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#1 Rachael

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 01:43 AM

Hello Everyone!

 

       My name is Rachael and I am moving to Cozumel the first week of February. I just wanted to introduce myself to some of the locals before I get down there. So here it goes! I am 24 years old, single, no children and I am a restaurant manager. I love to explore and stay active via sports and activities. I would love to learn how to surf if I can find someone to teach me. I also speak Spanish almost fluently ( I just need some more vocabulary). I love the Mexican culture, the food, music, dancing, and traditions are amazing! I have been working is restaurants since I was 17 and have been a manager for the last 4 years. I love my job because I love making people happy. Working in this industry people tend to complain a lot and most people wont take a moment out of their day to let you know that you are doing a great job. That is what I love most. I know that if someone stops to compliment me on how well I do my job and impacted their visit to my restaurant I know that I am exceeding expectations. I live for these moments where I can make a difference is someone's day just by being nice and talking to them. Excellent customer service is what I live for!  I plan on coming down and looking for a job once I am there. I have tried sending my resume out from here in the US but, I have not been getting any responses. I have a few friends there that are locals and are helping me. If anyone has any advice on what to expect, where to look for jobs, cheapest places to live and eat that would be greatly appreciated! Also, If someone is looking to rent out a bedroom for cheap I am looking! I am willing to babysit for discounted rent, I am red cross certified for the professional rescuer and have a lot of experience with children.  I am responsible, pretty relaxed, I don't really drink nor do drugs, and I am respectful and easy going. I work really hard and am very independent. I take pride in finishing things that I start and getting by on my own.  Well let me know what you all think! Thanks!


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#2 Carey

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:12 AM

Hi, Rachel

 

Sorry to rain on your parade as you sound like a nice young lady.  But here's some things you need to know before you abruptly move here.

 

It is going to be very difficult for you to even find a job waiting tables here -- let alone putting your management skills to good use.  Those jobs all go to Mexicans.  There is a quota for restaurant owners of how many foreigners vs Mexicans can be employed.  In the dive shop biz it's something like 10 to 1.  I'm assuming its similar for restaurants as I don't EVER remember being served by a gringo or gringa.

 

There may be ways that you can find work 'under the table' via your friends and until the point where you can qualify for a permanent residence status which might make it a little easier for you to get hired.  But I wouldn't stake a lot on that hope.

 

If the local friends you mention that are advising you in your job search are young Mexican males, your antennae should go up.  Sorry to sound racist or sexist but I will tell you that there is an element of sharkie boys here that prey on young foreign women.  If you find that you have been picking up all, most or even any of the bar tabs when out with these friends, red flags should start flying.  Your 'friends' will be around as long as you are paying.  When the money dries up, they'll be moving on.

 

One nice young art teacher acquaintance of mine fell for one of these guys.  He was apparently really convincing -- sending her ardent letters professing his love and telling her how much he wanted her to meet his mother.  But when she'd been here long enough for her meager savings to run out and the hoped for decent paying teaching job fell through, he ditched her for another gringa.  Sadly, this is an all too common story.  So if you recognize yourself in any part of it, this is a head's up for you.

 

If there are no ardent and persuasive young Mexican men involved in your decision to move here, I would still caution you:  Do NOT  come down here without enough money saved up to cover all your living expenses for minimum 3 months AND a plane ticket back to the states.  That should give you time enough to scope out the lay of the land job wise for yourself.

 

This island is not a friendly work environment for foreigners.  If you have the funds to start your own business, you might have a shot.  Otherwise sales is pretty much the only place you'll find employment.  Specifically time share sales boasting loooong hours, looooooow pay.  Or you might get a hire in reception at one of the resorts that needs someone really fluent in English.  Again for looooong hours and lower pay than you can probably even imagine.


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#3 Kandy

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:57 AM

I was also going to offer words of warning, but Carey painted that picture pretty well. I will add this. I started a small business here a year ago. Effective tomorrow, new regulations go into effect that are going to result in many small businesses closing. Essentially, they are doing away with small business over the next 10 years. Taxes gradually increasing, a requirement to provide electronic facturas, and more. Add this to the license fees, garbage fees (even if you don't produce an ounce of garbage) and other annual expenses, and the small mom and pop stores are going to be a thing of the past. 

 

The small business woes may not apply to you at all. However, personal expenses go up tomorrow as well. IVA increasing to 16%, food items being taxed, and thanks to the IVA (sales tax) going up, electricity, water, and gas bills are about to go up. Then add the increase in rates that the utilities will charge. In my humble opinion, this is not the time for anyone to be moving to the island unless you have enough money to live on until the day you die!


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#4 Carey

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 10:58 AM

Bitter much, Kandy?  And who can blame you.  Forgive my ignorance but how much was the sales tax before?  Sounds like I'm going to have to increase my housekeepers wages a tad to cover this.  

 

I hope you aren't right about it wiping out all the small businesses on the island as that would really destroy the character of this place, wouldn't it. Not to mention ruining a lot of lives.

 

 I'm thinking that won't happen because all Mexicans vividly unreport earnings and that will never change.  They only report enough to not look like they're under reporting.

 

To Rachel I will add a last note.   IF your decision to move here is based on a romance with a Mexican guy, red alert Red Alert, RED ALERT.  There are marked cultural differences between U.S males and Mexican males.  Needless to say, this doesn't apply to everyone.  But, typically, young Mexican men consider any foreign young woman who hangs out with them solo and in a recreational situation of any sort to be kind of a whore--even if you don't sleep with one of them.  Because the 'nice' Mexican girls typically know better than to go out to bars with guys they haven't known since childhood.  

 

In other words, down here, there is a sharp line drawn between 'nice girls' and 'whores'.  It's not a continuum as it is in the states.  It's the latino culture which is muy macho.  So the women here are the equivalent of the old fashioned southern belle who I understand because my mother was one.  You control the guy from behind the scenes so he doesn't know he's being controlled.  Total manipulation of spoiled-by-their Mama's machos to not put too fine a point on it.


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#5 cvchief

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 11:58 AM

Its that from West Side Story?

 


sharkie boys

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El Jefe

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#6 Carey

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:37 PM

From your first cigarette 'til your last dying day


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#7 Rachael

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 01:36 PM

Thanks Everyone,

 

I however know how Mexican men can be as I know many lol. I am not moving there for romance and my friends that are down there are men, but they have never made me pay for anything. Also, I don't go to many bars because I am not much of a drinker. One of my friends I have known for 3 years, another for 6 years because we used to be roomates and really good friends here in the states, and the other 8 months. Moving there has just been a dream of mine since I was 16 and I wanted to accomplish my goal. I already have enough money to live off of for 6 months. If I can't find a job I will just come back to the states and at least I got the experience. I am not limiting myself to working in a restaurant. I just want to be in some kind of customer service atmosphere. How much does it cost to open a small business??  I understand that I will need a lot of patience and hard work but I am ready for that. And I am used to working long hours for low pay remember??? restaurant managers honestly most make less than a server at a good restaurant. Unless you are a GM for a large full service chain restaurant you aren't making much.  I want this more for the experience than anything. I don't really need something super high paying.... quality of life isn't just based on what you have its what you do with what you have and who you share it with. I will be good with 4000-5000 pesos a month and good friends. Trust me I have the integrity and hard work to make this happen. I know its going to be hard I expect it to be. But my whole begining of living on my own was extremely hard.  I'm not used to things being easy. For that I am the stronger and wouldn't want my life any differently. It makes it better when you do make it :) If I end up coming back I still accomplished my goal of experiencing living in Mexico. Thats what matters to me.


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#8 Rachael

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 01:38 PM

Also, How long does it take before I can apply for permanent resident visa??


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#9 cvchief

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 02:28 PM

You have to apply in the states before you go.  Can't do it in country anymore, I believe.

 

If you are that dead set, maybe you should look to selling timeshares or diamonds or something like that?


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#10 Kandy

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 06:36 PM

Bitter much, Kandy?  And who can blame you.  Forgive my ignorance but how much was the sales tax before?  Sounds like I'm going to have to increase my housekeepers wages a tad to cover this.  

 

I hope you aren't right about it wiping out all the small businesses on the island as that would really destroy the character of this place, wouldn't it. Not to mention ruining a lot of lives.

 

 I'm thinking that won't happen because all Mexicans vividly unreport earnings and that will never change.  They only report enough to not look like they're under reporting.

 

Yep, I guess you could say that, Carey. I prefer to characterize it as realistic. What is happening is bad news for many, many small businesses. IVA was 11%, now 16%. I had friends running out to purchase bigger ticket items yesterday and today to avoid paying the tax. I had others billing for services before the tax goes up. Hotel taxes are going up from 14% to 19%. It's going to hit the island hard. If I remember right, you have dogs and their food is about to be taxed at the 16% starting tomorrow. 

 

I still think it's not a good time to move to the island, but it sounds like Rachael may have a pretty good grip on things.


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Kandy
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#11 Rachael

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 09:17 PM

Thanks kandy! I'm glad that you at least think that I have the slightest chance. Or at least that's what I understood from that.
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#12 captain ronald

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:20 PM

Rachael,  I see you are from Saint Paul.  I just had a plane switch there on my way home from Colorado so I can certainly understand your motive.  It was 60 in Denver and -10 in Minnesota  Anyway back in 97 we met a young girl from Michigan who was a waitress at the old Lobster Cove restaurant.  She said she graduated from college and went to Coz for vacation.  Fell in love with it, went home and sold everything she had and moved down.  A couple of years later she married a local and then a couple more years and they moved to Michigan.  I can imagine it was quite a culture shock for him and I've always wondered how it worked out.  Best of luck to you in your venture.    


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#13 Charles

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:33 PM

One aspect of working in Mexico that should be addressed, the standard work week is six 8 hour days. Many beginning expats get jobs that basically pay the rent. Over time you might get more pay and learn how to live more frugally.

 

If you are fortunate to land a job $4,000 to $5,000 pesos is realistic, but could be on the higher end after taxes. Besides trying to sell over priced diamond jewelry or con people into buying time shares (both require flexible morals, ethics and  very thick skin too), non-sales jobs are limited, but you might land something in guest services or public relations at one of the resort hotels.

 

Keep in mind a typical existence: Get up and get ready for work with preparing food for the day. Go to transportation pick up spot (employers are required to transport employees to job sites outside of el centro) making sure you are early. Figure an hour for transport with stops and check in at work. Your body and possessions you carry may be subject to search on arrival and departure. Nine hours on job site with a break for lunch whether given or not and then wait for transport back toward home. From your door at departure until door on your return, expect 11 hours minimum. Day #2 repeat, Day #3 repeat, Day #4 repeat, repeat, repeat. Day number seven is your dia libre and you sort of get paid.

 

My first Mexican job provided me work papers for that specific job and I made friends and earned the respect of my coworkers as they knew I was getting the same pay. I did my share of the same cr*p jobs from cleaning bathrooms to polishing silver. My salary to start was equal to about $13 dollars daily, but in my first few days of working, the peso devalued and salary dropped to about $5.50 USD. I lived for years solely on pesos so while the pesos salary stayed the same, peso prices sky rocketed to reflect the new exchange rate.

 

If you are working that six day work week, it leaves little time and even less energy for anything else. I care little for common gringo activities, but as example, I lived full time on the island for over five years before I first went to the other side of the island. Then when we started our own business, our work weeks averaged about 110 hours the first year and we later were able to cut back to 75 to 85 hours our second year. But that is living in Mexico and life as a Mexican which I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything.

 

Your fluency in Spanish will open many doors for new experiences. It seems few north of the border imports learns Spanish anymore. Some things will never be discussed in English and you should read the newspapers and watch local TV news. When we got a TV, we depended on rabbit ear antennas for the two local stations for more than a year.

 

Learn Mexican history and try to absorb as much of the rich cultural heritage that you can. I'll still read translations into English of works of some of the great Mexican authors. Then quietly try to learn and attempt to understand Mexican politics and political system. I say quietly as any political activity or public discussion is forbidden. Hopefully you will gain new perspectives and a more world view of life on planet Earth.


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#14 Carey

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 06:01 AM

Rachael

I wish you the best and it sounds as though if anyone can make it here, you would be a good candidate.  But you DID ask for advice and opinions and it would be doing you a grave disservice to sugar coat things.

Glad to hear you're not being lured down by a romantic interest. 


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#15 Rachael

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 02:56 PM

Thanks Carey, 

 

I am glad for the honesty. Its exactly what I needed!  Is there anything else that I need to know??


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