I love my home and my state. I really, really do. If you’ve been reading my blog very long you already know this. You might know that I was born here, a fourth-generation Montanan. I moved away at age 12, but could not wait to grow up and find a way to come back. Nine years ago, with a spouse and child, I did so.
Let me show you some of what I love.
Recently my husband and I took our two Westies to one of the hills north of town. The trailhead is about ten minutes from our house. Here are some photos. The one above is looking south toward town.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot Paintbrush
My favorite: a wide-open shooting star.
Lovely, aren’t they? Of course they are. But before you start resenting me for living here, or telling your significant other that this is the year we absolutely have to move somewhere rural, let me say two things. Well, three.
First, I agree with you.
Second, I said all those things to myself before I had a significant other, and then when I got one, I said them to him. Because I was living in a city where natural beauty was far away, and I was miserable.
However, at the same time, after a long, long time I now believe:
It helps to live somewhere like this only if you aren’t very attached to employment.
Let me illustrate.
I’ve worked for eight years locally, while my husband’s business operates outside the local economy. As insurance for the future, we keep our eyes on job market close to home. Today I looked in our newspaper’s online edition—the main place to find available openings.
Here, in order, are all the jobs listed in the last two days—yes, I did say the last two days.
Mystery shoppers needed. Make money now!
Mystery shoppers needed. Make money now!
Earn Great Income from your Home Computer
Logging Clipper Operator
Interior Design for Temporary Agency
Data Entry Secretary
Medical Office Reception
Part Time Data Entry Rebate Processing
Mystery Shoppers Needed. Make Money Now!
Shift Work/Residential Treatment Center/$10/hr
Cosmetics Independent Sales Representative
Making no judgments as to the merits of these occupations, I think we can safely conclude this list is… well, sparse. Not much to choose from if your field is, say, non-profit work or airplane piloting, as ours are.
Now, there are actually many, many non-profit organizations in my town, and once in a while there’s a job. I currently have one of them. The advertisements usually look something like:
“Highly motivated individual sought. College graduate with 10-15 years’ experience. Non-profit dedicated to social justice, environmental protection, better government, quality education, local food supplies, and promotion of local business. Duties: fundraising, supervising staff, accounting, mopping floor, board development, and program management. Compensation: $10/hr. Benefits: office microwave.”
Sticking with my field, then, I did another search of the online newspaper’s ads. This time I searched the Non-Profit category, and ALL the jobs currently open in the greater Missoula area—not just the last couple of days. Here’s what I found:
Earn Great income from your home computer
Home computer needed. Flexible hours/great income
Not to be discouraged, I turned next to my husband’s field. Here the closest category for pilots is “Transportation and Logistics.” I found:
Automated Logistics specialist
Earn Great Income from your home computer
Home computer needed. Flexible hours/great income.
My husband also has an engineering degree, so I looked in the Engineering category, and found:
certified surgical technician
Do you think they’d hire someone with a degree in airplane engineering to be a surgical technician?
I don’t think so, either.
Last year, at the university, there was a half time administrative job which pays $13 an hour but comes with full benefits. There were sixty-seven applicants and I knew many of them. I know the woman who got it. She has an advanced degree from this same university. The job is very stressful and she counts herself lucky to have it. She told me that most of the staff positions at this university pay so little that employees qualify for public-assisted children’s health insurance. This is the university at which my father was teaching when I was 12 and we moved away to find better opportunity.
Nothing in this life is free, and many people pay an economic price of living here.
I adore Montana and always will. It’s my home. My husband and I don’t need those jobs in the newspaper. Still, if you’re already settled somewhere, think twice before you quit your job to Hang Yer Hat in the Big Sky Country.