At the crossroads
August 23, 2011 12:01 PM   Subscribe

My family and I are at a crossroads where we will soon have the flexibility to change our life to whatever extent we want. How do we decide?

My husband works for Borders, and will be losing his job at the end of September. We'd like to turn this into a positive and use this opportunity to make a big change.

Moving: We'd like to move, but we'd also be okay staying where we are, as long as he is able to find another and better job. But, the thought of moving somewhere completely different and getting a fresh start is very appealing. Madison's COL is sky-high for the Midwest, and we'd like to try somewhere a bit more reasonable.

School: I have a good job in my field, but it is very very part-time, and I'd like to be working full-time when both my children are in school. I have a music education degree, but have no desire to actually teach again. I'd like to get into a field that is growing and easy to find a job in, like IT or something (nice and specific, eh?). But I'm wondering if this would be a good time to go back to school. My husband would also like to go back to school for library sciences.

Caveats: my health issues, both mental and physical. However, I think a fresh start could be beneficial for my mental health. Also, our entire families are in the Midwest.

So, hive-mind, what do you think? Is this the time to make these changes?
posted by altopower to Human Relations (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cleveland? The job market is iffy, but there are fantastic hospitals and a number of very strong library systems.

(Caveat: You might want to have your husband check out the "should I become a librarian" threads on Metafilter. Hint: responses are similar to the "should I go to law school" threads, just with smaller numbers.)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:05 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Get the best job for one of you first, then move to where that is.
posted by inturnaround at 12:12 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Do you have enough savings that you can both go back to school without debt? Otherwise I would definitely not do this.

What don't you like about where you live now? What are you looking for in a new place?
posted by desjardins at 12:17 PM on August 23, 2011

Step one: without talking to each other further, each of you write down the top ten things you'd love to be doing, and place you'd love to be doing it in, on a piece of paper. Pull no punches -- if it is "become a professional monkey wrangler and have no permanent address, getting around in a 70s camper van", write it down.

Step two: review each other's papers, and laugh/discuss.

Step three: look for specific commonalities. "You want to be a monkey wrangler, and I want to be a monkey wrangler!"

Step four: look for compatible commonalities: "You want to live in a camper van, and I want to have a camper van for road-trip vacations!"

Step five: after pruning down to the ones in step three and four, prune out any that aren't at least vaguely practical. "It turns out you have to have a PhD and be a doctor of veterinary science to be a monkey wrangler, and you don't want those things, so that's out."

What you have left -- if you have anything left -- is (hopefully) a common dream. And perhaps it is not one you can realize directly. But you can then take a step together in that direction (such as buying the camper van) knowing that, with all other things being equal, you've improved both your lives for the better.
posted by davejay at 12:32 PM on August 23, 2011 [17 favorites]

Response by poster: davejay, that's a great idea, and we will definitely be doing that.

desjardins: No, we'd need loans to go back to school; however, what I'd been thinking was that I'd go first since I'd need less school and it would be at a technical school rather than a traditional 4-year. Then after I was done, I'd be working and we could save for him to go back. As far as our feelings about Madison...we like it here, but it's an expensive place to live; I think it just comes down to us wanting to be somewhere new. We've gone through a hell of a lot in the last couple of years, and a fresh start would be incredible.
posted by altopower at 1:18 PM on August 23, 2011

Ah, I didn't realize you lived in Madison. Your previous question mentioned living in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, have you ever been to Montana? I grew up in Milwaukee and went to college in Montana, and it's a breath of fresh air. The winters are actually better than here since you don't have as much humidity (makes the summers nicer too). Missoula has a similar culture to Madison (liberal, young). However, jobs are going to be a problem, and I don't know what medical care is like.
posted by desjardins at 1:48 PM on August 23, 2011

Response by poster: We actually do live in the boonies...teeny town about 20-30 minutes from Madison. We both work in Madison, though, and do most of our social stuff there.
posted by altopower at 3:10 PM on August 23, 2011

Texas is one of the few places where the economy has not been too bad in recent years and there has been some new job creation. It's been a while since I've checked, but usually when they rank the best cities to find jobs, more than half of the cities are in Texas. Lots of schools, good mix or rural and urban living, and the cost of living is a bit cheaper than most places. Might be a good spot to look at relocating to.

And not to derail the question, but looking at your previous question concerning your health issues, most of not all of the symptoms you describe are signs of moderate dehydration.
posted by Yorrick at 4:01 PM on August 23, 2011

Response by poster: I looked at Missoula housing on Craigslist and it does seem a bit cheaper than here. Not sure on the job sitch there yet.

Texas is an interesting thought...I'll have to check areas of that out. I'd hope that we northerners wouldn't just melt away there!
posted by altopower at 9:27 AM on August 24, 2011

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