update: company wants me to relocate … to Alaska!

Remember the reader whose company wanted her to relocate to Alaska? Here’s her update:

I actually ended up leaving that job, traveling for a few months, and just started a new job where i’m much happier!

After the initial conversation, I told my boss that I had no interest in moving to Alaska. He seemed disappointed but didn’t stop alluding to the fact that it might be necessary and that he was kind of bummed that I wouldn’t step up to the task. He even asked me how long I had been dating my boyfriend and made “jokes” that we hadn’t been together long enough and that I shouldn’t have any trouble leaving him. Needless to say, I was none too thrilled. There were a ton of other issues I had with this job – they had hired me on a very low salary with the promise of a raise (based on performance) every 3 months. I ended up carrying their biggest account for a year by myself to constant praise and constant “we just can’t afford to give raises right now. next month, promise!” I never got that raise.

Now I’m making 30% more, have a much more exciting job and am all around happier.

{ 27 comments… read them below }

  1. The Other Dawn*

    That’s great, OP! Sounds like your boss was trying to avoid coming out and saying that you had to go and it’s part of the job. Instead he decided that comments and a guilt trip were the way to go. Not a good idea.

  2. Hugo*

    Good for you! Your manager and the company were being selfish and had no interest in your personal happiness or well-being. Carrying the biggest account, no raise, asked you to move to Alaska – they can find someone else to do that. I bet the expression they had when you announced your resignation is priceless.

    That’s today’s workplace for you. These days you have to look out for yourself. Never sacrifice your own happiness for some company.

    1. Editor*

      I’m not sure that employers have ever really cared about the happy progression of employee life plans, although IBM used to get pretty involved and paternalistic in the 1950s and 60s. That said, sending someone off to Alaska is a big change, and a boss should be realistic about likely resistance.

      The raise denial is unacceptable, though. Handling the prime client without getting recompense is just low. I’m glad the OP is better off and happier now. Congrats!

  3. AB*

    I love updates that show the person took control of the situation, and moved on to better things, rather than just accepting any imposition from the employer.

    Happy for you, OP.

  4. John B Public*

    Very happy for you, OP! I’m gonna half-agree with Hugo- no one else has to live your life, so I’m glad you took charge of your own happiness and showed them you wouldn’t tolerate that sort of treatment.

  5. MissDisplaced*

    It sound like it’s good you got out while the getting was good.
    The job didn’t pay enough to warrant a big move (to Alaska no less!) and gee sorry, but your boss sounded kind of creepy with those boyfriend comments!


    Companies and managers need to understand that your life does not revolve around it. As you found out there are bigger and better things around every corner.

  7. Chuchundra*

    That’s just so odd.

    I can’t imagine relocating anywhere at your employer’s request unless there was some kind of serious incentive on the table: raise, promotion, bonus, relocation expenses, etc. Why would anyone do this unless there was some significant benefit to them?

    1. Editor*

      Our family relocated from the northeast to a southern state when my husband’s entire department was transferred. There was financial assistance, but when we left the south we lost money on the house and were moving into a more expensive area. Painful.

      Sometimes people just, well, fold. My husband hated looking for jobs, didn’t like the location of the offers he did get, and — along with me — mistakenly believed assurances that the new place had a much cheaper cost of living. But it wasn’t cheaper, and in addition, we had to add a second car because he couldn’t walk to work any more.

      The weirdest part is that when he got out, we ended up living in the location where he’d turned down offers before. Sigh.

      1. Stephanie*

        Now I’m curious as to which southern area is more expensive than the Northeast! I wouldn’t have guessed that. Atlanta?

        1. Anonymous*

          I think Editor meant they were told this northeast location had a cheap cost of living, but it didn’t.

        2. Editor*

          We were transferred from a small college city in rural upstate New York to a county seat in rural Kentucky. We were told housing would be cheaper and taxes lower. It was more complicated than that. Housing selection was limited and there was no multiple listing. The house we bought restricted gardens and was not as well built as we were used to; it was one of two that met our specifications (public water and sewer in county school district) and was within our price range. Shopping for replacement fixtures and appliances was difficult because pretty much all the offerings were bottom-of-the-line; anything innovative was too novel and too expensive for much of the local market.

          Finding a good doctor, dentist and orthodontist was hard; the hospital was mediocre. There was a much smaller public library than we were used to, and it closed at 5 p.m. and midday Saturday. Public parks, swimming pools, concerts, craft fairs, programs and camps for children and similar amenities were limited or nonexistent — or involved paying some kind of membership.

          We looked at grocery prices, and thought they were comparable, but didn’t realize we would not be able to get good-quality fresh produce at farmer’s markets — the nearest farm market was almost an hour’s drive away. We liked Pepperidge Farm bread, but had to buy it in the city an hour away because the bread delivery guy didn’t like driving so far out to our Kroger, and it took five years of lobbying to get him to deliver (he said we should have waited another year for bread deliveries until he retired).

          I grew up in a rural town in the northeast, so I had lived in a poorer area before. But it had farm stands all over — during corn season, stuff was fresh picked every day. I believe our health suffered — and I know my kids to this day eat fewer vegetables — because we moved away from a food paradise.

          I had been working part-time because that worked best for my family. In the new place, part-time jobs were almost impossible to find. There was very little day care, and when I asked about it, people wondered why I would want to leave my kids with a stranger instead of my mother.

          The difficulties with finding work for me and finding childcare cut into our income and made living there more expensive. Because after the transfer my husband worked very long hours for a couple of years, I didn’t work at all for that time.

          Cost of living is a complicated calculation, because as we discovered, it isn’t just the price of things, it includes the quality of life. Sometimes quality of life is complicated. For instance, we thought when we moved we would spend more time with some relatives a few hours away because we would have holiday weekends to go see them. But that fizzled, because the church youth groups all had scheduled activities for long weekends. When we pointed out that some people might want to use some weekends to travel, we got blank stares. When you move to a society where people don’t move away, they don’t understand the need to travel. I grew up in a rural area, but the churches there didn’t suck up every free weekend like they did in the south.

          1. Melissa*

            Now you’re reminding me all of the things about the South that I don’t miss. I’m from suburban Atlanta and while finding a good doctor and dentist aren’t a problem, I was appalled at how few public library branches there were and how early it closed. Public pools were also limited there because the cost of living was lower and more middle-class families could either afford their own pools or had pools in their neighborhoods. Most after-school and summer camp programs were run by religious organizations. There weren’t any farmer’s markets nearby where I lived – our local grocery store had a good selection of “normal” fresh fruit but not exotic ones (hard to find cherries even in the summer, or mangoes).

            Part of me would like to stay in the Northeast – just not in the very large city I am currently in – and part of me wants to move back to the South. Doesn’t help that I was raised half-and-half so I have values from both.

    2. AP*

      I might, for a great project, or if there was a manager I really wanted to work with. But I’m single and have a lease which is easy enough to break! Different situation than someone with a family.

    3. Jake*

      Many industries are built on relocation and offer competitive salaries to compensate. Construction being a great example.

      As a project engineer I make 20% more than somebody with the same experience and skills that is working as an estimator because I’m expected to relocate (at the company’s expense) ever 2-4 years while the estimator hangs out at the home office and travels to job sites a week or two out of the year.

  8. tcookson*

    I can’t believe the boss thought OP needed to “step up to the task” of MOVING TO ALASKA!! That’s a liiitle bit more than just “stepping up”.

    1. AF*

      Exactly – totally ridiculous guilt trip, and insulting the OP to try to damage her self-esteem so she’ll move is horrible. “What don’t you want this giant pile of crap we’re trying to give you?!”

  9. Just A Thought...*

    Maybe the boss can head on over to Alaska himself and “step up to the task.” LOL

  10. Emma*

    Having recently moved to Alaska from the Northeast for a job, I can confirm there is no “just” about it! From the more expensive food, fuel and housing to the geographic isolation to the social/cultural differences, it’s no small potatoes to up sticks and move. Bullet dodged, mate. Congratulations on your new job!

    1. Gjest*

      I moved around a lot in my 20’s, then lived in AK for 9 years, and now moved to Norway this spring. Moving to AK was definitely more similar to an international move. Hang in there! AK is an amazing place, and hopefully you will find (like I did) that people often become very close friends, probably in no small part due to the isolation. I loved it. It was hard to leave, and if/when I move back to the US, I will try very hard to return to AK.

      1. Anonymous*

        How do you move to Norway? Are you in a city? My cousins are not able to find a home in the small town in which he works as a postmaster, so he drives 30 miles to work. In Norway, for those not familiar, that’s winding snowy mountainous roads during long dark winters.

        1. Gjest*

          I was offered a job with an international organization, based in a smallish city (but bigger than the town I lived in in AK). The housing market is very tight up here, but I finally found something close to my work. And luckily my time in AK prepared me for winding snowy mountainous roads during long dark winters :)

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