The Paradox of Choice

I checked my email yesterday morning, and my attention was immediately drawn to an email from someone I interviewed with nearly a month ago (the Subject line had multiple exclamation points).  I opened it and he was telling me not to accept the other offer.  I was confused; what other offer?

Less than a minute later, I had the other offer.

I spoke briefly to him on the phone, and he told me that they didn’t want to lose me and he would get me an official offer by Friday.

So now I have 2 job offers, and I don’t know what to do.

Job #1 is in Virginia, and is fairly close to my dream job.  It also comes with a promotion and presumably also a pay raise (not sure how much yet).  Chad and I have been looking at moving back to the East Coast, so while the timing is slightly off, it’s really a good chance.  However, Chad doesn’t have a job in Virginia.  With the job market, we’re a little worried about his chances, although he’s bright and I doubt it would take too long.  We’ve also gotten really close to some friends of my sister who live in San Diego.  We’ve spent Thanksgiving and Easter with them, and we always joke that we’re each other’s “West Coast family.”

Job #2 is on the same campus as my current job.  It would be a lateral move: no promotion, no pay raise. (This, by the way, is fair.  I technically don’t have enough years of experience to be promoted.  Job #1 is counting my experience at my current (unrelated) job; Job #2 isn’t.)  The work would be fun and engaging, although it wouldn’t be my dream job.  It is less of a niche position, though, and I could take that experience to other industries.  Chad would still keep his job, and life would go on as it has.

My current job will promote me if I stay.  I don’t really like it.

So my choices are the following:

Take Job #2.  Live life as usual, and worry about moving back to the East Coast in a few more years.  We continue doing nothing on the weekends, because that’s what we do.  We go to San Diego once a month or so.

Take Job #1.  I move, and Chad stays in California until he finds a job in Virginia.  If he doesn’t find a job by the wedding, he moves to VA to be with me.  We’re both lonely and probably not saving very much extra (but still some extra!) since Chad will have to buy a car & we will be paying 2 rents.

Take Job #1. Chad and I both move, and get to take a road trip across the country.  He tries to find a job once we’re there.  He either gets COBRA or we have a quickie wedding in Vegas so he can be covered under my insurance.  We wax nostalgically about how we wasted our time in California, and miss going to the beach. We suddenly have vacation time because visiting our parents can be a weekend trip.  We miss my sister and all her friends.

The independent PF blogger in me says to go for the money & the dream job.  The guilty worries-about-others-more-than-herself part of me wants to stay here, so we don’t have to miss any of our friends and Chad doesn’t have to be uncomfortably unemployed.  The insecure part of me thinks about keeping my current job, because even though it makes me unhappy, I worry that I’m not smart enough to do anything else.

I know that no one can make this decision for me, but if anyone has some wise words to share, they would be greatly appreciated.

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12 Responses

  1. It depends on how sure you are about your East Coast move. If you know you are going to do it, you should do it when you can. It doesn’t get easier to make a move like that, and, well, dream jobs are rare.

    It also depends on how employable you think Chad is and where his dream job is. It’s really, really rough out there in some industries.

  2. I’m super jealous– considering current state of things, I’d like nothing more than 3 jobs to pick and choose from! Nice work! (Honestly, I’m sort of surprised–not that you aren’t a great employee to hire, but I have had a really image of how bad it is out there. Am I wrong, or am I right and you are just brilliant?)

    Has Chad been applying at all? I suppose not, it would complicate things a bit if you both were getting offers all over, but it would give an indication of what the market is like for him.

    I vote for take job #1 and chad moves too, if you both are pretty much ready to leave CA (otherwise, obviously, take 2). It is unfortunate that the wedding is a few months off, but how bad *is* cobra? A few months of slowed savings progress for to ultimately be settled in the area you like with a job you like seems like a fair trade.

    • I think for technical & qualified (am I qualified? haha) people it’s not as hard as everyone is making it out to be. Although, I am in a very specialized area (AE with an astrodynamics/propulsion) so maybe I’m just lucky right now. I know the people who know the people in charge of hiring for most of the jobs I’ve interviewed for, so that’s probably helpful too.

  3. Um, where in Virginia? I grew up there and left as soon as I could, at 18. I hated the place, the people and the weather. There were a few redeeming qualities, but not enough to make me stay. My dad is still stuck there though and will never be able to leave. But I have a distinct CA bias so don’t listen to me for advice!

    • It’s around Chantilly/Alexandria area. I stayed in Alexandria for about 2 months while traveling for work, and I really liked it. Of course, I think I’m an East Coaster at heart…

  4. Once again, congratulations! It’s great that offers/calls are pouring in. So is Dream Job (aka: #1) the one that doesn’t want to lose you?

    How does Chad feel about (temporary) unemployment? How long could you last with him unemployed? [Actually, I guess you wouldn’t know that until you get the actual offer on Friday with the money info, right?]

    I have more questions than answers right now. 🙂

  5. This is a tough one. Here are some questions I would ask: Do you *really* like the area in Virginia where the job is located? Sounds like you do, but I would not move somewhere unless I really, really liked it. You’re not at work 24/7, you know? I would beware of a long separation for you and Chad. Not that this would happen–you guys are engaged and will be married within a short time–but in January a good friend of mine moved to another city without her boyfriend of 4 years. Supposedly he was “looking for a job” and working on selling the house and tying up loose ends. Well, they just broke up. Look at Escape Brooklyn’s problems, too, if you read her blog. I just don’t think it’s a good idea–I would rather see Chad move with you and roll the dice with the job thing, if you will be making enough money or have enough saved to support both of you for a while. Finally, can you live without seeing your sister for long periods of time? I’m really close to my bro and it’s hard living just 4 hours away. That said, you ultimately have to do what’s best for you and Chad.

  6. Like Miss M, I’m personally biased in favor of So. California. And I would be sad if one of my favorite PF blogger left S. Cali for the east coast. That being said, I get the sense that your heart is telling you to move east. If that’s the case, can you support yourself and Chad with just your income? Even if this means little to no savings while Chad is searching, then just do it. Life is too short to live with regrets.

  7. Instinctively, I’d go. But make sure the market for Chad out there is okay for him to be able to find a job.

    No sense in moving to make only one of you happy.

    I’d go for it, no regrets. It’s your dream job and dream pay right?

  8. Yeah I grew up in southern virginia, which is more like the south than NoVa. Did you grow up on the east coast? Good luck if you decide to go for it!

  9. I’m finding this post amusing because it is the same choice that I had to make two years ago. (Moving away from San Diego, no less!)

    I ended up deciding to move (as your later posts also point to you making the same choice), and I wish that I hadn’t.

    I tried going back to San Diego every month, that lasted 4 months. Then I went every other month. I haven’t been back since January of this year. It just got too expensive.

    I miss my friends there terribly. Work-wise, moving was a great decision. Socially, I wish I’d stayed. However, I moved alone. You’ll have Chad with you and that will make it much, much easier. =)

  10. […] Find a new job! Done!  If you remember, I got three job offers: two were lateral and one came with a promotion and raise.  I apparently made enough of an […]

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