Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — My wife has a (lateral) job offer from her firm that necessitates our relocating across the country. We know no one in that state, its job prospects for me are on par with most any other state, we could buy a lot of house there by selling ours here, and we have one preschool child. Here’s the kicker, I want her to pull the trigger more than she seems to want to. She seems satisfied with her work but I think they’re trying to save her job with this offer. I fear she will stay and then get laid off and we need both salaries. We’ve talked and talked but just can’t come to agreement. Suggestions? — Worried Hubby
Dear Worried Hubby,
Since you say you’ve both talked it through so much, let’s not debate the merits of your wife taking this job as you’d like. Let’s have you two honestly explore your individual fears around both her scenarios: accepting and rejecting the offer.
It sounds simple but I like a good pro/con-type list for such quandries, and especially if I’m in one with someone else. Writing it out will help you two see your own and each other’s underlying fears more clearly and completely, and that allows you both to connect the dots to your actual line items of financial impact, realistic stability of her company/current job, your age(s) to starting over elsewhere, the tax benefits between your current versus a more inexpensive home, and so much more. I am suggesting this list be developed and written as objectively as possible, and using different color pens will help you see each other’s points all the clearer.
Your primary challenge is not to be right, but to untangle the emotions from this situation, to make the best decision for your family together you know how.
More teamwork, less worry,
Dear Worried Hubby,
There is more to moving than the bottom line. I get what your concerns are, and they are valid. However, I think you may be overlooking your wife’s concerns.
Yes, you can have more house, but your salary in this new place is not guaranteed. And the amount of that salary will probably be commensurate with the state, as opposed to what you are making now where you are. Also, you will have no support. That may not seem like much now, but no one to ask for last minute help. No one to invite over for pizza, beer and communing that you know you can let down all your pretenses with and just hang. Babysitters, schools, friends will all have to be vetted again in the hopes of carving out a niche in a community you can really feel at home in. You are ready to make this leap, but my guess is, your wife may not be as ready to be cut adrift in a strange new place.
Perhaps you two can work out how you are both feeling about your options in a couple of lists. One lists is your pro and con list on moving, another is hers. The next list is ideas for making it work if you stay and she gets laid off. Another may be lists of possible job opportunities and starting salaries in the new state. Get a better sense of all the factors. Do you know % of joblessness in the new state vs. where you are? Do you know whether there are more jobs in your wife’s field or yours? Who will have an easier time finding new work?
Both of you should start applying to jobs—she should look where you are now and you should look in this new place. See who starts to get positive feedback. Maybe she finds work where you are now, doesn’t have to give up her community and you two don’t need to incorporate the chaos of moving into your lives. Or maybe you get some great results from your new job search and spark her interest. Seems like you both need more real world research to know what the best choice is.
I know you are worried and looking for the best possible outcome for your family. Trust that your wife is as well. Now, investigate so you can make decisions based on real world opportunities rather than unrealized fears. It’s the best way to put that worry energy to good use and limit regret.
Mantra: We both want what is best for the family. We will not react from fear, but from knowns. If we act together, we can make it through whatever changes are ahead because we are a family.
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