an out-of-town candidate who'll need a month or longer to move plus may ask for moving costs to boot, all else equal, most hiring managers will opt for the local candidate. If you have the wherewithal to do this, one strategy that I've seen people use is for one partner to move here first and get a short-term cheap sublet (pretty easy to do in the campus area) while the other partner remains in the original location continuing to work and maintain an income. With a local address, the first partner can generally find a job without too much difficulty, and once the first partner has an income, the second partner can follow along. It isn't easy, and it's definitely stressful, but it's one way to manage that transition.

Good luck, and do keep coming back with more questions - we'll do our best to respond.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:35 AM
 
Location: Midwest
47 posts, read 133,650 times
Reputation: 57
Hmm, I find this confusing, for a number of reasons:
1. There have been numerous (countless, actually) "I want to move to Madison without a job" posts, and almost unequivocally, the response is usually the same ("Don't do it"), even by some of the same people who responded positively here.
2. The UP isn't exactly "close" to Madison. You're looking at, what, 4 and a half hours (ok, somewhat close) minimum, but that's only if they are on the southernmost part of the Wi/Mi border. It could be hours more than that, depending on where they live. Its not like you can just hop on a train for a quick weekend getaway.
3. The OP has gone through detail after detail of things that don't really matter, but doesn't seem to have a plan as to how she will accomplish this career change. Could I go out and get a master's degree in social work, not having any background (work or education) in that filed? So what will she do to go from social work to a completely unrelated field? Take pre-reqs and then apply for the master's program? Get another undergraduate degree? Find work or volunteer in the environmental field? The dots aren't being connected, it seems.
4. The OP (briefly) mentions that she is worried about how moving would affect her relationship. Its not the change in location that would affect it. It sounds like both she and her boyfriend have professional jobs. To go from that to one partner possibly having to depend on the other is a huge stressor. Not just financially, but socially, psychologically, etc.
5. Overall, I'm just not seeing the logic behind the "reasons" to move to Madison (they sound more like excuses to me). If you want to move, then do so. Just be realistic about it. I don't think people have stressed enough that jobs in Madison are few and far between, and even professional jobs tend to be lower-paying than other places in the country. And yes, the reasons for that are because so many people want to live in Madison, don't leave, and will tolerate lower pay to do so. So the cycle repeats itself. Not to mention, how popular are the educational programs that interest you? Will you be selected over candidates with stronger backgrounds in the subject? My opinion (for whatever its worth): find a job in your current field, move, then figure it out.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:42 AM
 
61 posts, read 177,633 times
Reputation: 49
I'm 37 and my husband is 43 and we've been in Madison 5 years. I would not have the least bit of concern about the student population. I'm UW faculty and love being in a university town. The students tend to be segregated into certain living areas, so you wouldn't need to choose to live among them per se. This has been the easiest place to make friends. There is plenty to do and see, lots of good restaurants, and a nice easy-going social scene. Bands come through regularly as well. I will say that the people I meet are primarily professionals; professors, doctors, lawyers, social workers, and the like. Healthcare is huge here, and access to good services is great. (although we can argue about the failures of the local HMOs). It's a thriving city, liberal, creative, lots of options for creativity and entertainment. I really love it.

The biggest downsides for me are 1) the winter. This winter has been awful and both my husband and I have suffered from some level of seasonal depression since we moved here from CO. And 2) the high cost of living. Rentals are steep compared to the rest of the midwest. Although still way better than other places I've lived (like southern calif). Housing prices vary widely and you sacrifice proximity to downtown/cool neighborhoods for more space. I'm not in love with Wisconsin overall, but I do really love Madison.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:33 PM
 
608 posts, read 748,191 times
Reputation: 979
I didn't read through these posts, but do not make this move without a job waiting for you first. Madison isn't a place where you can easily get a job paying $35k/year. If you want to go to school more power to you. Your upward income mobility in Madison isn't going to be good.

MOST people that I know that have gone to school at Madison for over 15 years end up moving away when they want to earn more money. Most people that end up staying in Madison that I know stay because they claim a bunch of stuff they don't even do (lol). It is more of a "brainwashed mindset" Wisconites have when growing up outside of Madison and then living in the city for college and thinking they hit it big...lol..lol.
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