Should I go for the better job with less security?
June 19, 2014 7:55 AM Subscribe
I work at an emotionally taxing job, and sometimes I take a frustrated, depressed attitude home with me. A job that appears to be in a much better work environment has opened up a few cities away. Should I go for the job that will probably make me much happier at work but reduce the amount of quality time I have with my family, or should I stay where I am and just learn to deal with the stress there in a healthier way?
posted by Chuck Barris to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a teacher at a high poverty urban school. Many of our students come to us several grade levels below where they should be, and our school has a culture where there are not clear consequences for disrespect towards teachers or failure to perform academically. After spending several years here, I decided that I eventually want to leave this job for something better. I'm come to accept that while I can have some positive impact on my students' lives, it's not likely to be greater than the cumulative effects of poverty, witnessing violence, drug abuse, etc. I sometimes feel very frustrated by the work, and there are days when I come home emotionally drained and depressed. I want to be a good husband and a good father figure to my young stepson, and I know I'm not able to do that when I let the stress of the job get to me.
I've recently learned of a job opening at a suburban school in a district with a good academic reputation that's about an hour away from my home. There would be a tiny raise involved, and I'd be going to what most teachers would consider a much better job. I'm very interested in taking a job that promises to be much more emotionally rewarding and far less stressful, but there are a few things making me hesitant about applying.
First, I'd lose my tenure. I've been my family's only breadwinner since my wife lost her job about two years ago. I'm not sure when she will find another job (believe me, she is trying), or how we would pay the bills if I lost mine. Second, my round trip commute time would be about two hours a day. This would make it very difficult for me not to take work home, and would reduce the amount of time I spend with my family, which is extremely important to me. Third, I'm not sure if my family will be able to move to the city anytime soon due to my wife's shared custody arrangement with her ex-husband, who lives in the same city we do. Even if there were no legal hurdles, I would feel bad about making it harder for them to see each other. Finally, I'm worried that the new job might surprise me and turn out to be stressful and frustrating as well, in which case I would just be adding the new stresses of job insecurity and a long commute to all the old ones.
My wife has told me that she would support me in whatever I decided, so I'm trying to think all of this through. Do I go for the somewhat risky new job with the long commute, or should I stick with the security of my current job and just try to handle the stress in a healthier way?