Relocating without jobs waiting for us?
January 18, 2011 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Should we pick up and move simply because we want to live somewhere else? I'm not much of a risk-taker but I'm afraid we'll get stuck here if we don't roll the dice and attempt to live the dream. (Also, it's expensive to live in NYC while looking for jobs elsewhere.)

My boyfriend and I are both job hunting. I'm currently employed and he's been out of work for a few weeks. We live in New York but are both very interested in moving elsewhere. He was hoping to be transferred to Seattle as part of his previous position, but it didn't pan out. We are hoping that one of us will find a job (in a great new city - possibly Seattle, but we have some other ideas, too), but it's proving difficult. [This previous AskMeFi was us. Since then, we are both sure that we want to try living somewhere else.]

Should we think about taking a gamble and relocating ourselves before we find jobs? I know it's risky in this job market, but one of us has nothing to lose.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure about quitting my job. It makes me miserable and I'm totally underpaid, but it is regular income with benefits. I'd worry about giving up that little bit of stability for the unknown. I should add that I'm planning on a career change, which might include going back to school (at least part-time).

Living in NYC on my meager salary + his unemployment can't last forever. We really don't want to eat through our savings here. Part of me feels like we need to take a risk to get ahead. It's very difficult to find a job in City X when you live in City Y.

If I were on my own, I probably wouldn't hesitate to take a chance and move (that's how I got to NYC six years ago). But it seems more daunting for a couple to do it as a unit and have someone else depend on me to find a job right away (and vice versa). We're both smart people with marketable skills, but we want jobs that are truly a good fit, not just the first opportunities that come along. Obviously, that makes the job search more challenging from any location.

Any advice, personal experiences, fresh perspectives, etc would be greatly appreciated.
posted by pourtant to Work & Money (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The best question to aks in cases like this is, what's the absolute worst that can happen?

You get there, neither of you finds any work and you run through all your savings. Then what? I doubt you would be literally on the street. The worst case is probably you move back with your folks until things work themselves out.

I say, if the risk isn't too great, go for it. Let's face it, we may in "this economy" for quite a while yet, and you only live once.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:58 PM on January 18, 2011

Well, it sounds like you need to move, and it sounds like NY is not working out: your partner lost his job, you're unhappy with your job, the city is expensive, and your're probably going to eat up your savings.

Will you miss it if you leave? Can you see yourself spending the next 5 years there? Then what? Will you buy a condo?

If you can't it's better to start planning NOW rather than later for your great escape.

It will be challenging. Lots of people want to live in places like Seattle or Portland, so it may be difficult to find a job. Can you enroll in classes for the fall in Seattle?

It is a risky move. Either one of you could find it hard to get a job. But what's the goal here? If the goal is to live in Seattle or wherever, make that the goal, and make everything else support that goal.

So, if your partner can't get a job in his field, maybe he could do something else while he looks. If it isn't an ideal job, reassure yourself that it's supporting the goal of moving to Seattle, and eventually finding that ideal job.

Give yourself three years after moving to Seattle.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:19 PM on January 18, 2011

I have friends that did this, but they figured out the job situation first. Although they were only searching for jobs in places they wanted to live so they had narrowed it down already so it wasn't like they were all over the place. They had 2 young kids at the time too and most family was where they were moving FROM. They have since integrated nicely into their new location and love that they decided to move from a more expensive place to a more affordable place that offered an even better quality of life all the way around.

You could always sell or store you non-essential crap and then at least be nimble during the job search. Get a cheap short term rental somewhere, maybe a furnished place somewhere you think you might want to move...try it out. You don't have to spend a lot of money to do this and it sounds like anything might be cheaper than NYC rent.

Just some thoughts...
posted by thorny at 11:36 PM on January 18, 2011

While slowly losing grip of this one unattainable dream your are missing out on accomplishing so many others. One of the hardest and best decisions I ever made was to let go of my New York dreams. Opened up so many opportunities I never would have had.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:49 PM on January 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks. These are really good points.

We don't have any real problems living here. We're both just ready for something other than New York. My boyfriend has lived here his whole life, I've been here most of my adult life and we just want to see some stars at night, have access to trees that aren't in Central Park, and maybe have a car. In many ways, I do feel like I fulfilled my "New York dreams" already and I was seriously contemplating moving even before we became a couple.

I think it's more that we know there's a another chapter for us somewhere else and we want to start it!
posted by pourtant at 5:42 AM on January 19, 2011

He's unemployed, you're underemployed, you're living somewhere very expensive, it sounds like you have no kids, and you both want a change. I would figure out a place where you both would like to live that has the most promising combination of job market and cost of living, and go for it. I don't see why it's more daunting for a couple than for just one of you, as long as there are places where you both have reasonable job prospects.

I'd pack lightly though, and not try to accumulate much stuff or think of this as your new permanent home, until you figure out what you'd both like to be doing for the next few years.
posted by chickenmagazine at 9:21 AM on January 19, 2011

Response by poster: I'm not sure I'd describe myself as underemployed, because it's a full-time gig with benefits. I'm just not paid very well (for someone with my experience, with NYC cost of living) and there's no chance of a raise. Basically, for me, it's a dead end, so I'm not invested in it at all.

But at least I have health insurance. That's a huge concern to me. It's probably the one thing that has kept me from quitting in the past.
posted by pourtant at 10:21 AM on January 19, 2011

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