Sunlit Water

September 8, 2007

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Filed under: Job Search,Personal — by teofilo @ 9:54 am

Speaking of making decisions, I’m terrible at it.  My usual process is to freak out and obsess about the options for a while, then choose the one that seems like the best choice on the merits but think wistfully afterward about what would have happened if I had chosen differently.  This isn’t such a big deal with expected decisions, but I really have trouble handling unexpected change.  I have a tendency to make elaborate plans, and when something comes along that casts doubt on them I get very upset.

This is not entirely an abstract issue at the moment.  On Thursday I got an e-mail telling me about a possible job opportunity in another city, available immediately, and asking if I wanted to be considered for it.  It’s not a sure thing, so I figure I’ll probably go ahead and apply for it, but if I get the job (and there’s a very good chance I will) I’ll have to decide whether to take it.  I honestly don’t know what I would prefer.  There are several issues involved:

  1. The job itself would be pretty much the same as my job right now, but in a different field and location.  This means, among other things, that I probably have an excellent shot at getting the job, since I have relevant experience as well as the other desired qualities.  I like my job now, so I wouldn’t mind doing the same thing for a while longer, and the field and location are much more desirable to me than my current field and location.
  2. On the other hand, though, it does kind of feel like too soon.  I’ve made some commitments here in the next couple months that I could break, but not without some trouble.  For one thing, I just signed a six-month lease on an apartment, and breaking it would be possible but expensive.  There are also some other, smaller things I’ve said I would do for other people that I could get out of, but not without feeling I’d let them down.  In addition, I know my current employers would prefer I stay for at least a little while longer than this, and I while I know it wouldn’t be a huge deal if I left I’d feel kind of bad about abandoning them.
  3. Nevertheless, I would like to leave at some point.  If this had come up a couple months from now, I would feel a lot less conflicted about it.  I’m not very happy here, and my recent move has not yet changed that as much as I’d like.  I still want to give it a chance, since I am living in a more interesting area, but it’s entirely possible that the rest of my stay here will be just as lonely as it has been so far, in which case hanging around for a few more months doesn’t make much sense.
  4. However, and this is a bigger deal than it might seem, here I can afford to live alone.  I’ve always wanted to live alone, and now that I do I am actually liking it a lot.  This new job is in a much more expensive city, and there’s no way I could afford to live alone on the salary provided.  I know moving away will have to involve living with at least one roommate, but I would like to take advantage of my ability to avoid that for as long as I can.  This is part of why I feel like it’s too soon to leave.

Overall, right now I think if the issue does come up I would choose to stay.  I do think I should at least apply, though, if only to get some more experience with the job-seeking process for when I do decide to leave.  This probably wouldn’t be such a struggle for me if it hadn’t come up on Thursday, which was just a really bad day for me all around.  Coming in the midst of that, an opportunity to leave seemed a lot more attractive that it might have otherwise.

Advice on any of this would be greatly appreciated.



  1. My instant reaction is that, much as you might want to live alone, at this point in your life roommates are probably a good thing for you; you sound as if you’re short on face-to-face personal contact. Roommates aren’t necessarily going to be friends, but they’ll either be friendlyish, which means hooking into the sort of strength-of-weak-ties social network that helps with making actual friends, or they’ll be miserably unpleasant, which at least gets you out of the house.

    While I don’t know the two jobs, at your level loyalty to your employer shouldn’t be a consideration at all — they don’t have any to you. Netting it out, this sounds like something you’re going to want to do sometime: it’s a better job, in a better place, that you’re qualified for. If you can swing it economically, I’d do it.

    Comment by LizardBreath — September 8, 2007 @ 10:11 am |Reply

  2. I agree with LB – liking the field and location is much more important than whether or not you have to have a roommate or two. Work is too much of life to not really enjoy what you’re doing, and a larger/more diverse social environment is an added plus.

    That said, I’ve got a caveat from being in a very similar position back in the day, and that is whether or not you can quickly, easily and inexpensively get home from the new location if the need arises. When my father’s health worsened, I was able to fly home every weekend to help out, and I couldn’t have done that if it hadn’t been both cheap and easy to do so.

    Good luck!

    Comment by tantalus — September 8, 2007 @ 11:19 am |Reply

  3. Yeah, that’s another consideration; my dad’s doing okay right now, but we don’t know how long that’ll be the case. It’s definitely preferable in that respect to be here, but it wouldn’t be too difficult or expensive to get back from the other city. It is far, though.

    As for the roommate thing, it probably wouldn’t be too bad (especially if it means having more of a social life). Part of it is just that living with my parents for a few months really made me crave some privacy and time alone, but it’s quite possible that I’ll get enough of that in the next couple weeks to be okay with going back to a less solitary situation.

    Comment by teofilo — September 8, 2007 @ 11:28 am |Reply

  4. I had dinner with a friend of mine this evening and talked this over with her. That conversation made me realize that I really should take this job if it’s offered to me. I’m not very happy here, and I realized tonight that that’s not likely to change; it’s not like I can just conjure up the kind of lifestyle I want by sheer will. My life right now is pretty much what life here is going to be however long I stay, whereas if I take this job and move I’ll be in a situation that’s much more what I want. Not perfect, but definitely better than this.

    Comment by teofilo — September 8, 2007 @ 11:05 pm |Reply

  5. As for the added expense of getting out of your lease, you might ask the potential new employer if they’d be willing to offer a relocation bonus. No one’s ever offered me one, mind you, but I’ve heard tale that such things exist. (I imagine this is something you bring up when they offer the job, not at the interview.)

    Comment by Di Kotimy — September 9, 2007 @ 3:01 pm |Reply

  6. I agree with LB, but you already made your decision. 🙂

    Comment by Tia — September 9, 2007 @ 5:47 pm |Reply

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