Job vs social connections

lpinkmountainMarch 12, 2006

I'm being laid off from my current job and have been offered another one in a different region of the country. My healthy aging parents live near where the new job would be located. Where I live now I have a network of close friends and a few relatives who have given me a sense of belonging to a "family" for the first time in my adult life. I have no children or SO. But I haven't been able to find a job here, prospects are uncertain and the new job offer seems as good a prospect as I'm likely to find immediately. I was wondering how some of you out there feel about balancing work and social connections? I've moved and changed jobs about every 2-3 years and I think it has greatly contributed to my single status. I've settled down for five years twice, I'm right in the middle of the second time. Only after the first two years of relocating and starting a jew job can I start to look out of my immediate survival needs to have time for major interests outside of work. I can't seem to break the cycle since my field is not an economic necessity/priority. I'm middle aged, and the path of least resistance for finding a job is sticking to my field. I wish I could switch to something more stable, yet I don't have the money to take time out from working to retrain. Each time I start a new job I don't have the time until the initial two years of estabishement are through.

I don't have a lot of money to be out of work for a long period of time. One of my friends who is in the same field as me took 7 months to find a job and it is just doing landscape work and he's still looking for something back in his field, a year and a half after he was laid off. Another friend said it took him two years to find a job after he decided to leave his old one. Both these guys had wives to support them during the transition. How much would you risk for a circle of beloved friends? And how much do you think your career has influenced your single status?

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Be assured there are wonderful, friendly people almost anywhere you may choose to settle. They're all around. Do what you do and be the best person you know how to be. You'll soon find yourself in a familiar and comfortable place among people who know you and like you. Unless you're a sour old grump, it will be almost automatic.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 11:07AM
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I hear you Asolo, and I agree that's the theory. I haven't found it to be quite true in practice. I've lived in at least ten different cities in my career/life journey, and three different states. Some places I've found community, some not, and I was the same sweet me everywhere I went. :-) Seriously, I'm a very community oriented person. So I'm wondering how others have found this to be in their lives. Friendly or not, some jobs just demand so much that there is simply no energy left to get out and make the new friends, plus I do think it gets harder in middle age. I talked to a girlfriend this weekend who was single until 40, she's now 50. She said she thinks community is actually quite a rare jewel. Not impossible to find, but rare.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 1:12PM
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Carrie B

I feel for you, lpm. I moved here (Philadelphia) in '97 for no particular reason, after bumming around a bit, mostly in the area of Central Jersey where I went to college. It has been a good move.

I run into people I know in the street. I meet people who know people I know. If I meet someone who's new in town, chances I can give them advice on where to eat, where to shop, where to go for good music. Chances are I can do a connecting email to another acquaintance or so of mine and say "x just moved to town and is looking for a job/apartment/community garden/rock&roll band in search of a drummer, can you help?".

My fiance dreams of escaping the city polution & bustle. He wants quiet and clean air and freedom from clogged streets and trash. I feel the pull of the rural too. But I have a home here.

I always thought I'd end up in the country some day. Near a river or a pond or a lake and hills and deer (what gardener actually misses deer???) and bunnys and chipmonks. I want to live in the country. But can I take Roseanne with me? Isabelle? How about Lynn & Rob. And Ennis & Phil & Elspeth? What about Starbucks Coffee & Ritz Movies & Afghani food & Vietnamese food? Can I find all that in the woods?

I wish I had an answer for you. I wish I had an answer for me.

May we all find happiness.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 10:13PM
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Hi Carrie!
I never imagined I would live on the east coast, and certainly not in a metro area. The new job is out in the country, although near some med. sized towns and would require travel to urban areas. I've lived rural and urban. I lived in a Philly suburb for over three years. I once lived in a gorgeous touristy place out in the country, but worked with horrible people, absolutely the worst group of hypocrites I have ever run into. I flew into Philly during that time to attend a friend's wedding. The airport is in such a grim part of town. But my friends here are the warmest bunch I have ever encountered anywhere. I wondered how the beautiful spot could have such ugly people, and how chaotic, gritty Philly could hold such a great community. But I have a single friend who lives out in the Philly suburbs and doesn't like it at all. He's great at making friends too. There's a lot of variation in "The City of Brotherly Love."

Everyone tells me "your friends will always be your friends," which is true, but there is no comparison to the relationships you have with people you see every day or every couple months and folks you see every couple years. When you move as much as I have, everyone starts to fall into the "every couple years" category and you never get much of a feeling of belonging anywhere.

But still, ya gotta eat first! :-)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 9:06AM
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I think you are wise to pose the question. personally I have made the decision in the past to leave becuase I did not have that much of a support system where I was. a job, even if it aggrandizes wealth and ambition, does not keep one warm. And if demanding, will really require your support system to be nearby. I would not uproot myself if I didn't have to. I have seen very smart people make career decisions based on more emotional reasons and I have found those people to be the wisest and most mature. Maybe there is a creative career solution right in your own backyard :-) all the best...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 3:18PM
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Since you asked for opinions, here's mine. Take the job offered and move to your parents' area. Consider the possibility that the universe is guiding you back there because you need to be close to your parents right now. Look at this as an opportunity to treasure the time you have with them.

True, you may not make a circle of friends while you're there. That would be almost too much like a 1970's sitcom. Rarely do loose ends gets tied up that neatly and happily.

Also true, it will be hard to maintain your current friendships. I've found that out of sight generally *does* mean out of mind. And that sux. But maybe right now isn't supposed to be about friendships? Maybe it's about family?

Anyway, that's what jumped out at me when I read your initial post.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 8:40AM
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