Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pros & Cons of ALASKA

I passed my 3rd phone interview for the job I am vying for in Wasilla, Alaska. I am now scheduled to head up to the great white north for a face to face interview at the end of this month. They are running my background check, credit report and talking to my references this week.

While I certainly do not presume I've got it in the bag, I think the possibility that I will be hired for this job is fairly good. So, my husband and I have been having lots of discussion about the pros and cons of moving to Alaska.

On the PROS side -

It's drop dead gorgeous. The mountains up there are absolutely breathtaking. Want proof? Just check out some of the pictures posted HERE

The fishing opportunities there are pretty amazing, and anyone who knows my man knows that counts for a lot.

Wasilla is a relatively rural community (somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 people) yet just an hour's drive from Anchorage which has all the resources of a metro area.

Anchorage has airport, museums, symphony, and all sorts of fun things to do.

Wasilla, where we would be living, has plenty of resources for us in terms of shopping, medical care, library, etc etc. yet is quieter, less traffic, more open spaces - all things we prefer. After nearly 30 years of living in podunk towns to be near my sweet husband's agricultural work I just don't want to deal with the hustle and bustle and anonymity of city life anymore.

On the CONS side - these are our concerns:

The cost of living in Alaska is considerably higher than the lower 48. It's expensive to ship everything up there and those costs get shifted into price tag. Also property tax is quite high along with cost of registering a car, etc. etc. It's just plain EXPENSIVE to live there.

The climate is going to take some getting used to. It gets freeze your boogers cold up there. Also it is DARK much of the winter and LIGHT way past my bedtime in the summer. I am not excited about having to driving in snow and ice, I think the wind will drive me batty at times and I suspect I'll have my share of seasonal cabin fever funk.

More of a stickler for me is the fact that we will be so far away from everyone we love. One the one hand, this is not entirely new. We have ZERO family in the state where we currently live (Oregon) and are accustomed to having to buy plane tickets for annual treks to see the grandkids. Still, we CAN (and DO) currently jump in our car to drive to see family in Idaho and Utah. That is something we will very much miss.

However, the one big pro that sort of trumps all those things is the job. Obviously we will not move to Alaska at all UNLESS I get hired for a job that I think will be a reasonable fit for me. If I were CHOOSING between equivalent jobs in both Alaska and Idaho I would almost certainly move to Idaho - but the reality is that just isn't the case.

I've always believed that people basically have two alternatives in this world. They can choose WHERE they want to be and then make a living whatever way they can there, or else they can pick what sort of work they want to do and then follow that star where ever it takes them. We have done the latter for our entire married lives.

Following my husband's career has taken us from Arizona to Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Washington and now Oregon. As his career winds down and he prepares for retirement it is now my turn to become primary wage earner so we will go where I can get meaningful, rewarding work. I had hoped that might be Boise. That didn't happen. So now I am ready to consider this other possibility.

However, I'm not "settling" for Alaska due to lack of other options. I really do believe if I chose to hang out till fall, a job WOULD open up in Idaho. Instead, the job search is what led me to CONSIDER other options and once I stumbled on the Mat-Su valley of Alaska I became more and more intrigued.

I'm genuinely looking forward to this Alaska adventure, if it happens.

Still, I'm trying to go into this with my eyes wide open, considering all the advantages and disadvantages as much as I can so I can make a reasonably informed decision if the job offer is made. Yet when it comes right down to it - no matter what reservations my HEAD may hold onto, my heart says I'm headed to moose country. It will indeed be an adventure to see whether or not that is what plays out.

Photo credit - Moose Crossing sign found at


Jen said...

"They can choose WHERE they want to be and then make a living whatever way they can there, or else they can pick what sort of work they want to do and then follow that star where ever it takes them."

So true.

Good luck with all of it!

Kersten said...

What have you got to lose? There's no better place in this world than Alaska - all of it, any piece of it. Good luck. Hope this is an adventure you take. :)

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