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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 02-01-07, 08:27 PM   #1
goldener
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Job opportunities (or lack thereof) for the carless

Hey all, i've been reading the forum..some cool people here and some good ideas and insights.

My question is- most of the job's i'm looking at are in the forestry/natural resources/land management field-

The requirements for these jobs usually included the requirement that you must have a car, or more often times than not, a truck, and at the very minimum a driver's licence.


For me it is an all or nothing thing- I don't currently have a car and have never driven one in my life, so if I were to get a licence, I might as well get a car as well.


The thing is the jobs I hope to get with my degree is that the vast majority of them are in rural settings, e.g working for the usfs in a national forest, etc, so a car is downright mandatory even for consideration.


I hope to be carfree my entire life, but I don't know how well this jives with the field of study my degree is in and the jobs I hope to get.
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Old 02-01-07, 09:38 PM   #2
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In her book, "Nickel and Dimed", the author (I forgot her name) made a similar assumption that one needs a vehicle to find employment in a certain occupation. This may be true however, no one is enslaved to one job or field the rest of their lives. In my opinion, you'll have to pay me alot of money to drive to your office.

In your case, you may just have to get a car and drive the rest of your life. I hope it pays well because that's an extra 4-6K per year you'll have to come up with.
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Old 02-01-07, 09:49 PM   #3
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you could always just use the car for work stuff and cycle for everything else. I don't think it's an all or nothing thing necessarily. It really comes down to your priorities, and if you would be happier with the job and a car - or with some other job and no car.
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Old 02-01-07, 10:43 PM   #4
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coming from the other side... hope y'all dont mind me dropping in... I love vehicles... vehicles of all sorts... Cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, even rollerblades if you can count those... I'd love a boat but I do need to draw the line. I appreciate having a vehicle for every occassion. IF it's about saving money, you only live once.... cars arent that expensive. Seriously, I spend more on food and my dogs every month than the cars.... and we're talking about 6 cars, 1 pickup and 2 motorcycles. Get the car. If it's about the environment, get a diesel, do some reading and put a kit in it to run on vegetable oil. Also, if you put some time and effort into learning how to fix your own cars, they really arent that expensive. I went from not knowing how to change my oil to swaping out cylinder heads, tie rods, brakes, injectors, timing belts... this was all in 6 months with a book and the help of people on forums.

You could get a small 90s honda civic that will get about 40mpg or a diesel vw jetta that will get about the same... or you could get a van and camp in it.

You're either gonna have to chose between living car free and doing the job you want... work is 8 hrs a day... 1/3 of your life. Personally, doing what I like for such a significant portion of my day outweighs many things.

BTW, isn't it illegal to ask if you have a vehicle at a job interview (Unless you need to use it for the job such as in a pizza delivery job)? I just went through some corporate training and was told that it was irrelevant and as long as someone was on time to work and dependable, they could swim, ice skate or sky dive to get there.
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Old 02-01-07, 11:54 PM   #5
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No solutions but here are some random ideas. I'd look into jobs that might have something to do with carfree tourism. Someone is doing the work behind bike trails and rail-to-trail conversions. There is an operation in England called the New Forest that promotes carfree tourism. Bike/ped coordinator for some city, county or state. Anyone in an advocacy position for alternative transportation would have a good excuse for being carfree. Maybe work for a railroad. If you're into natural resources in general, maybe something having to do with fishing or marine industries. If you do your work from a train or a boat, there's probably no requirement to drive.
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Old 02-02-07, 12:25 AM   #6
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I'm pretty sure the 'do you own a car' question wouldn't be illegal. Usually it is just phrased as 'do you have (or do you posess) reliable transportation' though in my experience. The illegal questions that I know are mainly religion, family, sexual orientation, political affiliation, health, things like that.

You MIGHT be able to argue car, and in some states it might be illegal, but as far as I know it is not an illegal question.
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Old 02-02-07, 07:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traicovn
I'm pretty sure the 'do you own a car' question wouldn't be illegal. Usually it is just phrased as 'do you have (or do you posess) reliable transportation' though in my experience.
If the job requires driving a company owned vehicle, or traveling from place to place in a rented vehicle, a very relevant job related hiring question would be "Do you have a driver's license and/or suitable experience driving the type of vehicle(s) necessary to do the job".
Probably wouldn't apply to jobs where the employee never goes anywhere.
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Old 02-02-07, 08:16 AM   #8
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My current job requires a vehicle. Face it, in some jobs you HAVE to have a vehicle. If you are dead set against having one (and there is nothing wrong with that) you may need to consider a career field change or look for a job that is better suited to the car free lifestyle. As far as I know it isn't illegal to require or ask for a drivers license. Our company only asks if you have transportation and makes it clear that you WILL BE working out of town on occasion and that it is your responsibility to get to and from the job site. We do have some vans available to carry crews to some job sites. The only people required to have a license are those that drive company owned vehicles.

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Old 02-02-07, 09:15 AM   #9
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Just show up with your bicycle helmet and ANSI vest that should answer that question for them. Show up early and solve another. You could just Park your motor at work.

Rural settings are very hard. It sounds like you like nature. Can you just camp along the way.
Say you have a 40 miles one way. You could camp coming back. Then head right back to work or if your shopping go home. I have not tried that yet. Sounds like a great Idea.
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Old 02-02-07, 12:34 PM   #10
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An American employer can base hiring decisions on any thing he/she wants. Exceptions: membership in a group that is protected from discrimnation by federal, state or local laws. Examples: Race, gender, age (with many exceptions), disability, religion, in some locations sexual orientation.

I think it's ironic (and stupid) that a job that deals with protecting the environment would require car ownership. I can, however, see that it would be difficult to get to a job in a wilderness park without a car. I hope you find a way around this, but you might not. I think the work is too valuable and too important to you personally, to give it up just becaus car ownership is required. Get a car, take the job, and once you get it, work toward getting the requirement removed. I mean, that's what I would do.
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Old 02-02-07, 02:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden graham
I hope to be carfree my entire life, but I don't know how well this jives with the field of study my degree is in and the jobs I hope to get.
You'll need some luck in the job finding department.

Someone out there has the power to arrange the kind of job you are looking for. You need to somehow get in contact with that person. The basic thing you need to do is visualize exactly what you want, then make sure everyone around you knows what you are looking for. Could be you have an uncle who has a friend whose brother is working on a major hiking trail project. You just never know, so cast a wide net.
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Old 02-02-07, 03:11 PM   #12
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...I can, however, see that it would be difficult to get to a job in a wilderness park without a car...
There's hope! In 1970 I was a student assistant at the Hallowing Point Field Station on the Patuxent River. It was only a summer job and not exactly high paying, but it was a job in natural resources and it was certainly carfree. I went up and down the river every day in a boat taking samples. There were three student assistants. We lived in the (un air conditioned!) attic, lots of motivation to get up & out before the sun every morning. The nearest town was 20 miles away. Every weekend we took the station's 1950s pickup into town for grocery shopping. There were a few locals who worked full time at the field station doing maintenance and so forth. The scientists had the best deal, though. They lived where they wanted and ran the place exactly how they liked. Of course they had to swing the grants so they had to travel quite a bit.
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Old 02-02-07, 04:18 PM   #13
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In her book, "Nickel and Dimed", the author (I forgot her name) made a similar assumption that one needs a vehicle to find employment in a certain occupation. This may be true however, no one is enslaved to one job or field the rest of their lives.
Barbara Ehrenreich is her name. It's a good book.

Regarding post#1, golden graham-- you may or may not be able to find work in your field without having a car. Some of the opportunities in your field probably don't require driving. My father has worked a lot in land-use management (mostly hunting-fishing).

You may not like (or have the right kind of education for) the sorts of jobs he's done, but as far as I know they've all been jobs that required a lot of time in an office and pretty much no driving. He has had to take quite a few trips in airplanes, though. He's worked for US Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Svc, and there are people with similar work histories in state governments' counterpart organizations.

If you do get a driver's license, taking driver's ed. would be a great idea (and might get you some serious insurance discounts). As far as I know, many driving schools will teach you to drive on their car, not yours.
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Old 02-02-07, 05:21 PM   #14
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Just because you plan to get a degree in forestry and work for the forest service doesn't mean you'll have to live far from your work. My car free neighbor works for the national wildlife federation. Last time I talked to him he just returned from a trip out west doing something with black footed ferrets. He walks or bikes to work. He's the one who gave me the folding bike that I gave to Koffee Brown last year.
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Old 02-03-07, 09:03 AM   #15
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You could also get a motorcycle.

They make bikes that are good for on and off-road riding so you can take it just about anywhere (even where you can't take a car or truck !)

>>> Like this one <<<
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Old 02-03-07, 09:26 AM   #16
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You may start off needing a car, but as you climb the ladder you may be able to work in an area that is totally inaccessible to a car. You may have to trek to areas that are very remote, and that require you to hike, bike, canoe, or ride on horseback. If this is not the case the more pull you have at your job the more you may be able to advocate for yourself to do something like this. You can then make your job into an adventure experience.

Of course I know nothing of land management, but I sure do enjoy getting out into the wilderness that is not accessible to cars, and having a job in such an environment sounds like a dream job to me.

Best of luck.
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Old 02-03-07, 01:27 PM   #17
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Just to be devils advocate to the "well I guess you have to get a car/motorcycle" crowd, I will go on your side to quote Shunryu Suzuki and say "Not always so."

I can understand the usual reasons for them requiring a car. Doing land management often requires knowing and inspecting large areas.

But there are ways around it. You just to need to look harder to find someone who needs your particular skills. It's even possible that that person may not live in the United States.

But you haven't given us much to go on as far as what your specific job targets are. So a few thoughts to stir possiblities in your mind.

1) Do you have demonstrable skills of being able to navigate very remote terrain quickly and dependably on your bicycle? Can you prove it? Are you a superior horseman? You may want to focus on locales that are extremely remote. So rural that automobiles are not supportable.

2) Do you have above average computer cartography skills that might allow you to earn your living at an organizations computer center?

3) Can you do a study or write an article that demonstrates that for certain applications, that a bicycle would be a better vehicle than a car? Think of police bicycle patrols which are common today but unheard of in the '60s and '70s. Such an article makes you an expert, and thus more hireable.


Good luck. I support your quest to care for the Earth in a way that honor's the Earth. Be creative, and I think you'll discover the road not driven.

As a final note, you may want to look into heavy networking to find that hidden job. It probably won't be advertised, you'll get it for being there in the right place at the right time with the right skills. Focus on who you are and be the best at that.

Two years ago I was unemployed. Rather than focusing on the skills that all the employers were listing for jobs I only vaguely wanted, I focused on developing skills in specifically the area that I wanted to be hired in. This led to me being a speaker at the top trade convention for my industry. Having that on my resume led to my getting hired for a job doing exactly what I wanted. Before I knew it, I was being jetted to Iceland for training.

Sadly, the job didn't last long. But right time and right place came into work there. People saw my work at that job and gave me a chance at another company. This job uses every skill I've acquired in the past 20 years and has allowed me to break through the glass ceiling from skilled worker to management.

So you never know where opportunity will rise.

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Old 02-14-07, 06:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden graham
My question is- most of the job's i'm looking at are in the forestry/natural resources/land management field-
You're talking about an occupational field that is very tools and equipment oriented. You're not talking car for this, so you can forget about that. You're talking 4X4, full size, pick/up. Maybe one big enough to safely tow a tractor on a flatbed trailer. I hope you get lucky and find a job that the company will supply your truck.

There are exceptions to this in your chosen field, but they are rare. You're best bet might be to try and get on with a state or federal government outfit, and even then you will need a DL, at the least. Don't be surprised if you wind up towing a bulldozer on a eighteen-wheeler lo-boy.
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Old 02-14-07, 10:33 PM   #19
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I looked at some of the job postings for the BLM and Forest Service. My impression was that a lot of the jobs requiring a college degree were desk jobs.
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Old 02-15-07, 03:36 AM   #20
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I know some folks that do this kind of work. Most of the ones I know work for the refuge system. They do some desk work, but most of it is field work. They appear to be country folk who work in the woods......and they are, but they're country folks who work in the woods and have various degrees in -ologies or -istries. Of course all their work vehicles and equipment are provided.

I also know a guy that does forestry and forest reclamation work (reverting woodlands to natural, native forest) as a private enterprise. He has either 2 or 3 degrees (I'm not sure right now, I'll have to ask him) related to this field. He's the one I was thinking of when I suggested a 4X4 truck capable of towing a tractor on a trailer.

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Old 02-15-07, 04:04 AM   #21
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I hope it pays well because that's an extra 4-6K per year you'll have to come up with.
If you are using your personal vehicle for company/government business, and get reimbursed for it, you might actually make money on your car. 50 miles a day would not be unreasonable for a forester-type person x 20 days a month x $0.40 / mile = $400 / month.

Yes, that's optimistic.
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Old 02-15-07, 02:29 PM   #22
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If you are using your personal vehicle for company/government business, and get reimbursed for it, you might actually make money on your car. 50 miles a day would not be unreasonable for a forester-type person x 20 days a month x $0.40 / mile = $400 / month.

Yes, that's optimistic
.
Except for the fact that it costs about 55 cents/mile to run an SUV.
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Old 02-16-07, 02:32 AM   #23
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Except for the fact that it costs about 55 cents/mile to run an SUV.
So drive something...er...smaller?
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Old 02-21-07, 03:20 PM   #24
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here are a few excerpts from a few job listings that i'd like to get, but can't due to the lack of a driver's liscence, car, or any driving experience

these excerpts are from the "requirements" section of the listing.

Quote:
- You will need your own vehicle and valid driver s license.
Quote:
You will need your own vehicle to get to work, even from the base camp.
oh well.

Last edited by goldener; 02-21-07 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 02-21-07, 04:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden graham
For me it is an all or nothing thing- I don't currently have a car and have never driven one in my life, so if I were to get a licence, I might as well get a car as well.
How does this follow?
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