Our gut reaction when Johnny got laid off was to panic. Well, that’s not entirely true. Our very first reaction was just shock, which feels a bit like nothing at all. It’s one of those moments when you think This is a big deal. I know this is a big deal. But I don’t really feel anything. So is it a big deal?
And then the next morning after a full night’s rest, it all sunk in. And the panicky feeling started. And when that feeling started, Johnny and I were both feeling an urgency to get a new job. Find a job. Any job! Now! Today. Must get a job. Must, must, must. On the inside, we were panicking. On the outside, we were just slurping a bowl of cereal and cooing at Baby Girl.
But very carefully and very purposefully we decided to ignore that voice telling us to grab whatever job came our way. We wanted to make sure we found the right one. And so Johnny began revving up his freelance work to supplement our lost income, and his job search began.
With Johnny’s job hunting skills (which he’ll share in the very near future) and a bit of luck, some promising prospects were soon on the table. And so one night, we opened Excel and rated each opportunity according to the following categories:
Would Johnny have a clear separation between work life and home life? Would he be able to leave work at work most nights? Would there be travel, late nights? How often? These questions were especially important now that we have a daughter. I never want her to know our cat better than she knows her own dad.
As budget-minded people, we’re all about saving as much as we can. And the better the salary, the more we can save. That’s some math even I can figure out. This wasn’t our number one consideration, but it was an important one.
Based on our love of finding out about the 50 states, we of course took into consideration which states would best fit our needs. Our options were in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake, so we weighed the pros and cons of each of these areas: cost of living, nearby activities, climate, economy, etc. We also took into consideration whether the location would have other jobs for Johnny if and when it was time to switch to another company. We’d like to stay in one state for more than just a year this time thankyouverymuch!
This category referred to Johnny’s coworkers. What kind of work environment would it be? Would there be egos? Respect of one another? A nice old lady who brings cookies for everyone on Fridays?
Surprise, surpise, we don’t want a repeat of this last job’s outcome. What kind of job security could we expect from each company? Had they had recent layoffs? How was the company doing financially?
Cost of Living
Would we be somewhere where buying a home would be feasible in the next year or so? How would the cost of living affect our rent and grocery budget? This category almost single-handedly took Los Angeles off our list. If we wanted to save out there, we’d have to live quite small, which wouldn’t have been a big deal before we had a baby. Now, space = sanity when it comes to being a parent.
Whatever choice Johnny made, how would it set him up for future jobs? How would the position look on paper? Would it open up more doors or close some doors?
The most true statement ever is, “Having a baby changes everything.” Before Baby Girl was born, we were cool with visiting family a few times a year. We missed them, but with FaceTime and phone calls, being away was a-okay. But now we want our girl to know her family. Would the job location put us closer to family? Would we be within a day’s drive?
What’s our end game? Would this job help us reach it? For us, our end game is where we see ourselves 10, 15, 0r 20 years down the road. Everyone’s end game is different, so it was a question of whether each job opportunity would help or hinder our long-term dreams.
We went through each category and gave each job a number between 1 and 3. We then added the numbers together, and two of our opportunities tied for first place! Ack, that’s always how it goes. But luckily some aspects of each job became more clear, and we were able to make a decision. And so Utah it is.
What do you look for in a job? Please tell us we’re not the only nerds who make Excel spreadsheets that rate pros and cons. If we are, just lie so I feel less like a weirdo.