Thursday, November 19, 2009

no one said the road getting there would be easy

I'm taking a quick break from packing, and guzzling a packet of Emergen-C every 20 minutes, to provide an update on our potential South Carolina move. Because I know at least Margaret is interested and Anne Marie is standing by waiting to make celebratory confections.


Someone asked me the other day what was the primary reason I wanted to move back to the east coast. And for the first time, it really came to me.

I want to move because I want change. I want to stop working because I can see - so clearly - that taking care of a family and home (in the way that *I* want to take care of my family and home) is a full time job. And although my husband does an amazing job of it, I would do things differently. Not better per se, just differently. Plus, if I stay home, that will give Charlie an opportunity to really go for it with his career.

I want to move because I want to be settled before the children start school. Or, I at least want the option of being home so that I could home school them, if that's something we decide. I want to move to be closer to my mom and Aunt Grace. And while I know that mom has Jim and Auntie has an abundance of her own family nearby, being closer to those two women at this stage in my life - and in their lives - is suddenly very, very important to me.


Charlie received his formal offer letter yesterday and if we were able to support our family of six on a salary that is on par with what one of us was making 13 years ago when we graduated with our Masters degrees, and if we were willing to accept a benefit package that included absolutely no vacation time for the first year, we would be on that job like white on rice.

The upside to that job is that there is tremendous potential for exposure and Charlie might be able to grow his consulting business to great proportions. The downside is zero vacation time for the first year and a salary that would make me stretch my mind in inconceivable ways to save a dime. Probably not a bad thing, but it is quite scary for someone who is currently addicted to having Netflix movies delivered to their mailbox several times each week.


So. Now we're going to .... I have no idea what.

Thankfully, we love a good challenge and we're not ready to give up, just yet.

Who knows? Maybe if I started blog advertising, that would at least help offset the cost of a Blockbuster rental once a month.


  1. I say, go for it! (only cuz it's not me...)

  2. Start blog advertising ASAP. There is no reason why you shouldn't be making some money off your wonderful blog like so many other bloggers do. You are providing something of immense value to so many of your readers and you should be compensated for it if possible. You are an amazing writer and photographer and this endeavor obviously takes up a lot of your time, so why NOT make some money off of it?

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  3. Okay, here's the thing. You can't compare the salary for the new job to your current salary. The cost of living in South Carolina is NOWHERE near the cost of living in San Diego!! You need to do more research before turning down the offer. If you factor in the dramatic difference in cost of living, the new salary offer MAY WELL be comparable to what you are making now. Think about it!

    Your fellow Winthrop grad (and Phelps dorm) and triplet mom lurker friend from South Carolina,,


  4. Remember that the cost of living is likely to be much lower in S.C. Housing especially will probably seem ridiculously cheap compared to CA.

    We moved 10 years ago, for a variety of reasons, but they included being closer to family and so that I could stay home with my kids. Just last year my DH started making as much as I was making when we moved. But I don't regret it for a minute. And we found that having one person home full time meant we could cut some expenses. And, yeah, we took only cheap vacations (camping and visiting family) and only ate out maybe once a month. But I was amazed at how much we could save when we put our mind to it.

    Good luck.

  5. The need for change? Jen, I am going through the same thing right now. In fact, the reason I am renovating my kitchen is so I can sell this house....because I desperately need a change in my life. Some change. Any change. You and Charlie will NOT regret this move. Change is good. Wait...change is great.


  6. Just remember that cost of living where you would be moving is much less than Southern California. You can do it on less, if anyone could, you can. And no vacation time for a year is just a a year from now it wouldn't seem like that big of a deal. You keep talking about how family is the most important thing in your life....this would take you closer to family. I think deep down you KNOW you could do this. You could always spin wool on the side to make some extra cash :)

  7. Jen, go for it. Seriously. Not having vacation for one year? Could it be worth the possibilities of business growth that might come through with this opportunity? Who knows where this will take you. In the meantime, you're closer to family!

    *And I'm sitting here biting my own nails over a similar decision that is going to take a HUGE leap of faith, so I'm probably not the best person to take advice from.* Oh, and that crazy thing I mentioned in a previous post...I think we both are. I have NO perspective. LOL!

  8. OK, OK so I realize that the cost of living in SC is less than CA, but to put it in perspective, my current job in CA pays about 250% more than the job in SC. The cost of living isn't THAT much less there.

    Sometimes salaries aren't great, but benefits make up for it. Or vice versa. In this case, the salary and benefit package STINK. Even though we could definitely live on less, that would be a significant shock to the system.

    Sure, we could live for a year w/o any "vacation time" but accepting this position would be a HUGE step back. Charlie has almost 20 years of experience in the industry - which translates to around 4 to 5 weeks of vacation a year. To go from that to 0 time off >> and then next year, accrue only 2 weeks and not another week for 5 years is CRAZY.

    While I don't want my choices to be solely influenced by money, IT REALLY DOES MATTER. Especially when you consider we have four growing children who will be going to college at approximately the same time. SURE, things might work out just fine - but to not have any guarantees is too great of a risk, in my opinion.

    Moreover, Charlie and I have discussed it and we've both decided we'd really like to retire.

    Hopefully before we're 105.

  9. When I was 18 I left home and swore that I WOULD NEVER RETURN to this God-forsaken town above the Arctic Circle. Cause, you know, it sucked.

    Now I'm thirty two and I totally LOVE living here. My husband made me stay and he loves it. I love it. My kids love it. And all the "bad" things that happen are completely overshadowed by all the good that we have here. Eskimo Culture, heritage, FAMILY, etc.

    I totally understand!

    By the way, Kotzebue is OFFICIALLY the most expensive place to live in America, according to the Government. Apparently our cost of living is so high that you'd have to make a MINIMUM of $60K a year to even afford a one bedroom apartment.

    Its even more expensive than New York City. Sheesh.

    Anyway...the benefits outweigh everything else.

    Move. :) You'll be happy you did.

  10. What does Charlie want?

  11. Not sure if you have tried this, but at the large company I worked for, there were people with larger vacations at previous job (4 weeks) who quietly negotiated with their new bosses that they would only take the job if the vacation time was comparable. Deals were worked out that while 2 weeks was in the HR system, the bosses would allow additional time off and record it some other way. Also, is this a first offer letter? Like not best and final? I like the career advice on, not that I have actually used it. I think they had something on accepting offers recently. I realize some companies are completely inflexible on these sorts of matters, but others can bend rules etc when asked.

    We moved to a *more* expensive area last year on about 50% of my total compensation (not what I wanted to do, but I did not want to break up our family over it). Then the currency tanked and it's now about 30% of what I made. Oh, and it's a higher tax rate too.

    I have had some problems getting used to the reduced circumstances, but it is mostly manageable.

    One thing to keep in mind before making a move, whatever issues you have before the move, they will come with you. Unless they are purely weather/location related.

    Wow, I would so love it if my significant other supported home schooling. You have such a great family, you will make it wherever you decide to be.

    Anyway, follow your hearts and your dream.

  12. It's going to be hard to move. First, there's all that STUFF to move, and second, you have to get all of you out there. Sometimes it's a blessing being near family, other times (MOST TIMES) it's a huge curse...but that's wishes!

  13. My only question is:

    How did Charlie push the stroller back up the hill?

    Change is great. And raising kids the way you want to is wonderful. I would totally do that (leaving big job, moving close to family) if I were you and if the husband is onboard.

  14. Anon @ 1:52PM: I don't know. Let me ask him.

    "Hey Charlie. Love, what do YOU want to do?"

    "I want to lay down and take a nap."

    "Nooo! I mean what do you want to do about the whole moving thing? What do you think is the right thing to do?"

    "I would love to do it - it sounds like a really fun adventure. But, it needs to meet our family financial requirements. If I'm going to be the primary breadwinner I need to make a decent income. I can't take an 80% cut in pay for this job."

    Finnskimo: HOLY SMOKES. That's CRAZY!!! It's got to be the electricity. Or food. Or whatever needs to be imported for people to survive. So, I'm guessing you don't have a Trader Joe's? :)

  15. Julia -

    Actually I pushed the stroller back up the hill. Charlie carried Henry on his shoulders. And the triplets whined THE WHOLE WAY because they didn't understand why they couldn't ride.

    Wait until I post the pictures of our children's reaction to the hike we took. They are hilarious.

  16. Well, I got nothin...except that I can't wait to hear about what you guys decide. I wish you the best!! :))

  17. Oh, good luck. I am so rooting for you!

  18. You can't negotiate vacation and salary? Really? Doesn't sound like it's worth it to me! Never go with the first offer!

  19. LB: If it was a company-type position, than yes, he could absolutely negotiate salary & benefits.

    But this is a position that is being financed by a federally funded grant. Soooo. What's there is what's there and that's all that's there.

  20. Jenn, why don't you counter the offer? Tell them what you will accept. If you are going to turn it down anyway, what do you have to lose?

  21. YES! I am interested!! See. I'm here - checking in...although I feel like I'm on a roller coaster ride!

    A better offer will come. Your a plugger - it'll work. If not, move to Tahiti -- lots of us will come and visit you there. We won't even need a marathon! ;-) Just think Charlie and Reiner can retire together. Reiner is planning on retiring at 90 so it works! It'll be great sipping MiTi's, etc. ;-)

    Good luck on the walk and stay healthy. Hope to talk to you next week. Love, Marg.

  22. Just my 2 cents...if you ever do decide to quit your job I think you should at least work part time in fundraising. You are great at it and seem to be passionate about it so I think would be a great fit for you and the benefits for the world would be great! :-)

  23. Just wanted to say I'm thinking about you guys during the 3 Day. I hope it is going great!

    On the moving front, I can sympathize because I was in a similar position a couple of years ago. After months and months of agonizing over wanting to be home with my oldest even though I was the primary breadwinner and trying to hash it out ourselves, I finally turned it over to God in prayer on my long drive home one afternoon. That same day my DH greeted me at the door with the news that he was being deployed for a year with the ARMY. It was not the answer I was looking for, but it was the start of my SAHM journey and now that we have four girls I can't imagine being anywhere but here at home with them. I don't think I'm cut out for homeschooling, but fortunately we've still got some time to decide.

  24. We will have the biggest party you ever saw if you do come home.

  25. Advertise anyway. You can use it to fund your fundraising or to support you family or a combo.