“I grew up in two cities, Edmonton and North Vancouver. I was able to accomplish a lot while in the lower mainland, got my bachelor’s, started to work straight from graduation in a great conuslting job, got married, bought an apartment, two beautiful kids arrived to make us a family, got my Master’s degree. We thought we where set…”

“I grew up in two cities, Edmonton and North Vancouver. I left Edmonton when I was 16, and did my young adult life in Vancouver. I was able to accomplish a lot while in the lower mainland, got my bachelor’s, started to work straight from graduation in a great conuslting job, got married, bought an apartment, two beautiful kids arrived to make us a family, got my Master’s degree. We thought we where set – luckiest couple alive to be in such a gorgeous city and our careers where thriving. THEN it hit – buckled to our knees trying to pay for one child in day care while my wife returned to work, then our baby girl arrived and it was impossible to explain the logic of my wife returning to work and then just hand that money over to a child care provider. So she stayed home and we started to bleed money. Contract work was great when your fending for yourself, now with a family – contract work not so great and then it starting to not become full time anymore, cuts were happening, job not so secure anymore. Groceries, Mortgage, One Vehicle, One Income, No Benefits, No Savings – I started to have restless nights.

So I told my wife, no worries, I will start aiming higher, I have my Master’s, I’m proficient in French, I’m fluent in Spanish, it will be easy to find a job to plug some of the holes. Maybe we can even talk to the bank see if they will let us renew early to take advantage of low interest rates (HA! that was naive!) ONE YEAR AND SEVERAL APPLICATIONS LATER – nothing, nada, zilch. Meanwhile the signal was clear from my current work, contracts are dwindling you need to get out while you can.

We were down for the count. So August 2011 I applied to two jobs in Edmonton, by the end of month I was flown in for interviews, by September 2011 I had a job offer, by November 2011 we where sleeping in our rented townhome in Edmonton. Just like that in a matter of weeks Edmonton could do what I wished and hoped Vancouver could do for almost two years.

I have heard from a colleague that one of the consultants I worked with had become so desperate she took a job as a receptionist even though she has 8 years of professional work experience and a Master’s degree. What the hell is going on Vancouver?

Employers know they have a desirable city and a huge job bank from which to pick so no need to overpay… make ’em work for pennies. Great Captalism not so great community building.

The younger generations are leaving, what will Vancouver do when it can’t draw them back?”

bdiddy18 at Anabelle’s Blog, 11 Apr 2012

12 responses to ““I grew up in two cities, Edmonton and North Vancouver. I was able to accomplish a lot while in the lower mainland, got my bachelor’s, started to work straight from graduation in a great conuslting job, got married, bought an apartment, two beautiful kids arrived to make us a family, got my Master’s degree. We thought we where set…”

  1. Renters Revenge

    I don’t think the fact is that employers have too many good people to pick from here in Vancouver. It is much more the case of no real good jobs period. The whole economy in Vancouver is completely beholden to real estate and there is very little economic activity outside of that. No head offices, no major manufacturers, no major resource extraction. A bit of research, some cool tech startup stuff but not even too much of that. Tourism is a strong point but even that is in a downswing right now, and by its nature will never be a high paying job sector.
    Kind of deadsville, economically speaking.

  2. Research jobs in Vancouver for PhDs pay about 50% less than in Ontario and ~30% less than Alberta. But, there’s no problem filling open positions with PhDs from India and China who would work for even less… I know 2 PhD positions in research, management level, that offered less than 40k per year with no benefits. they had 300+ applicants and filled the job in a day. If you were to walk through the building you would guess you were in Guandong province – not one snippet of English.

  3. Vreaa, have you seen this article by Shiller from 2007:
    http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d16a/d1610.pdf

    It is phenomenally insightful.

    “Home prices do seem to show enormous momentum, and sudden changes in the market seem rare. In a speculative market, a sudden change in some component of supply or demand may produce little price change if people think that the change is temporary, and so another component, a speculative component, offsets the sudden change. But the speculative component is inherently psychological, potentially unstable, and subject to contagion and herd behavior. People may change their mind about whether a change in price is only temporary or is the beginning of a new trend. They are especially likely to change their mind because we have professional marketers whose job is to get some kind of social response moving, and, when they do find some advertising pitch that resonates with investors, they will run it for all it is worth.”

    • The gems keep coming:

      “The California boom of the 1880s and the Florida boom of the 1920s appear to have been driven, at least in part, by the story that people were then just discovering the beautiful climate of these exotic places. The story of the boom of the 2000s seems instead to have been one of a growing world economy, producing greater affluence, a rising tide of new capitalists who may outbid ordinary people, who could be forever unable to afford a home. That story invites a boom that spreads everywhere — at least to any place in the world where there is a sense of uniqueness and not of abundance of undeveloped land.”

      • CanuckDownUnder

        “a rising tide of new capitalists who may outbid ordinary people”

        Did someone say HAM? It’s a good thing no locals are overextending themselves!

  4. The killer blow for Vancouver living: starting a family and/or professional ambitions.

  5. “ONE YEAR AND SEVERAL APPLICATIONS LATER”

    I hope they mean several dozen, otherwise they really weren’t trying that hard.

  6. Hello,

    As a former Montrealer and current mechanical engineer( B.Eng.), Vancouver isn’t that bad. The job market here is very bipolar, that’s all. If you work in the Forest\Mining\Import-Export industries, you’ll be fine. If you’re field is not related to any hard asset, then things are going to be bad.

    If you’re in the F.I.R.E industry, then move to Toronto.

    Starting a family is very simple here. Do what my girlfriend and I do: rent and forget about buying…

    • Just curious – how much you pay for rent for your family of 4? Maybe 2500 or 3000$ per month? Good luck with that. I’d rather have a mortgage of 1500 per month elsewhere. That would put me 30 K ahead per year – after tax. Don’t think your idea of simple is the same as mine.

      • IamOuttaHere

        In cities like Edmonton where such a townhouse can be bought for $200k ownership does make more sense than renting. However, without getting the OP’s numbers on rent and value of townhouse it is all speculation. He could be living in a very ritzy part of town.

  7. Pingback: “As a former Montrealer and current Mechanical Engineer, Vancouver isn’t that bad. Starting a family is very simple here. Do what my girlfriend and I do: rent and forget about buying.” | Vancouver Real Estate Anecdote Archive

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