2 things make life worth living: Danger & Play
This town is all about people. With food, you are what you eat. With industry, you are (or can be) who you keep in your (present) company.
The quest to break the $15/hour threshold begins with 2 questions:
1.) What do you want to do?
2.) How have you qualified yourself for #1?
Based on #1, you can search the local area for special interest groups oriented toward the subject matter. This is where to begin your networking crusade.
Based on #2, this is what you have to bring to the table when you are at the event/lecture/happy hour selected via #1.
If #2 is lacking, you have more questions than answers (opinions). Use this. Be the reed that bends in the wind. Though Portland is by and large a friendly town, you may encounter scrutiny regarding your lack of expertise/experience/etc. With a little conversational judo, you can turn scrutiny into a learning experience that leaves the scrutinizer with a positive impression of you (a la your willingness to learn) and a positive feeling about themselves (a la the opportunity you created for them to demonstrate their level of expertise).
Worst case scenario, be interesting (which should read as synonymous with "not a douché" and intelligent). Imagine sitting next someone who is dull, for years. How would you pass the time? How would such a situation make the time you were at work feel? It is for these reasons that places you probably want to work don't hire dull folks. In fact, places you want to work probably have a system by which they allow current employees to recommend candidates for a short list before they open up to accepting resumes (if they do at all). So, the more folks you know that are currently employed doing what you want to do, the better your chances are for finding a position of the same nature.
I am 31.
I am a professional designer (specifics: REDACTED).
I am a very active member of several professional organizations.
I have two degrees.
I am comfortable yet frugal at times.
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