Movin' to the Country... but Eating Peaches isn't a job. What do you do?
April 19, 2015 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Brainstorming assistance please! If you live in a small town (or work remotely), what do you do? What skills are best for keeping oneself reasonably employed outside of a big city? We're likely moving to my husbands small home town in the next couple years, and if I'm going to reskill I should probably start soon. Lots of cafes and bookstores, but I'm a terrible waitress and need to make more than a retail clerk. Have been tracking job ads for the area, but thought Metafilter might have some outside-the-box suggestions. Thanks!
posted by jrobin276 to Work & Money (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps you can explain a bit more about what your current job is. What is your skill set?
Any hobby's or interest that have made you an expert in a certain field?
posted by Mac-Expert at 8:12 PM on April 19, 2015

Yes, please tell us about what you do. For instance, I know many people who work remotely for large national or international NGOs, but those positions are pretty varied, and I'm sure that's true in the for-profit sector as well.
posted by lunasol at 8:24 PM on April 19, 2015

Translation. You can do it anywhere there's internet. It's best if you have experience with the language's culture, so it's best to pick a language to really concentrate on that comes from somewhere that's interesting to you. That way you will be able to translate idioms and slang from context and convey appropriate tone.
posted by Mizu at 8:43 PM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Love the title.

Echoing the request to tell us more about the skillset you already have, or things you think you have an aptitude for.

Jobs friends of mine found in rural areas: admin and then eventually president of the local nonprofit; doggie daycare provider; local grade school teacher; one got certified to be a physical therapy assistant; school bus driver; worker on an organic farm.
posted by TwoStride at 9:12 PM on April 19, 2015

Response by poster: Drat. I was sort of hoping to get away from what I do and just get a bunch of random ideas.

I privilege goverment documents for privacy issues (personal, legal, or business concerns mostly) before releasing them to the public. Kind of an internal reference librarian for members of the public seeking access to government held information + privacy filter. I like more technical type things (as opposed to going into management). Mostly, I like healthy supportive workplaces. I've done a whole bunch of weird stuff quite happily.
posted by jrobin276 at 10:01 PM on April 19, 2015

Consulting or something similar which can be done remotely-- but bear in mind that the flip side of that sort of work is that you are expected to travel quite a bit as well.

Are there any local Universities or schools? They often will have a number of jobs which are done by trailing spouses who got relocated to the small town in wherever.
posted by frumiousb at 12:35 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: No universities. Quite a few private high schools I think.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:39 AM on April 20, 2015

To throw an idea out there: computer programmer. That's what I do, and I live on a tiny island in Canada. I've spent the last ten years working from home for companies mostly based in the U.S. The current company I work for is 100% distributed; everyone works from home and we have people all the way from Hawaii to Israel. I haven't had to travel much, only five short trips in all those ten years. Caveat: I'm not sure if this works as well for someone just starting out, since I already had a more than decade of experience under my belt when I started doing this.
posted by Emanuel at 2:27 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you have any interest in starting a local business? If so, start taking courses now. There are unfilled niches in many small towns, but you do need some clues before diving in.
posted by amtho at 4:17 AM on April 20, 2015

I work in a rural area. Wages here are uniformly low (and usually no benefits, and sometimes seasonal) unless you work for a state or federal agency, in which case you make pretty much the same salary as someone working in the state capital, and those jobs come with great benefits. City and county jobs pay in the middle, but also come with benefits -- a lot of families get by because they have one person with a government job who provides benefits and stability, while the other person works seasonally. Even low paid public sector jobs like paraeducator in the school system are super competitive because of the benefits issue.

There are the usual assortment of non-profits (social service, environmental, etc) that always need generalist people with a college education who can write grants and the other day to day work, as well as a few more technical roles. Pay for those seems to cover a huge range, from poverty-level to surprisingly high. If your location is a health care hub for the surrounding area, there will be lots of health care sector jobs, including administrative and other jobs that aren't direct care (like nurses or X-ray techs).

I know a few people who work remotely for big companies or consult, but they had those careers already established and simply negotiated a relocation at some point.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:54 AM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

You sound detail-oriented, so remote document editing might be a good fit. I freelanced for a scientific editing (basically, making sentences and sense out of non-English speakers' writing) company while in grad school.
posted by Dashy at 7:39 AM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

A position at a local library? Something administrative at one of the private high schools?

You might also consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. I have a friend who does this --she makes a nice 6-figure salary, and works from home. You need a high level of attention to detail and accuracy, but based on your current job I'm guessing you have this in spades :)
posted by ananci at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2015

You could look into training as a paralegal. Also look onto medical billing or medical office assistant jobs. A community college might have training courses (ours does). Actually, a look through the catalog of a community college would give you some ideas of the local job market.
posted by SemiSalt at 2:34 PM on April 20, 2015

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