Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music. Which is Good, Because Some Folks in Montana Need all the Free Music They Can Get.

 2009-05-21 #0072 - Hiking on Mt Jumbo

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.  

2009-05-21 #0068 - Daisy on Mt Jumbo

2009-05-21 #0066 - Paintbrush on Mt Jumbo Arrowleaf Balsamroot                                Paintbrush

2009-05-21 #0069 - Shooting Star on Mt Jumbo 

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. 

mt jumbo2

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!

Truck Driver

Phone Sales


Security officer

Mystery shoppers needed. Make money now!

Earn Great Income from your Home Computer

Logging Clipper Operator

Interior Design for Temporary Agency

Data Entry Secretary

Survey Taker

Medical Office Reception

Part Time Data Entry Rebate Processing

Security Guard

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. 

2009-05-21 #0073 - Hiking on Mt Jumbo 
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

Mt Jumbo1

Not to be discouraged, I turned next to my husband’s field.  Here the closest category for pilots is “Transportation and Logistics.”  I found: 

TRuck Driver

Drivers ($11-13/hr).


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.  

2009-05-21 #0065 - Clover on Mt Jumbo

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. 


Patsy said...

This line made me laugh!
”It helps to live somewhere like this only if you aren’t very attached to employment. “ :-) :-) :-)

Are you comfortable?
Do you worry?


Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

When I went to live in mid-Wales (UK) for love, I had no idea how few jobs there would be for someone with my skills (pr, publicity background, even office admin when pushed) and so I ended up working retail in a cheap jewellery shop for $3.60 per hour (pounds, but I don't have the key) which was a big step down in the world for me - from company car to dodgy bus ride to work.

Not only was the work menial, but I lost all confidence in my abilities. Don't do it unless you already have the work lined. up.

The job didn't work, neither did the relationship, and I moved back to civilisation.

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures! The flowers are positively stunning!

Your post is very funny and sad all at the same time! I don't know - seems like "Mysterey Shopper" may be the most promising! Good luck in your job searches. Hopefully, the crazy economy will turn soon, and more jobs will be created. Hopefully that will happen TODAY!

Duchesse said...

I'd advise any young person today to consider skilled trades, as in many communities there is need for nurses, dental hygenists, veterinary assistants, electricians, etc. Even that is not a guarantee of a job, but in the similarly gorgeous town I'm from, in northern Michigan, these jobs pay far more than a 4-year liberal arts degree, which might get you a minimum-wage sales clerk or bank teller job.

aims said...

Floor mopping and accounting....hmmmm...don't think I'd qualify with my bad back then.

Missoula is so beautiful.

Driving there from Alberta I often wondered what people did for a living as I looked at the views and their houses lodged in amongst the pines.

I still wonder.

Unknown said...

Beautiful country! But I'm stuck with industry. So I compromise ;)

I can still enjoy your post and beautiful pictures. Seems almost like I'm there!

Rosaria Williams said...

Sallymandy, this was a good public service announcement. Most of us who have lived decades in a city with opportunities for advancement dream of living in a place like yours.

You gave us a sober picture.

angela recada said...

Montana is so beautiful - thanks for the photos.

I've often noticed that some of the most beautiful places have the fewest jobs. Maybe, subconsciously, that's what makes them so beautiful to us city-dwellers - the lack of industry. Until we move there and try to make a "traditional" living, we don't realize how important all that industry is.

It certainly helps to love where you're living. . .

Lola G. said...

I am not, nor have I ever been, a mystery shopper. But now I know where to come should I desire to follow that career path. Thanks for the alert. I have to say, though, that it may be worth settling for employment for which I am over-qualified if it means that I could go to a field and see wide-open shooting-star plants. I'm going to have to ponder this some more, because that is some serious beautifulness. I don't think I've ever seen one of those, so when you find yourself out that way again, please know that I am enjoying them through your eyes.

Lianne said...

Office microwave. Benefit? And, do you know what a Logging Clipper Operator is?

In 1988 I took a bus from Victoria, British Columbia to Butte, Montana (to visit a boy --of course). I remember the beauty and the sense of peace I felt while looking out the bus window. I felt like I could breathe there.

I feel that way again when I look at your beautiful pictures.

Woman in a Window said...

I think it's like that no matter where you live these days. It's just that in a city where there are those great jobs that become available there are hundreds and hundreds of applicants. North America is a very sobering place. Although, I do live in rural Canada and there are very few opportunities at all. I know where you're coming from.

Linda Lu said...

For me, I lived in New York City for my whole long(which isn't too long--16 years). I think that I am able to appreciate natural beauty better, because I am not in touch with it daily.

ticklishfromadistance said...

Really pretty pictures and a great post. These are crazy times, sobering to say the least.

Mervat said...

We moved to more rural surroundings three years ago and I wouldn't have it any other way (70 kn from Sydney). I have been successful at working from home as a medical writer but I have had to make a huge compromise to not be involved in 'cutting edge research' which takes place at universities and all the major hospital (which are of course confined to 20 to 40 km of the city centre). I even turned down a lectureship and senior research position due to the commute.

In the end I am fortunate to be able to work from home on a part time basis and extremely fortunate that when work is slow (as at present) that we can rely soley on my husband's income. And I can be here for my family of teenagers who need me now more than ever.

Thank you for this honest appraisal of rural life.

sallymandy said...

Thanks for your insights, everyone.

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