What should I do when I grow up?
- A. Stick it out in Arkansas and learn to love it.
- B. Find a job in another state and hope things will be better in bigger, more metropolitan place.
- C. Try to find a better deal overseas and then hire someone to stand in as “family” for my poor mom.
- D. Open my own business, doing God knows what.
- E. Move to Spain and become a Gypsy.
I live in Arkansas. It’s middle south USA. I don’t have the numbers any more, but this state ranks on the low end of the list for illiteracy and poverty rates in the union, so we’re already at the back of the herd, so to speak, but these days this area is just bleediing jobs. Russellville, where I lived until Christmas break, is losing a ritzy department store. That’s not such a huge suprise, as I don’t know how it ever made a profit in that town, as expensive as it was.
We do have a nuclear plant and smallish university, oh and the most expensive hospital in the state, one which used to be one of the top ten expensive hospitals in the union. Otherwise, it’s a couple department stores, hotels, and a LOT of fast food. I don’t know where the money comes from around here. Lots and lots of very expensive new construction homes.
But now, one business after another is folding. Late last year it was a furniture store that had been in business for a couple generations. They said it was due to the owner’s failing health, but maybe there was more to it. Lots of other small to mid size start ups have closed. But the department store employed quite a few people. A Sara Lee pantyhose factory that was near here closed, and that was hundreds of jobs.
But it’s all over the state. Target in Little Rock–500 more jobs–was anounced last night on the news, and an entire mall there closed a couple months ago. And there are still anouncements of labor cuts, or loss of benefits or bonuses all over the place.
You guys are talking about the same things in Taiwan, both teachers and non-teachers.
I’ll graduate in May and have to survive May-August with no income and hope to find a full time job at that time. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find one. Teachers are always needed, right? But the loss of all the business and job will mean loss of local tax funding for schools. This has already caused some of the larger districts in AR to lay off teachers and freeze hireing of new blood.
And my mom wants me to move here up here again. I’ve decided I simply can’t do that until I know where I’ll end up.
But also, if I accept employment anywhere in the state, I’ll make between 32 and 37 thousand. I could make 3 to five times that overseas in a good international school, or hell, even make the same amount in a buxiban in Taiwan, but have much lower costs of living. But is it worth it to seek overseas jobs at the moment? Is it better to find a teaching job at home in a horrible economy, or to look farther away for better pay and bennies, but maybe fewer desirable jobs? Or maybe just look in another state?
Help me figure this out, y’all.