People ask, “What’s it like to live in Hawaii? How can I get a job and live there…? Got any tips for me?!”
Well, there are lots of great things about living in Hawaii. The weather is most excellent almost year-round. The beach is a bike ride from my place. The trade winds blowing through the mountains with a light rain bring almost constant rainbows in the distance. (The University of Hawaii’s football team is called the Rainbow Warriors.)
Lots of Asia culture and food. People are very friendly, especially once they get to know you. Business wear here is generally khaki’s and a hawaiian shirt. (Sweeet! After living in Japan where I had to wear a full suit everyday, even in those nasty humid Japanese summers, being able to wear something comfortable is SO nice!! 🙂 ) Hawaii State, and that includes Oahu where Honolulu is, is pretty small. So expect a small-town atmosphere, you will definitely see people you met later — so be kind to everyone! 😉 (They say, “Live with Aloha” here — since Aloha means so many things: Hello, Goodbye, and Love.)
However, there are some drawbacks. Prices here are higher for almost everything than on the mainland. We’ve been paying $2+/gallon for gas for a while. Living expenses are high. Housing is expensive and in short supply. Right now, there’s a buying frenzy on, with rates on houses and condos at record highs. IT work, after 9/11, was outsourced a lot to the mainland. Many of the head-hunting companies here for IT require security clearance, since you probably will be working with the military. (At Pearl Harbor or one of the many other bases here.) Most companies that do hiring here don’t pay for someone to fly over to do an interview. So, that means, plan to live here a while while you find a job. And, expect to stay for a while, even if your skills are great. There just isn’t a huge market still for IT. But, you can better your odds at places like ManPower by having some of the newer skills — .net, for example. Those kind of places can get you into a job quicker, though it might not be much better than you will find on the mainland. Or, solid skill sets for banking/financing — db skills, VB, etc. Or, if you are bilingual (Japanese is a real plus in some companies). And, when you finally get that job offer, don’t expect a huge salary for your skills like you could in the mainland. Lots of companies here figure the great pluses of living in Hawaii make up for the lower-than-standard salary… ! 😕
If you want some more tips, there’s an older book called “So You Want To Live In Hawaii”: that, now dated (home/rent prices have gone up considerably for example), does provides some background info on the culture, schools, starting a business, moving, etc.