CTRL-Z on my first long-distance move?
June 4, 2012 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Last year, my family uprooted from our long-time location and moved halfway across the country. I moved for the job, she and our kid moved for the location. Now, we want to move back at some point in the near future. I'd like to work for my current group at my employer and do so remotely. How can I best try to accomplish this? There is one friend-related detail to overcome, as well.

The three of us (me, wife, kid) moved from Central time to Pacific time last year. While I wasn't initially big on the idea of moving, I did it to take a new job within my same company while the wife and kid really wanted to go to this new location. The job is awesome and the place is also really good, but it's not as good a fit for us as we hoped. The cost of living is much higher and I only received a small raise to compensate (though I'm paid really well for our old location's costs, and was paid roughly this before the move). Weather in the new locale is too cold for me--I didn't expect that--and it aggravates a non-life-threatening health condition of my wife's. Personally, we can't see ourselves growing old here, but we can in our old region, so we want to relocate back. The timeframe is, ideally, within the next 12 months.

Job details:
- Not everyone in my group works in the same location. Some people (doing different jobs, for which I am qualified, but aren't for my current manager) work from a different office on a different coast. A few others (fewer than 15 in a 150+ employee/contractor group), including one for my manager, work entirely from their homes in different states. My current job involves directly dealing with staff in our location so it can't easily be done remotely, but it might work. I'm performing really well, according to my boss, and I would be willing to change jobs in this group, as well as stay for a few months to work directly with my new peers. How do I best approach him to ask about working remotely, either in my current job or one of the other ones in our group? Do I offer to do things like fly back quarterly (either on the company's dime or mine) or other "showing my face occasionally" tasks up front, or wait for him to ask?

- The company paid to relocate us and all our possessions about a year ago. I do not expect them to relocate us back and will take vacation time to do my own move, but the move did cost several thousand dollars the way they did it. (We'd do it cheaper.) As the relo costs partially came from my group's budget, is there a nice way to navigate this possible sore point or should I even bring it up?

- This is not a question of "I'm leaving, either let me take my job with me or we're done." My current group is awesome, and I have zero interest in going back to my old job in my old location. If my group says I can't go, I will stay with my group for at least the next year without moving. That would be 2 years in this group, which is about the norm for people in my company being in one spot before they move internally, so this timeline wouldn't be unusual. I want to mention that I'm staying with my group (maybe without mentioning a timeframe) regardless of whether I can move when I discuss this with my manager, to show loyalty; is this a good idea?

Special snowflake detail:

- A friend of mine moved with his girlfriend to the same region to do a job with my same group, but he works as a contractor whereas I'm a regular employee. We have been friends for over a decade, and I introduced him to the job he now has. I think I played a small role in getting him to move, though he and his girlfriend moved before my job in the new location was certain. How do I broach this topic with him?

Thank you all, very much.

Anonymous because some coworkers and my friend know my MeFi username. Throwaway e-mail: howtomoveback@fastmail.fm
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total)
I think I played a small role in getting him to move, though he and his girlfriend moved before my job in the new location was certain. How do I broach this topic with him?

It could be worse, I got one of my best friends and his girlfriend to move to another state with us and then we didn’t end up going. He stayed there for a decade, she’s still there. He enjoyed it, but still harasses me.
posted by bongo_x at 10:35 AM on June 4, 2012

Have a conversation with your manager. Mention to him that while you'd love to stay in your job, a family issue makes it more attractive to be back in your old stomping grounds. You don't have to elaborate, just mentioning family issues is like talking about periods with men, manager just back away without probing too much.

Just see if it's possible for you to be remote, if not, that's cool too.

You don't get what you don't ask for.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2012

Wow. Are you me?

This (even another person and their GF moving here) story almost exactly parallels my situation.

I'm excited to see what people say, and glad you asked the question, lol!
posted by roboton666 at 8:28 PM on June 4, 2012

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