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!! πŸ™‚ ) 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! πŸ˜‰ (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… ! πŸ˜•

If you want some more tips, there’s an older book called “So You Want To Live In Hawaii”: 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.

You can catch up on local events, even view Classifieds, on our 2 main Honolulu papers: Honolulu Advertiser and Star Bulletin.
Good luck!

One thought on “living in Hawaii

  1. Helpful entry that! Although I’ve traveled to Hawaii and spent a few days there I couldn’t begin to know what it’s like living there. I have lived in Japan, though. Twelve years to be exact but that was a long, long time ago and I expect that’s changed dramatically. One thing I can say about living there is when you live on the economy and are paid in Yen you can do quite well for yourself.
    It’s unfortunate that things are so high in Hawaii but then nearly everything is either shipped or flown in. As a senior living in Oregon I can tell you that prices have increased quite a lot since gas and diesel prices increased a while back. I haven’t seen any reductions in retail prices either since gas came down. I’m tempted to become a conspiracist! The job situation here is tenuous at best, too. Luckily, I can use a computer in order to make more money for myself as Social Security just isn’t cutting it. I think I’ll stop now because I’m rambling. Anyway, good article. Keep up the good work.

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