do you love your job but hate where you have to live to do it? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 03-29-2004, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering if any of you are having conflicts between where you must live to do your job, and where you would like to live if that weren't necessary.

Being a research scientist, I really have to go where the resources are, and that is the USA. I have a dream job here in Cleveland, at one of the best cardiac electrophysiology centres in the world. My boss is fabulous and a total sweetheart. I could have a fabulous career here if I stayed...

But I really don't like it here at all. It's not the kind of place that suits me, where I would want to raise my children. The type of lifestyle we want for our kids is hard to find here. And of course the very biggest issue is that I miss my family sooo much. I was fine being away from them until I had DD, and now with another one coming I just want the kids to know their family and vice versa.

So, I've come to the decision that my career is going to come second to my Life and my Family. We're going to try to make a go of returning to our home town. I will be able to work there, just probably not as satisfying a career as might otherwise be.

Just wondering if any of you have faced or are facing this dilemma?

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#2 of 17 Old 03-29-2004, 03:20 PM
 
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I hope it's ok if I post here?? If not just let me know. We are struggling with the same thing and have been for some time. But it's not my job, it's dh job. We moved here only because he got a job here. And now we are doing quite well financially, but are unhappy. Because we would rather be where we were.

He has considered changing professions but has been doing this for over 20 years and has a good rep and it sucks to start over.

I don't know?
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#3 of 17 Old 03-29-2004, 04:12 PM
 
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Oh Piglet, thank you for starting this. I'm in a very similar boat. I love the work I do, but it's not permanent. I'm a postdoc whose funding is coming to an end, and I see life as faculty or non-fellowship postdoc as not exactly what I want. I want to be closer to home. I want another baby. I want a life where I can relax at home and read a novel or garden without feeling guilt for abandoning my career.

By April 30, I should have a good sense of my funding picture for the next 2 years. If things are not positive, then we'll be starting the conversation of my leaving academia. There are so many things to consider. Where in the country do we want to live? What kind of work do I want to do? Does my husband want to change careers? The uncertainty is killing me.

We do like where we live now, though we could certainly do without the weather. We would prefer to live closer to our parents and friends, but by following an academic career path, we have no control over where we end up. In this regard, I'm almost more nervous about where a faculty job would take us than not liking where we are now.

So, no real advice for you, Piglet. I don't really call, but you're from the northwest? Are there non-academic positions you could find that are equally satisfying? The best advice I've gotten in the last few weeks is to write down the qualitative aspects of your dream job, not the position/title/forum. So, instead of my saying I want a faculty position in a research university, I say I want a position where I can work on a variety of complex problems with smart and interesting people. This opens up my prospects from the 2-3 faculty positions that come open in my field each year to many more options. I think (of course, assuming NSF gives me a thumbs down in the next few weeks) I will look at think tanks (e.g. RAND) and national labs (PNNL or LANL, most likely). I have a lot of soul searching to do here, with additional aspects coming into play like whether or not I want a job so geared towards defense. These options are still fairly restictive geographically, but a bit more open and compatible with where we want to live in this country.

Hugs. I'd be interested to hear updates on how you are making decisions as a family and how things progress.
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#4 of 17 Old 03-29-2004, 04:56 PM
 
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Yes.
Well, I don't hate where we are now--the town is great. I just wish it were on an ocean.

I grew up in Oregon, where my parents still are, and went to coll. & grad school in MA. DH is from MA, and went to grad. schl in RI. We lived in Providence for 5 yrs while we both finished our degrees. I love so much about Providence, and New England in general, but when I finished school & started looking around, the best job (along w/ the fastest-moving hiring team) was in Wisconsin. Madison is great--things are reasonably affordable, we've got a great little house, decent neighborhood, lots of like-minded friends, my job still has potential for growth, etc. And this is the sanest place I've ever worked--people respect each other, it's a very talented group, there isn't a ton of back-biting, administration listens to the rest of staff (most of the time). But it's so hard being so far from family. DH's parents don't like to travel (unless it's to NYC or Europe) so we haven't seen them since Christmas & probably won't until August (not that I consider that a huge loss :LOL, but I'd like dd to have the opportunity to get to know her gps better). My parents are better about travelling, but still... and we have to split my vacation time between them. It was so much easier when we lived close to the ILs, and didn't have to commit huge amounts of time to visit them. Living here, once we've figured out family trips every year there's nothing left for us by ourselves.

Not to mention that it'd be nice if grandma could come babysit so we could go to a movie sometime...

So I'm keeping my eyes open for opportunities in New England or the PNW, but we're not actively trying to get out of here.
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#5 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 12:14 AM
 
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piglet -- I've been away from mdc for a while -- busy working on my phd and trying to get that academic job! what a rat race.

here's what I think I've come to -- my job is important to me. My own sense of self, outside of parenting is important to me. And I've moved enough to know that in most places I can find people I can connect with.

the family link -- well we are still struggling with that. But luckily my MIL and FIL (who are in Cleveland BTW) are willing to travel anywhere to see their grandkids. The problem i struggle with is that means every minute has to be "quality time" there is no just hanging around and grandma play time.


on living in cleveland --> there are some very cool sections of cleveland. should you decide to hang there, maybe i can provide some info/friends I know there? and piglet congratulations on #2 -- I was pregnant when you had #1!

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#6 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 12:28 AM
 
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What! Piglet, you mean you don't just LURVE Ohio?!?!? Egads, girl, run away while you still can!

No, seriously, I think at this point with a new baby expected, if you need to be near family then go. I know you've got an awesome job, but you'll get a good reference & who knows, you might find something even better. Different maybe, but possibly better.

I don't exactly love where we live, but I don't exactly hate it either. Well, I do hate it when it's 37degC & I'm standing in the middle of a wetland full of head high grass in full length pants & shirt & hat, trying to get some field work done. Went thru 10 litres of water in one day in those conditions & still got dehydrated. What ever possessed me to think that doing field work in the tropics would be fun??? But I can't really make a break from here yet, so I'll lump it for a few more years.

And even tho sometimes I would like to live closer to family, there's no way I'd move back to Ohio just for that. But you're from BC, right? So THAT'S an entirely different story. And sometimes you just gotta take a chance with life, KWIM?

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#7 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 08:28 AM
 
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Nate - maybe we could trade jobs and homes?

We're struggling right now with this same issue... moved closer to inlaws who my hubby is NOT close with at all... see them twice a year while my parents are in Wisconsin. I fly back like four times ayear, fly my mom out twice more... it's really tough. Plus I just want to move back... looking for jobs in Madison right now but have a job in a company that is a very cool earned job... not one I'm lucky to score coming as an outsider into a new company.... but thats just a shortterm issue.

So hard to leave /move on.... so hard to stay... don't want to raise my son here... just so anti - to my upbrining in rural wisconsin... I just want to go home
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#8 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 12:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Indigomama
I just want to go home
I feel that way about Portland sometimes--the worst part is that COL has gotten so high there that I'm not sure we could afford it. We'd have to live w/ my parents, and NO ONE wants that. (I love them dearly, but dh needs privacy & they drive me batty.) But they live in one of my favorite neighborhoods there...
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#9 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for all the replies, ladies. It feels so good to know I'm not the only one facing this dilemma.

GeoFizz: you are right of course that there are many non-academic paths we can follow. I was actually positive all through grad school that I'd never want to be in academia and that I was headed to industry. But after a great academic post-doc I'm in love with academia and really don't want to work in industry (mostly b/c they demand alot more out of you schedule and time wise, whereas academia is so much more laid back that way). I really love doing research and thinking through problems, but of course there are other jobs where I can get that sort of thinking done. Anyways, I'm basically going to just see what my options are back home. There is a small pharma company there that I worked with during grad school: I'm quite sure I could get a job there. But I really didn't like it there, so it's sort of "last on my list", kwim? I definitely feel that I *can* find something to satisfy me, I'm staying positive, but I know what you mean about that feeling of uncertainty. We are planning on returning to Vancouver by the end of the year (before or after baby we're not sure yet) and hoping, hoping we can make a go of settling there permanently. If not, the next best thing would be a job in the PNW (I love Oregon) which is not so far away.

kerc: I've lived in Cleveland for a combined total of 3 years now. Yes, there are nice parts of Cleveland - if you like suburban living. DH and I are definite urbanites and while Cleveland is starting to slooooowly make progress on developing their urban areas, you simply cannot compare to Vancouver (unfair, really, but that's what I'm used to!). Vancouver, with it's stunning natural beauty, the ocean, the mountains, the mild climate (after this horrible winter I'm never complaining about the rain again!) and tons of vibrant, diverse urban neighbourhoods with GOOD RESTAURANTS.

Nate: we spent a year in Boston/Cambridge and I totally fell in love with New England! In fact, we were thinking of heading back there before I realized just how much I missed my family. Visiting once in a while is just not the same thing, and it sure would be nice to have Grandma around to babysit! I never thought I'd feel this way before I had kids, but now I just think everybody is missing out on sooo much. My DD is growing so fast, and they are missing out on all her cuteness, and she on having family around. Boston is a fantastic place to be, but it just seems sooooo far away from home!

Anyways, thanks again ladies for sharing your stories!

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#10 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 12:58 PM
 
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I have to say, I love this thread. I think b/c it's nice to read about other women who are the ones w/ the jobs that define where you live.

Piglet, I went to a conf. in Vancouver a few years ago & loved it. I'd live there in a second, except that I think it's pretty hard for US citizens to migrate north, isn't it? I think I liked it b/c the flora, architecture, neighborhoods, & weather reminded me of PDX, but it was even bigger & more diverse.

Hmm...now you all have got me thinking about looking westward for jobs. Unfortunately, there aren't too many medical schools in that part of the country, so odds of getting a new job are better in New England, unless I make the jump into general academic librarianship. Of course, then I might have to deal w/ undergrads!
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#11 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 01:41 PM
 
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I can't add much to this thread since I live 15 miles from where I grew up and am pretty happy with my decision to stay in the midwest (Madison WI). But, there was a time when I felt very conflicted about not moving away to pursue a "real" job in engineering and staying at the U and working in student services instead. I am now pleased with my decision (more so since having dd) and wish my friends could move back here. I feel for ya, mamas!

Nate - pm me if you want to go to lunch some time -- maybe we can arrange playdates in the future so we can go to the movies.
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#12 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nate, it's actually pretty easy to "migrate North", or south for that matter, thanks to NAFTA. If you have a university degree and your job fits a long list of "professional" jobs then getting a TN Visa is really quite easy.

schatz: don't you ever wish you'd lived elsewhere before having kids, though? I must say that I am really really glad I got a chance to live in other places, and if it weren't for having kids I think I'd still be heading in the direction away from home! still...right now I envy you, lol.

Also, needless to say that going back to Canada means taking a big pay cut. Ah well, it will hopefully all be worth it!

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#13 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 03:41 PM
 
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I have lived somewhere I didn't like in the past, in order to have a great job. We moved to come back to our families. In the long run, we are much happier now. It is a much better place to raise our kids. My job isn't as fast-track and I don't make as much money, but I love where we live. The cost of living is also lower, so the salary differences aren't that big a deal.
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#14 of 17 Old 03-30-2004, 04:20 PM
 
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piglet - when I went to college, I thought I would leave the area after graduation - get some glamorous job or something in a big city. But, once I was out of the small town I grew up in, I realized that I really like this area and I am content to be here. I guess I'm just a homebody at my core. And, I travel internationally for my job so I can satisfy any wanderlust that way. The only thing I wish I had done that I never got around to is a study abroad program in college. Oh, and I never had my own apartment -- parents' house, dorm room, apt with roommates, parents' house, apt with dh.
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#15 of 17 Old 03-31-2004, 11:37 AM
 
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I can see both sides of the issue. I have very "itchy feet" wanting to travel at any chance I get. I've lived in the middle east and in several states. I consider a moving to a new place an adventure and spend a long time exploring. My husband, on the other hand, would be perfectly happy living in one place and never leaving town except to go camping occasionally. He sees moving to a new town an annoyance because he has to find all his resources again. (When he moved 60 miles to return to grad school, he would drive back to the town he'd been living in before to get his hair cut. He didn't want to bother finding a new barber.)

I love considering the possibilities. I'll be going to interview in another state in a few weeks, and I've been spending way too much time looking for the online version of their local newspaper, scoping out the cost of living, and playing "hmmm, what would it be like to live there?" My husband hasn't even looked into the job market in that city, even though whether or not he can find a job in that town would have a huge influence on our decision to take the job. Since I don't have a offer yet, he sees no point in "exploring" the new place until he has to.
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#16 of 17 Old 03-31-2004, 12:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Piglet68
Yes, there are nice parts of Cleveland - if you like suburban living. ......tons of vibrant, diverse urban neighbourhoods with GOOD RESTAURANTS.

agreed. we do have several friends who live in the university circle area. they love it. my inlaws live in broadview heights. umm, about as suburban as you can get. it always pisses me off how many strip malls there are. How many new malls does one city need?


I do love going to the west side market in ohio city. we have friends who live within walking distance. they love it. but they are a bit afraid for their kids cause it is a rough neighborhood.


ROFLOL about the good restaurants because we live in Duluth Minnesota now. Umm, ethnic food? yeah. there's one place worth paying a sitter to go to. But we looooove it. Lots of green space.



I was thinking about this thread on the way to school this morning. Kind of a food for thought kind of thing. I'd like to find a place to live where we can stay and make long term friends. I moved every 2 yrs as a kid and now as an adult none of my childhood friends are such good friends that i still see them. Occasionally we exchange xmas cards, but my husband (seven hills, Ohio native) chats with his childhood friends monthly.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#17 of 17 Old 04-06-2004, 02:54 PM
 
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Yes, yes, yes! This thread describes me. I LOVE my job and the people I work with, but I live and work in the Detroit area, which I think is one of the most depressing, violent, and bigotted areas in the US. My DH's family is nearby, and my family is 75 miles away, which are the only other good things about living here. Unfortunately, my DH doesn't want to move (or insists we can't--I don't agee), and I'm afraid I won't find a job I like for the money I make here in a more palatable area. Still, I daydream about it all the time. to all in the same boat.
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