Sincerely, Sara: Amazing Job Offer Requires I Leave the City and Life I Love. Ahh!

Hello Sara,

A head hunter contacted me saying she wanted to recruit me on behalf of a large company that is headquartered in a different state. I agreed to the interview, since I figured she was looking at multiple candidates. I just heard back and was offered a well-paying job as a Director of Marketing with a good track advancement if I perform well. It sounds too good to be true, except I absolutely adore my city and my life here.  

To complicate things even more, I’m engaged to a great guy and my fiancé hates the idea of moving. I make enough money to support both of us while he gets settled and hopefully finds work, but he is already established here as a freelance photographer and loves the clients he works with and the projects he gets to work on. 

This break would be huge for my career, and we will be able to do things we can’t afford to do in the amazing, but very expensive, city we live in now, like buy a house and plan for a family. I don’t want to regret taking this chance, especially since another offer this good might not come around for a long time; but my fiancé says being happy is about more than owning property and having more spending money, and I agree with that too. I have no clue how to make this decision.

Please help,

Not Sure of the Right Move

Dear Not Sure,

In life we can’t have it all, and while we are generally accepting of that. The difficulty comes in deciding what is most important to us, and what we are willing to trade or give up to acquire it. My first suggestion would be: approach your current boss and negotiate a raise using your new job proposal as leverage. If you are planning on leaving anyway to pursue the offer, you have nothing to lose.

Secondly, I’d advise you to expand your perspective and consider what you might be gaining in your move to a new city, instead of focusing only on what you will be losing. Research the lifestyle the new opportunity may present—a slower pace, less stress at the office, a more informal and relaxed environment and a better commute than your big city, rush-hour madness.  Your new city, and the surrounding area, could offer scenic landscape and pleasurable outdoor activities that city life lacks. And with more money, and less overtime and commute time, you will have opportunity to enjoy them.

If you are concentrating on how the money will improve your life, your fiancé is right in countering that happiness is measured by more than a bigger account. However, extra income, and the time and energy to spend it, can translate into more enjoyment out of life and your relationship. Is there a hobby or interests you are too busy and distracted to engage in now that you, or you and your fiancé together, would finally have the time and resources to dive into? Maybe it’s ball games, painting, cooking, sailing, swing dancing, wood working, yoga or taxidermy? Ok, I threw in taxidermy to make sure you were paying attention. The point is, we are consistently making trade-offs in our lives, remember to weigh in the potential benefits when comparing them to the drawbacks.

If you have any vacation time accrued at your current job, it would be smart to visit the city where the new job is located and stay for a few days, or a week, as a tourist in a hotel. If your fiancé can manage it, bring him too. Maybe the city has more to offer than you realize. Research activities you both enjoy and try them out while you’re there to get a realistic taste of what life would be like. For instance, if you enjoy hiking, gather information on parks and trails in the area beforehand and then try it out during your “research” vacation. You can also get a sense of the pace of the town, the people and the “feel”. All these will combine to give you a much deeper sense of the community than you have now as an outsider.

 Many people find love is a crucial, or even essential, element in their happiness.  If you have been blessed to find the partner you want to build a future, and possibly a family, with than you must plan for what you will do if your fiancé can’t find a job.  How would his unemployment affect the relationship? Possible fall-out could include him building resentment or anger towards you, believing you “ruined” his career at the expense of advancing yours, or the damaging of his self-image if he is unable to find work for a long period of time, either of which could potentially break up the relationship. To minimize the negative outcomes, discuss the possibilities openly and honestly with him before you decide to make the move. Maybe you can come to an agreement whereby if he can’t find work in 6 months, or a year, you will consider moving back, or you will support him while he switches careers to another occupation he loves, or help him transition to fine art photography and publish a book of his artistic work—whatever works for you as a couple.

It’s important you also do some soul searching and ask yourself, is it worth the fast track, a big house in the suburbs, shopping sprees, and nice vacations if you lose your life partner? Maybe he can reach out to local magazines, advertising companies, and the like, beforehand to see if he can set up some meetings and make a few contacts. Perhaps the co-workers at the new job will have leads that may pan out for him as well. In the end, you might decide that if your fiancé cannot support you in this move then the relationship you two share is not as strong and close as you thought it was and going alone is better for you. Maybe he can come and visit once you’re settled and see how things progress from there. Only you know what this relationship means to your future and to your happiness, so face the tough questions bravely and with complete honesty.  Times like these can be crucial turning points in our lives and when we look back, sometimes years later, we see it is our adversities that lead to some of our proudest achievements and grandest triumphs.

Best of luck in this fork in the road, and may it lead you down the path to your dreams.