Companies that will let me transfer to a different city?
December 5, 2016 11:56 PM   Subscribe

What companies can I work for in Oakland/San Francisco that would allow me to transfer to another city? I have a bachelor's degree in Biology but no special skills.

I live in Oakland but would like to move away from the Bay Area in 2017. Not sure where I'd move to but it would have to be queer-friendly and somewhat inexpensive--I want to move partly for adventure, but largely because the housing market is crazy here and I don't like my living situation. (I'm considering Minneapolis, Philadelphia, or Western Mass.)

I currently work for a big chain coffee company (it's the gigantic one you're thinking of) which would allow me to transfer reasonably easily, but I'm pretty burnt out in this job plus the wages are not that high (it's doable in Oakland because our minimum wage is almost $13/hr, and I happen to have a room in a rent-controlled apartment, but it would be tough elsewhere.) So ideally if I apply to other jobs here in the meantime they'd be at other national companies that would also allow me to transfer.

Jobs wouldn't have to be ones that would make great careers, because I'll probably be going to nursing school in a year or two, but I would like to make more than minimum wage and do something other than working in retail or foodservice. Healthcare-related is a big plus.

I'm also open to any other ideas for how to move and have a job waiting for me. But I suspect I'm pretty limited in being able to get a job from afar since I don't have any particular skills or special experience in any field.
posted by needs more cowbell to Work & Money (13 answers total)
I would actually consider sticking with the chain and moving into a supervisor role if possible. You could make above minimum wage, move anywhere, and they give benefits to part-timers which might be great for nursing school.
posted by Threeve at 12:18 AM on December 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I'll stick with this job for a bit longer if I have to but it's no longer sustainable for me--I've been doing it for longer than I planned and it's hard on my body and hard on my soul. I would definitely not do it during nursing school.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:28 AM on December 6, 2016

I have a friend who works at Whole Foods, loves her job, and has talked about the transfer opportunities.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:28 AM on December 6, 2016

If you are going to nursing school in a couple of years then I strongly suggest staying with your company. One of the girls in my nursing school class worked for Starbucks and they transferred her across the country and set her up with a supervisory job which she worked during school. They pay well too.
posted by pintapicasso at 4:53 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're going to nursing school soon, consider taking some time to get your CNA and finding a job doing that. Your job likely won't transfer but your credential will, and in my experience CNA and/or home health work isn't too hard to find. Also the skills you'll get from that work give you a good foundation for nursing school.

I am a relatively new RN who took this route before school and lives in Philly; memail me if you have questions about any step of the process.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:02 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Many companies have a waiting period on transfers. When I worked for Qwest back in the day it was 18 months before you were eligible for a company paid transfer - which cost me an opportunity to move. So even if you find a suitable company, it's probably going to be 2018 before you can initiate a transfer. If they ask you to move it's a different issue.
posted by COD at 5:34 AM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'd stay where you are and try to get into a management track, if you really want to transfer.

But another idea is to just apply for nursing school somewhere with a low cost of living and get another low wage job in whatever town you move to.

You could also look for a non-health job at a local hospital - Sutter or Kaiser? Pay and benefits could be better than coffee shop pay, and even though you won't be doing healthcare, it will actually look marginally better on your first nursing job applications to have worked for a health care org.
posted by latkes at 7:49 AM on December 6, 2016

(FYI I am a nurse in Oakland so that's where I'm coming at this question from.)
posted by latkes at 7:51 AM on December 6, 2016

Response by poster: I'd reallllly like to reiterate that I'm looking for suggestions other than my option of staying with my current company, as management or otherwise. I've been working there for a fairly long time and am far more familiar with the benefits and drawbacks than anyone who is commenting.

I realize there might not be better options, in which case I'll transfer and then look for other jobs wherever I land.

My plan is to go to nursing school somewhere other than the Bay Area, but I want to move before that (not necessarily wherever I'll go to school.) If I were staying here I'd channel energy into looking for better jobs here, but my housing situation here, while safe and affordable, is stressful in other ways, and even if I can increase my salary, my options will be pretty limited, even including the alternative channels for finding housing that have stood me well in the past. For my mental health I need change and I need to have more housing options/have an easier time finding good housing.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:14 AM on December 6, 2016

Well I did have one friend who worked for the Gap for many years and slowly worked her way from floor staff up the management ladder and ended up traveling including internationally.
posted by latkes at 10:24 AM on December 6, 2016

It sounds like this is not an either/or prospect for you: you want to get out of the Bay Area AND you want to find a new non-Starbucks job in a new state that pays higher than minimum wage and preferably gives you some healthcare experience.

I'm sorry to say it, but that's kind of a tall order. Not impossible, just not easy either.

First thing, if you are dead serious about not working at Starbucks anymore, I would take transferring completely off the table. Even retail or food service jobs normally require a certain amount of time commitment to the location where you were hired before they'll entertain a request for transfer. For other types of jobs, especially higher paying ones, they are unlikely to allow a transfer at all. Hiring new people is a pain in the ass; signing on just to request a transfer to the Minnesota office two months later is going to burn some bridges, even if they deny the transfer.

I'm seconding ActionPopulated's suggestion to look into CNA training programs either in the Bay Area or in the locations you're looking to move to. Some programs can be completed relatively cheaply in a matter of weeks and it is a high-demand job, especially in locations with an aging populace. Plus, you'll get a lot of hands-on experience and may even be able to continue working in some capacity during nursing school. Check what the local community or junior colleges have available, as they're likely to be the cheapest options.

Price of living-wise, Minneapolis is probably your best bet. New England as a whole is not the cheapest place to live and Philly, while gorgeous, is also a little steep for rentals. (Although, you're moving from the Bay Area, so Philly might look downright affordable in comparison to market-rate Oakland apartments.)

Good luck!
posted by helloimjennsco at 11:40 AM on December 6, 2016

I know of someone (friend of a friend) who works at Fedex, and they've allowed her to transfer to various cities/states over the years, with seemingly minimal hassle. I'm not sure about compensation, etc, but it could be worth looking into. I don't know if there's a timeline for when you're eligible for transfer.

The advice to become a CNA is great if you're planning on going to nursing school in the near future.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:25 PM on December 6, 2016

You can do this if you work for the federal government, even at lower level jobs. My husband is a G6-level employee and he's been able to transfer twice just for moving-around purposes. Of course, they won't pay any of your moving expenses, and it might be very hard for you to get your foot in the door in the first place, but if you're thinking about nursing, a CNA job with the VA might be worth looking into. Or check out MSA (Medical Support Assistant) jobs, those are like front desk/appointment scheduling jobs, and from what I hear they are always open. This one is open right now in SF, but it might require experience in the job already.
posted by jabes at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

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