Standing on the precipice
We are about to be faced with a very interesting (and risky) choice - in fact, it's probably the biggest decision our family has ever made.
Option 1 is the Status Quo. Keep our current job and our current house. We really do love our home - nine acres, fenced pastures, pole barn, pond, and all the things we've put into it. But between a pay cut, rising health care costs, the addition of a new family member, and other expenses, our budget has become uncomfortably snug. The job that I've been with for almost a decade now requires me to work more hours than ever before, among other problems. My job security feels like it's eroded significantly in the last couple years. There are no real opportunities for career growth or change there. I currently work from home 4 days a week, but every Thursday I have a 100 mile commute - each way. Starting next year, I'd have five full weeks of vacation time.
Option 2 is The Leap. I'm about to be offered a new job, in the area we fell in love with while visiting some friends last summer: A beautiful, rolling countryside that is a mix of woods and small farms. Local food at every turn - heck, even the corner gas stations sell local veggies and raw milk. (The annual sustainable farm tours in this area include no less than 40 participating farms.) World-class autism programs. A great job market for my line of work. Lower cost of living. Good friends in the immediate area, and family in the region.
The new job would involve a pay raise, Federal benefits, four more paid holidays, 13 vacation days right off the bat and a bump to four weeks after three years. Working from home three days a week after six months of employment. Job stability. Regular training, and many more potential career opportunities. And good team chemistry.
We found an awesome house in the area, sitting on 3.5 acres, and we've actually got a contingent contract on it. It's significantly cheaper than our current home.
The problem, of course, is that we can't get our house to sell. It's been on the market since November, with very few showings. We've dropped our price several times, and changed real estate agents. Still nothing yet.
We can come up with all kinds of short-term plans and schemes that would allow me to take the new job. It would also give us access to some retirement money that could be used to drop our house price further, as well as putting a significant down payment on the next house.
But the short-term solutions involve things like splitting our family across 400 miles, or cramming 4 adults and 5 kids into a 1500-square-foot house with a slightly unreliable well. We could manage, but for how long?
If the house still won't sell... well.... we haven't come up with a viable long-term solution for that.
We've got an eight hour drive tomorrow to think about all this. But we've been thinking about this hypothetical scenario for months now, and haven't yet derived the answer. The only difference is that it's no longer hypothetical.
John Burroughs is credited with saying "Leap, and the net will appear." We might be about to test that sentiment in a very big way.