Do not come to Sarasota thinking that you can make a living. Unless you are a developer, you will be lucky to make even 1/3 of what you made elsewhere (especially if you’re from well paying communities in the Northeast, Midwest, or the West Coast.) Instead, you will be told that employees here pay the “sunshine tax.” That is, you live in paradise, so you won’t be paid much to work here.
See that guy hauling pool chairs on the beach? He was a school district supervisor. The woman checking out books at the library? She was a college professor. The guy checking out your purchases at the department door? He was a corporate executive. Ask the person waiting on you what they were before the move and you’ll be shocked at how underemployed they now are.
A constant complaint here in Sarasota comes from those who retired with the assumption that they could find a decent paying job. It it heard in the form of: “I can’t find a thing;” “No one will hire me;” “Do they really think I’ll work for that?”
A further insult is that it’s not unusual to be asked to “bid” on a job. Seriously. I’ve been asked to name my bottom line as finalists for a position vie for the job. In other situations I’ve been offered $8.00 an hour; told that a “flexible” work schedule means I must be available whenever needed; and informed that my job description contains language that means that I can be assigned anywhere to do anything at any time.
The “Right to Work” law in Florida is a 1984-esque piece of corporate propaganda. In reality, it does not ensure residents a right to work, but ensures that employees can fire a worker without cause during a probationary period of time, or if they are at a managerial level. Say the word “union” and you are toast. Demonstrate anything other than a cheerful, upbeat, and grateful demeanor, and you are too negative to remain employed. Equally as Orwellian is the Florida redefinition of “unemployment.” It is now “reemployment” and many of the unemployed can’t even find the right website to apply for benefits, much less meet the stringent requirements for documenting their reemployment efforts.
So, come to Sarasota to retire—but bring your money with you or a concrete plan of how to afford to live in paradise.