Author Topic: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?  (Read 5075 times)

DTaggart

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Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« on: September 03, 2015, 07:21:34 PM »
I think I'm mostly posting this since typing it out will help me get my thoughts in order, but I am interested in everyone's opinions.

Here's the deal. I'd estimate we are about 4.5 years from FIRE at our current rate. I have a well-paying, stable government job with crazy good benefits. I also dislike it immensely. Hubby has been grossly underemployed for the past ~2 years, and not doing much with his downtime. He's had a small contract this year which has worked out to only a few hours here and there, and will probably gross just 10k for the year (which doesn't leave a lot after self-employment taxes). That contract is just about over.

He's been half-heartedly looking for a local job but hasn't had any luck. His current contract and last 7-8 years of experience have all been with a very specific enterprise software package that just doesn't seem to be used in our area. So his choices are get a job doing something else or go somewhere they use this software (no one seems to be looking for a remote employee). Most of the "something else" tech jobs he's looked at he really doesn't have the skills for. I've been encouraging him to apply for low to mid level computer support jobs that aren't glamorous but he should be qualified for, especially local government jobs because they have good pay and benefits, but so far he hasn't had any calls on those. I've told him that I don't care what he does or how much he makes, but he really needs to get out and do SOMETHING - even a retail job. Not just for the money but I think it is a bit of a morale issue for him not to be contributing to our household. I will also admit I feel some resentment when I work full-time at a job I dislike, and come home and he's taking a nap or playing Candy Crush etc. I'm not sure how much of his problem is just lack of motivation and fear of rejection. If I send him a specific job listing he will apply for it, but AFAIK he hasn't really done much looking on his own.

He's had a few headhunters contact him for jobs around the country in his specific software program. It doesn't make any sense for me to give up my secure, well-paying job this close to FIRE, so at first we just flat out didn't consider any of these jobs. But after 2 years, having him take a job out of state while I stay here is starting to sound like a decent idea. If he makes about what I do, which should be pretty doable, and he can save 50% after his living expenses, it will cut our time to FIRE nearly in half.

Today he had a phone interview for a job in Connecticut - we currently live in San Diego. Obviously there's a lot that would have to happen if he were to take the job, but the biggest issue is just being apart so much. We're pretty independent, so I think we'd handle it better than most couples, but it would still suck.

We get by just fine on my income alone, house is payed off, our savings rate is just under 50%. But halving our time to FIRE is pretty huge. I also figure even if he just worked for like 6 months and we hated it, he could quit and come back, and we'd be at least that much closer to the end.

No kids, just 2 dogs, who would admittedly miss hubby being home all day. The second biggest concern for me is having to manage the dogs by myself, making sure they get out for regular exercise even after a long day of work and soul-crushing commute.

So anyway, just curious what everyone else thinks... would you do it?

okits

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 07:52:16 PM »
If your marriage is strong, yeah.  Not even really for the money, but I'm sure underemployment and the prospect of unemployment (when not FI) have hurt your husband, psychologically.  The demands of moving and working a new job in his area of expertise will make him feel re-energized, proud, productive.

E-mail often, Skype every night, visit frequently. For a few years it's very do-able.

justajane

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 07:58:18 PM »
I personally wouldn't do it, but that doesn't mean you guys shouldn't. The few times my husband and I have been apart for lengthier period -- once 4 weeks and once 6 weeks -- I felt like we were fighting all the time, even though we weren't. Granted, both times I was out of the country and internet and phone usage were limited. But I need face to face time to feel connected.

May I ask your age? If you are young (under 50), I don't think 2 years to FIRE rather than 4 years is worth the risk of it potentially putting a strain on your relationship, especially because you are doing well financially on your current incomes.

wordnerd

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 07:59:49 PM »
It's possibly workable, but still stressful, for a couple of years. How much of hid wages would be eaten up by maintaining two household and flying back and forth to visit?

pbkmaine

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 08:39:02 PM »
For two years I worked in Minneapolis while DH was back home in NJ. It was quite fun, actually. He visited often and we saw a part of the country we'd never spent much time in. I had a terrific work experience there. DH used his alone time to get his MBA, which led to a role change in his company and eventually a huge promotion. To make it work, I think you need a solid relationship and you both have to agree that it's the right move for you as a couple.

DTaggart

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 08:44:01 PM »
I personally wouldn't do it, but that doesn't mean you guys shouldn't. The few times my husband and I have been apart for lengthier period -- once 4 weeks and once 6 weeks -- I felt like we were fighting all the time, even though we weren't. Granted, both times I was out of the country and internet and phone usage were limited. But I need face to face time to feel connected.

May I ask your age? If you are young (under 50), I don't think 2 years to FIRE rather than 4 years is worth the risk of it potentially putting a strain on your relationship, especially because you are doing well financially on your current incomes.

I'm 38, he's 48.

He used to be in the Navy, so we had about 6 months apart when he was on Westpac just before we got married. That was admittedly a very long time ago, but we actually did really well. And that was without cell phones and Internet to communicate regularly. I actually think I'm probably nicer/more supportive for short periods of time then when we're ALWAYS together :) So, I don't think we would fight, I'm more worried that we'd just grow apart or (more likely) be really bored/lonely without each other to hang with and be more stressed not having the other to help out with life. Like I'd have to take care of the dogs all the time, get the cars in for service, he'd have to cook his own food, do his own laundry, etc.

It's possibly workable, but still stressful, for a couple of years. How much of hid wages would be eaten up by maintaining two household and flying back and forth to visit?

Well, I'd have to sit down and do the math once I figure out exactly where he would be, but I expect he'd be able to save about 50% of his income. If it was much less than that, I'd definitely veto the idea.

[/quote]

If your marriage is strong, yeah.  Not even really for the money, but I'm sure underemployment and the prospect of unemployment (when not FI) have hurt your husband, psychologically.  The demands of moving and working a new job in his area of expertise will make him feel re-energized, proud, productive.

E-mail often, Skype every night, visit frequently. For a few years it's very do-able.

Yeah, the psychological issues is what I worry about more than anything. He's not a big self-starter, so the unstructured time off hasn't been great for him, IMO. Once we're FIREd we have a lot of plans for travel, backpacking, etc, so I think he'll handle that change well enough with me to gently nudge him out of bed in the mornings :)

For two years I worked in Minneapolis while DH was back home in NJ. It was quite fun, actually. He visited often and we saw a part of the country we'd never spent much time in. I had a terrific work experience there. DH used his alone time to get his MBA, which led to a role change in his company and eventually a huge promotion. To make it work, I think you need a solid relationship and you both have to agree that it's the right move for you as a couple.

That's super helpful to hear, thanks :)

lhamo

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 09:07:06 PM »
Agree that it depends a lot on how strong your relationship is and what kind of personalities you have.  My DH and I are currently on opposite sides of the Pacific -- I have come back to the US to support my son through an intense academic program (he's 14 and if all goes well will be starting college next year) while my DH and DD are remaining in China.  It hasn't been easy, but so far it has been less difficult than I thought.  We Skype daily, which helps.  Also my kids were used to both DH and I doing a lot of travel, and are pretty independent, so they are dealing with it much better than I had anticipated. 

I would encourage him to give it a try.  If you both are miserable, he can quit and move back.  Or if he loves it, maybe you can quit and join him there.  Get a break yourself for a change.


expatartist

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2015, 01:05:25 AM »
We've done it in the past, and DH is considering it again. Like yours, mine is not an amazing self-starter, he's been working part-time at jobs unrelated to his passions or career, and his underemployment in this city has been hard on both of us. Finally I recently got fed up and asked him to either:

A* Start working legally here (currently he's sponsored by my employer's visa on which it isn't technically legal to work)
or
B* Get a job somewhere else

[He seems to have no definite plans either way, just a one-way ticket to his home country in a few weeks.]

Point is, it can be done. And sometimes people need a kick to restart their life, if they can't manage to do it on their own.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 01:07:04 AM by expatartist »

Expatriate

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 03:55:34 AM »
If you have a good relationship, I would seriously recommend it. Him hanging on the couch for another 4.5 years might do much more harm...

I've spent 2 years working in a different country, but we visited each other very often (at least monthly) - it did us well, actually. An on top I got a serious increase in income.

AZDude

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2015, 09:34:31 AM »
Connecticut is really far away. The Phoenix job market, especially the tech sector, is really hopping. If you give me a general idea of his skills I could probably point you in the direction of a few places that would be interested, or at least give a decent description of his chances.

Phoenix is a 6 hour drive from San Diego, 1 hour by plane. Coming home on the weekends would be easy if you don't mind driving. It might make things easier. Plus, this is a very LCOL area, and a 1brdm apartment can be had for $600/month.

Just a thought.

DTaggart

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2015, 10:13:56 AM »
Connecticut is really far away. The Phoenix job market, especially the tech sector, is really hopping. If you give me a general idea of his skills I could probably point you in the direction of a few places that would be interested, or at least give a decent description of his chances.

Phoenix is a 6 hour drive from San Diego, 1 hour by plane. Coming home on the weekends would be easy if you don't mind driving. It might make things easier. Plus, this is a very LCOL area, and a 1brdm apartment can be had for $600/month.

Just a thought.

Thanks for the offer AZDude! I sent you a PM. Phoenix would be an awesome spot for him.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2015, 12:11:01 PM »
Just a couple of thoughts:

Would being "not a self starter" be an issue if he were alone in CT? Would he have trouble meeting his responsibilities?  Or does he work reliably once the job is set up for him?

As AZDude pointed out, that is very long distance. I travel CA-NY frequently for family, and it takes basically an entire day each way. You would need to factor in the travel time for visits. Red-eye flights let you travel at night, but can leave you exhausted.

DTaggart

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2015, 04:31:47 PM »
Would being "not a self starter" be an issue if he were alone in CT? Would he have trouble meeting his responsibilities?  Or does he work reliably once the job is set up for him?

No, he does great when a task is set before him. It's just when the "what to do" isn't clearly defined that he has problems. Like around the house, if I say "Honey, take out the trash and go put your dirty clothes in the hamper," he'll do it no problem. If I say "Hey, straighten up the house" nothing.

So, an update. The recruiter has told him to prepare for a second interview. No date set yet but things are progressing in a promising direction. The salary they are offering is actually 25k/year MORE than what I was originally basing my back of the envelope "is this worth it" projections off of, so yeah, it will definitely be worth it. Plus the possibility of bonuses. Hubby seems really excited about the job itself, I think the not working for so long has definitely been hard on his ego.

We talked a little more about the implications of him being away and our expectations for how his lifestyle/expenses might work while he's out there, and in theory at least we're on the same page. I've told him that he needs to make the final decision but I'll support him either way. I think he'll probably accept if they make an offer. The worst case scenario is that we hate the arrangement and he quits and comes home. However much money he makes is that much sooner to FIRE.

Thanks everyone for weighing in on this!

mm1970

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2015, 04:55:46 PM »
Depends on how strong your marriage is, really.

I've done it, when I was in the Navy and hubby was in grad school. We were in our 20's, and we spent 2 years on opposite coasts.

It worked, but it was hard.  We only saw each other every 2-3 months, and by the time we lived together, it was "who are you again?"

I know people who do it now, but it's not easy.  Easier with skype and such.

2ndTimer

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2015, 05:22:03 PM »
We did this for a couple of years.  It is really, really lonely.  We eventually decided that for us life apart wasn't worth living and took a big income and career hit to live in the same place.  20 years later, I can report that we made the right decision for us. 

Jakejake

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2015, 08:10:14 AM »
I'm 38, he's 48.

I'm wondering if that's an underlying issue, in an indirect way. In your mind, you should both work til the same date so you can retire at the same time; that's only fair.

In his mind, he may have already worked nearly ten years more than you have, and he may feel it's unfair for you to resent him relaxing and being part time retired at 48, when you plan to retire at 42.

ender

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2015, 04:45:44 PM »
Why don't you also look for jobs in the same area and kill two birds at the same time?

Like, you hate your job, so why aren't you also interested in relocating and finding something better too?

starterstache

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Re: Should my husband take a job on the other side of the country?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2015, 07:19:42 PM »
How about the cost for separate housing, plus trips home, plus food prepared on his own, etc. that would happen if he moved to CT?  Isn't that going to eat into the added income significantly?  You didn't really mention the salary, but I'd hope it's significant enough to offset all of these added expenses.  Anyway, something to consider on top of all the inconveniences of living on the other side of the country.

I personally wouldn't ask my spouse to do that, but we're single income and she's a SAHM; also living very near to San Diego.  We've looked at her going back to work, but the overhead costs (second car, gas, taxes, daycare, etc.) were so high that it wasn't worth it.  She has a side business at home that is doing quite well, so that was also a factor. 

Anyway, many things to consider in this decision aside from the emotion and marriage impact.