I moved for my husband but can’t find work in my field, recruiting by text message, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I moved for my husband but can’t find work in my field — and now I have a job offer in my home state

I grew up in the midwest, and I moved down to the middle of nowhere in New Mexico to be with my husband after I graduated college. The first year I was here was interesting. I got a job in the loan industry. It paid okay for the area, not great but it paid the bills and put food on the table. After the year, I quit due to the stress and horrible management causing me major health issues. After I resigned, I received a job offer from my home state working with children. I discussed it with my husband and he told me to take it; that way I could visit family and recharge (since I was not in the best of health). I spent the summer getting better, visiting family, and enjoying my job.

After the summer was up, I traveled back home. As soon as I got back, I filled out many applications and had interviews. This is where the sad part starts. The interviews went really well and the managers liked me, but many did not want to hire me due to my education. (I have a four-year degree in history and social science) They thought I was overqualified due to that. This frustrates me to no end. One manager only interviewed me as a back-up plan; if one of his people quit, he would call me and ask me to fill in. Another one eent in all my paperwork to the area manager but can’t hire me because they didn’t have a store manager.

I have been out of a job for three months and money is getting tight. Yesterday I received a email from a company in my home state wanting me to work for them. This is where I need advice/help. My husband has an awesome job that pays pretty well. He also loves working there. He has been applying to jobs all over the country to be closer to a bigger city so I can start my career. However, he hasn’t gotten a job yet and it’s been close to a year and a half. This job that was offered to me is my dream job and it’s in my career field. Do I go for my dream job and have my husband move to my home state with me or should I stay here in the middle of nowhere with no job while he remains at his? Please help. I am at a standstill and don’t know what to do.

Oh, I’m sorry — this is really hard. Ultimately, this is a question for your marriage. It sounds like you and your husband need to figure out where it makes sense for the two of you to live. If you won’t be able to find a job in your field where you currently are (which sounds like may be the case), do the two of you want to move somewhere that you can? Or is it okay for you to resign yourself to not getting work in your field long-term? Is he willing to move for now since you moved for him before and gave his city a shot? What are your husband’s job prospects in the new city? And how do the two of you want to balance all these factors out? Ultimately it’s about the trade-offs the two of you decide to make as a couple.

The job-related piece of this that I can advise on is that the longer you don’t work in your field, the harder it will be to find work in your field. So you probably have a relatively limited window of time to really pursue it, if that’s what you want to do.

2. Recruiting by text message

I have a Google Voice number that I use for job hunting. I am not currently job hunting — I love my job — but I also believe in always taking the meeting/interview/convo if possible, because you never know what will happen next.

Earlier this week, I got a text message from a recruiting company asking me if I was interested in a job that I was actually completely unqualified for — the recruiter had clearly done a keyword scan for, say, “teapot usability” and since both words showed up, he assumed I was now a teapot usability expert. I replied that I was not qualified for the position.

Today he texted back and asked what I was looking for. I replied that at this time I was not looking to make a move, which is 100% true. But, again, normally I’m happy to have a quick convo — except that 1) he hadn’t read my resume and 2) the TEXT MESSAGES.

I would think it completely appropriate to have a text conversation with a recruiter with whom I already had a relationship, especially things like confirming I’d finished an interview, or other quick transactional notes. But I can’t see doing this as the regular course of business as part of job hunting. I am An Old, but I work in technology and have plenty of text conversations on a daily basis. Am I just being old-fashioned or is this the new direction of recruiting and I’m going to have to get used to it in order to be competitive?

I hope not. I think you just ran into a weird and overly cavalier recruiter, of which there are plenty. He was sloppy about reading your resume, and he’s sloppy about how he communicates.

Also, some people are way more reliant on texting in all situations than others, and I think some of those people over time lose sight of the fact that not everyone likes to have lengthy business-related text conversations.

3. Being laid off right after relocating for work

This summer my husband was told that the company he had worked for for 10 years was closing his plant and relocating it to Houston. He was among the few employees that were offered to keep their jobs and move with the plant. The company would provide a substantial relocation package including all closing costs, moving costs, and a one month extra salary for expenses. No raises would be given and as a matter of fact, at the time the entire US operations had been forced to take a temporary ten percent pay cut that had started in February.

We didn’t want to move. We had a teenager going into his junior year of high school and had a great life and house. But my husband is over 50 years old and we realized finding a new job would be difficult so we accepted the offer. So mid-August I quit my job and we moved.

Fast forward three and a half months and he gets laid off. We were thoroughly shocked. He had to sign an agreement saying that if he resigned in the next two years, we had to pay back all if the relocation fees but what about if they lay him off? Now we are in a new town that is not our home away from our friends and family. Even with the relocation package this has not been a cheap move for us. Is there any way of getting them to move us back? It just seems so unfair! I know the old saying about how life isn’t fair but you’ve got to be kidding me!

That’s horrible. He can definitely try to negotiate for some moving costs, but whether or not they agree is likely to depend on (a) how guilty they feel, so he should try to appeal to their human decency when he points out what happened, and (b) whether they’re worried he has potential grounds to sue for anything (like discrimination or harassment). Severance packages are often quite negotiable when one of those things is the case, especially the second one.

I’m not sure if you were also worried that you might be on the hook for the relocation expenses, but you won’t be. That’s only for if your husband left voluntarily.

4. Prospective employer told me that I no longer seem interested in the job

I interviewed for a job position before Thanksgiving, and sent a follow up email a couple days ago asking about the status of the job. I got an email back stating “that it seemed I was no longer interested in the job”. Panicked that I may have missed a job offer letter I scourged my email to find…nothing. I’m not sure what I could have done in this scenario? Or even how to respond back.

It sounds like a miscommunication. Maybe they sent you an email or left you a voicemail that somehow got lost in the ether. (Or maybe they think they did but they didn’t actually do it.) I’d send this back: “I’m still very interested! Your email makes me wonder if you’d tried to contact me, but I don’t have any missed calls or emails from you so I’m not sure what happened that made you think I’d lost interest. I’d still love to be considered for the job and to talk with you further.”

5. Is this company brushing me off?

Several years ago I applied for a position at a company located right down the street from my house. I received an in person interview that seemed to go incredibly well. Several days later however, I received a rejection email telling me “thanks for applying, but we will be moving forward with other candidates at this time.” And to “feel free to reapply in the future.”

I have reapplied, but have never been invited back for another in-person interview. The first time I reapplied, I was invited to an out of state job fair (in spite of the position I applied for being right down the street.) There was no way to RSVP to this job fair. I’m not sure there was any connection between not attending the job fair and not being selected for an interview, but needless to say I didn’t get the job. The second time I reapplied, once again their actions baffled me, I was invited to a phone screening interview with someone from out of state. I’m kind of getting a message that “we don’t really want you to work here, and even though you feel you’d be perfect for the position please take the hint and move on.” Am I right to perceive this are they in fact giving me the brush off or am I reading too much into what’s becoming standard practices even though they don’t always make sense to the local job seeker?

The out-of-state job fair thing is weird, but I wouldn’t read anything into the phone interview being with someone from another state. If that’s the person who’s doing the phone interviews for the position, it makes sense that that’s what would happen — and they’re not going to invite you to skip the phone screen and interview in-person at that stage instead, so the fact that you’re right down the street wouldn’t really factor in.

In general, employers are very comfortable rejecting people because they have to do it all the time. They don’t offer phone interviews to people as a way to brush them off. If they want to brush you off, they’d just reject you!

{ 228 comments… read them below }

  1. BadPlanning*

    On OP#4 — Do you have a semi common name? Or one that has a couple variations? There’s the possibility that they mixed you up with someone else. I have a common name with similar variations and have been mixed up with others in odd ways.

    1. Michele*

      That is an interesting possibility. I have a common name with a couple common variations in spelling. I get mistaken for others all the time. I have had bill collectors try to come after me for a baby I have never had and student loans from a school that I never went to (don’t mess with my credit score). A few years ago, I had to switch doctors because they messed up my records with someone else’s. I gave them one warning, but when they called my house with her test results , I yelled at them for being so irresponsible and violating her privacy, then I changed doctors.

      1. Cucumberzucchini*

        True story. There is someone with the same First Name – Middle Initial – Last Name and the SAME birthdate in the city I was born in who possibly was born at the same hospital. (Oh no! Now, as I write this, I wonder if we were switched at birth by mistake. No, I look like a carbon copy of my mom. Phew.)

        My mom and I discovered this when I was a child because name twin and I were scheduled for the SAME SURGERY (Tubes in Ears) on the SAME DAY at the SAME HOSPITAL!!!!!! But with different doctors. How crazy is that?! The only way we could convince the check-in lady that we were not other person with same name when we were like, wait, that’s not my doctor’s name was when she actually said the full middle name. Nope that’s not me.

        So years go by and I convinced myself this was all too crazy to actually have happened and it had to be a false memory. I went to the Hospital ER and the desk person pulled up “my file” and once again pulled up other person who has the same name, same birthdate and then I was like – okay this is real and it really happened.

    2. Karo*

      My name isn’t even that common, but it’s common enough that my email address has to have my middle initial. Even though I communicate with everyone through FirstnameMLastname@gmail, people just try to type my email address in instead of hitting reply, and they skip the initial. FirstnameLastname@gmail knows way more about my life – wedding, house buying, god knows what else – than I’m comfortable.

      1. blackcat*

        I have a very common name, yet I do have FirstnameLastname at gmail.

        I know FAR too much about other people with my name. Some of it is innocuous (what lovely furniture you’re having delivered, name-twin in LA! Sweet new flat, name-twin in London!), but I have had to email lawyers of other Firstname Lastnames and be like “I am not your client, and wow I didn’t need to know this.”

        I have also been one of two Firstname Lastnames who used the same pharmacy. We were both given wrong medication at different times, and we both complained to the manager (check date of birth! She was 20 years older than me).

        1. shep*

          I have an extremely UNcommon name, but I ended up learning a TON of stuff about the guy who used to have my old cell number via voicemails I got from numbers I didn’t recognize/answer. His name was Liam and he was a newlywed, and then I learned that he was having a destination wedding in London. (I wanted to go!)

          He was also, from what I gather, the purchaser for some company, and I once had a merchant yell at me because I kept insisting my number was a private number. His incredulity was funny at first, until he got WAY belligerent. “THAT’S CUTE NOW HAND ME OVER TO YOUR SUPERVISOR.” I went, “Um, for the last time, this number is private, and we’re done,” and hung up the phone. He never called me back and I hope he was suitably ashamed.

          I did also have a lot of theories about Liam since (1) he apparently never bothered to update a lot of his friends that he’d changed his number and (2) I also found my number listed as his business cell YEARS after it became my number.

          I think Liam was a spy.

        2. Mrs. Fenris*

          I know someone whose email is First Initial Part of Lastname at gmail. Turns out there is a guy with Same Initial Last Name. She got an email intended for him…a woman was breaking the news, in very soap-opera fashion, that his wife was having an affair with her husband. It was super awkward to reply “ooh, sorry, wrong email.”

    3. Lady Montworth (née Janice in Accounting)*

      Oh, that happened to my husband–a colleague recommended him for a job he really wanted but they never offered him an interview. He found out much later they’d tossed his resume because they thought he was someone else with a similar name, someone who wasn’t suitable for the job.

  2. NM anon*

    Op #1 I too moved to the middle of nowhere, NM for my husband. I also have a degree in history. I graduated as the economy crashed and all the jobs within 2 hours of me, in the field I wanted to go into, disappeared. My husband’s job prospects also dried up and luckily we were able to save enough money to leave the land of entrapment. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to work in my field and probably never will. It makes me sad. I know it’s not as simple as “take the job,” (which I want to tell you to do) but I hope that you and your spouse will talk and move somewhere where jobs in both your fields are available. Good luck, I hope you’re able to continue with your dream.

    1. Jeanne*

      Some people in NM must have jobs. What is the problem there?

      Anyway, you need to sit down with your husband for a long conversation. What do you want your future to look like? Location, home, children, schools, community, everything you can think of. If one of you has a job you love and the other has to work at anything available, is that ok or not ok? Try to get down to what truly matters to you. Have you (or he) really been open to what is available in your field? I’m a scientist. I always thought I’d work in a lab. I knew little to nothing about QA and technical writing. After taking a job because I needed one, I found out I loved QA. Maybe you’ve always wanted to work for a museum and that’s not available. (Just an example) What else is out there? Be creative.

        1. Tobias Funke*

          Yep, that about sums it up.

          I love it here (I’m a transplant) but I work with really high needs populations. And boy, do we have really high needs populations.

          1. paul*

            I’m terrified of trying to work in my field in NM; it seems like resources are thinner there than they are over here in Texas–and they’re pretty sparse for high needs/at risk folk here too.

      1. Lora*

        It depends on the county: there are a lot of jobs in energy (AKA oil and gas) in Lea County, Los Alamos National Lab, and…that’s pretty much it. UNM runs largely on adjuncts, which is as close to unemployed as you can be without actually being unemployed.

        There’s a lot of pretty scenery and hiking, but you can’t pay the rent with it.

        1. Another NM anon*

          State, Local, and the Federal governments are main employers, along with oil and gas, and Lora has noted. My parents worked for the State and for UNM. Preference typically given to longer-time residents. I grew up in NM, but had to move east to find a job. Had I stayed, I most likely would also have worked for the State. One sister moved out of the country, the other works for Los Alamos National Lab. Lots of people want to live in NM, but the job options can be really challenging.

          1. Alienor*

            Seconding that – all my relatives in NM have either worked for the government or in the university system, or have moved there after retiring from jobs in other states.

        2. Jessesgirl72*

          With the crash in the oil market, there are a lot fewer of those jobs available too. I have a friend whose daughter has a geology degree, and she was trying to find energy jobs in NM, and everywhere she was hired kept going under.

      2. paul*

        NM has *awful* job prospects in most fields (there’s some high end IT and research work in Los Alamos of course). There’s a reason it has a 20%+ poverty rate after all.

        My wife and I love the state and want to move there, but finding middle class jobs there is very hit or miss.

        OP: Are you and your husbands fields strong in the same areas, or is it going to be a case of if oneo f you is in a place with good options, the other won’t be?

      3. CG*

        Yeah, the people I know in NM either work for schools or work remotely for jobs from more job-abundant areas.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          The one I know works for Los Alamos.

          Everyone else I used to know has moved to areas with better job prospects.

      4. OP #1*

        @ Jeanne, where I live at in New Mexico the jobs are hard to come by. They jobs that are available pay below minimum wage. I have even applied at those jobs as well, but I haven’t able to get a job with them. They either go with someone with hardly any experience or someone they know. From what I learned is the only way you can get a job is connections. I have gotten job offers in my home state but turned them down because I did not want to leave my him and to be honest I was afraid to see what he would say. Yesterday I talked with him about moving to the Midwest and room with family and he would stay in New Mexico while he wraps up job. (He wont be able to come with me until Septemeber) He didnt plan on talking about this for at least another 5 months because his put in his applications in other states, and he was hoping to hear back from them soon. I dont want to put pressure on him because it makes me feel bad, but with this job offer I dont want to pass it up and at the same time we cant afford to be unemployed. Thank you for your advise.

    2. shep*

      I have a friend in NM who moved there expressly for a job, but like you and others indicate, it’s pretty highly specified–he’s doing his medical residency. And he’s desperate to come back home after it’s done. I’m sure the scenery is lovely, but he’d always have to live pretty close to, if not in, a metro area, and he’s not particularly fond of it.

    3. Chickaletta*

      Sandia Labs is a good employer too. We have some good hospitals, and the public schools are a major employer, but that’s about it. Outside Albuquerque, there’s not a lot unless you’re in the oil and gas industry which hasn’t been doing well and is starting to affect budgets at UNM and other institutions that depend on them. Other companies which used to be good employers, like PNM, have outsourced complete departments in the last decade and morale is very low.

      New Mexico does not have a lot of resources and the government is poorly run. It is also geographically large and demographically diverse, which present additional challenges to making decisions on a state level.

      I’ve had lots of trouble finding good employment here too, which is one of the main reasons why I freelance. Most of my clients are out of state.

      New Mexico has a strange culture for job hunting and doing business in general. It’s still very much and “old man’s club” at the upper levels, especially in government, and most people get hired through connections and recommendations; if you’re sending in a resume cold, you’re most likely competing against applicants who have a personal connection with the hiring source (except at places like the Labs where hiring practices are more like those at other places around the country.)

      I love New Mexico. I was born and raised here, graduated high school and college from here, and I live here now. I’ve lived other places so I know how it compares. It is not the place to live if you like to go out and have lots of options for things to do, or be surrounded by people. But if you love endless horizons, nature, fresh air, hiking, skiing, chile, and culture, you’ll love it. Just don’t expect to make millions here.

    4. Mel Mel*

      I grew up in New Mexico (Las Cruces), and I love it. The food, the smell of chile roasting in August, the mountains, it’s incredible. However, after my bachelor’s degree, I was only able to work at the university. After my MBA, there was nothing. I and all three of my siblings had to leave the state when we graduated.

      I love going home, but I know I will never work or live there again.

  3. Beth Anne*

    #2- I LOVE this idea of having a phone number just for job hunting. I hate the idea of having my phone number out there sometimes and getting all sorts of crazy calls.

    1. Jubilance*

      Google Voice is the best for dating and job hunting. And signing up for random things when you don’t want companies to have your real phone number.

    2. Venus Supreme*

      I am totally going to get a Google Voice number now… I’ve learned so much more on this website!

      1. halpful*

        I keep trying, and forgetting that it doesn’t work outside the US. I can sign in, but all the useful buttons are just… not there, with no explanation. very weird.

      2. Stardust*

        I have a Google Voice # too and mostly it’s great. I get an email alert to any missed calls or texts unless the text is a picture. When I first got Google Voice and told my friends I had a new number, I didn’t get my good friend’s text that she had her baby because it was a picture text. It was much later before I found out she had given birth and I thought she just forgot to tell me she went into labor… After that I have just used the Google Voice # for non-personal uses.

        1. Jonathan T*

          I use Google Voice for any situation where I have to list a phone number to be contacted but do not want to list a direct number for obvious reasons. Classified and personal ads, website “contact us” pages as well as Resumes to be posted on online career sites-job boards where people can find them are great places to use a Google Voice number that forwards to a number where you can actually be reached.

          1. Jonathan T*

            It also works great in situations where you don’t want to give someone your actual number. Like sweepstakes entry forms where you’re likely to receive multiple calls from telemarketers or other such things where you have to give out a phone number in order to get “free stuff”.

    3. voluptuousfire*

      Agreed! I have one I use for both online dating and job hunting. I even convinced a few of my female coworkers who don’t have direct lines to use a Google Voice number for their “work line.”

  4. wetmop anon*

    Is New Mexico that bad? I hope everything goes well for you. I can’t wait to seen the update. Good Luck!

    1. NM anon*

      Yes, it’s that bad. New Mexico is an awful place to live. Visiting is okay, as long as you have plenty of money to leave.

      1. wetmop anon*

        I heard it was a beautiful state, that sucks it a bad place to live. I hope this young woman and her husband can find a place where they are both happy at.

        1. A Day at the Zoo*

          New Mexico is mainly a military state so there are few jobs outside of that field. There is just not much there for corporate people. I had a family member go through the same thing.

          1. Chickaletta*

            There’s some military at the air force bases, but I wouldn’t say there’s few jobs outside that area. See my comments above.

        2. paul*

          It’s a great place to live if you can find work. The trick is finding work. I’d give a lot to live in the Tularosa Basin region, or up north in the Los Alamos region. Heck, even Albuquerque

            1. Kai*

              Yeah, my grandparents moved there to retire and it makes a lot of sense for that, with the dry warm weather and beautiful scenery.

        3. Alienor*

          It’s definitely beautiful, but there’s a lot of poverty and not a lot of opportunities for getting out of it. There are tons of tiny towns where I have no idea how people survive (probably by the skin of their teeth).

      1. AthenaC*

        I don’t think anyone (reasonable) disputes that. But the reality is that unless you or someone you know lives in a particular area, you simply don’t hear about how things are in that area.

        Today we happen to be talking about New Mexico. Tomorrow it could be central Texas, upstate New York, or any of the states, really.

        1. Paige*

          When you have gainful employment, it can be easy to forget how harrowing the economy (still) is pretty much across the board, with the exception of on the coasts. I’m sure New Mexico would be amazing to the OP if OP had gainful employment there.

          1. TootsNYC*

            Actually, it still might not be.

            According to the National Conference of State Legislators website, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Mexico had the second-highest unemployment rate—6.7%—of all the 50 states (only Alaska’s is higher, at 6.8%).

            And only two other states have rates of 6% or higher, and they’re definitely lower: 6.0 (WV), 6.3 (La.). (The District of Columbia is 6.1%, and Puerto Rico really stinks, at 11.5%.)

            So New Mexico isn’t being “trashed unfairly” here.

            I’m sure many people love living there, but it’s not unreasonable to say that it’s economy is far tougher than most places.

            1. TootsNYC*

              And that economy, and the state’s topography, may mean there’s not as much extra stuff going on to make it more enjoyable.

    2. Ellsbells*

      I disagree! I absolutely loved my job there and cried when we had to move for my husband’s job!

    3. Mimmy*

      I love New Mexico – my husband grew up there and we go back every 1 or 2 years to visit his sister and his school. Sooooo different from the hustle and bustle of the East Coast!

      But yes, it does seem jobs can be hard to come by if you’re looking in a specific field, unless you’re in/near a big city like Albuquerque.

  5. Girasol*

    #1 Years ago in desperation I applied for a job and left part of my college time off the application. (I’d changed schools partway, so I claimed the first school and not the second. That way it looked like I never finished.) Is hiding a degree when you have one as bad as claiming to have a degree when you don’t? I know that sometimes a degree holder will be bored with a job that doesn’t require one, and employers are worried about them quitting, but having to starve because you graduated just seems so unfair.

    1. Jeanne*

      Interesting question. We discuss leaving jobs off your resume that are short term or not relevant. Leaving it off your resume sounds like it would be ok because you can tailor your resume to the jobs you want. The problem for me is the standard application where it asks everywhere you went to school. Is it lying to leave my college education of of that? I vote that you can leave it off if you want. But I wonder how the company would view it if they found out in a year?

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You can absolutely leave your degree off of your resume. You can leave anything you want off your resume. You get to decide what does and doesn’t strengthen your candidacy.

      If you’re asked directly, you shouldn’t lie, but you’re allowed to leave off whatever you want.

      1. Mimmy*

        If you’re asked directly, you shouldn’t lie, but you’re allowed to leave off whatever you want.

        So how would I explain any discrepancies if asked about anything not on my resume? If I leave my Masters degree off my resume but include it in the actual job application, I don’t know that I could just say, “I didn’t want to look like I’d jump ship upon better offers”.

        1. LBK*

          I think you can say a less blunt version of that, something like “I know sometimes when companies see advanced degrees on a resume for a position at this level, they pass over the person because they think they’d quickly get bored and move on to another position. I wanted to ensure I’d get a chance to speak to you and make it clear that I’m genuinely interested in sticking with this role long-term despite possibly being a little overqualified.”

          1. Czhorat*

            You could add, or lead with, “I didn’t think it relevant for this position.”

            That shows that you’re being mindful in sharing only what is appropriate to share.

        2. Michele*

          You should modify your resume for each position to emphasize the things the employer is looking for (unless the jobs are extremely similar).
          Also, if I saw a discrepancy between the resume and application, I would be bothered by it. For example, one time I read a resume that looked good, so I checked the person’s LinkedIn account. There was a lot that she was leaving off the resume, probably so she didn’t appear overqualified. I went ahead and called her, but I tailored my questions to see how someone with her experience would handle working in a junior, entry-level position where her work was closely supervised, which is what she had applied for.

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      It’s not just the boredom factor. In theory, people with degrees earn more than people who don’t have them. So if you have a degree, they think you are just working for them temporarily, until something with more money comes along.

  6. jamlady*

    Op1 – My husband and I have been married for 5 1/2 years and we’ve lived together for about 6 months of that. He finally, FINALLY, was able to get a job where I’ve been working for the last year and a half – where I moved up quite quickly and firmly established a name in my industry and in my region – and he’s focused on going to school part-time come January. We have spent years apart focusing on our careers. It was necessary for us because our careers are a big part of who we are and we wanted to be together regardless, so we did the long distance thing for half a decade. And it was totally worth it for us. But that’s because of who we are as a couple and as individuals. It meant learning to live together much later in our marriage, it meant pushing kids off until I might be too old to have them, and it meant risking our sanity because it wasn’t easy and no one seemed to understand. Whether or not you and your spouse should do the same has to be a decision made by you and your spouse. I wish you the best of luck!

    And remember – you can always change your mind even after you’ve chosen.

    1. Rando*

      For another data point, I lived apart from my husband to start my career. A friend of mine lived apart from her husband for two years. Both couples are happily reunited, and employed in our respective fields in our long term city. (In both cases, the people who had jobs out of state were recent law graduates and we found jobs in our desired practice areas. Neither one of us would have the jobs we have today if we stayed unemployed for too long).

      For me, what worked is that I had a firm end date in my mind as the one who was our of state. I would only be gone for a year. That gave me time to look for work in our long term city, and helped with the emotional separation.

      I say, take the job. You and your husband can continue to look for work wherever you want to be long term. I also recommend saving as much as you can so you have more financial freedom. You mention friends and family – anyone you can rent a room from?

      Best of luck to you!

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        An end date is super helpful with a long distance relationship. Even more essential, in my experiences with them, was knowing when we’d next see each other. We often booked tickets for the next visit right after the last one ended.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Absolutely. I don’t think I could sustain another one if I didn’t have some assurance my partner and I would have some kind of future plan after we’d been together for a little while. It’s just too hard and too expensive, especially since I’m looking at going from a fairly well-paid job in this area to a really sh!tty paid one probably. The travel is cost-prohibitive and it’s only going to get worse.

      2. AnonAnalyst*

        This is what I would do, although I realize that that might not be a sacrifice the OP is willing to make. But, I’ve also done it before: my partner and I lived on opposite sides of the country for 2.5 years while I went to graduate school and searched for my post-grad school job. He was finishing up another degree program that wasn’t transferable to another school with no distance-learning options. He has since moved to be with me, but (ironically) we’re now looking to relocate back to our home state so we may end up doing the long distance thing again for awhile if one of us finds a job there before we’re both able to pull up stakes and move.

        1. EddieSherbert*

          This is similar to where my partner and I are at; I have a great job I haven’t been at all that long and they went back to school for their master’s. Since it’s only two years, we decided to live apart for this time and after they finish school, we’ll work on getting jobs near each other (it;d be awesome if they could move back here, but if not, I’ll have been at my current job long enough to think about moving on without turning into a job hopper).

      3. Not A Morning Person*

        I’m another person who lived apart from my spouse for career/job reasons for several years. The economy tanked for many fields in the early 2000’s and jobs were scarce in the middle of the US but better on the coasts. (I would love to have moved, but I was the one with the long-term stable job at that time, so spouse moved.) As others have said, it was hard, but doable. We reminded ourselves that neither of us was getting shot at for our jobs (thinking of military and their long term separations from family). That helped some. Also, trying to live cheap was helpful, but let’s be real about renting a space from a family member or friend…how much do you want them to know about your relationship? It’s hard for others to be observers and it would be hard for a couple to live in front of others. Spouses can get angry with one another for small or big reasons and still be ready to forgive. Others will typically see only that you were upset and then be angry on your behalf, not seeing all the other great things about your spouse that brought and keep you together. That can create a situation where the friend or family member wants to ensure your happiness by recommending that you leave the person you love most in the world because all friend or family member hears is the anger or the complaints. On another note, how much of your happy home-comings do you want them to be a part of? I may be old-fashioned, but an audience would kill any romance for me.
        Living apart can work, but it takes work and commitment. And as others have mentioned, a deadline to look forward to can be really helpful!

        1. OP #1*

          Thank you :) This will really help us out. I really appreciate it. Reading other peoples comments has helped me out alot. I am writting down stuff I need to talk about with my husband, goals that we would like to make and deadlines. Thank you again.

    2. babblemouth*

      My partner of 9 years and I have been living apart for 18 months now, as I got a great opportunity but it wasn’t financially possible for him to follow me right away. It’s not great to live apart, and we miss each other, but it can be done. He will join me eventually, we’re certain of that.

    3. Sandy*

      My now-husband and I lived in two different cities for several years before, DURING, and after we got married. It was a question of job realities- he needed a new job fast and no one was biting in our city, and he got a very good offer elsewhere.

      It wasn’t until we were in the midst of it that friends, family, and colleagues started coming out of the woodwork to tell us that they had done that too at some point in their marriages/careers. Sometimes they were academics, and getting tenure-track jobs at the same time in the same city was a pipe dream, other times it was that getting a promotion menat putting in the time at another office, other times the jobs just weren’t there.

      I don’t want to sound cavalier about it- it can really suck- but at the same time, it’s way more common than you might think!

    4. blackcat*

      Yep. My husband works ~100 miles away. Since we’re in the Northeast, that’s definitely too far to commute. He has a studio apartment there and comes home for weekends.
      Before that, we lived ~700 miles apart, but fortunately with cheap direct flights, we were able to swing visits every 2-3 weeks.
      It is doable, particularly if it is temporary. But do not move to a different hemisphere. That is much less doable. Been there, done that, it’s awful.

      1. Marcela*

        Yes, a different hemisphere is bad. But not as much for the spatial difference: it’s the time difference what killed DH and I. When one of us could chat, the other was working. We were used to be together most of the time, and we ended barely able to talk 15 minutes every day. It was so terrible that in his first visit after a year, we decided I would move with him, leaving my master degree unfinished (which is a decision I’ve never regretted).

        1. blackcat*

          I actually found that the full antipodal situation was better than just having the eastern vs western hemisphere issue, because daylight savings helped (eg, when the northern hemisphere goes one way, the souther hemisphere goes another).

    5. Sophia in the DMV (DC-MD-VA)*

      Me too. we’ve lived long distance for many years, also before and during our marriage. When we have lived together, that involved a lot of me communting long-distance. My daughter (2) recently moved away for a year for a big career opportunity for me. We see each other in person for two weekends a month and he and her Skype every morning and every night.

    6. LBK*

      It meant learning to live together much later in our marriage, it meant pushing kids off until I might be too old to have them, and it meant risking our sanity because it wasn’t easy and no one seemed to understand.

      I wonder how much of this is a factor of TV/movies making moments like these end in Big Romantic Gestures. One person having to move for work isn’t an uncommon plotline (there’s a pretty famous one at the end of Friends, for instance) and it almost always ends in the person staying, the other person moving as well or the couple breaking up. Unless you’ve seen someone do it in real life, a lot of people probably don’t have a frame of reference for a long distance relationship/marriage happening or working out well.

      1. AnonAnalyst*

        I do wonder if that’s part of it. Growing up, I had known several couples who spent time living apart because they had found great opportunities in different cities, and all of them had come through fine (they are all still together, in fact!) So I didn’t think it was that crazy when my partner and I decided to do the long distance thing so that we could each pursue the best opportunities available to us at the time. But everyone around us acted like we were delusional and would definitely be breaking up in the near future.

      2. Artemesia*

        This is a common theme of Hallmark movies; the answer is always that the wife needs to realize that being with her husband is more important than her own silly career ambitions, even if that means she gives up her corporate law job to join him in his cowboy job location or his small town sheriff position or his small town artisanal furniture position where of course hand making furniture is a ‘living’.

        We did it for a few months until my husband finally just gave up and followed me; he had hoped to wait until he had a job where I was (our deal was this move for my difficult to establish career). It took him another year to get a position and his career never recovered although he did a great job making it work and we accepted that two mediocre careers is what you get when you are not mobile. Financially we would have been better off if we had stayed where we were and he had made a bundle and I had done whatever I could which would not have paid well. I don’t bake cupcakes professionally so the Hallmark solution was out. We had a small child at the time and once kids are in the mix living apart becomes a disastrous choice.

        1. Chalupa Batman*

          People don’t realize how insidious that Hallmark concept can be. My husband and I were talking recently, and I found out, to my surprise, that he would be willing to move for my job. He’d mentioned early in our marriage that he wouldn’t ever want to leave the area where his family lives, and I’d just assumed that hadn’t changed. It turns out that as my career has grown, he’s quietly accepted that one day I may receive an offer I can’t refuse and decided that if that happens, he’d want us to go. I realized that I had unconsciously given him a LOT of power over my career goals, power he never asked for, because I had it buried deep in my psyche that I should be the one to make the sacrifice if my career aspirations didn’t line up with the family. I don’t have any plans to go anywhere for now, but it was a huge weight off my shoulders for him to say that he’s open to it. OP’s husband may be more willing to follow her or to consider an unconventional arrangement than she would expect.

          1. LBK*

            I spent an embarrassing/disturbing about of time with my therapist unpacking conceptions about relationships that I’d clearly learned from movies and TV. It’s really creepy how much those influence how you view real life. I usually roll my eyes at those “the media gives people false expectations!” narratives but there is truth to it in many situations.

          2. OP #1*

            I really did not think about the Hallmark concept or anything like. All my life I was told the woman’s needs do not come first. I did not realize how much this has influenced my decisions. My husband is willing to relocate. He did not think it would come this soon. He wanted to wait 5 more months before we were going to talk about it. He put in several applications in different locations and he was hoping to hear back from them soon. At this moment we cant afford me being unemployed and with this job offer I will most likely take it. My great aunt has offered me a place to stay if i were to take it. Thank you :) if my grammar is bad its just due to the lack of sleep. lol

            1. Nancy*

              OP #1, I wanted to reiterate that you can also unmake your choice. My husband and I decided to live apart when we were each offered opportunities within two weeks of each other… in two different states. We were flying distance apart, and not thrilled about the idea. Over the course of the first few months, we decided that the situation was doable but not something we were comfortable with in the long-term, and both of us started looking for opportunities in the other’s location. As it turned out, he got the offer first, and moved to be near me. But we agreed first that we’d go to whoever got the job, and we had also decided that I would move to him within a year if we didn’t find anything (his salary is higher). So even if you decide to move away, you can always change your mind if it’s a bad decision!

      3. TootsNYC*

        In the Olden Days, people used to do this all the time!
        Sometimes you had to just because it took months to travel anywhere. And people who worked on ships did it too.

    7. FrequentLurker*

      I apologise if this posts twice, ‘my first try didn’t seem to submit.

      Yes, I’m glad someone else (a few people in fact) also noted this as a possible solution or a bridging solution, as I was coming to say much the same and thought I’d be howled down.
      Your options are not just one or other of you sacrificing their job to move to where the other person’s job is. A compromise could include a period of long-distance couplehood, coming together on weekends as often as resources allow. I’ve done it too, and it definitely has its challenges, but so does living together when one person is miserable and can’t find the work they want. I will note that I consider the communication skills we acquired long-distance to be a huge part of our happy relationship.

      It’s between the two of you as to whether you would consider that option, but it’s worth remembering there are more cards in the deck.

      Best of luck to you both, in your work and home lives.

    8. Blue_eyes*

      My dad has friends in their 60s who are married and have lived apart for pretty much their entire marriage. I believe they are both academics and had tenured jobs at different universities. They visited each other at least monthly and it seemed to work for them. I don’t think I could do that, especially indefinitely, but it’s certainly an option for some couples.

      1. Artemesia*

        I know people like that as well; the problem is when you want to have a family. It just is not a good option when kids are in the mix. Of course whole generations of academic women simply didn’t have kids.

        1. Emma*

          And I’ll throw in a counterpoint to that, which is that my parents’ relationship and my childhood were far happier and more stable when my folks were living apart. Maybe it’s not the ideal to have parents doing the long-distance relationship thing with kids in the mix, but it can actually work and doesn’t necessarily adversely affect the kids, either, anymore than it necessarily destroys the parents’ relationship.

    9. animaniactoo*

      I’ll just add one more voice here as somebody who has been doing the LD thing on and off throughout my relationship with my husband, including significant portions of our marriage. It’s not what we want to do. But it’s what we *need* to do if we’re ever going to achieve our long-term goal of living somewhere else.

      One of the things that works for us is having things we continue to do together even while we’re apart. We’ve played online games together, we’ve sync’d up our Animaniacs DVDs and watched an episode together every evening, our newest thing is watching Big Bang Theory together. Just like at home, he’s been known to fall asleep in the middle of the show and I get to listen to him snoring in my ear over the phone. Except then I can turn the volume down. 8•)

      1. TootsNYC*

        “if we’re ever going to achieve our long-term goal of living somewhere else.”

        I have a feeling that living apart is easier when you’re focused on a shared goal.

        What the goal is would be different; maybe it’s “until he can build up enough experience that he can be a consultant working from another state.”

        But the idea is that you are united by defining and focusing on a goal you share as a couple (“our plan”), and not focusing on the individual goals of “my career” and “his career.”

  7. Gaia*

    OP 1, I have a coworker in a similar situation. He moved here for this job with his wife and children. She also works in childcare and was unable to find work here over a year. She was offered a job back home and – for them – it made sense for her to take the kids back home and have him stay. But I can tell you, it is obviously not easy on either of them (I am friendly with both outside of work) and they both realize it cannot be a long term solution for them.

    I hope you find the right solution for both of you. This isn’t easy and there are no simple answers. Good luck.

  8. Jeanne*

    #3, I feel so bad for you. That company is mean. They should have told you the job was short term. Or provided for a contingency like that. Negotiate as much as you can with the severance. You might as well ask for more relo money. They messed up moving you for a job that doesn’t exist. Is the layoff age discrimination or just pure incompetency not knowing how many employees they would need in three months? If you go back home, the two of you still won’t have jobs. You’ll need to decide if you want to look back home, in the new location, or anywhere possible. Good luck.

    1. t*

      I’d say it’s unlikely the company knew they’d have to lay him off or they wouldn’t have given him relo. Businesses hit hard times and have to make hard decisions.

      I hope they are able to do right by this family and do whatever possible to make them whole.

    2. Engineer Girl*

      “Mean” would only work if it was intentional, which is highly unlikely. Most likely it is disorganized or their strategic planning fell through.
      Certainly try to negotiate for as much as possible, but if they are laying off there isn’t much leverage.
      This falls into the “sometimes life throws you a curve ball” category. Unfortunate but recoverable.

      1. Lora*

        Oddly I have seen a whole lot of similar strategic plans fall through, to the point that I don’t think I would take a transfer if someone offered me one on a silver platter. At this point I would say, only take a transfer if it is to someplace where if things don’t work out, you can easily find another job, or you’ve always wanted to live there, have family there…only go if YOU want to go, not because your employer wants you to.

        Dear biotech employers: this is why we all live on the coasts, because we don’t trust you to have the foresight to bring an umbrella with you in England in April. When things fall through with you, because they will sooner or later, we want to have options. It has nothing to do with being close to Cambridge MA so that brains leak out by osmosis, and everything to do with you being short-sighted and unable to make contingency plans for the company. If you want to move operations somewhere cheaper with less regulation, you’re going to have to do it en masse.

        I’m sorry OP, it sucks, I know. Some of my colleagues have relocated twice for various takeovers and found themselves laid off only a few months after moving, and their only consolation was moving to an area where it wasn’t too hard to find another job. I have multiple colleagues who decided to send their kids to private school or even boarding schools so they would be able to move for work without disrupting their children’s education.

      2. Artemesia*

        Disorganized and thoughtless usually sums it up. I have known several people that this happened to including people who gave up really good jobs and were recruited to even better jobs that then disappeared within weeks after made the move. It is rather monstrous that companies are so cavalier about this. If you are about to re-organize don’t recruit people.

    3. Sookie*

      I worked in the corporate relocation industry for more than a decade. There is no way that the company would have relocated him if they knew that they were going to have to lay him off. The level of benefit that the LW is describing costs the employer a fortune, it wouldn’t have been in their best interest to spend that kind of money if they were planning on it being short term.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Exactly. Something similar happened to my mom – her company closed down in our city to relocate to the Midwest, and they paid to relocate us out there. Well, a year later, her company was bought out and shortly after that, she was made redundant. It sucked because we were in a strange city with no support system and my mom was a single parent of two kids – but I truly don’t believe her company would have went through all the trouble and expense of moving her out there to be like, “Haha – just kidding!” This company had been bought out twice before and she’d survived both acquisitions. So maybe the company though that would happen again or maybe they didn’t even know this new acquisition would happen once they moved her. Either way, it cost entirely too much money for them to have done this with the intention of only getting a year and a half’s worth of work out of it.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          True. But a year is a lot longer than 3 months. A company that can’t predict their staffing needs even 1 quarter ahead is probably a huge mess. For your mom, it seems like they clearly intended to keep her long term, and then it became out of their hands when the company was acquired.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            A company that can’t predict their staffing needs even 1 quarter ahead is probably a huge mess.

            This is also true. But I wonder if something major happened at the last minute that caused the layoff (e.g. massive lawsuit loss or huge client contract cancelled) because I still don’t see spending relocation funds on someone you’re planning to let go that soon – it just doesn’t make sense.

            1. Artemesia*

              The right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing. I knew someone recruited out of a secure good job to a ‘better, higher level’ job and then the larger company re-organized and eliminated that division entirely at that location and there she was 6 weeks in without a job having given up a great job. When my husband finally had offers after he moved for my job, the person hired into the one he didn’t take (that paid a bit more actually — so lucky he didn’t make $ the only criterion) was laid off 6 weeks after hire when that company re-organized. Neither of those changes could possibly have been news to the C suite — but the information didn’t trickle down to the division level in their hiring. The idea that corporations are efficiently run is a major joke.

            2. Lora*

              Eh…I’ve seen companies spend king’s ransoms and then making changes that resulted in that money being better spent if they’d set it on fire. Buildings renovated or constructed for a very specific purpose (e.g. housing specific types of lab equipment), then six months later shut everything down and unable to sell the building for years, finally tearing it down. Buildings constructed, used for six months, sold to the neighboring company and then leased back for a couple of years, then turned over to the neighboring company again and moving 3/4 of the staff out to a satellite office, then bringing half the staff back and closing the satellite office. Smaller companies taken over and then the products and brands from the company sold to a competitor at a loss. Startup companies bought after several experts tell them it’s a scam, and then the company is indeed unable to fulfill any of their promises, and they lose $750M, and the guy who had a Gut Feeling about the startup is still working in the same role and making the same crummy decisions.

              Companies do senseless things all the time, flushing much MUCH more money down the toilet. It happens.

          2. Jaybeetee*

            I was once hired for a job that lost its major client/started going out of business about 3 weeks after I’d started- and they’d hired people after me too! (Mind you, this was a third party call centre years ago, not known for being generally awesome places to work). I literally remember someone in my training class asking a GM what would happen if the company lost its one huge client, and the response was basically “Oh, we’ve had them for years, it wouldn’t happen, and even if it did, we’d have months and months of notice and time to get a new client and cross-train everyone.” Literally one week later, that same GM was in our training room announcing we’d be laid off in 4 weeks (the people hired after us were sent home that day). I had a friend that had started a few weeks before me (high turnover much?) and she got to stay on a few more months till the bitter end of the contract and got severance pay.

            I was laid off a second time from a company that hired me in January and found out they were losing their TWO major clients around September/October the same year (I lasted till NYE, when the business folded completely). Same message previously, “we’ve had these clients for years, they’re super happy with us, etc etc.” Both pulled out at nearly the same time due to cost-cutting measures at both companies.

            Lesson? Be wary of companies that survive off the benevolence of one or two clients.

      2. AnonAnalyst*

        What I am confused about is how the company didn’t have the foresight to realize that their finances would be in rough enough shape three months down the line that layoffs would be necessary, especially if they were willing to spend this kind of money. It sounds like this company really needs to reexamine their financial projections and strategic planning process. What happened to the OP’s family is terrible, and the fact that the company didn’t see it coming three months in advance is inexcusable.

        1. Artemesia*

          they don’t care. Think of all the people who get laid off a day after they sign the mortgage or lease; the boss knew it was coming but let the person make a major financial commitment based on having the job that was about to evaporate. They don’t care.

          1. AnonAnalyst*

            I think this definitely happens, but it makes no financial sense for a company to shell out the money for relocation just to cut those jobs 3 months later. There’s no way they were able to receive any return on that investment in 3 months. That to me suggests that either their financial projections or their strategic planning (or possibly both) needs serious improvement – unless, as others have said, something catastrophic happened to the business with no warning.

          2. Qmatilda*

            This. I was laid off two days after my ex husband (current at the time) had taken a significant pay cut. My boss knew I was paying the entire way. And yet, it didn’t stop them.

        2. Dovahkiin*

          There are a bunch of different stakeholders at play here.

          An example from my own experience. I worked at a remote office of 20 employees working on a sub brand within a larger (1600 employee) company. The company changed their revenue model. Our sub brand still killed it – made all of our goals and made revenue. But the company’s revenue from their main brand tanked and their stock took a dive. The CEO assured everyone that this was to be expected w/the change in revenue model and they knew there would be a rough transition period for a bit, but projections for next year still looked good and everyone’s jobs were safe. Our headcount increased for our remote office due to us making more revenue than projected. We hired 2 more people.

          Welp, at the next closed board meeting, the board informed the CEO that they didn’t want to wait out the transition between revenue models and they wanted to sell the company ASAP, and in order to that, they needed some giant savings to report to make their package look more appealing to buyers. So our entire remote office was laid off (including the 2 people who had started just that week), along with 400 employees from the main office.

          In this case, all the projections in the world and the CEO’s strategic planning didn’t do us any good, because the board wanted to cash out right then and there.

    4. Zip Silver*

      On the other hand, Houston has a ton of other chemical plants and is the beating heart of the oil and gas industry. There are tons of opportunities there for OP’s husband.

      1. Dee*

        Unfortunately, the oil and gas industry isn’t doing so great right now. Houston is generally a great place to live, and I hope the OP’s husband can find something else quickly.

        1. Jean*

          I wouldn’t move to Houston unless I was being paid a million dollars a year. (Former Dallas-ite here.)

  9. Rachel*

    OP5: Getting invited to a phone screening interview is a good thing! Don’t read anything into the person you’ll talk to being out-of-state. If this company has its main headquarters elsewhere, all their HR functions may be centralized in that location. The company may also outsource its phone screening to another company or a freelance recruiter – that person will give feedback after the phone interview to the hiring manager/HR person at the company, who will take it from there. Best of luck!

    1. Jonathan*

      I’m not a fan of phone screens but I guess that’s the way of the world now. My experiences with them have been negative. I had two, one guy was late, kind of rude and unprofessional and the second person no showed even though they appeared to have no issues with the date and time previously. Hours later I received an e-mail that “our meeting had been canceled” with no further explanation or any opportunity to reschedule (as the position had been filled by that point). I found It weird anyway that within minutes of submitting an application, I’d be invited for a phone screen via e-mail. Call me old fashioned, but I always felt the person conducting the phone screen was supposed to call you in a timely manner.

      1. Jonathan*

        The entire scheduling process was automated. I was invited, sent a link to pick a date and time on one of those “meet me” sites (which I did) and confirm. Something that raised a red flag is that I was asked to “list the subject that this meeting is in regard to.” You would think they’d know what position (s) they wanted to interview me for and I wouldn’t need to tell them. I listed it anyway, and like I said there seemed to be zero issues until the rather abrupt cancelation (after the no call) on the part of the person doing the screening. Maybe being as how it was around 4:30 PM which is nearing the end of the day for many people and the person may have simply not felt like doing yet another interview, or maybe they found someone before that but if that was the case why have such a late time available and why not list having filled the position as the cancellation reason? I even wondered and racked my brain if perhaps I was being “tested” to see if and how I would respond to such an unforeseen event.

      2. Koko*

        I think your experiences were probably unfortunately a bit of an outlier. I’ve had maybe a dozen phone screens over the course of 4 jobs, and they were all just like, regular interviews but over the phone. I prepped some notes, they called at the agreed time and asked me questions, I answered them, asked a few of my own, and that was that. All of them were fairly unremarkable.

        1. LBK*

          Yeah, this seems like weird a streak of bad experiences. I’ve never had issues with phone screens, and they’ve been pretty standard for a while as far as I know – not a newer convention.

      3. BPT*

        Phone screens can be done really poorly (and I’ve definitely had some), but when done well they’re very useful.

        It does seem that people doing phone screens (in my experience) don’t really adhere promptly to the time they said they’d call (which can be very annyoing – if I stepped out of my office for 30 minutes to have this call and you call 20 minutes late, that’s really not helpful). I’ve also had phone screens where it’s HR doing them, but they treat them like a regular interview but they don’t actually have experience with what the job entails. They ask me questions about my experience and what I do and write that down, but they don’t really know anything about the job itself (other than the job description they have in front of them), so I don’t really trust them to know what is relevant and what isn’t, or catch nuances in what I do.

        The times when phone screens are useful are when either HR calls to verify data, like you’re on the same page regarding salary, if you’re willing to relocate, how many years of experience you have, and general information like that to make sure it’s worth it to bring you in. Or, if an actual hiring manager or someone who knows the job calls and talks to you to narrow down the people they want to actually bring in. Those are the times that a phone screen can actually help.

        1. Jonathan*

          The phone interview that wasn’t would have only lasted for 10-15 minutes had it actually taken place. To me, it kind of says something if someone is unable or unwilling to give you 10-15 minutes of their time for a meeting that was agreed upon days earlier and they had no issue with prior to right before the time it was supposed to begin.

      4. Artemesia*

        I have found in hiring that phone screens are crucial. We didn’t have a lot of money to fly people in for interviewers — basically we were funded to bring in 2 or maybe 3. Phone screening our top 6 or so made that decision easy. We interviewed with a panel of 3 on the call and with a general outline of what we wanted to ask — not rigid, but guidelines so we basically explored the same stuff with everyone. It became obvious very quickly who was a top candidate, who was absolutely not worth bringing in and who was a ‘possible’. The application materials don’t always differentiate, but a conversation quickly can. I’d never hire without that screen and triple that if it involves bringing people in from out of state to interview.

    2. Mabel*

      In the ’90s when I was looking to change careers, I had a phone screen interview with someone in San Francisco for a job in NYC. The HQ for that department (of a global company) just happened to be in SF. After the phone screen, I was invited for an in person interview in NYC, and I got the job. :-)

  10. MW*

    #1 Take the job! It sounds like you flourished while you were back in the midwest, while you’ve faced a lot of hardship in New Mexico. It’ll be easier for your partner to find appropriate work near your job than vis-versa, and it’ll be easier for both of you to shop around for work when you’re both working.

  11. EP*

    OP#3 This happened to my dad in the late 80s. He got a job with a subsidiary of this company- they moved us from New Jersey to Arizona in July/August then we were back east (Maryland) by Thanksgiving. They did pay both sets of relocation fees and severance, but I believe that my dad had to fight for them to send us back east (it was the East Coast or LA for his work). I hope you guys get what you need!

  12. cncx*

    ugh OP3 the same thing happened to me. The employer was just disorganized and had no clue what was going on and was probably even to disorganized to be clued into the fact that laying me off six weeks after a relo was going to completely mess me up. The short version is the job they hired me for and the job they actually needed were two different things, both of which i could do, but the job they needed was junior and they were paying me a senior salary for the job i was recruited for. They offered me nothing in terms of severance or whatever, i would have even taken a pay cut for the junior role while they recruited if they wanted, but no. that employer was so jacked up though, i am glad i am gone. I would have asked for severance had i had the presence of mind at the time, but i was so shocked and angry and upset…

    FWIW i stayed in the city i moved to. Part of it was pride, part of it was like “welp i have already moved and don’t want to do it again.”

  13. Samantha*

    OP, my heart breaks for you because I was in your same position right after I got married. My husband was in the Navy, stationed in Norfolk, (an area with several huge bases; which meant I was competing with thousands of other Navy spouses for few jobs in a bad economy) and I gave up an excellent public relations job in New York City when I moved there to join him. I thought my degree from a good school and years of experience with nationally known clients would mean that companies would be lining up to hire me but…..um, no. I sent out literally hundreds of resumes and got very little interest and the places that WERE interested were paying minimum wage. I ended up waitressing at that owl-themed restaurant with the orange short shorts. Lucrative? Quite. Fulfilling? Not so much. Unfortunately, the job market there never did improve and it wasn’t until he got out of the Navy and we moved to a large city that I was able to find a good job that didn’t include spinning a hula hoop. I wish I had some sparkling advice for you. I just wanted to tell you that I understand what you’re experiencing and I’m sorry this is happening to you.

    1. KR*

      Literally my worst fear (not working at an owl and tan themed restaurant but moving to California and not being able to find a good job).

    2. Orca*

      I can tell I’m on my first cup of coffee because I was like “wow an owl themed restaurant sounds amazing” before I realized what was being referenced!

      1. Anon in NOVA*

        I did the same thing. I was like “well that sounds like a quirky and soothing environment… oh wait.”

            1. Lora*

              I made the same assumption, Hibiscus. It’s not a weird diner full of odd people with really good coffee, sadly. They could have the hostess carry a telepathic log…

      2. LBK*

        Now I want to find an actual owl-themed restaurant. It sounds like something out of BoJack Horseman.

    3. VintageLydia*

      As a Navy brat who spent most of her life in the Norfolk area… If you’re not military or military adjacent, it’s a rough area to find jobs in. EVERYONE is employed by or supports the US Gov, even more so than in the DC area I live in now. We got the hell out of dodge as soon as we could (though my husband still usually supports government work, he’s not limited to DoD and now works with an agency that’s a lot cooler.)

      1. Samantha*

        Based on the clientele, I definitely supported the US Government. Or at least the Department of the Navy. Just back from a deployment, haven’t seen a woman in 6 months and have a hankering for chicken wings? C’mon in!

    4. Artemesia*

      Yeah my husband was hot stuff on the partnership track at a good urban law firm when he moved for my job to a city big enough that he thought he would have no trouble relocating. He had been recruited by other firms where we were and he just thought it would be no big deal. We were naive. We moved to a brother in law town where joining a law firm at a low mid level was nearly impossible. They bring brand new people in from law school — they only bring more senior people in who have local connections and are rain makers. He was just in the wrong niche. It was pretty terrible, but he eventually got a job with the AG and then created his own firm with others and did fine — but not the spectacular career he would have had or the lucrative career he would have had, had he stayed where he was. Big sacrifice but for a pretty good life. We both had careers less than we could have had but we also had rich family lives and the chance to engage in other valued activities — genuine work life balance. We survived and we don’t regret making the decisions we did.

    5. Squidward*

      I was stationed at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach (next door to Norfolk) and my wife had the same problem. Great resume, lots of experience but just too many other spouses looking for work (she ended up at the front desk of a pediatrician’s office getting paid $8.50 an hour and she was apparently hired over 250+ applicants). Even waitressing gigs are in short supply so if you were picked to work at the orange-shorted owl restaurant, you must have some great qualities that don’t necessarily translate to a resume.

  14. Spooky*

    #4 – This was my old company’s standard response for people who didn’t send thank-yous to everyone they spoke to by the end of that same business day. Did you send a thank you email? If not, you’re likely going to lose out on positions that are seeking “go-getters.”

    1. Penguin*

      That is what I came here to say too; perhaps they expected a thank you/ “I am very interested” note from you within a day or two of the interview, not 2 weeks later?

    2. Kelly L.*

      Interesting! Isn’t it sometimes recommended to at least wait till the next day so it seems like you really thought about what was discussed in the interview? I know not to wait on snail mail, but I feel like same-day is too draconian.

      1. Koko*

        Yeah, same-day could be fine if they still managed to put together something thoughtful, but the next day is fine too.

        Actually the most common timing I see is getting it in the evening, because often the candidate is interviewing on their lunch hour and they probably realize it looks a little in poor form to be using your current employer’s time to draft a thank-you note to the place you’re looking to leave them for.

      2. Spooky*

        My old company wasn’t exactly a model of great hiring norms – most of their policies were really terrible. The same-day policy was meant to separate the ones who were really desperate for the job and who would do anything to get it from everyone else. No surprises that this led to lots of bottom-rung candidates (and the company paid far, far below average).

        But to clarify, no, the next day would not have worked. Anyone who had not emailed by our COB that day (6:00) would be cut from the pool. It’s an asinine policy – no one should be judged on internal norms that are not common in the outside world and that they’d have no way of knowing.

        1. Koko*

          Yeah, in context this makes sense. If you pay very poorly it probably is smart in its own perverse way to filter out people who aren’t desperate.

  15. MMDD*

    OP #3 I have no advice; just solidarity. The exact same thing happened to us a few years ago. We packed up and moved to a province where we knew absolutely no one, then two months later the job that brought us there was gone. It ended up working out better for us in the long run, but man do I know the blow you’re feeling. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.

      1. MMDD*

        It was awful for us. My husband was recruited to a position (yes, they actually sought him out!) and after some research and negotiating, he accepted an offer and off we went. I was lucky enough that my work was able to relocate me so at least I still had my job. The company ended up going bankrupt two months in and closed all Canadian operations. Utterly horrible. There we were, living in the middle of nowhere with no family or close friends around in a location not known for booming career prospects. Luckily my husband found something in his field again within a month, but it was difficult feeling so isolated and, frankly, betrayed. Hopefully things work out for OP here.

        1. Artemesia*

          The big job in my career ended 3 years later when the organization went bankrupt and merged with another company and half the departments were simply cut; I was in one of those departments. I had asked the right questions. They lied. It was before the internet when it was easy to answer financial questions about an organization and the place had been around for over 100 years. Because I had uprooted my husband from a great job and he was finally just getting established locally, there was no way I could move and my type job was rare and required being mobile to take whatever wherever it was. I was lucky in that I managed to weasle my way back into the newly merged organization; I think of myself as the guy with the red stapler; I am the only one cut who found a way back in and am inordinately proud of myself for pulling that off.

      2. No, please*

        No kidding! The closest I’ve experienced was my mom working for Large Oil Equipment Co. We moved to another town about two hours away. A year and a half later they told her her department will be moved to Kuwait. At least we were still near family and she quickly found more local employment. I feel so bad for OP. Houston is one of those cities that you either love to live in or absolutely hate, from what I’ve observed. The heat and traffic are intense.

        1. Artemesia*

          My parents were there during the moon shot program living in the astronaut infested suburbs, Clear Lake. They loved the people in the space program, the excitement of being part of something very cool and I think for my mother, it was the happiest time of her life. They loathed being in Houston from the climate, to the traffic to the local culture outside of their little space enclave.

          1. No, please*

            I bet that was an exciting time! When I last visited it was July. We parked across the street from the zoo. By the time we made it across the street my husbands shirt was soaked with sweat. I’m not exaggerating here, he was dripping! That climate is not for everyone.

  16. Czhorat*

    OP 1 – If this were your husband’s dream job, how would you feel about it? Alison is right that it’s a question for your marriage, but it does seem that you put your career on hold for some time now – and risk losing it altogether. Also, if you two WANT to move to a big city and away from mid-nowhere this could be your chance to do so.

    I don’t know you well enough to be able to say what you should do, but I WILL note that this is often viewed differently if it the husband’s job. Try looking through that lens.

  17. Trout 'Waver*

    In regards to OP#2, I wouldn’t mind the text message. I would mind a cold phone call because that puts you on the spot. With modern smart phones, what’s the difference between an e-mail and a text message besides which app it goes to?

    1. Czhorat*

      I’ve gotten cold phone calls, emails, LinkedIn messages. Never texts, for some reason. I suspect that it either doesn’t feel “professional” or it isn’t clear if a number is a mobile that can receive texts.

      I do agree with you; I’d rather have literally any form of communication than a phone call [well, aside from a personal knock on the door/singing telegram/brick through my window]

    2. J*

      For me, the difference is that I have notifications turned on for text messages and not for email. I don’t want to get the little buzz notice that a text has come in only to find that it’s a recruiter contacting me.

      Also, I don’t want a recruiter to have my number before I give it to them!

      1. Government Worker*

        This. Email is also accessible from other devices, tends to stick around longer, comes with some reassurance that the message is legitimate (the @recruitingcompanyname.com email address, etc.), and includes the recruiter’s contact info in the signature block for future reference.

        For business communications, email me first! It’s in your interest for me to be able to find your information again in six months, among other things.

    3. animaniactoo*

      And some people still pay-per-text for text messages because for the average month, they’d rather save the $5 or $10 their basic-as-you-can-get carrier’s plan would charge for a small allowance. Particularly people who have been out of work and are trying to scrimp and save wherever they can. We have to remember that these kinds of differences in plans/texting usage exist.

      On the other hand, I don’t know of any e-mail service that charges per e-mail.

    4. LBK*

      I’m pretty avid texter, but I would find it a little annoying to get a recruiting message via text because the response/conversation might be more involved than I want to type out on my phone. If it’s sent via email, I at least have the option of replying on a computer.

      I wouldn’t mind a follow up conversation via text for something like confirming an interview time, but for something where I might need to write a longer reply, email seems like a better start. I also find it a little creepy for someone to have my phone number if I didn’t give it to them.

    5. Koko*

      People use different channels differently, even if they use the same device for both. People use Facebook differently than Twitter and gChat differently from text and email differently from Skype.

      I know this because for the longest time, I used Google Voice as my primary number, which didn’t support MMS picture texts. I tried to train my friends to email me photos instead of texting them, but it never stuck. I just had to give all my friends my Verizon number to send photos, and if I wanted to send them a photo I had to email it from my phone or send it from my Verizon number. I could have explained til I was blue in the face that attaching a photo to an email with a smartphone is no different than attaching a photo to a text, but it would have fallen on deaf ears. There is a difference in the way people mentally think about those channels.

    6. Michele*

      I hate the cold call. Who knows what the person being called is up to? Schedule it via email and let them prepare.

  18. Czhorat*

    OP 2 – Recruiters are like salespeople. They ARE salespeople in a way. Some are good at what they do, some are less so, some get pushy for various reasons [which might include desperation].

    I’ve had the LinkedIn recruiters message me out of the blue. One actually found a position for me which would have been an increase in salary and a better title, but I ultimately turned down because I didn’t think it was quite the right fit; he had sent me to a few interviews though, and listened to my feedback on what I wanted. I had another recruiter say, when I told him that I didn’t think a prospective position was a good fit, that I couldn’t hold out for the perfect opportunity. In fact, I was working and relatively happy so I COULD hold out for the perfect spot.

    Long story short: a bad recruiter is a bad recruiter. You could tell this one that you’re not a “teapot usability expert” but are potentially interested in teapot design consulting and see what they come back with; if they listen, maybe it will lead to something nice. Or, if you’re really not interested, politely say so.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Every single time I’ve gotten a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn and sent a follow-up question, I’ve gotten nothing. I’ve mostly stopped responding to those now.

      1. Czhorat*

        As I said, it’s very recruiter-dependent. There was one with a very silly name who was actually quite helpful, even if I didn’t take the offered job.

        You also have to remember that recruiters don’t really wqork for you; they work for the hiring company, and that’s who pays them. It behooves them to find a good candidate, but you are not the one they most need to please; they’ll work harder to find the right people for their openings than find the right opening for you.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Yes, but if one of these recruiters had a client who was looking for someone with my exact qualifications and there was no one else with those qualifications available, they just lost out on the best candidate. Not likely, but possible. More to the point, I probably won’t respond to those recruiters again, and if anyone asks me, I’ll let them know that they’re unreliable. Recruiters need candidates in addition to needing clients. Without candidates, they have no job.

          1. Czhorat*

            That’s fair and true.

            I suspect that any given recruiter sends scores of messages to get a few replies. Having just moved, I’d not reply now. There was also a long stretch when I was essentially happy and not at all interested in even exploring. It likely takes a LOT of cold-calling to get someone with the combination of experience, ability, and interest.

        2. Mike B.*

          It’s remarkable sometimes how little regard recruiters can have for the talent. I’ve had one sweet-talk me through an interview process then ghost as soon as the other candidate was hired, and another try to bully me into accepting a position a level below the one I’d applied for (lower than the job I already had, actually). They don’t make money off of you if you don’t accept an offer, and they don’t always care about whether you’ll be satisfied with the outcome.

  19. Recruit-o-Rama*

    OP #2- if I had to guess, I would say that the Recruiter did a mass text and was hoping to get responses. It’s lazy and crappy, but a lot of large staffing firms hire recruiters more as sales people than actual recruiters and practices like that are the result. It’s pretty normal to use text messaging, as you say, to communicate after a relationship is established, but not as part of the initial contact.

    OP#5. It’s not uncommon for recruiters to work remotely. We have a team of 4 at my company and the four of us cover 40 facilities across the country so naturally, I call out of state all the time. It’s normal to not be chosen after a phone screen to move on to the next phase of the interview process and it’s normal to be notified of that by email. I wouldn’t read too much into it. It sounds like they are considering you for positions, but they are finding other candidates who are a stronger fit for whatever reasons.

  20. Anon today*

    #1 – My husband and I are in a similar situation. In our case, we decided where we wanted to live and we are moving whenever one of us gets a job there. The other will come with and look for a new job FT after we move (which will be easier than searching long-distance) and we’ll make do on the single salary for a while, if necessary. If your new offer is in a place where you would both want to be long-term, take the job! There’s no rule that says the husband has to have a job first, before you can move. I’m not saying that you are saying that, but it comes across in your letter a little bit that you and your husband don’t want to move unless HE has a job in the new location first, when the circumstances are giving YOU the opportunity to initiate this move.

    1. Blue_eyes*

      This. The husband can also stay at his job in NM while he continues searching in New City. Even though he’ll be searching remotely, I think “my wife got a job in New City and I’m moving there to join her” is a pretty compelling reason to be applying for jobs in another state.

  21. Shelly*

    #5: In my field (academic librarianship), most places phone interview or skype interview everyone before offering an in-person interview, because they want to treat everyone equal. I’ve phone interviewed for jobs in the same town. It always feels a little strange, but that is common practice. I can’t imagine anyone would waste time with a phone interview if they weren’t interested. Phone interviews are a pain.

    1. Office Plant*

      I’ve also had a phone interview with someone in another city for a job in my town. It was because the recruiter for that department was based in a satellite office.

    2. Kyrielle*

      This, and also, an initial phone screen is often more courteous and a better use of everyone’s time. Why get dressed up in a suit and take a half-day off work to drive over and interview, only to find out after 15-20 minutes that you’re not remotely aligned on salary, or the position isn’t what was expected at all, or whatever?

      For the job I have now, I had a phone screen with HR (that was maybe 5-10 minutes, real quick and simple), then a phone interview with the hiring manager, then an interview in person with the team. Why the phone interview with the manager? Because this was a team based across multiple locations, and he works out of another state. (I still work for the same company in the same type of role, but not for the person who hired me – he moved on to another position and I moved laterally to a different team. My current manager is also in another state, though.)

    3. Caity*

      I’ve done a Skype interview with someone sitting on the same academic campus as me! But we couldn’t talk to him in person and everyone else remotely, as the committee thought that would be unequal.

  22. PK*

    AAM, Not sure whether I should point it out or not but you’ve got a minor typo in #3 response. I think you meant sue instead of see towards the end. If there’s a better way to say something like that, then my apologies.

  23. Lady Kelvin*

    My husband and I lived 1000+ miles apart for 3 years while we got married and I worked on my degree. I can’t tell you how many women with professional degrees told him I should quit school to move to be with him. Thankfully he thought that was crazy. Now I’m looking for a job and we’ve agreed to move where ever I get one. I’m only looking in places where there is a chance he’ll get a job but his career might take a hit for a while when we first move. It is definitely something you guys will have to discuss, but for us, since he’s gotten to establish his career, he’s willing to step back and let me establish mine.

    It was hard living apart but ultimately I knew I would regret now getting my degree and resent him for keeping me from it, even if I made the decision. It’s doable, you just both have to be willing to make it work.

    1. The Strand*

      What was their thought process, that you should quit school where you were, and then – what? start school over in his town?

  24. BRR*

    #1 This is a tough situation. Alison and others have given great suggestions. I hope this isn’t nitpicking word choice, but in deciding what to do, don’t think of this job as a dream job. (I can’t tell from your letter if this is an offer or if there’s still an interview. If it’s an interview I would definitely take it to find out more about the company). It’s really easy to find a job really attractive in a situation like your’s but unless you are able to certify that the job is amazing like if you worked at the company before, you shouldn’t weigh your options as it being the most amazing position/company and will be life changingly awesome. Think of it as an attractive opportunity and don’t inflate it because you’re having difficulty finding work in your field.

    1. Blue_eyes*

      Good point. It’s very easy to see every job opportunity as the PERFECT BEST EVER DREAM JOB!!!! when you don’t like where you are and are desperate to get out. Make sure you’re going in with your eyes open.

  25. TwinCitiesHR*

    When I was applying for jobs last summer, I got a interview request via a text message. I had applied to about 4-5 positions in the past three weeks and the text had no reference what job posting it was for or even what company. I was shocked to get an invitation that way. I was able to figure out the company only after they responded with an address. I declined the interview since I had just accepted a higher paying, flexible hours potion really close to home but it was interesting to see a company use text this way.

  26. Princess Carolyn*

    I’m leaning toward taking the job in your home state, OP #1, provided that:

    1. You can afford the cost of moving (or the company will cover it) and get by financially while your husband is looking for work – Would it be possible to live with family until your husband finds a job?
    2. You feel confident that there are good career opportunities in that location for your husband
    3. This is what both of you want (it sounds like that might be the case, but it’s important to be on the same page)

    If the jobs are there and he’s a strong candidate, your husband may have better luck finding work once he’s a local candidate instead of a long-distance candidate.

    1. Czhorat*

      Also remember that living in a big city often means higher cost of living than mid-nowhere.

      You need to keep that in mind when you weigh the pros and cons of the move.

      1. Princess Carolyn*

        Good point! There should be some serious number crunching going on in this household.

        Personally, I found that rural living has a lot of hidden costs: groceries tend to cost more ($4 a box for the store brand cereal!), utilities cost more (at least in my experience – don’t know how common that is), and I spent more on transportation because everything was farther away. In my case, at least, that nearly erased all the money I saved on my super cheap rent.

        Really, though, it depends on the cities in question. If OP is talking about moving to, say, Cedar Rapids, that’s going to look very different from the cost of moving to Chicago.

  27. RedSonja*

    OP3, you aren’t alone!

    In my case, my then-boyfriend accepted a job with a new company. They paid relocation from New Jersey to Portland, OR, and put us up in corporate housing and storage for our stuff until we found our own place.

    TWO WEEKS after we got out there, the company announced they were closing all of their US stores. And no, they wouldn’t move us back. Another worker experienced the same thing, though he was from Texas. It was terrible!

    I was so angry that they kept hiring people while knowing that this was coming. It was clearly unfair and utterly thoughtless. Unfortunately, those things are rarely illegal, so we just have to hope karma will step in.

  28. Jessesgirl72*

    OP1: I think, whatever you decide, you and your husband need to be really honest and self-reflective about the type of people you are. I know, from experience, that I don’t do well in long distance relationships. My husband and I did it for a year, and I was miserable, even though I was traveling to see him about once a month. (I had more PTO) and we talked for hours and hours every day. I was miserable and made him miserable- and it’s not even that I thought he was cheating on me or anything, which some people are really insecure about. So be honest with yourself and each other.

    But you already know that you’re struggling with not working. If your husband relocates for your job, and you’ve indicated that he’s been unable to find work anywhere else, in 18 months of looking, is he going to struggle with that any less? Would that be actually solving your collective problem, or just shifting it to him?

    There is no easy answer here, and I wish you luck in your decision!

    1. Artemesia*

      We lasted 3 mos before my husband quit his job and moved. We had a toddler and I had a highly stressful job and was going slowly bonkers managing both. It is very hard, harder than you would think. IN the long run we were fine — but it was very hard.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        I know people do it and are fine, but it’s also fine if you are someone who really can’t manage it.

  29. Jane D'oh!*

    #3, just to add to the “this happens a lot” chorus, my last job told half of their workforce that they could either relocate to the corporate headquarters 1,000 miles away, or be downsized. Most people chose to relocate, but I did not. My mother had a degenerative illness and had just had another major hospitalization, and I was not willing to leave her.

    I have kept in touch with several coworkers. Since I left, there have been several rounds of downsizing, both locally and among the group that relocated. If I had relocated, I can guess based on who was let go that I would have lost the job anyway within a year.

    1. Judy*

      I was in a similar situation, but had watched that company handle a previous location closure about 5 years before. In the previous closure, nearly half of the organization chose to relocate to the new location. Within 3 years, there were maybe 10% of the people still there. When my location was moving, only about 10% of the people chose to move. And many of them have been let go in the past two years.

  30. Jessesgirl72*

    Op3: What does your husband’s contract say, about the layoff? I had a job where, if they laid me off, they could call me back to work for TWO YEARS. That was an unusual case (in more ways than one) but it would potentially be a case where you *would* have to reimburse them for the relocation fees, if they tried to get him to come back to work and he refused.

    Otherwise, you’re not alone. Just this year, my dad was relocated for a job, and after 6 weeks, they decided he hadn’t adjusted enough and fired him with 2 months severance. Luckily, they hadn’t sold their house, but it was still super stressful.

  31. Michele*

    OP#3, no words of advice, just commiseration. I have been there. Years ago, I was recruited by a company that moved us across the country and even gave me a signing bonus. Then they turned right around and laid me off when I had a fresh, new mortgage. It was a huge blow.

  32. Anon and happily married a loooong time*

    OP#1 – tons of great advice here. I just wanted to say that, as someone married 30 years, I’ve been where you are (figuratively, not literally! LOL) Alison is SO on the money saying that this is a conversation you and your husband need to have. Figure out what is important to you both and go from there. As for me, I have never been too interested in a “career”. I am happy to just make a living doing something I enjoy. That made it easier for us to decide to go where my husband could have a GREAT job, and I could do admin work or whatever to fill in the gaps when needed…. stay home with the kids when we were in that season…….

    Several years ago I felt restless and decided that I wanted a change. So I found and took a job halfway across the state. Hubby followed ME this time and he, too, found a great job (he’s in IT, so there is usually demand for what he does) It’s been ok. But truth be told, I would absolutely love to go back to the way things were. So, we are exploring our options re: moving back to the small town we came from, knowing that we will have to live on a much smaller budget. And that’s ok, we are willing to do that.

    It’s all about what you two want and are willing to do and sacrifice to make it work…… Good luck to you!

    1. Anon and happily married a loooong time*

      Oops correction: But truth be told, WE would absolutely love to go back to the way things were.

      We miss our simple small town life!!!

  33. sarah*

    OP1: My husband and I are both people who care a lot about our careers, and we’ve tried to balance things out as much as possible. I have the more difficult-to-find-a-job career (in academia), so he’s definitely moved more often “for me.” But, at the same time, I’ve been mindful of where he will or will not have job opportunities — if a job was in a location where it was unlikely for him to find work, I would not even apply, much less take the job.

    Obviously every couple has to work this out for themselves, but from your description it sounds like you both care a lot about your careers, except you’ve been the only one to sacrifice so far. Why did your husband even take a job in a city where it sounds like there is no work in your field? Was it a miscalculation (i.e. you thought there would be good jobs there but it didn’t work out), or did he just sort of devalue your career in the the equation? Obviously, you guys — as a couple — can decide that one person’s career is going to be prioritized, but personally I would not be comfortable with a partner who seemed to be making no sacrifices while I was making all the sacrifices. It seems like you guys have given this new place a solid try, and it’s just not working out for you. You could try for long distance, or just both move to your new city and he could job hunt there. There might be the possibility of staying on as a contracter/remote worker with your husband’s current company, depending on the field. Regardless, he may find it easier to job hunt in person as opposed to long distance, with a specific target city (where you have this job) in mind.

  34. De Minimis*

    My wife and I have been in the #1 situation for most of our marriage. We’ve both quit good jobs for the sake of the other, and have moved cross country multiple times for work. We’ve often spent significant time apart [at one point, over a year.] We’ve been misled before about low unemployment numbers and reports of a booming job market, only to find that most of the jobs pay $8 an hour and that whole sectors of employment are close to non-existent. I don’t have any specific advice, but that it’s not worth being apart, and that it’s best to find some level of compromise if possible. We ended up moving someplace with an ultra high cost of living but also with a robust job market.

    From my experience, what works is when the focus is on the partner with the more specialized job that may be limited in many locations. You move to where that person finds a job. That’s what seems to have worked for us, for now.

    We’ve had the situation where one of us [me] has a job in a area in the middle of nowhere with limited job prospects for the other person, and that just hasn’t worked out at all.

  35. designbot*

    #5, it sounds to me like they’re not intentionally giving you the brushoff, but the end result may be the same. I wonder if they encouraged you to apply in the future because overall they liked you and your skills but for whatever specific reason couldn’t imagine you in the position, and the same thing may be happening over and over again, which would signal to me that the fit just isn’t quite there. I would back off for your current search. If sometime down the road an opening comes up that makes sense for you go ahead and reapply but it sounds like you’ve hit the saturation point at present and if they were going to move towards hiring you they would’ve done so already.

    1. OP5*

      I have no idea what the issue is to be honest. The positions that I applied for seem to require little to no relevant experience, but I have around 12 years of relevant experience doing what would be required. To me it feels about equivalent to a franchise quarterback wanting to play for a struggling team, but not only is that team not interested in the services of that quarterback, they completely fail to see their value.

      1. OP5*

        I sometimes feel it could have something to do with the fact that some of my recent employment experience involves being self-employed. Granted, I performed many of the same duties that a telecommuting employee would perform, though I did so working for myself as opposed to for a company. But in my view marketing is marketing, selling is selling and customer service is customer service regardless of whether these things are performed face to face or over the phone-online. I’m not really sure other (including but not limited to those doing the hiring) feel the same way.

  36. Jaybeetee*

    OP1 – okay, so I haven’t read all 100+ comments, so everyone feel free to take a drink if this has been mentioned one or eight times…but in addition to having serious talks with your husband about relocating to a city with better job prospects, and thinking hard about accepting a job that separates you two, you might want to consider online/remote work. It’s getting more and more common these days, in a variety of different fields. I have worked remotely doing research, writing, proofreading, etc.

    Proofreading/editing is a particularly fertile field if you have a knack f0r it (a common refuge for people with arts degrees), there are several sites out there that pay for your time, and I don’t think they’re quite as inundated with people willing to work for nothing as sites like Elance. But there are getting to be more and more options out there, and it might be something you want to consider between “crappy job/no job here vs. moving away for a job”

    1. OP #1*

      @Jaybeetee, I haven’t come across a company that is willing to do remote location. A friend of mine has mentioned proof reading/editing to me. When it comes to grammar I am okay at it, but I am always improving. The town I am living in has extreme poverty and the job market is harsh, and it makes getting a job hard.

  37. Charlotte Gray*

    OP1, you have all my sympathy because I am right there with you. We live in a tiny rural town in LA with a terrible economy, never mind anything to do in my field.

  38. Electric Hedgehog*

    OP1, that is tough. I’m sorry. I’d probably go with either long distance marriage for a while to gain experience – hard but doable – or I would look at which of you provides the best financial security going forward and roll with that option. If you choose to try to remain in NM, here’s a bit of help, as far as I can offer.

    It’s been 10 years since I’ve lived or worked in NM, and I loved it. I have great connections in the Los Alamos and Albuquerque areas, so it was less difficult for me to find work as it probably is for you. I don’t know specifically which part of the state you live in, but…

    For contractor work at LANL and Sandia, which frequently is the way to make it permanently, I have found Compa Industries pretty good at providing placement, so you might try with them. The National Park Service has a strong presence in NM, and you may be able to find something historical with them. Farmington is a bit of a small town, but I do know that there’s some work to be had at places like the Raytheon facility there.

    Best of luck. It is beautiful, but employment outside of Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque can be really tough, especially in small towns like Chama or Galina.

  39. Gadfly*

    For anyone laid off, if there is any way that it can be argued that it happened due to international trade I recommend looking into the Trade Act. There are some decent benefits, especially for older workers. Talk to a specialist about it–often the front desk people aren’t (in my experience) really aware of who qualifies and all it covers.

    It paid my husband for 2 years and covered nursing school for retraining

      1. Gadfly*

        For this OP, this may be of interest:
        “Job Search Allowances
        This monetary benefit covers necessary expenses incurred while seeking employment outside your normal commuting area if employment in a good job, where you are likely to remain employed and earn family-sustaining wages, is not available in your area. Job search allowances reimburse 90% of the costs of allowable travel and subsistence, up to a maximum of $1,250. An application for a job search allowance must be submitted before your job search begins, and within 365 days of your layoff or certification (whichever is later), or within 182 days after the conclusion of training.
        Relocation Allowances
        This monetary benefit reimburses you for approved expenses when you must move to a new area to earn family-sustaining wages in employment outside of your normal commuting area. Relocation allowances may include 90% of the reasonable and necessary expenses involved in moving you, your family, and household goods to a new area following your re-employment outside of your normal commuting area. In addition, you may receive a lump sum payment equal to three times your average weekly wage, up to a maximum payment of $1,250. You must submit an application for a relocation allowance before your relocation begins, and within 425 days of your layoff or certification (whichever is later) or within 182 days after the conclusion of training.”

  40. Serendipity*

    OP #1
    I am in exactly the same boat as you.
    I have been the sole provider for the last two years (hubby caring for our kids), and while I’m very lucky to be working remotely I am significantly underpaid (~$30k under market rates) because of my 10+ years with one employer. It’s a trade-off I’ve been happy with, expenses are much less where we live so we are overall better off. The last three years have been tight with job loss and market downturn.
    However, in the past week my husband and I have both been offered our dream/shoot-for-the-moon/how-is-this-happening kind of jobs in two different cities 6 hours apart: my husband on a board of directors and becoming partner in a growing IT and infrastructure business, mine working for a global company writing the rule book that other major companies follow. We both feel totally underqualified and can’t believe our luck. On the other hand, it’s a terrible situation because one of us is going to have to lose out on a career-making job. We have two little kids, and being apart is not an option.
    I don’t have an answer, and I don’t know what we will do, I just wanted to express my sympathy to you also.

    1. Princess Carolyn*

      That is a tough place to be in! If you believe the jobs are truly equally good offers, I suggest making your decision based on the location. Is there one city you’d like to live in more than the other? Does one of them stand out as far as climate, lifestyle, proximity to loved ones? And is one of the cities more likely to have a robust job market for the trailing spouse? I have faith that your family will wind up happy either way, but I don’t envy the decision you have to make.

  41. Marmalade*

    I’m really confused by #1. You accepted a job offer in your home state, but then when you got there you couldn’t find a job? So do you have a job or not? Not sure what I’m missing here.

  42. Jonathan T*

    I use Google Voice for any situation where I have to publicly list a contact number online. It simply forwards to my actual number so that people can reach me but kind of acts as a buffer to screen junk calls and calls from crazy people.

    You wouldn’t really want to list a direct number on an online job board or a website’s “contact us” page so that just anyone could call you at home or on your cell phone, so Google Voice works well in this situation. You might not get a notification via e-mail for every single call or text so it pays to check your account once in a while.

Comments are closed.