Employment in FSM/Pohnpei

Hi all!
I'm new here, and I apologize if I'm in the wrong place for this discussion. If I am, please point me the right direction.

I'm seriously considering a relocation for a couple of years, and Micronesia has caught my fancy, Pohnpei in particular. I know that jobs are not plentiful on your beautiful island, and that money will not be the same as my current salary. However, if you might be able to provide connections, names, ideas, etc., my fiance and I would be most thankful!


  • Are you and your fiancĂ© in PNI yet?
  • No, not yet. I'm waiting to find employment before we make that move. We're coming from two different directions, if I can find a job.
  • Any particular kind of job you're looking for?
  • What profession do you have, possess; quality that might attract employers here in the islands? Tell us a bit about yourself, sell yourself and we decide or guide you there
  • Who the hell is a guy looking for a job in Micronesia without revealing where he is from? It look like the door for Micronesia is wide open to anybody. Is it not?
  • I'm hoping to find a job in my current field, purchasing/procurement. I'm currently a Purchasing Manager for a National cement company in Oklahoma (Does that help, last94?)

    I started driving a 50-ton haul truck 9 years ago in an underground mine, 750ft deep, with the company, and literally and figuratively worked my way up to the management position I now have. I have two adult children, with two grandchildren, all in Missouri. I try to be a good Christian man, treating others the way that Christ has treated and forgiven me. My pastor says I have the heart of a servant. I try to love mercy and walk humbly. My job is to make my employer look as good as possible and treat their resources as if they were my own. I'm a progressive problem solver and excel at developing relationships with suppliers.

    Any help would be appreciated. And again, last94, no one previously asked me where I was from. All you had to do was ask. Welcome to the top of the list. :)
  • Sinbad, thank you for your comment. If any of the members here are aware of any job opportunities that would be enough to sustain 2 people for a year or two, I would sincerely appreciate you letting me know. She would look for work as well, but I want to make sure that the greatest pressure is upon me, as far as income, so her income isn't required. Thank you all very much!
  • It will be difficult to find that kind of job you seek, Mr. Darrinos, especially with the background you have and experience. We are a low paying entity unless you have profession such as that of Medical Doctors, Certified Teachers, Lawyers, Engineeers, etc. Yours seems to be applicable to places that manufacture and produce high end produce, such as massive exportation of processed goods.

    But you can hook up with these Christian missionaries here and do voluntary work for dwelling and food. There is a program in Chuuk that's paid for by a US grant which deals with progressive education managed and coordinated by one German whose father used to be the head missionary in Chuuk. I only know him by Matthew. Your experiences will contribute greatly to the development of these foreign granted programs.
  • Hello Darrinos,

    Unfortunately, the US Embassy just recently closed a position for an assistant procurement specialist.

    I know of no other jobs with your area of expertise that is open at this time.

    Good luck!
  • What color is the sky in your world?.....as an American you can come out here and stay/work as long as you like.....the island is full of people like you, you'd blend right in.
  • Snowden/Sinbad,

    Thank you for the info. It was very helpful. I understand that I would not be able to continue my current income and career unless a job like the one at the embassy appears, and even then the pay would most likely be less. I'm completely open to changing my career for the experience. I'll continue to look, read and study.

    CCrider... if the position of Ambassador for the FSM ever opens, you should apply. That way no one will ever come to the FSM and life can stay encapsulated and never change for you. It just so happens the sky is blue here, too. Go figure.
  • Do yourself a favor and stay where you are. Mosquitoes and high cost of living will drain your will to survive. Stay in America where you can receive lots of financial benefits if you are sick, unemployed or displaced. If you were in the service, then a special socialist program exists for you also.
  • lol...anyone is a captain of their own vessel! feel free
  • I must say I'm quite surprised by the negativity and separatism on display by some in this forum. Nevertheless, I have a dream and a direction and I'll not let that (or mosquitoes) stop me.
  • Just throwing out an idea... does anyone have (or need) an express delivery service on the island? Kind of like FedEx but locally owned and operated. Thanks for the input.
  • Not going to work. We are on island time. Nothing is urgent except when it's a life or death situation.
  • Hey Darrinos. Long response here for you.

    Express delivery may have potential at some point in the future, but it's worth discussing first how Pohnpei is shaped. Imagine a clock 334 square kilometers in size. (343 square kilometers including the outer islands, but we'll focus on Pohnpei proper.)

    ~6,000 people live in Kolonia, at 12:00. If you receive mail in any form on the island, it's most likely going to the Post Office there. (I believe there's also one in Palikir for the National Government.) Nearly all business is centered in Kolonia or its immediate surrounds. Work for a government agency? You're probably in Kolonia. Want to get groceries? Kolonia. Trip to the bank? Kolonia. Chat with an ambassador and then the governor? Kolonia.

    Say you want something else delivered to you, though, like say you run out of cashpower and you need a topup but don't want to go to PUC. You call a taxi to go and they pick it up for you. There's heaps of taxi companies in the Kolonia area (Downtown, KM, Island, Iet Ehu Taxi, 41 Taxi, RM, and probably a bunch more I'm forgetting), and plenty of folks have a family member who works for one. Taxis are relatively cheap, so if I'm too busy to get my $5 cash power topup maybe I'll spend $1-2 for a taxi to deliver it to me. Or, if I have any friends or family around, maybe I ask them to do me a favor. Or maybe I start walking to PUC and someone who knows me sees me, and so they pick me up.

    Most folks don't need or use express delivery, though there is a local DHL unit. I've heard, but cannot confirm, that the local DHL unit is owned by the contemporary President of the FSM.

    It's also worth noting that the the GDP per capita hovers above $3,000. There's an increasing gap between the rich and poor (exacerbated by a gap between uneducated and educated folks). Your salary is pretty low even if you work in an office. A full-time classroom teacher can expect around $10,000 a year, for example. I think the Lieutenant Governor's salary, arguably one of the highest in Pohnpei, is around $25,000 a year.

    Regarding the education gap, the FSM 2010 census defined literacy as "can read and write a simple sentence." By that standard, literacy is about 75%. Anecdotally, virtually all of my in-laws (sakau farmers and fishermen) cannot read or write or speak English to a degree where they are comfortable. Knowing local language and culture is a critical component to success, unless you work for a large international organization that rotates foreign staff frequently e.g. International Organization for Migration, where it becomes very useful but not 100% necessary.

    PF Kluge wrote, to paraphrase him, that islands are not intricate and complex despite their small size; they are intricate and complex because of their small size. You know the saying "It's not what you know, but who you know"? One's success in Pohnpei is at least partly defined by one's connections to the people, both those with a modicum of power (either traditional power, religious power, business power, local, state, or national government power, or some combination thereof) and everyday folks.

    Perhaps one reason why you receive a lot of "negative" feedback is because of the context of your dream. Is your vision of your life in Pohnpei the same as the reality? I don't know--but it's worth mentioning that a lot of foreigners have had dreams about Pohnpei. They were beachcombers like James O'Connell, the Tattooed Irishman later to become PT Barnum's Tattooed Man. They were Spanish and American missionaries, and four separate foreign governments in a century and a half, starting with Spain, to Germany, to Japan, and finally to the United States.

    I'm entirely willing to believe that you want to have a peaceful life and contribute nicely to the local economy. Neither of those are bad things. But one of the costs to contributing to Pohnpei is to demonstrate a kind of fealty to the place and its people, and there's a deep, maybe even profound but quiet acknowledgement that Pohnpei's westernization is a blessing and a curse.

    Movies are fun. Electricity is nice. Westernization has brought fans and toys and beer, and arguably some form of democracy. It brought pigs to replace our dogs. It brought money and the capacity to divide people into economic classes.

    What does it mean for a socialistic, communal culture to embrace an economic system that rewards selfishness? What does it mean for a socialistic, communal culture to be forcefully changed by external cultures, to have those cultures tell us what to believe (The Spanish), where to live (The Germans), how to be subservient (The Japanese), and how to look at ourselves in the mirror thinking that we're inferior to others (The Americans.)

    What does it mean when the FSM has 100,000 citizens on its own shores, and another 40,000 in the US and its territories? The money is good, sure--but did we need money in the first place? Does money keep a culture intact? Does money keep a language intact? Does it destroy these things? What does it mean to be reliant on funding from the Compact of Free Association? Are we on welfare? Is this a form of freedom--or is this a form of economic slavery? Are we high on the opium of the dollar, forgetting who we are? Is this the path to true independence? What do we want? What does success look like?

    Our FSM Constitution's preamble says "The ocean unites us, not divides us." This wasn't written by a Micronesian. The first President of the FSM had his Japanese father taken away from him because of American invasion. Before the FSM was the FSM, it was part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which may as well have been America's way to ensure the Japanese couldn't bomb Pearl Harbor a second time.

    One time I was drinking sakau with some friends of mine, all old men. I like drinking with old men because they have the most incredible stories to tell, and a burning desire to tell them. I asked one of them what he thought of foreigners coming to Pohnpei. He said, and I quote, "I always wonder--are they in it for themselves, or are they in it for us?" Worth noting that the term for an American, mehnwai, is a play on words. Does it mean person from afar--or does it mean someone who comes and goes without asking?

    We're just skimming the surface here, Darrinos. I'm not trying to persuade you not to follow your dream, but there's a lot to consider when moving to Pohnpei and trying to make it work.

    Do you use gmail by any chance? My gmail address is the same as my MicSem username. Send me an email and we can exchange messages.

    Ni wahu,
  • Zzzzzzzzz. Bathroom break. Zzzzzzzzz
  • Your response, red snapper, is partly why I work so hard for Pohnpeian children and their schools.
  • Richard,

    As I just woke up and read your response, let me first say "Thank you" for the time and thought put into that! I deeply appreciate it. It is full of thought provoking and eye opening ideas and information that I will respond to later in the day. I certainly have no argument with any of what you say. We'll talk soon.

    Take care
  • Hi Darrinos. Unfortunately scepticism is a factor when it comes to starting up a business or moreless seeking for jobs here in the FSM. You may find jobs here with your background and experience. Major businesses, corporations, construction companies and the PTA here provide services via heavy transport type trucks. Only problem is the pay is not as attractive but most do provide the necessary personal security needs such as health and life insurance. A couple entities also incorporate the 401k programs for their staff/employees.

    As for the inquiry of starting up an express delivery service, I would recommend you save up on seed money for capital to create a company to include a freight forwarding services.

    What im trying to say is, even if you dont secure a job, there are several lucrative businesses or projects you can start up. You just have to do a little homework on what would be suitable for these parts and have the capital to get it up and moving.

    Endless opportunities but its all on you to make that observation your self.

    You may send me a private message for more info relevent to your inquiry.

    Wish you the best on your endeavors.
  • I am pretty sure you can find a job. But I am not sure of any job openings or anything about jobs in Pohnpei since I am still in the Kingdom of Tonga will be going to Fiji sometimes soon..still a student studying and hoping to find a job somewhere in Pohnpei too.
  • imageYeah we all relocate when we find a better job!
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