What's it like to live and work in Bermuda?
May 6, 2004 12:16 AM   Subscribe

I got an email today from a headhunter about a tech position in Bermuda that's open. Having never been to Bermuda, and knowing only what Google has shown me, I was hoping perhaps someone here has lived there, and could give me their thoughts on living/working/moving to the area. [More Inside, Naturally]

I only received this email today, so I don't know yet if the copy provides any kind of relocation assistance, or help with work permits (I'm Canadian). From what I've read online, the cost of living is pretty insane, but the salary for the position seems to make up for it. Is there anything I should be concerned about, or should I start packing my bags?
posted by Jairus to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Copy == Company. Spelling is Hrad.
posted by Jairus at 12:18 AM on May 6, 2004

A lot depends on what island you're going to be on; having to take a 45min ferry ride to get to a grocery store will rapidly become tiresome.
posted by aramaic at 9:40 AM on May 6, 2004

Hm. Tech market is tough nowadays, you actually get offered a job, and it's in Bermuda.

Sounds like a nobrainer to me, but maybe I just love the sun too much.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:43 AM on May 6, 2004

Let me know if they need a technical writer. My bathing suit is READY.
posted by lilboo at 9:55 AM on May 6, 2004

Isn't like... weed legal there?
posted by xmutex at 10:02 AM on May 6, 2004 [1 favorite]

When we were there on vacation, the taxi driver referred to his country as "Bermudaaaahhhhhhhh." Truly a beautiful place.

From what I've heard, the housing situation is pretty tight on the island. Also, there are loads of regulations you need to navigate when relocating there for work. It would be a big minus unless your potential employer can take care of these details for you.

You probably shouldn't count on having a car there. The island is pretty small, they drive on the left, motor scooters are plentiful as are the buses (though the drivers are NUTS).

The cost of living is as outrageous as you'd expect for a country where everything is either shipped or flown in. And, not from personal experience, but by observation it appears they are very tough on crime. This includes their drug laws, where I've seen reports that simple pot possession will get you serious time in the hoosgow. They have a daily newspaper that you can read online to get a better feel for the day-to-day flavor of Bermuda.

All of that said, the people there are as friendly and polite as you'd ever want to meet, and I'd move there in a minute if offered a job.

Let me guess, your prospective employer is in the financial services business.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:12 AM on May 6, 2004

I have some second-hand information for you. A good friend moved there (from Canada) a few years ago. His observations:
- It's small. ~60k people not including tourists. And isolated.
- You make really good money. Tax free
- It's expensive to live there. (He pays ~$2k/mo for an apartment)
- It's beautiful
- It's a pain in the ass to move there (you have to sell all your stuff, pull a 'permanent move' to escape the tax man.

Hope that helps
posted by sauril at 10:15 AM on May 6, 2004

Remember, Bermuda is not Bahamas.
posted by smackfu at 10:19 AM on May 6, 2004

Also remember, in Bermuda you can "Express yourself - but not in public."
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2004

lazaruslong: Those were my thoughts as well, I just don't want to be blinded by a 'too good to be true' offer if, in fact, it is too good to be true.

aramaic: The job is in Hamilton.

SteveInMaine: Actually, the employer is an ISP, I'd be handling the web hosting end of the business. I'm very seriously considering the offer, but I'm concerned that my partner might not be able/allowed to find work there. Considering the high cost of living, I'm not sure if my salary would be able to support both of us or not.

sauril: It really seems like a major pain in the ass to move. Especially with someone who doesn't have a job offer. That's my big reservation, at this point.
posted by Jairus at 11:18 AM on May 6, 2004

You could make it a part of your contract with your new company that they provide a work visa for your spouse (providing that you are married, they may be less likely to do so if you aren't).

This will make it easier for your SO to find work, because their hiring company wouldn't have the added expense of paying for the visa (giving them a reason to choose a local over a foreigner).

I've known 5+ couples who have moved to other countries and have had this clause in their contract. In one case the couple moved to Australia, others went to various countries in Asia. Not sure how it would work for Bermuda, but it's worth asking about.

I should add, FWIW, with the exception of the couple in Australia, all of the spouses ending up joining the sponsoring company.
posted by vignettist at 11:49 AM on May 6, 2004

CIA World Fact Book data.
posted by pissfactory at 12:52 PM on May 6, 2004

My god, man, DO IT! What's the worst that can happen? You'll have to come back home. The best that can happen? You get to live in near-paradise.

It's a no-brainer. Risk nothing, gain nothing.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:22 PM on May 6, 2004

Note: you should think seriously about keeping a wad of money as "escape money". For example, if the ISP goes bankrupt, can you afford to move back to the US *immediately*?

...in some places, loss of the job means you're kicked out of the country ASAP. Dunno if that's the case here, but look into it. In fact, see if you can wrangle some kind of employment guarantee (to make sure you can't be fired for at least a year, for example, without serious cash payout. I've known people that moved at their own expense, then got fired after three weeks because the company was collapsing. Maybe have the guarantee money put in escrow).

Having said that, you should go. It may not really be paradise, but it's a hell of an opportunity, and you're gonna die some day so you may as well make this life interesting.
posted by aramaic at 2:01 PM on May 6, 2004

From what I've heard, the housing situation is pretty tight on the island. Also, there are loads of regulations you need to navigate when relocating there for work.

The pressure on housing is due to the little known regulation that you have to keep guest bedrooms available for all members of any community weblog you happen to belong to. It's an old but important tradition.
posted by biffa at 3:13 PM on May 6, 2004

My best friend is Bermudian and I've visited him there, getting a native's tour of the place. I spent a week there and after only one week, I was starting to get buggy because the place is SO small. I present this to you as the biggest factor to think about before making the move. You are on an island, a very tiny island. It's a 45min drive from one end to the other. From almost anywhere you can see the wide open sea, and there's very little in the way of private spots, that I remember. Anyhow, it was a big, big change from the Canadian landscape I was used to, and while great to visit, I couldn't imagine living there for very long. Even the natives, according to my friend, start feeling the 'island fever' after awhile and have to get out.

On the plus side, it is very beautiful and while there's a lot of tourism of course, Bermuda caters to a swankier, older sort of tourist, so things are more low-key than you might expect on a tropical island.
posted by picea at 4:20 PM on May 6, 2004

Hah, there's a good chance I'm very familiar with your situation. Hotshot finance guys? The occasional mention on the net, but overall a very low profile? I got that nibble, too. Sybase interest, if I remember correctly.

So I researched Bermuda.

It's really fucking humid all the damn time. You can't own any leather because it will molder and decay.

Typically no municipal water service. Cisterns to catch rainwater. LOTS of "If it's yellow, let it mellow." No long hot showers, which was damn close to being a deal breaker on its own for me.

Three years ago, broadband was nightmarishly expensive, enough to impact the salary/cost of living equation in a big way.
posted by NortonDC at 7:30 PM on May 6, 2004

NortonDC: As I'd be working for an ISP, I'd get free broadband and long distance.... though the idea of yellow rainwater is kind of terrifying.
posted by Jairus at 2:30 AM on May 7, 2004

Does the Recruiter work for Robert Half?
posted by Macboy at 9:38 AM on May 7, 2004

Jairus: Er, no. Rainwater, via roof-runoff catching cisterns, is the standard source of household water. Given the vagaries of such a source, they consistently conserve water to the point of never flushing toilets unless there's solid matter to be disposed of. That's what I'm trying to say above, in a more circumspect manner.
posted by NortonDC at 11:20 PM on May 7, 2004

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