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Old 03-12-2009, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Portland, ME
40 posts, read 101,277 times
Reputation: 39

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Hello!

I've been looking through the forums and found a lot of helpful information. Everyone seems genuinely helpful and that is reassuring.

Here's my issue, and I've seen this as an issue many people have had. I'm hoping to move from Fairbanks, Alaska to Portland, Maine. I've never been to Maine. I know that a lot of people recommend that you visit a few times, for a few weeks. The problem I have with that is that I -do- live in Fairbanks, Alaska and that it is usually a 1200 (least) to 2000 + dollar ticket to fly anywhere outside of Alaska. I simply can't afford to do it. I've lived in Portland, Oregon and some other places, actually, moving is something I'm well used to, having been an army brat on top of it all.

I'm graduating with my third degree this May and am thinking that if I'm going to leave Alaska, it might be best to do it in the summer. We have 9 month winters here, where it isn't at all unusual to find four plus feet of snow stacked about, and -55 winters are just a sad reality.

A problem that I have in Alaska is that the job market -sucks- and the jobs don't pay very well. There is nothing in my areas (psychology, sociology, IT specialist) available and it's hard to find a job that pays more than 9 dollars an hour.

A 9 dollar job might not be so bad, but the average rent here for a one bedroom, no frills, no utilities included ranges from 900-1500 dollars a room. The only thing you can get here for under 800 dollars is usually a dry cabin (no running water) in a remote area in the middle of nowhere.

Food here is also two to four times more expensive than anywhere in the lower forty-eight. All in all, it is -very- expensive to stay here, and sadly, going anywhere in the lower forty-eight is a better option than staying here.

There's also nothing to do in Fairbanks and the winter months give you about two hours of light on some days. It used to not bother me but after so many years its getting old. Also, I'm tired of living in a conservative place.

I've already signed up for jobsinme.com and I've looked through craig's list for apartments. Is getting an apartment on Craig's List a good way to go? I'm aware that it's best to have a job before I get there (which I hear is close to impossible) but if I have rent money saved up for four to six months, should that be enough time to find a job, any job? I'm willing to not be too picky just until I get on my feet.

I'm a student now (but by no means a kid) but with the money I could make at a job here there's no way I would be able to save up enough money to move while paying rent and for food. It gets more and more expensive here by the day.

Any ideas or suggestions on jobs or apartments? How are the nonprofits down there?
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,867,064 times
Reputation: 4002
If you come to Portland Maine at least your winter will be shortend a bit. We have it from about early December to late March. With your education you might check for jobs at Maine Medical Center or The University of Southern ME. Portland is a small city but the largest in Maine. I think it may be around 70 thousand but not sure of that. Hope you like it here - I live in Bangor but love to visit Portland and the Freeport area.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Portland, ME
40 posts, read 101,277 times
Reputation: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newdaawn View Post
If you come to Portland Maine at least your winter will be shortend a bit. We have it from about early December to late March. With your education you might check for jobs at Maine Medical Center or The University of Southern ME. Portland is a small city but the largest in Maine. I think it may be around 70 thousand but not sure of that. Hope you like it here - I live in Bangor but love to visit Portland and the Freeport area.
Hey, thanks a lot. I hadn't thought to check those places but I'll definitely give them a look. Thanks for taking the time to give me some advice! I really appreciate it! The shortened winters will be great. Sometimes we start snowing in September and we usually (at least recently) have gone on until May...
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
40,243 posts, read 19,608,157 times
Reputation: 46805
I was already retired when I moved here....so I don't have any info on job hunting....from what I can gather....people really scuffle to find work.....but there must be jobs.....people are working. It is good that you have a nest egg to carry you for awhile and that you are willing to be flexible.

The economy is a disaster everywhere.....Maine is definately included.....so it will be tough. I do understand that you don't have the money to be flying down to scope it out....that would eat up your nest egg. Is there a reason you picked Portland Maine over other towns and states....is there something about Maine? I have no reason to think that employmt is much better other places however....and Maine is a wonderful state.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Portland, ME
40 posts, read 101,277 times
Reputation: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by elston View Post
I was already retired when I moved here....so I don't have any info on job hunting....from what I can gather....people really scuffle to find work.....but there must be jobs.....people are working. It is good that you have a nest egg to carry you for awhile and that you are willing to be flexible.

The economy is a disaster everywhere.....Maine is definately included.....so it will be tough. I do understand that you don't have the money to be flying down to scope it out....that would eat up your nest egg. Is there a reason you picked Portland Maine over other towns and states....is there something about Maine? I have no reason to think that employmt is much better other places however....and Maine is a wonderful state.
Hey, thank you for the info anyway. Sometimes a little encouragement is help enough. Yeah, the economy is bad everywhere and it's just unfortunate that anywhere I might go will be a disaster. Unfortunately staying here will be a disaster as well.

I decided to go with Maine because I really like the east coast. I lived in New Jersey when I was a kid and I really liked it. I don't really -want- to go back there though and dream states like New York (which I went to when I was younger and -loved-) and Massachusetts are not options given their especially bad economies and their cost of living. However, I do like that Portland, Maine is so close to so many other places. The rental prices (from what I've seen) are also -much- cheaper than they are in AK or other places. I love the idea of being able to get on a train and 2 hours later be in Boston. I love that I can take a ferry to Nova Scotia if I'm so inclined. I love the idea of driving across a few states in a matter of hours. That kind of thing is so impossible here. From Fairbanks it takes 8 hours to get to the next big city, Anchorage- and honestly there's not much of interest there. The state is HUGE. Three times the size of Texas but there's nothing here. Alaska is really isolated and it's hard to go out and see family, which is especially bad during family emergencies. At least over there I'd be able to fly out cheaper.

Plus, I love the architecture, and the small city/big town vibe that I've heard others describe. I love a city that will have cobblestones and little areas to explore. The lighthouses! And it's absolutely beautiful over there. It's beautiful over here, but only for three months of the year. The people in Maine seem rather nice, too so that's a definite plus. Now I've got 'quirky' to add to the list of things I like about it.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
40,243 posts, read 19,608,157 times
Reputation: 46805
Hyakurin

I think you will love it here! It is all you say and so much more. "Come On Down!" (I removed "quirky" from my first post.....I didn't want anyone to think I was saying anything bad about the state.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Portland, ME
40 posts, read 101,277 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elston View Post
Hyakurin

I think you will love it here! It is all you say and so much more. "Come On Down!" (I removed "quirky" from my first post.....I didn't want anyone to think I was saying anything bad about the state.
I will! In May, hopefully! I'm optimistic! I know that it will be extremely hard and frustrating at first but perseverance wins the battle. The idea of getting out of here and heading over there has already filled me with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy that I haven't felt in a while. Moving is always traumatic (ugh), and so is job hunting, but no pain no gain.

Thank you so much for the encouragement! Believe me, I'm the most pessimistic person around, but there's no reason to not try to make the best of this. If the people of Maine are as warm and welcoming as you, I know I'm heading to the right place.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:47 AM
 
643 posts, read 1,345,773 times
Reputation: 622
I used to live in Anchorage and traveled to Fairbanks for business a few days a month. Even on the brightest and sunniest days, i remember Fairbanks as rather gloomy and I remember having to spend a fortune to get down to the lower 48. I don't live in the Portland area yet (moving there this summer) but I do know that wages are higher in Alaska than they are in Maine. The cost-of-living, however, is significantly lower. What are your degrees in? If you don't like Portland for whatever reason, you'll be in a much better position to find your desired place to plant roots once you're down here. You can just hop in your car and explore!
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Portland, ME
40 posts, read 101,277 times
Reputation: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunday1 View Post
I used to live in Anchorage and traveled to Fairbanks for business a few days a month. Even on the brightest and sunniest days, i remember Fairbanks as rather gloomy and I remember having to spend a fortune to get down to the lower 48. I don't live in the Portland area yet (moving there this summer) but I do know that wages are higher in Alaska than they are in Maine. The cost-of-living, however, is significantly lower. What are your degrees in? If you don't like Portland for whatever reason, you'll be in a much better position to find your desired place to plant roots once you're down here. You can just hop in your car and explore!
Ah! Someone who understands! Sometimes I'm afraid that I'll come off as foolish. You're right about Fairbanks being gloomy. The really unfortunate part is that last summer (the only time it's livable, really) I missed out on the entire summer because I had to work my butt off for my hovel of an apartment. It was depressing. Then it was back to winter.

I have a bachelors in Psychology and Sociology. There's no graduate school for sociology up here and to my understanding the psychology graduate program isn't accredited. Also this May I will be getting an associates for IT Specialist. Honestly it isn't where my heart is but there are more jobs available in that field than there are in sociology and psychology combined. I'm not looking to open up an office, but being able to help people or do some research greatly appeals to me.

It is outlandish to fly out of Alaska. When I look at the prices in the lower forty-eight and see that sometimes the difference is a thousand dollars I get a little resentful. The pay here -is- higher, but with the food and the cost of living it hardly makes a dent.

You're right though- if I don't like Portland I can get in my car and go. The idea of that is exhilarating. No such luck if I don't like it here.

Let me know how you like Portland if you get there before me (which you probably will)!
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:44 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,314 posts, read 17,367,149 times
Reputation: 10979
Welcome to the Maine forum. I'm sure you'll find everyone here to be quite helpful.

I think Portland sounds like a good move for you. At the very least, its a good jumping off point.

With regards to the economy, I think its going to be tough just about anywhere. I did note that you mentioned that Massachusetts and New York were "out" due to the economy being worse than Maine's. While it's bad everywhere, New York and Massachusetts' economies are in far better shape than Maine's. Massachusetts in particular has been labeled by many as one of the best places to ride out the recession. This is due to an incredibly high concentration of Higher Ed, Medical/Healthcare, and High-Tech industries, all of which are known to weather down times better than many industries. While cost of living in Massachusetts will be much higher than just about anywhere in Maine, you would probably have better luck there in terms of finding a job. Unemployment in Massachusetts if lower than it is in most other places including Maine.

I really hope you enjoy Maine and I hope it works out for you, but I do believe that picking Maine for economic reasons is a relatively dangerous prospect. If you're heart is set on Maine, you can probably make it work, but please don't make the mistake of thinking that job prospects are better in Maine than in the rest of the Northeast because that's more than likely not the case.

Good luck leaving Alaska... I hope you find what you're looking for.
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