You have been unemployed for a year, your savings are depleted, and you are barely getting by on unemployment checks, what can you do? You can keep collecting unemployment until it runs out after 99 weeks, but wouldn’t it be better to work? Of course, almost everyone would rather work than collect unemployment because a paycheck is much bigger than the unemployment check. It can be difficult to find a job with 9% unemployment though. How about scraping together enough money to drive/fly/bus to Williston, North Dakota?
Why Williston, ND? There is an oil boom there right now and according to NPR, anyone can get 2-3 job offers within the first few days that they drive into town. In fact, the mayor, Ward Koeser, told NPR that they “have probably between 2,000 and 3,000 job openings in Williston right now.” Williston’s unemployment rate is less than 2% and the population has grown from 12,000 to 20,000 in the last four years.
That sounds like a boom town to me. This piqued my curiosity and I looked on Monsters.com for jobs in Williston. I only saw 69 jobs there, but there are all kind of job openings. I saw oilfield delivery specialist, insurance agent, AT&T full time retail sales, general maintenance technician, reliability engineer, field service trainer, transportation security officer, buyer, physical therapist, head cook, and many more. An experience oil rig worker can make $4,000 to $5,000 a week with a lot of overtime. That’s a great paycheck, but the 80 hour work week won’t be sustainable though.
Of course, it’s not all rosy up there. The housing situation is very difficult. The price of a small apartment can go for as high as $2,000 and even an RV parking spot costs about $1,000. Wow, that is an expensive parking spot! A 4-plex would be a great investment up there! Many people are sleeping in their cars, pup tents, motels, campers, and “man camps.” What is a man camp? It sounds like a dorm for workers. For $400, you get a small room with a single bed, a small desk, a TV with cable and a DVD player, and a Jack-and-Jill bathroom (share with the next door neighbor.)
All right, this doesn’t sound that bad to me. I had a roommate in a tiny dorm when I went to school, shared a bathroom with 24 guys, paid way more than $400/month, and that was 20 years ago. I’m sure this accommodation is much nicer than most factory dorms in China.
I know many people are tied down in their location, but if you can’t find a job after a year of searching, then it might be time to look elsewhere. My brother looked for a software engineer job in Texas for over a year with no luck, so he finally gave up and moved to San Jose. He found a good paying job in his first few months in the Silicon Valley. If you desperately need a paycheck, then you need to go where the jobs are. What is your opinion on this? There are also oil boom towns in Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado if you like the sun more than the snow. If I desperately need a paycheck, I would seriously consider driving up to one of these boom towns for a job. How about you?