coming and going
I read an article recently where a journalist compared the amount of savings a hypothetical forty-year-old female making 70k would accrue if she relocated from pricy California to a “flyover” state. The savings were not all that much until the writer took into account home ownership, which is possible for middle-income earners in the middle of the country but not on the coasts. Then the savings became significant (all of which I explained to my former roommate, who is now reaping the benefits of my advice… but I digress).
My only quibble with the article is the assumption that this hypothetical woman will continue to make 70k outside of California. But even if she (or I) were making 50k, the savings can still be significant, especially, in my case, if I take into account the better pension here and the fact that I would get social security again (government workers don’t in California).
But here’s the rub. Thus far, the jobs at my former organization here paying 70k are being opened to internal applicants only. So I’ve been applying to jobs paying around 40-50k to get back in, but, as I’ve written, I’m not getting them (and now I hear the last one went to an external candidate– not internal– so there won’t be a new opening).
There are some appealing part-time jobs on Craigslist, but I don’t get a response there. Nor do I get responses from other government jobs I apply for. So I recently applied for an entry-level job in the private sector at a popular company where I have a friend of a friend. It probably pays 30-40k, and they probably prefer a newly-minted college grad. I couldn’t bring myself to apply to a low-paying, full-time public service job that never allowed for two days off together in a week, but I applied for a state job paying in the low 40s and the small-town job that pays well.
It will be ironic if I move to the small town. Since my roommate never leaves the apartment, whereas I take advantage of this city quite a bit, it seems like he’d be a better fit there. On the other hand, as I approach my mid-forties, I assume I’m heading for the social scrap heap, so why not?
The promotion I was offered in L.A., the one paying nearly six figures, is still open, and it’s certainly tempting at this point. But it would mean twelve-hour days and a hairy commute.
Feeling glum. It seems there’s no way to win.
I hope I don’t sound harsh, because I don’t mean to (I probably sound naive) but why do you think it is that you’re not getting these jobs you’re applying for? Especially if you got such a good job offer in California. And how did your former roommate get such a good job without apparently trying? I don’t get it since you’ve been working for 20 years or more and have only recently left a good job in Calif. — right? It’s not like you’ve been out of the job market for a decade or even two or three years, right?
That’s the million-dollar question. My former employer in L.A. offered me a promotion after I quit. I had three promotions at my former workplace here and three there.
My roommate was third in line for the job he got here. The other two candidates lived here (they turned it down). So then he squeaked in and moved, and I think a preferred candidate turned down the job in terms of the promotion he just received.
I just left my job in March and have been interviewing/ applying since the end of May. My former three supervisors contacted me upon arrival and encouraged me to apply.
So it is baffling. Just the luck of the draw? I can’t blame ageism, as one of the candidates I lost out to was quite a bit older than me. Perhaps I’m overqualified? I do have greater experience, but then they’ve hired people for lower-level jobs before. Some foul play? Perhaps. I do know that several of my interviewees have been applying for administrative jobs… perhaps they don’t want more competition?
I am in a pretty specific field, and there are only so many jobs, so perhaps it just comes down to that.
Maybe coming from a job in L.A. is something a disadvantage. Perhaps they think there is too much of a possibility of you being uppity and/or not understanding “the way we do things around here”? I am grasping at straws here. (I am also Australian and I gather tall poppy syndrome is much stronger here than it is in the US.)
Stupid wordpress just deleted my (long) comment before posting it …. will rewrite it. In the meantime, could you post a link to the article if online?
If you moved back couldn’t you live closer to that job to at least avoid the bad commute? 12 hour days don’t sound good but the salary does. Which place do you want to be in, if jobs weren’t a factor? Where do you picture yourself living? Since you say you like doing things in the city, could you be happy in the small town? Especially if you’ll be even less likely to find other single friends without children and not feel so isolated among lots of families (I’m making the assumption the town would be like that, I could be totally wrong.)
When I read a few of your recent posts, the expression “you can’t go home again” popped into my head. Not sure if it’s relevant for you though.
I agree with Rachel too, I wonder why you are getting turned down for these jobs you seem qualified for. Is there some bias possibly going on, maybe they don’t like you because you came from California? Maybe that sounds paranoid but some places really hate having Californians moving there. Even though I know you originally did live in the place you are now.
I’ve also read that it’s hard to get hired when you’re unemployed (catch 22?). Maybe if you took just any random job then started applying to jobs you really want you’d be more desirable to employers?
I hate that Catch 22, because they take local candidates much more seriously here, so I had to quit to get back here. Also I don’t know how I would have carried on a job search (flying to interviews, etc.) while managing my last job.
That’s a good question about the commute. I seriously investigated all the living possibilities before turning it down, but, without getting into specifics, the closest viable place to live would be about thirteen miles away. Not terrible in terms of mileage, but it would be thirteen miles on some of the hairiest freeways in L.A.
If jobs weren’t a factor, I’d say I want to stay here overall. If money was no object, maybe elsewhere, but I don’t see myself winning the lottery any time soon!
Your assumption about the small town is most likely correct. I’d have very few options in terms of social life. But it is about 30 miles from here, so I could come in on the weekends. I could commute too, but adding two hours a day in the car doesn’t sound like a good idea. I probably won’t get the job anyway. I can imagine they will see where I worked in California and their hair might stand on end!
I spent decades in formal education and nothing was ever mentioned about career planning or building a life as a woman, let alone a single woman. Not that that is a solution or advice to your situation but it’s what’s in my head.
I am also in the middle of making job/location decisions. It’s either move to London, take a high stress, money job (so I can afford to live a somewhat decent life in that high-cost city) or move back to Ireland and take a less well paying job with less opportunities (but also be able to afford to live a decent life in a lower-cost city). I’m learning towards going back to Ireland.
Would it interest you if you could negotiate a delayed start to the job in LA, say 3 months time, so you have the security of a job on the horizon and time to see a bit of the States before settling into the crazy commute life, while you continue to look for opportunities in LA or elsewhere?
If I take that job in L.A. I can’t screw them over, as they would be doing me a big favor by taking me back, and I’m sure they would want me to start ASAP. By the time I make up my mind, I assume that particular job will be filled, but perhaps something else will be open.
My move here was the “Ireland plan.” I still think it’s a good one, I’m just unsure I can make it work.
I’ve been thinking about the “small town” job (which, again, I probably won’t get) versus going back to L.A. In terms of personal interests, L.A. is a far better fit (there’s no comparison), but I think I’d lean more towards the small town gig at this point in my life. I just couldn’t really get anywhere socially or romantically in L.A., despite all the great entertainment options. And I’m getting older, and the small town job pays the same as L.A., but the money would go way, way farther. Maybe I could just be happy with a dog and a bunch of books.
Here’s the link to that article, btw:
By opportunities I mean more like working from home a few days a week or perhaps the LA employer has a sister company …
I hear you on the small town plan and definitely appreciate its merits. I’ve been over to London three times in the last month for work related courses and it’s a lot of fun when it’s super short-term but I saw a lot of jaded faces on the underground and know I would join them very quickly. Decent, affordable accomodation is also very difficult to find there. I’m 37 and don’t have the interest or energy to be storing my jumpers in the oven regardless of how fab-u-lous my life is.
I’m originally from Dublin but am looking into moving to Cork. I can rent or buy a house there without breaking the bank, have a short commute, give my dogs a decent life and weekend in west Cork (Irish riviera) as much as I like (airbnb e40 per night for your own cottage). It’s also a bit of a foodie paradise, an artist corner of the country and I can relearn my Irish in the Gaeltacht down the road. Who am I kidding? This is my plan.
I need to find a job before I can move though – so I relate, I really do. I feel like I’m trying to break back into my own country …
That’s why I initially chose L.A. over N.Y.C.– I couldn’t imagine living in a closet and getting to the subway on cold, snowy mornings. I was too old and tired for that at 37, the age I moved to L.A. instead, which was difficult but doable. Now I’d be moving back in my mid-forties, which feels more difficult.
Cork sounds idyllic and a bit like this place. Good luck on the job front. Please keep in touch about it.
Also, I can’t remember which post you mentioned this but you said something along the lines of – I could get a dog. Or a piano. Or renovate a house …
Why not do them all?
Yes, perhaps. I’m probably counting my chickens before they hatch. Speaking of, I also applied for a job on the organic farm, but it’s another long shot.
I think you need to write the next book on the subject of what to do as a never-married while you are snuggled up to your dog in your new house.
Honestly I don’t think I’ll even get that job, and my readings on “city data” about the town have not painted a positive picture of the place. Not sure what I’m going to do.