Houston is a city in which networking pays. It is very possible to see someone who has never had a job, gain access to a job in which he/she is trained to ensure that he/she has the professional skills necessary to be competitive. You will see this occur repeatedly.
When I moved to Houston and started my program, I was coming in with more than a decade worth of experience working in the healthcare sector. I came in with soft skills that were and are easily transferable into different sectors in the healthcare continuum but it was as if my years working in New York was wiped off as if it never existed. (At a point, I wondered if there was a conspiracy in place to bring me back to New York but then I had to tell myself to stop being paranoid).
This was troubling because I am someone who has always taken her work seriously and ensured that I put in my best,but, then I realized that in Houston, it really isn’t about being intelligent, or the type of experience you have but who you know. No, this is not about favor, for my religious folks.
How have I survived?
a) experience – Most of the time I lived in New York, I was always dealing with multiple issues and this actually trained me to think worst case scenario and to work around that.
b) budget and expenses – you will have to pay close attention to your expenses and think of alternative ways to cut costs. For example, rather than pay 33 dollars or so per month for the gym, look into what free services exists in your community, purchase cheaper gym tools and use them at home, join a meetup for sport activities etc. Do the same for other needs. Food – you might need to become a flexitarian, shop at the farmer’s market and explore foods from other regions that use less stuff. Housing – shop, shop and the list goes on.
c) staffing firms – I worked with several staffing firms in Houston, working several crappy jobs. But, with staffing firms you have to be careful, some of these workplaces are very tricky. They won’t tell the staffing firm, the position they want to have you working in, neither will they notify the staffing firms of what they want you to do. Do not stay in those places too long. I learned that the hard way.
d)others have survived by using other skills they have – cooking, baking, making repairs, tutoring, selling items, babysitting etc.
But, to really survive in Houston, you need to learn how to network in person. This might get you that job with absolutely no qualifications whatsoever. Being an introvert, this is a skill that I am still learning.