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After completing my bachelor's degree in college three years ago, I got hired by a large company in a city 135 miles away from my hometown. I did this initially because of the benefits and salary. But, my now-husband still lives in my hometown, so I go back nearly every every weekend (I rent an apartment in the new city and stay with him over the weekend in my hometown). He is close to his family and his job keeps him in my hometown (dental practice).

Problem: I like my job, coworkers and company but I want to be with my husband in my hometown

Advantages of current job

  • Paid well over-market (even compared to my higher COL hometown) with great benefits
  • Room for growth within the company, many different opportunities to explore and learn (continuing education paid for by company)
  • Great work environment, good manager and cool coworkers

Concerns

  • Backsliding in terms of salary: according to my research on salary, I may need to take a 10% pay cut to come back to my hometown. My company is the 3rd largest in the market, so they can offer higher salaries compared to smaller companies in my hometown.
  • Worse benefits: vacation time, flexibility, opportunity
  • My job is quite niche, the experience that I have in this field is not easily transferable - I feel I may need to be a "junior" again if I go to another industry

How can I move back without compromising my future prospects?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Lilienthal
    Apr 3, 2022 at 22:27

5 Answers 5

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Can you consider remote work arrangement with your company, if the job is of that sort? Or equivalent company?

Because many companies are opening up to the possibility of fully or partially remote work.

Instead of coming to hometown every weekend, you could continue to stay at hometown and visit your workplace once a week if that can be arranged.

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Consider this an opportunity.

I like my job, coworkers and company but I want to be with my husband in my hometown

It is clear that being close to home is important to you. I am afraid here you need to prioritize.

My job is quite niche, the experience that I have in this field is not easily transferable - I feel I may need to be a "junior" again if I go to another industry

You must be relatively young, so you're not exactly losing a lot of time if you reset your career and goals.

One advantage to moving could be the opportunity to get away from niche roles and move into something mroe mainstream. All of these chocies have differenmt pros and cons, but more mainstream skills should enable you to find work more often and perhaps ultimately with more prospects and conditions. Getting pigeonholed into something niche makes you a specialist and that can be very restricting if your aim is a good work-life balance.

With niche work it can all work out wonderfully until suddenly your company e.g. decides to ditch the niche software and go with more mainstream things. Then it is often harder to find work and that work is often not where you want it to be.

Working awya from home can be very tough and it's often not until much too late in life tha you realize you let career keep you away from the people you love. I've met several people who had great careers, travelled widely and later said they regretted missing e.g. the kids growing up because they were away so much. It's really easy to go down that path so consider carefully if you want to be career focused or home focused. It's too personal a choice to give you direct advice, but be aware that either represents an investment, but like any investment you are giving up some opportunities for the sake of others you think are better in the long run.

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I have actually had the same problem which I consider to be solved.

The industry that I am working in is only developed in one city of my country. Remote work is not always possible due to the nature of work that I am doing. My spouse lives in another city that is roughly 100 km away.

At first (when we met), one of us would travel to the other city for the weekend plus one day in the middle of the week. Later on, I started to travel every day between the cities (I use a car or train to travel for most days and remote work when possible to not to travel and been doing this for about 1.5 years now). That is not sustainable in the long term however, therefore we decided to move to the where I am working at and will be doing this roughly in 2 years (the reasons for not doing it right now are mostly because my significant other wanted to stay a few years in their hometown before moving).

What I want to say is that probably there are more solutions than changing your job and going back to your hometown.

This would involve a lot of talking with your husband and also with your manager. Maybe your husband would be fine with meeting his family once a week during the weekend? Maybe he could move his practice to another town? Maybe you could have some partial work from home arrangement. Have you discussed these opportunities with them? The key here is to reduce travel while keep working at a place you like. And also, to reach a compromise. I assume, that your husband cares about your wellbeing and wants to make the whole situation more sustainable. So, if you haven't exhausted all the other options, consider them and talk them through with your husband.

If your only possibility is to change jobs however, ignore all of the above. But the others are probably right and this applies to your question:

How can I move back without compromising my future prospects?

You can't.

But being with your family is more important than 10% salary and some better opportunities at your current job.

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Did you consider having a conversation with your manager?

If your company is the way you described, they should understand your situation and show flexibility.

There could also be other options that you can explore (ie: partial work from home, working 10 hours a day 4 days a week rather than 8x5, both together if possible, living halfway your hometown and the other city...)

While your market value is important, company culture, people and professional development are the main factors that maintain your well-being and keep you on your genius zone. Working in a toxic workplace for a better salary or higher title definitely isn't worth it.

Good luck 👍

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How can I move back without compromising my future prospects?

You probably can't.

Instead, find a place for you and your spouse to live that is half-way between each other's jobs.

That way, you'll both have the jobs you want and you'll have an equal commute.

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  • This would mean both of them would have to drive 135 miles a day (total) to commute. No bueno!
    – Xavier J
    Apr 5, 2022 at 14:00

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