Moving and job regrets
August 26, 2018 4:15 AM   Subscribe

It's been a month since I moved for a job, and I'm dealing with feelings of persistent regret and sadness over the move. Everything feels overwhelming and bad at the moment, and I want some help in dealing with next steps.

I moved for a job because my old contract was coming to an end and because I hate being unemployed it seemed like "the right" choice. I was very conflicted about leaving because of good friends/beginning of a relationship in old place.

I thought the job would be good and at least the right step professionally, but it's not. I'm so unhappy with the job. It's a lot of admin-type work and sorting through legal documents.

I wake up feeling like someone has punched me in the chest most mornings and have to try very hard not to cry in my way into work. I haven't been sleeping well either, which is making emotional self-regulation more difficult.

I think all the time about just moving back to old town and quitting this job.

Even when I have a good time, like I met up with a friend for drinks in new town last night, the feeling of sadness hits me shortly afterward.

I feel so lost and conflicted and unhappy. What should I do next?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is it too far to commute from old town to new town?

Can you start applying for jobs in old town?
posted by chr at 4:49 AM on August 26, 2018

It's only been a month. Have you given new town a fair shake? If it's not too exorbitant cost-wise to move back, then go for it. If that's what you really want.

When I was in a similar situation, I hated it when I first moved to new town. In the quiet moments when I was alone, I was sad and scared of the unknown, unsure how to make it in new town. I hadn't known how to stay and start about making a new place a home. But I knew I made the choice and I had to see it through. I knew that this was me growing and stepping out of my comfort zone. I saw it as a challenge to myself and I wasn't going to give up on me.

I'm so grateful I stayed. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. I grew to love and miss new town whenever I've gone to visit family in old town and longing to be home. Old town is no longer my home and seems so much smaller now in comparison. I'm still trying to figure out my next steps and working on a career path that makes sense for me, but I'm grateful I took the chance that I did. Listen to that sad voice and find out if it's a comfort zone thing and missing the easy and known, or if it's that you're truly miserable. Are there things you can change? Like getting a new job? Or that you can't change? Like people, weather, or traffic?

Pros and cons list can sometimes put things in perspective. I think I've read on here that it takes 2 years to feel like a new place is a home, depending on the person and situation, IIRC. Good luck, follow your path and go confidently in the direction of your dreams as some person once said quote and all that. You can do this, trust yourself.
posted by lunastellasol at 5:47 AM on August 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

I felt like that for the first six months or so after I moved for my current job. I even saw a therapist about it. She gave me lots of homework relating to putting down new roots. Like, identifying various things I loved about my old town and finding replacements here. One week my homework was to go at least three times to a really great ice cream parlour near my work and try a bunch of different flavours. I think this sort of thing, although it seems totally superficial, is really important.

That said, your new job sounds objectively kind of terrible, so in your place I'd be job hunting again/still too. Don't leave without a new option, though. And staying long enough to find a new job will give you time to untangle how much of your unhappiness is a kind of homesickness and how much is actually about the job.
posted by lollusc at 6:41 AM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I moved to a new city over a year ago, and I still hate it passionately, so don't listen to the people who say it will get better. It might; it might not. The key thing is, you have to give it a chance first. One month isn't enough to determine if a city is truly awful. You have to find the things that make the new city liveable. And I guarantee you there are some. As much as I hate my city, there's an ice cream place I love, a couple of good restaurants, a park I'm hiking in later today, and a cute little baseball stadium. These things aren't enough to make you like somewhere, but they're enough to tolerate. They don't have to be big things, either. One place I lived after college had a kiosk in the mall with an animatronic teddy bear that somehow I connected with. Whenever is get homesick or lonely, I'd go to the mall and see that teddy bear, and I'd at least be able to get through my day.

And of course, meeting friendly people helps too. You probably haven't even met the person who will end up being your closest friend in the new city yet.

Worst case scenario, you've only lived there a month; quit the job move back to your old city. You can leave the job off future resumes and make it look like you never even moved. At interviews, just say you left your previous position because the contract expired. You're not obligated to stay anywhere.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:28 AM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

My husband and I have moved frequently over the past 6 years and I've found the 1-2 month mark is often when I'm at my most down. During a move 2 years ago an acquaintance recommended This is Where You Belong to me and reading the book helped me feel not so alone and gave me practical steps to take to invest in my new community.

That advice, of course, is if you want to stay and make the best of where you are. If you want to move back to your old town and you have the financial means to do so, you can. You relationships are a kind of wealth that no job will provide.
posted by shesbookish at 1:05 PM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have made this move several times and agree that you need to give it some more time before you decide yay/nay on Current Town. I'm at one Yay and one Nay thus far so I definitely agree with others above that you may come to decide that Current Town just isn't right for you--but you'll need to give it a full year in my opinion before you can say for sure.

Maybe you hate summer (winter in the Southern Hemisphere) in Current Town; maybe you hate having too few friends but more will come as you join activities; maybe you miss the food in Old Town and didn't realize that Current Town has a thriving street with that food available. Or, maybe Current Town just isn't for you and you'll give it a go and call it good.

Along with getting active and involved in Current Town, you may find the U-curve adjustment hypothesis to be helpful to you. Here's the less academic, condensed version. Basically, it is completely and totally human to hate everything about the choice you made to move to Current Town at two months in. That's the start of the 'culture shock' period of time and you're starting to bottom out on this decision. Again, totally human and valid. Time (and some effort on your part) are the cures for this.
posted by librarylis at 6:39 PM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sorry, that really sucks... its so hard to drag yourself to work when you hate a job.

So I don't know if this would work for a full-on adult, but it worked wonders when my daughter was adjusting to middle school. She hated her new middle school at first and wanted to transfer somewhere else. We told her to "wait until Halloween" and see how she felt. That gave her a couple of months to adjust and reflect. By the time we got to Halloween, she was more comfortable and decided to stay at her school. But we would have helped her find a new school if she hadn't adjusted.

There seems to be nothing wrong with moving back to your old town that you enjoyed if your current situation is unpleasant, but maybe give yourself until Halloween and see how you feel then.
posted by RajahKing at 7:02 AM on August 27, 2018

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