Posted by: Kevin | November 16, 2006

Just a Short Break While I Reevaluate My Life

Not that anyone cares, but I haven’t been writing for the past week now because I’m in South Carolina right now visiting my in-laws.  I’m also trying to decide whether to pick my whole family up and move here.  The last time I had to make a decision this hard was choosing a grad school.  Since then, my big decisions have all been cases of choosing the best available option, when the best available option was obvious.  Now, the best available option isn’t so clear. 

My situation in New York State is becoming difficult.  While my career at The Giant IT Company has gone well, my pay hasn’t reflected that.  At the same time, a larger family, increasing taxes and inflation are all taking up larger and larger chunks of my income.  Neither my wife, nor I, have family close by and I have no roots in my community.  Staying where we are just isn’t a good choice.

But what does it mean to go to South Carolina?  Our cost of living will decline, but so will my prospects for getting more income.  Even though my salary has stagnated in New York my career hasn’t.  Moving to SC would likely change that.  I’m worried I’ll become the “out of sight, out of mind” guy.  I don’t lose sleep at night thinking about becoming a VP.  I do lose sleep at night because my family is dependent on my income and a layoff would be devastating. 

On the flip side, I’d have a bigger safety net in SC.  The lower cost of living would enable my wife and I to save more.  Living close to my wife’s family would open up more possibilities for my wife to work (day care is too damn expensive).  I might even be able to kiss corporate America goodbye one day.  Weird as it sounds, moving here is the higher risk, higher reward move.

The one fact that I cant get around is that I’ll be leaving my own family far behind.  For the most part, they live in the Boston area.  That’s already 3 – 4 hours away from my current home.  It would be 16+ hours away from SC.  So instead of seeing some member of my family every other month or so, I’d be seeing them once or twice a year.  That’s tough to take.

Despite that, it’s looking more and more like I’m heading South.  I’d rather take the chance on improving the lot of my family, than stay where I am and stagnate.  This is a big move though and in the short term, it will be a one way ticket.  Either the real estate market or my finances would have to change significantly before a move from South to North is economically feasible. 

This ties in with my largest remaining obstacle, inertia.  Change this big is scary.  Change, without the possibility of changing my mind later is really scary.  It’s easier to stay where I am and hope for the best.  It’s easier to keep playing the same corporate game, even if I’m not winning.  It’s easier to die by inches, to watch my income become slowly eroded and my free time get sucked up as I move up the corporate ladder.  It’s the path of least resistance.  But I’m looking down the path and I don’t like what I see.  So it’s time to move and embrace the unknown.

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At Least They Finally Got Rid of The Navy Jack

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