A friend in Washington, D.C., posted on Facebook this story about an unemployed Ohio woman who moved to North Dakota just for the job.
[Janet Morgan] lowered her expectations and applied for hourly-wage jobs across Ohio. Nothing. She called a few prospective employers in neighboring Michigan and West Virginia. Nothing. She filled her truck and took a road trip around the country to drop off applications near her mother in California, her daughter in Nevada and her son in Washington state. Nothing.
Finally, on her way home from the West Coast, she swung through Bismarck, N.D. She had never visited the state before, and was pleasantly surprised to find "some civilization, like an Olive Garden and a Best Buy." The local paper published articles about a thriving economy; dozens of businesses hung "Help Wanted" signs. Morgan collected a handful of job applications and drove back to Ohio. Maybe in North Dakota, she thought, there existed enough jobs to accommodate someone who was "short, fat and old." She applied for a low-wage position at a Bismarck area call center. A few days later, the company called to make an offer. [Haha. Olive Garden = civilization.]
I was kind of kidding the other day about how we’re on TV so much that eventually people will realize North Dakota, with low unemployment, low taxes and low stress, is the place to be in this crazy economy. Guess that message is getting out!
This conversation in the story cracked me up:
"You must be the new woman," he said to Morgan. "Where are you from?"
"That’s a ways. What are you doing here?"
"I moved for a job."
"All the way from Ohio?"
That’s the conversation I used to have when I met people in Grand Forks, except instead of Ohio it was Seattle. I sometimes still have that conversation. North Dakotans think anyone who wasn’t born here who chooses to live here is a little odd. Many North Dakotans, if they haven’t left already, secretly wished that they had.
I don’t know if I’ve told this story to you readers, but when I first moved to Grand Forks, my dad came with to help me move in and get a car. We were at Hugo’s our first night when this lady comes up and gives my dad a big hug. It went something like this:
"Oh hi! How’s it going? How’s your restaurant?"
"I … uh … I’m sorry; I know you?"
"Aren’t you the owner of the Chinese restaurant?"
"What? Oh, no, not me. I’m here with my son, helping him move. We’re new. Haha!"
"Oh, my gosh, my mistake! Hahaha! Where are you from?" (I remember a lot of embarrassed laughing.)
"Is your son going to UND or is he in the Air Force?"
"No, he’s getting a job!"
Anyway, we eventually cleared that up. But note two things: 1) Asians are so rare that people have little practice telling us apart and 2) There are only two reasons for a young man from a big city to move to Grand Forks, and that’s cheap tuition or the military made him.
Oh, for sad, people!