Monday, October 20, 2008

Things I Seriously Considered Doing But Didn’t

Moving My Family Out of State

When I moved back to Utah from Boston in 1992, I felt hopeful that I would not forever be stuck in Utah, which I’ve always viewed as a safe, easy place with many comforts but high levels of mediocrity and boredom.

At some point while working at the LDS Church’s Ensign magazine in the mid-1990s, I started using the Internet and soon discovered that it was easy to look up job opportunities in places like Boston and New York. By the time I’d married Ann in 1998 and moved to Utah County—which I’ve always found even more boringly Mormon than Bountiful, where I attended junior high and high school—I felt quite serious about relocating back to the East Coast.

While Ann likes to travel, she’s a real Provo hometown gal, all the more so because she has an extremely close, interdependent relationship with her parents. She wisely let me go through the motions of sending out hundreds of résumés—the East Coast has tons of jobs in writing and editing, especially in New York—but inwardly she no doubt felt concerned.

In my field, the odds of a guy living in Utah actually getting a job on the East Coast simply by mailing résumés are extremely low. However, I did get a couple of bites. The State University of New York at Stony Brook (out on Long Island) actually did two phone interviews with me for an editor position and said they were going to fly me out, but then some higher-up made them relist the job for a more local candidate.

Another time, a business-to-business publishing company in Boston called me to set up an interview for an editor position at some kind of industrial trade magazine having to do with container shipping or packing tape or something—I really can’t remember. Ann and I decided that we’d enjoy a vacation to Boston, so we went ahead and bought our own airline tickets.

A couple of days before the interview, they called to cancel it, no doubt realizing that some H.R. ditz had scheduled me for an interview without realizing I was located in Utah. I told them I’d already bought plane tickets, so the H.R. director went ahead and gave me a courtesy interview. I kept following up with him for several months, but eventually I gave up. Nevertheless, we had a fantastic time in Boston—at that time, my brother Jeff was serving there as a missionary and my sister Stacey was teaching elementary school there, so we hung out with both of them a fair bit.

Since then, I’ve passed through a few more spasms of looking out of state for jobs, but I’ve largely resigned myself to my lot in life as a reluctant Utahn. The older I become, the more comfortable Utah gets and the more relocating to some strange place sounds like too much effort. Plus, I would feel guilty about leaving behind my two kids from the previous marriage, and Ann would probably feel guilty leaving her widowed mom, who lives alone right across the street from us.

On the other hand, I still occasionally try to play a wild card, most recently applying for a three-year writer/editor position at the Center for International Forestry Research, which is based in Indonesia. If I really did want to work in Boston or New York, I’d have to move there first on my own dime and then get a job. That sounds too expensive to me and not that exciting anymore, but something exotic and overseas with good expatriate benefits—and something not intended to be permanent—sounds like a perfect adventure for a midlife career crisis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It took a few years, but I actually got a job on the East Coast after e-mailing resumes from Utah. Actually, once I got really obsessive and applied to many, many jobs (it reached a point where I REALLY wanted it to happen), it only took a couple months. So it can happen.

Of course, I'm single and so I'm not subjecting a family to a move, so that kinda makes a difference in situations....