May 23 2008

Job satisfaction, making enough money, and being close to family

Can we possibly have it all? Can Shane have a job that fulfills him, pays enough money, and lets us live close to family? I don’t know if we can have all three things at once, but we’re going to try.

Shane and I have been living in Pittsburgh for almost one year. It just isn’t the right city for us. We’re way too homesick. We belong in Bloomington, Ind., and that’s all there is to it.

With a year of being pretty miserable here under our belts, and now with a baby on the way, it’s becoming more clear that we really do want to move back to Bloomington. But, is that the absolute best decision for our family?

Bloomington doesn’t have a huge job market, and it could be quite difficult to find a relevant job there. It’s not a big city (less than 100,000 people) and I don’t know if he’ll be able to find something that fits his skillset, fulfills him, and also pays enough.

It’s almost guaranteed that if we move back, Shane will take a pay cut. The cost of living in Bloomington is supposedly slightly higher than it is here, but I think we can find a cheaper apartment there. And, the city has an Aldi (and CVS and Rite Aid) so we’ll be able to get our groceries and toiletries for a low price.

If we live in Bloomington, we’ll be near his parents and most of his extended family, who live in the city or the nearby towns. My family lives one to two hours from there. It will be amazing to be able to see them more often!

Plus, I really love Bloomington. I lived there for four years, from the time I was a freshman at Indiana University until graduation. The summers are incredible, but even during the school year, the city is a great place to be. The restaurants, festivals, general atmosphere, the people, and even the scenery. I love it all.

With Shane’s current job, we’re expecting to move to a new city within the next few months anyway. When he took his position within his company, it was a year-long program, and then he would be transferred to a new position. None of the possible places (too many to mention) are all that close to home.

Don’t forget that we’re expecting our first baby in December. Our current insurance will pay most of our baby-related expenses, and our out of pocket totals will be about $280, which we should be able to pay with our flexible spending account.

It’s hard to say what our health insurance situation would be if Shane took a new job somewhere. If we needed to, though, I think our emergency fund could cover our expenses, if we found ourselves under or uninsured.

In my mind there are a few possible scenarios:

1. Shane takes a new position with his current company. The new position is also in Pittsburgh. If that happens, we would want to stay in our apartment for another year, renewing our lease for $770/month.

2. Shane takes a new position with his current company, but in a different city. If that happens, we’d break the lease (with 60 days notice), and his company would pay the $770 for us to get out of it.

3. Shane takes a new job with a new company in or near Bloomington. If we break our lease, that $770 comes out of our own pocket. But, if we change to a month-to-month lease, we’d pay $820/month, or an increase of $50 per month.And, if we knew that we’d be staying in Pittsburgh after all, we could change it back to a year-long lease and bump our rent back down, with a possible credit on that extra $50/month paid.

So, what in the world do we do? Do we try to maintain or increase our income, even if that means Shane possibly won’t enjoy his job, with us living a day’s drive or more from family? Do we stick it out for a little while longer in Pittsburgh so that our baby’s birth is paid for? Or do we move home, possibly paying thousands of dollars in moving expenses and more, but have an entire support system of family near us?

Here’s what I think we’re going to try. We’re going to renew our lease on a month-to-month basis. We’ll spend the next month or so trying to find a great job for Shane in Bloomington. It should be in a healthy work environment that values its employees. It should pay at least $35k with some form of health insurance.

Is that really too much to ask? I don’t know. Please keep us in your prayers.

Have you ever faced similar decisions? What did you do? 

23 Responses to “Job satisfaction, making enough money, and being close to family”

  1. You’ve demonstrated you guys can live on less than what Shane currently makes- significantly less- so the pay cut would impact really long term goals (like maxing out the 401k) but would not impact your current standard of living. Bloomington’s a great town, and, as you said, I think you can find cheaper housing than what you’re paying now.

    You could also consider moving to Indianapolis, right between both your families, and with better job prospects. I hear there are some pretty cool fellow bloggers that live there, too ;-)

    Joanna’s last blog post..Connor is two!

  2. I think that your happiness is most important. You seem to be incredible at stretching a buck and I think you will be able to be sucessfull in either situation. I would pick the one that brings your family the most happiness.

    Marie’s last blog post..Its O fficial

  3. It sounds like you have a good plan so far, how exciting!

    And remember, whatever new job he takes in Bloomington doesn’t have to be forever, he can always keep looking, but I think being around family is a way bigger factor to happiness than job satisfaction, personally!

    I’d just build up as big of an emergency fund as you can between now and when baby arrives, just in case.

    Tenille’s last blog post..Call Me Ishmael

  4. Kace, I’m going through the same thing, but with fewer complications. I love reporting in Richmond and being so close to family, but living here is neither inspiring nor fun. Every day I think about moving, and when I visit friends in larger cities (YOU, even those in Indianapolis) I think about how wonderful it would be live there, among other young adults. Seems to me it’s the sort of thing where you just have to do what feels right and not look back. What is the thing you think about doing every day? Do it. And make it work. I’m currently working on taking my own advice …

  5. I think happiness with work is a big deal. I stopped teaching when my 1st son was born. For the first 6 months my husband came home almost every day telling me tomorrow he may just quit. It was awful. It got to the point where I would have been happy for him to do that. Luckily he found a job that he loved and was still in the same city (where my family is.) Overnight everything changed because he was happy at work again. So my advice & prayer for you is that your husband finds a job where he is happy. Once that happens everything else will fall into place easier.

    Heather’s last blog post..Don’t plan to loose weight right before a birthday

  6. Kacie, I read your blog daily and occasionally comment, too.

    I’ve lived this exact situation. Exact.

    Two things:

    1) Family is everthing; and

    2) You only have one chance to live life – don’t settle for your second choices if hard work and sacrifice will get you where you want and need to be.

    I’m going to email you offline and share my thoughts so I don’t leave a book here!

  7. As an old person here (46) I’d say birth is pretty unpredictable and a c-section without insurance can ruin you financially. I’d go for the paid-for birth and THEN find the job in Bloomington / Indy. Two years experience on a job can be a big help too. That said, I also know an EXCELLENT head-hunter who might be a help. The employer always pays the fees–not your husband. You can contact me at my email if you’d like that name.

    But, I agree that FAMILY is a very big deal–esp if you’ll be a stay-at-home Mom so you won’t get too isolated.

    And, finally, no one who graduates from IU ever wants to leave Bloomington!! I know–I’ve tried for years to get a job there! My Mom’s family is from there and built many of the homes surrounding the campus!

  8. I agree with most of the other commenters, Kacie. Family is everything…and will become even more so once the baby arrives. I can’t begin to tell you how much you’ll appreciate their help and advice after the baby.

    You guys are great managers of money. If I were in your shoes, I’d begin job hunting in Bloomington or anywhere much closer to home. Shane has the next 35+ years to work. But, you’ve only got one chance to raise this little one near family.

    Good luck with whatever decision you make. I know you will weigh all of your options carefully!

  9. Thanks for your perspective, everyone. It’s nice to know that we’re not totally alone!

    It’s a stressful time, for sure. We’re going to do our best to do this as rationally as possible, so we don’t end up having regrets later.

    Even if we can’t move to Indiana right away, it’s our eventual goal, and perhaps we can get there within a few years at the absolute latest.

    Thanks so much for sharing your stories and offering encouragement!

  10. I become more and more convinced as I get older that following hard after the life you want is really the only way to live. Look hard for jobs – you would be surprised how quickly things can fall into place.

    Kristy’s last blog post..challenge (day three).

  11. Kacie, I was in a very similar situation with the birth our son Goose. The only difference is we were only two hours away from our possible new home, not a day. Let me tell you – happiness is the most important thing. The money situation will fall into place with prayer and trust in God. When we found out I was pregnant, we had to make some decisions about work – we could have stayed where we were with hubby completely miserable in his job, or we could take the plunge and move and pray for the best outcome. We moved two weeks before my due date, and I had to drive two hours each way to my doctors appointments for two months because they wouldn’t let me switch docs so close to the due date. Hubby started work one week before we moved. I was SO SCARED the baby would come before we moved and I’d have to drive two hours away to the hospital where my doctor was. But it all worked out thanks to a lot of prayer. We took the happiness route and let God take care of the rest. And he did. Keep in mind – most group health insurances cover pre-existing conditions. So if you’re husband does get a new job with insurance, you will most likely be covered, so the money for labor and delivery or c-section shouldn’t be much of a problem. And if it is, consider a birthing center, they are much cheaper than hospital births and WAY less likely to result in a c-section. A great video to watch about this is “The Business of Being Born”. It’s excellent. Good luck to you!!! :)

  12. Well, I’m biased, because when I visit home, I’ll have a 99% better chance at seeing you.

    But other than that, really, being happy is the most important, whatever that means to you and Shane. You could consider finances, but you’ll be doing less traveling and I bet things in Indiana (outside of Hamilton County) are just as cheap, if not more so, than Pittsburgh. Maybe Shane will have a shorter (and cheaper) commute and your in-laws can help with babysitting.

    I also agree about the birthing center/doctor thing. I don’t know if Btown has a birthing center, but since you know more people there, you can get a better recommendation for a doctor or midwife that will give you the care you need that will avoid a C-section or other costly, and many times unnecessary, stuff in that department.

    Money isn’t everything, even though you need it, especially with a baby on the way. I somehow don’t see you regretting a move there, as long as it’s what Shane wants for his career, because being happy in your job is SO important.

    Bethany B-A’s last blog post..Weekend in San Fran

  13. I understand your longing to be somewhere and be so far away from family. I grew up in South America, and I missed the States and my grandparents soooo much. But, that’s where God wanted us and now I’m back here. :-) (Of course, I’m not saying that God doesn’t want you in Indiana – that was just our situation.)

    I think there are two ways to look at it: 1) Family is soo important, and I think there is a lot to be said for intentionally staying nearby. 2) In ten years, two years in one place may seem like a blip in the radar. It seems interminable now, but you might find this a really growing time for you. Also, just keep in mind that for Shane’s career it might look better on a resume if he had a few years under his belt. My husband did the same thing – worked for a year and then moved to Atlanta to be with me and started a new job. Everyone told us that he should stay at his current job for several years because otherwise potential employers may consider him a “flight risk”. That doesn’t mean Shane SHOULDN’T get another job now, but it’s just something to keep in the back of your minds!

    ashley @ twentysixcats’s last blog post..time of my life

  14. Your dilemma does sound very difficult. It can be so hard to weigh choices when you have to add in the element of the unknown (job market, housing availability, etc.). I wish you and your husband luck in whichever decision you make. No matter how it turns out, take comfort in the fact that you are making the best choice with the information you have, and you can’t do any better than that!
    Homemaker Barbi

  15. I think I’d pray long and hard for a clear answer before jumping into something. Have you ever done Experieincing God? Might be worth your time before making a huge change in your lives. We’re military and family has never been close- #3 is due any minute- and one assignment was a post-Soviet country for 2 years. Miss them? Sure, but wow, has God filled in the gaps and richly blessed us. I have confidence that God wants nothing more than to give you more than you could even imagine…

  16. Hi Kacie,
    I will keep you in our thoughts and hope Shane gets a job close to home. I think you have to do what will make you guys happy and be near your family.

    I live close to mine and M.B.’s parents and they’ve helped so much with the baby and its a real source of joy for them.

    You two are so financially savvy – you can live on less. Good luck.


    S.B.’s last blog post..Rite Aid Free After Rebate Item – Week of 5/25

  17. I have been checking in to your blog every so often and I have found some helpful tips. I work in downtown PIttsburgh, just like your husband. Honestly, I don’t understand why you can’t get a job outside of the house so that you can help your husband save money for a potential career change. I have been married for two years, and my husband has a good job, and I still work full-time so that I can work with my husband to meet our financial goals. I understand that you’re pregnant. However, I intend to start trying to start a family soon, and I fully intend to keep working after I become pregnant.

  18. I’ll say a little prayer for you. In the end you’ll know what the best decision is for you and your growing family. It just might take a little bit of time to figure it all out.

    Marcy’s last blog post..Our Decision about Sam’s Club

  19. No advice…just lots of prayers and good wishes.

  20. Hey Jennifer,

    Thanks for your concern about our money situation. It’s true that I’m not working outside the home. However, I am working as a freelance writer, and I’m bringing in quite a bit of income from those ventures.

    My husband and I definitely want me to stay at home with our baby, and working from home now will help me get ready for that.

    To each her own. Thanks for reading.

  21. Prioritize happiness over wealth. Certain economic realities cannot be easily ignored but far too many people focus too much on their annual salary. It is one factor but should really be much less important than many make it.

    John Hunter’s last blog post..Economist Challenges Government Data

  22. Hi Kacie,

    I’ve only been reading your blog for a short time now, but having gone through a similar situation 6 years ago, I’d say start working on a plan to move back to Bloomington. as soon as possible. I’m sure you’re husband can find the appropriate job – one he enjoys, pays well and is in or around Bloomington.

    Way back in 2002, my wife and I we’re both working in Toronto (Canada) and really missed our friends and family back in Montreal (about 6 hours away). So we made a plan that whom ever found a job in Montreal first, the other would follow. I was the one who found a position, and though the pay wasn’t as good as in Toronto, I can tell you that it was the best decision we ever took.

    I wish you the best and will look forward to reading that future post of yours on how you’re now living near Bloomington!

    Cheers, from a Canadian fan!


  23. I’m with everyone else – family is so important!

    My husband and I would both enjoy living further south than our cold home in Wisconsin. ALL of our family is here, though, and no amount of warm weather could ever replace them. So, Wisconsinites we will remain :)

    I’ll definitely pray that God will open the doors He wants you to go through and that He will lead you to where you need to be!

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

Keep in Touch!
Like me on Facebook Follow Me on Twitter RSS Feed

Subscribe to my email updates:

Web Statistics