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Old 11-08-2009, 10:58 AM
 
8 posts, read 35,417 times
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Hello,

I'm considering taking a job in Scranton (currently live in Tucson, AZ). Does anyone live in Scranton? What can you tell me (besides that it's COLD there, LOL)?

What kind of jobs are there? My husband is a welder.

How are the shools?

What's there to do?

Thanks!!
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:16 AM
 
21 posts, read 60,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenateare View Post
Hello,

I'm considering taking a job in Scranton (currently live in Tucson, AZ). Does anyone live in Scranton? What can you tell me (besides that it's COLD there, LOL)?

What kind of jobs are there? My husband is a welder.

How are the shools?

What's there to do?

Thanks!!
Hi:

I've lived in Scranton my whole life. Unfortunately, I'm probably just above to leave the area - as you're about to join us.

Truthfully, its a great area. You will probably love the people in the Scranton area - and there is enough to do for a city of its size.

The bad part about it is the economy. I am a young professional and so is my wife. There is very little opportunity for young professionals. Most of the successful people in the area work for family law firms or medical practices. There aren't any major flourishing businesses.

You're husband probably won't have a tough time finding something as a welder, because this area is kind of stronger in those types of jobs. However, he'll probably be shocked at the pay change.

So to sum it up...I love Scranton and I wish there was a way that my wife and I could stay and raise a family. Its a very proud area in terms of irish-italian culture etc. And overall, very friendly.

I think you'll really like it if you overcome the job hurdle.

And oh yeah, its terribly cold hah. Its fun though.
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,728 posts, read 72,549,762 times
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I'll echo the excellent sentiments above. I was a lifelong resident of the Scranton suburbs who relocated to Northern Virginia earlier this year immediately upon graduation from a local college because the white-collar career opportunities are severely limited in the Scranton area. You can make successful in-roads as an attorney, physician, politician, or another "profession", but if you want to be employed in other fields beyond power-commuting to the NYC area or becoming an entrepreneur your options in Scranton are quite frankly abysmal. I watched for years growing up as my father, an IT professional, was shuffled around, laid-off, and actually had to work at a gas station and supermarket from time to time to help pay the bills as my mother temporarily worked two jobs because the job opportunities were horrible in NEPA.

The bright side about having one of the nation's worst white-collar job markets? Housing prices are below-average (FAR below in some cases). Scranton is an anomaly in that, generally speaking, the city is cheaper than the suburbs due to a continued flight of middle-class families. You can find a great older home with character the city that requires some cosmetic work for around $75,000, a 1970s-era bi-level on a half-acre lot in most suburbs for around $150,000-$175,000, and new construction 4 BR/2.5 BA homes with two-car garages on large lots in newer housing developments for $300,000. If your husband can find work as a welder, and if you can land this job offer, then your combined income will afford you to live a comfortable lifestyle here.

Other bright spots? Scranton is only just over 2 hours away from Philadelphia or New York City for day-tripping opportunities, as well as being relatively near to the Jersey Shore/Atlantic City, Poconos, Baltimore/DC, the Adirondacks, and the Finger Lakes Wine Country of South Central Upstate NY. Scranton's people are a mixed bag. Many are down-to-earth and would give you the shirts off their backs if you needed them, but many are also rather provincial, narrow-minded, and suspicious/critical of newcomers and their government. Quite simply put many in Scranton fear change and put up quite a strong opposition towards progress (i.e. the proposed commuter rail line into New York City that would permit more young professionals, like me, to STAY in Scranton to raise our families and boost the city's tax base).

Scranton, for all of its "warts", is overall a great place to call home (IF you can find gainful employment).
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:27 PM
 
2,834 posts, read 10,271,690 times
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Aw.....Paul is still blowing the Scranton 'horn'....You Go Paul!!!!
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:39 PM
 
21 posts, read 60,127 times
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Default ScranBarre

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
I'll echo the excellent sentiments above. I was a lifelong resident of the Scranton suburbs who relocated to Northern Virginia earlier this year immediately upon graduation from a local college because the white-collar career opportunities are severely limited in the Scranton area. You can make successful in-roads as an attorney, physician, politician, or another "profession", but if you want to be employed in other fields beyond power-commuting to the NYC area or becoming an entrepreneur your options in Scranton are quite frankly abysmal. I watched for years growing up as my father, an IT professional, was shuffled around, laid-off, and actually had to work at a gas station and supermarket from time to time to help pay the bills as my mother temporarily worked two jobs because the job opportunities were horrible in NEPA.

The bright side about having one of the nation's worst white-collar job markets? Housing prices are below-average (FAR below in some cases). Scranton is an anomaly in that, generally speaking, the city is cheaper than the suburbs due to a continued flight of middle-class families. You can find a great older home with character the city that requires some cosmetic work for around $75,000, a 1970s-era bi-level on a half-acre lot in most suburbs for around $150,000-$175,000, and new construction 4 BR/2.5 BA homes with two-car garages on large lots in newer housing developments for $300,000. If your husband can find work as a welder, and if you can land this job offer, then your combined income will afford you to live a comfortable lifestyle here.

Other bright spots? Scranton is only just over 2 hours away from Philadelphia or New York City for day-tripping opportunities, as well as being relatively near to the Jersey Shore/Atlantic City, Poconos, Baltimore/DC, the Adirondacks, and the Finger Lakes Wine Country of South Central Upstate NY. Scranton's people are a mixed bag. Many are down-to-earth and would give you the shirts off their backs if you needed them, but many are also rather provincial, narrow-minded, and suspicious/critical of newcomers and their government. Quite simply put many in Scranton fear change and put up quite a strong opposition towards progress (i.e. the proposed commuter rail line into New York City that would permit more young professionals, like me, to STAY in Scranton to raise our families and boost the city's tax base).

Scranton, for all of its "warts", is overall a great place to call home (IF you can find gainful employment).
ScranBarre:

I finished grad school in 2008, so did my wife. I'm guessing I got 2 or 3 years on you that means...but me and my wife are looking in the Northern VA are also.

How do you like it? It seems like there are a ton of federal job opportunities if you can land one. My wife is a teacher...and as I am sure you know, unless youre connected or ready to dish out a years salary...you're not teaching in a public school.

I'd like to be working in federal court administration. It seems like we can both find something in that area.

Any suggestions on where we should look? Reasonable cost of living, safe, easy train commute to DC if need be?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the area.
(NVA)

Thanks.
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Old 11-08-2009, 03:15 PM
 
13,034 posts, read 31,029,371 times
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Irish_times and Scran, Might be better if you take your conversation to e-mail/DM or maybe the NOVA forum.

To the OP, The length of the winter may be the most disheartening factor of a move to NEPA. Cold for three months is kind of nice but when it drags into April, you may finding yourself longing for the sunshine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenateare View Post
Hello,

I'm considering taking a job in Scranton (currently live in Tucson, AZ). Does anyone live in Scranton? What can you tell me (besides that it's COLD there, LOL)?

What kind of jobs are there? My husband is a welder.

How are the shools?

What's there to do?

Thanks!!
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Old 11-08-2009, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Pike County, PA
1,161 posts, read 2,808,591 times
Reputation: 629
Winter in NEPA does indeed last well into April - and the cold weather / snow flurries start in October (though yesterday and today was Deeee-lightful.)
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Old 11-08-2009, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Location: Location
6,728 posts, read 9,075,617 times
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Coming from AZ, the change in temp may be somewhat of a shock, but it isn't exactly the North Pole here...I've lived in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area since 1965, and while we have had some occasional brutal winter weather, there have also been many Christmases when we stood outdoors in shirtsleeves...
Housing is plentiful, and, yes, people do live in Scranton - we even have indoor plumbing!!
Depending on your interests, there is much to do as far as recreation/entertainment is concerned...
We have nine colleges in the area...There are six fully operational hospitals (if you favor a job in the medical field)...You can shop til you drop, everything from Macy's to Walmart; we have a stadium with a minor league (Yankees) baseball team; an international airport; an arena with a minor league hockey team (Penguins); everything from fast food to fine dining; a couple of multiscreen movie theaters showing first-run films; mostly safe neighborhoods ranging from downtown to suburban to downright country living...Sure there are naysayers - but if you plan on bringing your good humor with you, you'll like it here.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,728 posts, read 72,549,762 times
Reputation: 17593
Quote:
Originally Posted by irish_times View Post
ScranBarre:

I finished grad school in 2008, so did my wife. I'm guessing I got 2 or 3 years on you that means...but me and my wife are looking in the Northern VA are also.

How do you like it? It seems like there are a ton of federal job opportunities if you can land one. My wife is a teacher...and as I am sure you know, unless youre connected or ready to dish out a years salary...you're not teaching in a public school.

I'd like to be working in federal court administration. It seems like we can both find something in that area.

Any suggestions on where we should look? Reasonable cost of living, safe, easy train commute to DC if need be?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the area.
(NVA)

Thanks.

Overall to be quite honest I can't say I particularly enjoy living in Northern Virginia at this stage in my life, but I believe if I were several years older, had higher spending power, and was actively-seeking a good place to put down roots for the purposes of considering raising a family in the future NoVA would be a wise choice. I'm earning a salary of $42,000 as an auditor. That would afford an individual to live comfortably in Scranton, but here in NoVA I am barely (just BARELY) treading water financially. I rent a 1-BR apartment in Reston, a suburb about 35 minutes west of DC, for $1,135/month ($1,350/month when you factor in utilities), and it is NOT a "luxury" apartment (maintenance issues, no pool, no fitness center, etc.) Virginia being such a desirable state in which to live (i.e. "Best State for Business", "Best Place for Affluent Young Singles", some "Best Places" communities, etc., etc.), as well as being home to the nation's two wealthiest counties (Loudoun and Fairfax) has driven the cost-of-living here up to near-NYC levels. Every other person here seems to drive an Audi or BMW, decent 1-BR condos inside the Beltway tend to START at $300,000+, and the typical South Abington cul-de-sac McMansion here would go for $800,000 instead of $400,000. The problem here is that while the cost-of-living seems to be double that of Scranton's the salaries aren't, generally speaking, twice as much to keep pace with the higher cost.

Some things are noticeably less expensive here though. Our sales tax is lower, groceries are cheaper, utilities are cheaper, and I'm paying substantially less now for combined auto/rental insurance than just car insurance alone back in NEPA. I just paid $2.69/gallon for regular gas here tonight, so I don't know if that was good or bad.

If you and your wife are both going to be earning in the neighborhood of a salary of $50,000-$60,000 (which is likely), then you'll be able to live comfortably on a $120,000 combined household income. You'll probably enjoy the area much more than I do because I feel "left out" since so much here is geared towards the upper-middle-class.

If you're looking to move here long-term then I would actually recommend my current hometown of Reston, Virginia to you both. In 2013 we'll have Metrorail service (Silver Line) from here through Tyson's Corner (major employment/shopping hub) and on into DC to the East and to Dulles Airport in the west. Right now I drive from Reston to Tyson's Corner to work (about 7 miles each way), and depending on when I leave that trip can take me anywhere from 25 minutes (best case scenario) to an hour (which is becoming more frequent). The schools here are generally above-average, even though some people are critical of Lake Anne Elementary School and South Lakes High School due to their "diversity." As you may have gleaned during Virginia's recent gubernatorial race one of the hot-button issues in Virginia wasn't the recession but rather TRAFFIC. Even the bravest of NoVA's "boosters" can't make up excuses for the congestion here, which is now officially the nation's second-worst gridlock (barely behind L.A.). NoVA is nearing 2,000,000 residents, and that is roughly twice the population we had even 40 years ago---but the infrastructure hasn't been significantly upgraded since then. The Metrorail expansions will help somewhat, as will the addition of new "HOT" lanes on the Beltway, but overall it's still infuriating to be driving home on a Sunday night and have to sit in traffic (as in what I just did about an hour ago).

Beyond the high cost-of-living and traffic congestion the last major gripe I personally have about the area (and this can vary from person to person) is the social distance here. If you go onto the Seattle forum you'll read about the "Seattle Freeze" in which newcomers largely complain about the standoffish-ness and distance socially of others when they're trying to make friends. Generally speaking NoVA has "Seattle Freeze: Lite." I haven't had terrible problems here making friends, but largely all of my close friends have migrated here from NEPA with me (TONS of PA plates down here) and I have a large network of distant friends from all over the country. Only about 10% of the people I've met here are NoVA natives. The region is amongst the most educated in the nation, and I think having such a high proportion of people with Ph.D.'s, J.D.'s, Ed.D.'s, etc. can be of benefit in helping to retain a good base of solid employers here but is also of detriment in a sense because there is a noticeable trend here of seeing many people who think they are more important than they really are trying to outdo one another to be the "slightly bigger fish in the big pond." It's kind of funny, actually, to on occasion see the "Don't you know who I am?!!" temper tantrums some people throw in grocery stores, restaurants, or in some cases even the security desk in my office building's main lobby when they don't get their way and think their "status" permits them to circumvent the system. I've joined an active church here, volunteered at the library, participate in various community events, etc., and I still feel like a total stranger in Reston.

To summarize:

CONS:
1.) Exorbitant cost-of-living (which will be mitigated with both you and your significant other locating gainful employment).
2.) Terrible traffic congestion (and with a new Republican governor who claims to offer us "pie in the sky" WITHOUT raising any taxes I don't see that getting fixed over the next four years).
3.) High proportion of elitist dou$hebags running amok (It's nice that you went to Harvard and drive a BMW. That doesn't make you better than anyone else so wait your turn in line!)

PROS:
1.) Proximity to DC, a rapidly gentrifying historic city nearing world-class status.
2.) One of the nation's premier public school systems.
3.) Immense diversity (I've already dated two guys from several different ethnic groups that had no visible presence in Scranton).
4.) Highly-educated and brilliant population (The Bachelor's Degree is the high school diploma here. I'm pursuing my M.P.A. and feel like I'm still going to be "undereducated" here).
5.) Resilient job market (there's a reason why NoVA's unemployment rate is so far below the national rate).
6.) Plenty to do (Wizards, Capitals, Redskins, Nationals, concerts, museums, monuments, festivals, proximity to mountains/wineries 45 minutes in one direction and the Chesapeake Bay 45 minutes in another direction).


In summary if you can make enough money to actually LIVE here (not merely "survive", as I am), can find a home close to work to minimize your commute, and can tolerate a high proportion of aloof and border-line elitist people, then you'll enjoy living in NoVA.

Some towns?

Reston is the largest DC suburb outside the Beltway but still feels like a much smaller community due to the very dense tree canopy. There is an extensive trail system here, decent bus service (albeit not stellar), rail service into the District on the way in four years, and generally low crime (I think there has been only ONE muder so far here in 2009, and that's not shabby considering how many much smaller Wilkes-Barre has every year). Proximity to both the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267) and Route 7 for easy east/west commutes as well as to Reston Parkway and Route 7100 for easy north/south commutes.

Vienna and Falls Church are two Metro-accessible small cities in Eastern Fairfax County with traditional downtown business districts. Falls Church's downtown is very "gap-toothed" with a lot of surface parking lots and strip malls thrown in to ruin what otherwise could have been a very charming town, and Vienna's downtown is only about two blocks long and is hidden off the beaten path. Falls Church has two Metro stations within a mile's walk of the center of town, and Vienna has two Metro stations within a 5-minute drive (Fairfax/GMU and Dunn Loring). Vienna has more of an exclusive reputation. Falls Church has a "seedy" reputation, but the city proper tends to be very stable and middle-class; the surrounding parts of Fairfax County with the mailing address of Falls Church can be sketchy. Falls Church is a bit more convenient to the District.

Arlington is a very mass transit-dominated community. There is the Orange Line Corridor area which extends from Rosslyn (just across the Potomac from DC's tony Georgetown neighborhood) westward through the neighborhoods of Court House, Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston, in the western part of Arlington. This corridor is noted for being a haven for young singles and DINKs (dual-income: no kids) and has a lot of nightlife. Many in this part of Arlington don't own a car, but it is VERY expensive (just a notch below trendy NW DC). The Blue/Yellow Lines head south from Rosslyn through the Pentagon, Pentagon City, and Crystal City before heading into adjacent Alexandria. This series of neighborhoods is still developing and is less-sought-after (but still nice).

Alexandria is a city noted for its rich history, and its two most sought-after neighborhoods are "Old Town" and "Del Ray." Old Town is very similar to Philadelphia's Old City, if you're familiar with that, with tons of old brick rowhomes, Victorian storefronts, and funky shops/restaurants, mostly lining King Street between the waterfront and the Metrorail station. I've never been to Del Ray, but it is supposedly nice and quieter than Old Town.

Ashburn: Cul-de-sac/strip mall haters need not apply.

You'll learn that there are no "townships" in Virginia---and there aren't many towns or cities for that matter either. I live in the Reston mailing address within the jurisdiction of Fairfax County. Reston, with a population of 65,000, isn't its own separate governing entity, and most of the county's 1.2 million people are the same way.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:11 PM
 
2,760 posts, read 3,644,624 times
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I love PA...that sums it up!
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