country life or city life?
September 4, 2012 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Should I take the higher pay in a city or the lower pay in the country?

I am a table games dealer and am considering two job offers. One is at a small casino in New Mexico. There are only five tables but the casino is very clean, drinking is not permitted at the table, and tips are divided by shift. Business is ok but not very good during the week. According to the employer the dealers are making around $10 an hour in tips. The casino is about 30 minutes away from the city and I would like nearer to the casino in the country. Rent is not bad and I could find a bigger place.

I also received an offer from the Tropicana in Las Vegas. Hypothetically the best dealing work is in Vegas. I know I would make more money there even if business is not great. The idea of living in Vegas isn't very appealing. I've never lived in a big city and am not really a night life person.

Once I relocate I am going to begin a year long medical program.

I am having a difficult time deciding in which direction I should go. I know that I have the job in New Mexico and have not gotten the job in Vegas yet. On one hand I would make more money but I don't know what it would be like to live there. On the other hand I would make less money and am sure I could get a second job and live relatively stress free.

What is Vegas like to live in? Should I take the higher paying job and city life or the lower paying job and country life? It's the same exact job and I have decided it will be the last time I deal. The only difference is money and life style.
posted by skwint to Work & Money (12 answers total)
It sounds like, for you, the better quality of life in is NM. I would go with that.
posted by Flood at 7:41 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a good friend who lives in Vegas, and you can live in Vegas without living the Vegas lifestyle, according to her. And Vegas isn't really all that big anyway, unless the NM town you are comparing it to is very tiny, like where I have seen some casinos (where the casino is the only building for miles and miles).
posted by TinWhistle at 7:43 AM on September 4, 2012

I'd wait and see what Vegas has to offer. At least in Vegas, you have lots and lots of employment options, versus just the one casino in NM.

I am a city person, but Las Vegas and environs have lots of nice, quiet locations. Check out Boulder City for example, it's about 20 minutes south of Las Vegas, and it's charming and small, and probably just what you're looking for.

There are other places in and around Vegas that are suburban or downright rustic. The good news is that if you want urban, you don't have to schlep for an hour to get to it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:49 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Will your medical program be equally available and at a similar quality in both locations?

posted by resurrexit at 7:55 AM on September 4, 2012

R.Crumb says "Living in the country is more satisfying, but living in the city's more interesting" but I doubt that he was thinking of Vegas.
posted by Rash at 8:13 AM on September 4, 2012

Previous posters are correct in indicating you can live in Las Vegas without living the Las Vegas lifestyle. You can see this on the map - it's actually hard to recognize where the Strip and Fremont Street are without knowing.

Interestingly, Las Vegas is about 12% Mormon, which should tell you what sort of life you can live there.
posted by saeculorum at 8:17 AM on September 4, 2012

Take Vegas. Live on the outskirts somewhere. It's not that big a place that you have to live in a highly urbanised setting. And it's trivially easy to hit country outside Vegas to get a breath of fresh air. It's not like you have miles and miles of suburbs to navigate like an LA or Chicago.

Also: $10 an hour doesn't sound awesome for tips. If the employer is like most employers, that $10 is likely to be more aspirational than real, too.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:32 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Most people who live and work in Vegas are not living the stereotypical Vegas life. As saeculorum mentioned, Vegas is 12% Mormon, and once you get outside the strip/downtown, you find normal people who lead quiet, normal lives. The cost of living in Las Vegas is also quite low, so you might not find much of a difference in cost of living in Vegas vs. New Mexico.

I am skeptical of the $10 in tips, if it's info from the employer. Would it be possible to talk to people who work at the casino in New Mexico to get a less biased sense of things?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:04 AM on September 4, 2012

If you are undergoing medical treatment I would take into consideration the stress levels, if you are not going to be feeling well, as well as access to the treatment you need and flexibility of shifts etc if you are going to need time off to go to treatments or to recover from them.

Also what sort of environment to do you prefer working in, I imagine the smaller place would have a lot closer feel where you get involved in everyone's business and the larger place would be a lot easier to just come in and do your work and go home. I've worked in hospitality all my life and i much prefer the smaller know everyone environments, but if I was going to be feeling unwell or undergoing medical treatments I didn't want to have to tell everyone about I'd go the bigger business where it is easier to just go in work and go home.

Also while you would make more in Vegas remember cost of living is probably higher, though rent might be cheap there at the moment with the housing problems they are having.
posted by wwax at 9:12 AM on September 4, 2012

I've never lived in a big city

This reminds me of a comment I heard a client make a few months ago. I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana and work right downtown. Fort Wayne has about 400,000 people, which is about two-thirds the side of Vegas' city limits but only about a third of its metro area. Anyway, the client, who lived in a nearby rural community, said upon coming to my office "Man, I've never been to the big city before!"

My thought, which I did not verbalize, was "And you still haven't!"

Las Vegas will have more in common with your small town in New Mexico than either will have with Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York.
posted by valkyryn at 9:26 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Random concern: you'll have to pay state income taxes in NM (and not in NV) which changes the math slightly... if you make $12/hr it'll eat up an extra $475/year.

However, in your shoes, I would stick with NM. Cheap rent goes a long way, and it sounds like you have no interest in living in Vegas. I too would be dubious of anything the employer says about expected tips.
posted by zvs at 12:14 PM on September 4, 2012

Year long medical program?

I'd go with the Vegas job market. If the NM casino wasn't a good fit for whatever reason, you'd have to switch careers.

Plus, every Vegas resident I've met has agreed with the above. Most people do not live The Strip lifestyle.
posted by politikitty at 12:38 PM on September 4, 2012

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