Saturday, June 12, 2010

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.




At 6/12/2010 8:19 AM, Anonymous daisyfae said...

congratulations! that's wonderful news about the job and the new community. your house will eventually sell - you just don't know when, or how much! good luck as you wrangle with this - i have no advice, but you are a resourceful clan, and i'm pretty sure you'll figure out a way to do it!

At 6/12/2010 8:26 AM, Blogger Madcap said...

I know this isn't my risk, but I've taken my own, and I think you should go for it. The new location meets so many needs.

I thought our old house would never sell either, but eventually it did, and I'm SO GLAD that chapter's behind me!

Good luck! And YAY!!!

At 6/12/2010 10:05 PM, Blogger Wendy said...

Four adults and five kids in a 1500 square foot house ... sounds like my house right now. We don't have a well, but I'm not entirely convince the septic system is liking so many people ;). It does suck, but it's not that bad. I'm pretty sure we'll all survive, and we might even still like each other ;).

Re: The Decision. Based on your last sentence it sounds like you already know what you need to do. It's just working out the logistics part, which you will figure out.

The leap is, indeed, difficult to make, but sometimes ... :).

Wishing you the best of luck!

At 6/13/2010 4:34 AM, Blogger knutty knitter said...

And you're waiting for what??????

Wish I had such a future waiting for me. I've now been mostly unemployed for...lets see...most of my life :)

viv in nz

At 6/13/2010 12:49 PM, Blogger Katie said...

I think you already know the answer to your question. Good luck!

At 6/13/2010 3:49 PM, Anonymous Tammy said...

I have to admit, I only read the options part of this post, and yet I felt immediately led to comment. I say go for it, and this is why. My husband & I gave up 33 acres, a house we built from the ground up, started our family in, and ran our successful business from. We moved to a ridiculously expense, yet beyond-beautiful mountain town. He secured a safe job with the NPS, we found a church family that loves & supports us, and our kids have settled right in. We know we're supposed to be here. Besides the fact that our house still hasn't sold back home, we're renting & feel like life has stabilized. Your job going belly-up will cause such a huge ripple effect. I say get while the gettin's good! Best wishes for you & your family!

At 6/16/2010 10:11 AM, Blogger barefoot gardener said...

Good luck!

At 8/14/2010 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone is moving to Texas. Except George Ure, who's trying very, VERY hard to sell his survival place (complete with goat farm) to get out of Dodge before the blue flue arrives (fumes from the gulf).

Dunno. Follow your heart, that's the ticket. Me? I'm staying in the hand. It seems like the best place to be.



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