Author Topic: Frequent work travel with young family?  (Read 2511 times)

mpresco

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Frequent work travel with young family?
« on: March 25, 2015, 02:42:28 PM »
So I've been offered a position that would require frequent 1-3 night trips away from my home. I have two young children and a working professional wife, and I am having a hard time deciding if it would be worth it to sacrifice time away from my family in order to take this job. The pay increase would be significant, on the order of 30k per year, and I would be home weekends at a minimum.

This is also a position that I would take in a heartbeat if it weren't for the travel aspect, not including the pay, I would really enjoy the work and adding this to my resume would make me employable pretty much anywhere. As a side benefit, the job includes overnight per-diem plus significant paid overtime, so when I would be required to work out of town, at least I'd be getting paid handsomely for it.

We are already on a path to FI, but a solid 15 years out at this point. this would significantly cut that number down however...

Any Mustachians with similar experiences care to share their thoughts?

Secretly Saving

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Re: Frequent work travel with young family?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2015, 03:07:07 PM »
Well, I can tell you traveling like that takes time to adjust to.  We are in this boat and have been for years.   I can tell you that it was hard when the kids were really little.   So hard that the other spouse ended up quitting a job to stay home and simplify things.  It was just too chaotic.  Luckily the salary that we lost wasn't huge, so it wasn't as financially painful. 

Most importantly, I can't stress enough that it takes a lot of time to adjust.  Especially for the parent "on the ground" who is left with ALL of the responsibility while you're away traveling.  Yes, it's work for you while you're gone and it's not like you're on vacation, but dealing with the house, general life things like bills, trash and random issues, taking care of the kids AND working all day is really overwhelming when you've previously had an awesome teammate to depend on.  When that teammate is unavailable for long periods of time, it can be absolutely demoralizing for the one "left behind."   We've worked through it, but you're going to need to work extra hard at finding a balance and really make an effort about pitching in while you're home.   

Now the travel has gone on long enough that the roles are reversed.  The parent on the ground has gotten used to the single parenting life and the parent traveling is SO TIRED of traveling that they're ready to be done!

TrMama

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Re: Frequent work travel with young family?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2015, 03:12:11 PM »
How does your wife feel about being a single parent a couple nights a week? Do you have reliable childcare? Does your wife have a bit of flexibility in her job? Have you both optimized your home life as much as possible for maximum efficiency?

My DH is military and we also have 2 kids. When he was gone for months at a time when the kids were little it sucked and there were problems. However 1-3 nights isn't a big deal as far as I'm concerned. However, I'm pretty independent and am good about making sure things are set up as efficiently as possible at home.

Gray Matter

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Re: Frequent work travel with young family?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2015, 07:06:14 PM »
My husband started traveling pretty much the day our first child was born and it's been hell. It has brought our marriage to the brink a few times, and I can honestly say, that is the only real issue we have, but it's a big one.  As the "resident parent," I am responsible for the running of the household (which is a significant responsibility with three kids and three dogs) on top of having a relatively big job.  For the first two-thirds of our marriage, I also out-earned him, and I can tell you, the resentment was significant because I was doing more of EVERYTHING.  So please be aware of the extra strain this will place on your wife, and find ways to mitigate that as much as possible.

All that said, I think there are ways to make this work.  A lot will depend on how on board your wife is (I was not, I had a dad who travelled all the time for work and I did NOT want that in a partner or the father of my children).  Also, as others have mentioned, how flexible and demanding her job is, how willing you are to pick up slack when you are home to give your wife a break, how much you show her you appreciate the extra burden she's shouldering, how much you can be responsible for from the road (e.g., making doctor's appointments).  And, my DH's travel has been for weeks, sometimes months, at a time, adding up to six months one year and nine months another (those were the two worst years).

I find 1-3 nights to be pretty manageable.  After that, it gets hard.  And if it was week after week, it might get tiresome for both of you.  Are you open to hiring more help if need be?  To her going part-time if it's too much?  To finding a new job if it just doesn't work for the family?