To move or not to move asks:
My husband and I have been talking about moving from the city where I did my PhD to my hometown. This move would result in us going more than halfway across the country.
We have two kids (baby and toddler).
Here are the factors we’re considering:
- My husband has a very well paying, fairly secure job that he enjoys for the most part.
- I am currently on maternity leave, but the position was a contract position and it ends before my maternity leave ends. I do not have a job to go back to, and am looking at a career change. My latest position was not a post-doc, but it was related to my PhD field. Unfortunately, my PhD field is one in which there are not that many obvious direct paths from academia to industry, but it’s also freeing in that there’s no just one part of the country that has all the jobs related to my PhD.
- Neither of us has job prospects in hometown at the moment (though we’re always looking).
- We don’t have family or many close friends in PhD city. In hometown, we’d automatically have family (my parents, brother/his wife, aunt/uncle, cousin, grandmother) and close friends nearby – it would be an instant support system that we don’t have here.
- Hometown is also closer to husband’s family (next state over instead of across the country) – makes for easier and less expensive visits.
- We love our house and neighborhood in PhD city. We don’t love PhD city or the area of the country, but it’s okay. It seems to be a good place to raise a young family.
- Hometown is an amazing city with lots to do in and nearby.
- Weather in PhD city is better overall – milder/shorter winters, warmer/long spring/summer/falls (winters in hometown is what bothers husband the most).
Cost of living
- So much more reasonable in PhD city. We bought our house in PhD city for $250K, and the equivalent in an equivalent neighborhood in hometown would be about $700K-$1M.
So, my questions are:
- How in the world do we make this decision?
- What factors are the most important? Are we missing any?
- If we do decide to move, what factors needs to be taken care of beforehand?
Wow, that’s a lot of discussion. It’s hard for us to advise you on this decision because we have always moved for the job. That’s why we’re both living in red states where we get to choose between the libertarian candidate and the tea-party Republican. Fun times. But most people stay close to home and family and support networks, so it’s not like you’re talking crazy talk.
Ultimately this is a very personal decision. We’d advise you to make a list of pros and cons like you’ve done, but only you can weigh the job uncertainty vs. the desire to move back near family vs. the weather, etc.
Just straight off, it’s hard to see a good reason to move to PhD city without employment in place. Your DH likes his job and doesn’t have a new one lined up and the new city is really expensive. Unless you’re independently wealthy, there could be some pretty strong risks to moving without a job. Even though it’s usually easier to find a new job in a city after you’ve moved there. But you two should definitely both keep seeking out employment opportunities in Hometown– once there’s an actual job you’ll be able to do actual salary vs. cost of living vs. happiness calculations. If your DH hated his job, then there would be more reason to jump ship without a backup plan in place, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Still, you may weigh other factors (like family) heavier in your decision and be less risk averse than we are. Also #1 hates winters too.
#2 adds: If you don’t hate PhDCity and are just homesick, then stay put. If you hate PhDCity, which it doesn’t sound like you do, it might be worth moving anyway. Really though the two of you need to do more research about job options before we can give more solid advice– the job is a big missing piece, especially if PhDCity is the cheap place to live. You would have to get HELLA free childcare and HELLA cheaper travel to family to make up for the COL increase.
Factors: Get jobs. Get a decent rental you can stand. Childcare. Vaccinations. Find schools. Find a new pediatrician. Consider your cars/pets. Moving is the very very worst. You may find cheaper rates in the off-season (not summer). Moving across the country will make you nuts.
Grumpy Nation, surely you can give a better response here than we did. Help 2mon2m out!