Interview in a city I don't live in-- what to do? (College graduate edition.)
posted by stoneandstar to work & money (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm currently working as a teller at a bank in my hometown, where I moved temporarily after college to save money and take care of some debts. In actuality, jobs were scarce, and I was unemployed for 8+ months and got even further in debt trying to stay afloat. This was bumming me out pretty badly until recently, when I was finally hired at my current bank job. As of right now I have no savings (haven't gotten my first paycheck yet) and about $300/mo. in bills. I don't pay rent at the moment. My plan was to live at home saving money and paying off debts for another 6 months to a year-- I applied to some paid internships across the country for the summer, which I would take if I got in, but as they're quite competitive I've been planning as though I will be at home for awhile.
During my period of unemployment I was applying mostly to jobs at home but also occasionally to jobs in my (ex-)College City, where my boyfriend and I are planning to move next fall. The original plan was for me to get on my feet financially at home and then make the move to College City next September. However, since I was having such poor luck at home in the last few months, I thought I would try my luck applying there instead, even while living long-distance. As luck would have it, right before I was hired at my current job at home, I applied for a job in the city that fit my past work experience very well. The job is seemingly secure, full-time, and pays about twice as much as my current teller job. It's a Real Job in ways that my teller job isn't. I just got an e-mail today asking if I could attend an in-person interview this week. The interview would be in my college city, about 500 miles away.
I'm conflicted; I really am excited about the job, but on the other hand, I literally JUST settled into my current relief about being newly employed. More significantly, I live about 500 miles away-- to attend an interview this week I would either have to pay about $400 in airfare (don't have it! could borrow it) or about $150 in bus/train fare + hours on a bus and hours of sleeplessness. I would also miss one or two days of work at my current job for travel.
I've thought about e-mailing them that I'm currently out of town, but could schedule an interview early the week after next (cheaper airfare), and that I'm also available for Skype or phone interviews during this week. However, I know that's basically like painting the words "high-maintenance" on my application and most likely will cut my chances down.
I'm lacking any real adult wisdom or guidance on this matter (my parents don't really get why I'd want Job #2, though it's on my career track, while bank tellering is not). Plus, I grew up in a rural/poor community and don't really understand the norms of the career path, so I have no idea whether flying to an interview like this is supremely stupid or something people do all the time. Basically I want to know, what would you, the reader, would do-- blow money on the expensive airfare and show up fresh and on time, send an e-mail asking for slightly alternate arrangements, try to finagle a shuttle-bus-plane route that will save money but result in 36 very unhappy hours, or just wait until my situation is more stable (this fall) and I can move comfortably to my target city?
This job does seem uniquely tailored to me at my current level of experience, plus it's working for an organization I'd love to work for, but it's not exactly a prestigious foot-in-the-door at my dream job or anything. Rather, it would provide a year or two of professional experience which is difficult to get at the entry-level, if I were to get a job offer-- and would provide a much higher salary, making it easier to save + pay down debts + live comfortably with my boyfriend. But blowing $400 just seems stupid, especially if I bomb the interview-- I'm going to feel like an idiot. But I spend much of my life feeling like an idiot who Tried, so maybe Trying is my thing.
(In terms of moving to the city if I did get the job, I have friends/a boyfriend to crash with until I'm able to get on my feet, so I'm not worried about what comes after the job-- just what the least stupid thing to do is after being offered an interview.)
I would say that my goals right now are to 1) gain experience on my tentative career track, 2) amass savings and pay off some of my minor debts, and 3) move in with my boyfriend in College City. Bank tellering is a pretty sweet gig for someone who was expecting to be earning minimum wage after 8 mos. of unemployment, but I'm not interested in finance or sticking in my hometown much longer, and the pay isn't that much better than minimum wage. The interview job is with an organization affiliated with my college, and advertised the job through our career network.
Just to say in advance, there's no rail service between my (rural) hometown and the city-- there's a Greyhound route (12 hours), and a shuttle + Megabus route (roughly the same time cost but cheaper). I can't drive, unfortunately, and airfare is a little steep because I'm flying out of such a small airport. Is there a solution I'm forgetting? Also, sorry this is more an I'm-a-recent-graduate-how-do-I-live-in-the-world question than a professional/work question.
Thanks so much, everyone.