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Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Suggestion: Quit Your Job And Move To Key West


My niece and her husband recently visited me. It was their first trip to Key West, and they both fell in love with the place. A couple of weeks ago she sent me an email that said, in part,
"Bill thinks he could drive a pedi-car and I saw a job opening in a tourist shop with paid vacation and full benefits package."

It's amazing the number of stories I have heard over the years about people who come here for a vacation and then decide not to return back home. They found a new home. They looked and found a new job.  They found where they wanted to spend the rest of their lives.

I have written before about how I have quit a couple of jobs. I have a low tolerance level for jerks. Me, I let it fester until I could not take it any longer and then abruptly left. People with cash or an alternate source of income can do things like that. Some people can just suck it up better than others. 

I moved here to open and operate the Eaton Lodge Guest House which was located just off Duval Street on Eaton. The place was foreclosed upon by the SBA. I purchased it at a public auction in October 1993. I took possession Christmas week that year. I placed a couple of HELP WANTED ads in the Key West Citizen and had several applicants within a couple of days. The property had been boarded up for about two years. I needed to get the place cleaned up and ready for business. I learned quickly that it is easy to find workers in Key West. One of the first people I hired as a recent arrival from Connecticut. He had been a Wall Street trader who lost his job and said screw it. He had a yacht which he, his wife and kids sailed to Key West where he took up odd jobs until he could find a more permanent position.  He stayed a week or two doing chores for me and then found something a little better and that did not involve as much work.

It was easy to find replacement workers. There is an endless supply of people who come here looking to live life to the fullest in Paradise. Many find out after they move here that they need two or more jobs to pay the rent and their bar tab at their favorite watering hole. Don't get me wrong, there are good jobs. I have found that for some reason good people with good intentions move here and then catch the Keys Disease. They start not showing up for work on time or missing work altogether.  

Others, however, hold down several jobs and make it to work on time each and every day. Many of the people who work in the hospitality business and construction trades are from Eastern Europe and Latin America. They come to Key West where they have two or more jobs, save their money, and send money back home. They can make more money in Key West in six months than they can in their native lands all year.  And Key West is much prettier and probably less repressive than most places in the world, on that we can all agree. 

In case you did not know it, some of the hotels do not actually employ the housekeepers or maintenance people. Instead, the hotel contracts with a labor provider who supplies the workers as "independent contractors". By using contract labor the hotels don't have to comply with FICA and other federal or state requirements which helps keep operating costs down. Sometimes the "independent contractors" live in housing provided by the labor contractor who takes a portion of the pay for the right to live in company owned hell holes.  Most of these people are living on the edge. Who are they going to complain to? And if they complain, they won't be around to testify in some far off hearing. Free Enterprise at work.

If you are reading this blog the chances are you are not going to end up working for a labor provider. You may, instead, look for business which you could run. Maybe you could do as I did and buy a guesthouse or a small business.  CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls commercial listings.  Maybe you can find a reason to tell your boss "I quit, and I'm never coming back"!

Have a wonderful day off work this Labor Day.  If you have a job, be thankful and show up for work on time on Tuesday. But it you decide to tell your boss to take a hike and decide to move to Key West to buy a guest house like I did, please consider contacting me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.  Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.