North to Alaska – and a job?

     For many Silicon Valley job-seekers, it’s been a frustrating summer, as the recession grinds on with no real end in sight. Kris took a previously planned vacation to Alaska, which probably did him a world of good getting away from his pink-slip blues. And in the process, he made a promising discovery:


I haven’t blogged in awhile, and for those of you who are wondering how the job search is going, I apologize.

I recently came back from a vacation (previously planned before the layoff, and paid with Delta Sky Miles) to Alaska with my Dad and his brother. The innate beauty and sheer size of the state makes it a, “must visit” for anyone in the lower 48.
That being said, two weeks up there didn’t mean I was off the job hunt – quite the contrary. I was very much into asking about jobs, wages and overall how the employment market was up there, as well as how difficult it was to live in the North.
I was SHOCKED to learn that Alaska is doing okay in this economy. Because most of the jobs are seasonal, and the state is reliant on tourism – it’s tough to find good talent for the summer with a total state population 1/3 of the City of San Jose’s. (In the space of about ½ the U.S.!)
Wages are fairly high. The person being hired in front of me at the gas station was being paid $10.00/hr. Not enough to completely live off of, but a heck of a lot better than minimum wage and no benefits down here. (Don’t forget the nice $3,000+ check each Alaskan gets from the oil companies each year, too.) Yes, the Simpsons Movie actually had some truth to it!
Of course, these wages all come with a caveat – the weather. Summers are stunning, but winters are long and sometimes brutal, depending on what part of the state you’re in. The 18+ hours of daylight is also something to get adjusted to. (So is the perpetual night in the winter)
Would I consider trying this unique employment setup? If my pink slip woes continue much longer, you better believe it! Tour and Travel has always been one of my passions (among many, like aviation) and to find a new outlet where jobs ARE and wages are decent gives me another, “Plan B” just in case.
So what did I learn from this trip, Pink Slip wise? Well…
1.) Alaska is hiring, if you can handle all the quirks of being WAY up North.
2.) There are far more Tour and Travel branches for me to consider.
3.) Sometimes, relaxation combined with job hunting isn’t the worst thing on Earth.


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  • Alaska definitely has a draw and the jobs are fruitful. My work history since I got my first job out of college 10+ years ago has been in travel and tourism and my jobs have all had a direct relationship to the state of Alaska, even though I was based in Seattle. My job now still is tied to Alaska because a good portion of the employers who post on, including two of my former employers and now clients, run tourism operations in Alaska.

    Seasonal work is many things to many people. For me, it was a foot in the door that has led to a very interesting career I have thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend checking it out and certainly if you want to chat with other folks doing it, check out our social network, Cheers.