Sunday, January 13, 2013

Careers In Tahoe

Can you earn a real living in Tahoe?

My first vacation in Tahoe was over 30 years ago. On leaving I thought, “Wow, it would be amazing to live in a place like that.” The second vacation cemented the desire. But when the actual moving time came, excitement was mixed with concern about how to earn a living in a mountain paradise.
Nearly every Tahoe local that I've met since then had the same concern as they first thought of relocating. Today, looking at the deep snow, heavy on the pines and firs, I know that many ecstatic skiers and boarders are heading home wondering the same thing.
You're young. Or young at heart. You've vacationed at Tahoe and were amazed. Ever since, a little voice in your head has been nagging at you. Why not move to Tahoe? Why live in (your town's name here), when you could live in one of the most spectacular places on the planet, a place with fabulous year 'round recreation, a place that draws millions of tourists from all over the world, a place that has tons of snow without tons of cold, a place that honestly has the best summer weather of anyplace on the planet. (When I first arrived, multiple locals said, "I know you moved here for the skiing, but you'll stay for the summer because it's perfect, hot sun, cool air, unbelievable recreation." They were right.)
So you're thinking of moving here. But you're wondering, can you earn a living in Tahoe?

Photo from

Yes, it's true, Tahoe has more than its share of tech titans and movie stars and rock stars and media magnates and bankbook babies. You can spot them in their Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers and chauffeur-driven limos as they cruise from restaurants with lots of Zagat raves to mansions with lots of lakeshore. These people aren't worried about making the monthly rent.
But the truth is that most Tahoe residents actually work for a living just like people everywhere else. They are proof that you can live in Tahoe even if you don't have extra commas on your bank statement.
Talk to Tahoe people about "getting a job" and you'll hear something like this: It's easy to get a low-paying job in the service industry, but don't expect much pay or benefits, and don't expect it to be a year-'round job. The upside is that these jobs are actually easier to get in Tahoe than most anywhere. But more on that in a bit.
If instead of talking about a service job, you talk about building a career in Tahoe, you will hear Tahoe residents make thoughtful comments about how you can earn a good living if you have valuable skills that are useful in a small community, or if you have skills that are non-location specific.
Let's expand on both approaches.
If you are young and you don't yet have valuable career skills, service jobs are plentiful. All you have to do is think Hospitality Industry, which is to say restaurants, hotels, and recreation. We have something like 2 or 3 million tourists a year and they all need food and someone to help them onto the chairlifts and into tour boats, someone to pour their beer. Nearly anyone can get these jobs, making Tahoe one of the easiest places to find entry-level work. Getting a job is especially easy in late fall in prep for the ski season, and in late spring in prep for the summer season. For example, the ski resorts even have job fairs in late fall, where they fill thousands of positions. All you have to do is show up on time, be presentable (It's always a good idea to have a very short resume with good grammar and spelling), and you'll get hired on the spot. Restaurants and hotels all around the lake start looking in April and May for reliable summer help.
Are you charming? Can you wait tables or pour drinks? If so, your first Tahoe job can actually pay quite well.
Want something more?
Like all communities, we also have a limited number of higher-skilled jobs, nursing, construction, teaching, ski instructing, and even executive positions working for the big hotels and ski resorts. And there are a wide range of jobs available in law enforcement, fire-fighting, and working for the Forest Service and other government agencies.
Need more education to get those jobs? Then you can wait tables while you go to school at Lake Tahoe Community College or Sierra Nevada College. (See previous post on Going To College in Tahoe here.)
In addition, there is always a need for the self-employed professionals: doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, architects, consultants. Growing a professional career in Tahoe is not much different than doing it anyplace else. And if the income might be less than it would be in the big city (and that isn't always the case), the advantages of living in a beautiful, pristine, uncrowded paradise more than make up for it.
If you are an entrepreneur, Tahoe is a great place to bring or create your own business. Many restaurants, building contractors, bed-and-breakfasts, sports stores, vacation rental property management, bike and ski and kayak rentals, tour boat operators, realtors, fishing guides, and a wide range of other businesses thrive here.
There is one more group of people who are increasingly finding their way to Tahoe. These are the people whose work is not specific to any location. If you make your living over the internet, a gorgeous place like Tahoe beckons. Software engineers, artists,
Yes, she's working!

 website designers, computer consultants, graphic artists, photographers, screen writers, tax preparers... The list is almost endless, and we have people from hundreds of varied fields who bike and ski and hike on the uncrowded weekdays and work on the more crowded weekends.
With some forethought and planning, you can find the perfect employment in Tahoe.
For that matter, you could even be a mystery author...

Here are some useful links.

For postings of Tahoe employment: 

For Education and Occupational training in Tahoe:

For geography, history, etc.:

For general news about Tahoe:

For long-term Tahoe accommodations:

Tahoe -specific websites:

Real Estate Companies

Of course, I can't forget to include info for those interested in reading mystery fiction about the area:   

No comments:

Post a Comment