Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A New Frontier

I know that one of my chief flaws is indecision, and it is something I've been working on improving. However, as brooklyncs pointed out to me recently, while I am the worst for wavering back and forth when I'm trying to make up my mind (a decision can take a day, a week, a month, a year ... or longer), once I have made that decision, I spring into action. Perhaps this is for fear of changing my mind again, but I generally feel an overwhelming sense of relief and purpose immediately after a decision. It's like pulling a Band-aid off as quickly as possible. Just get it over with, already! Change invigorates me. It keeps me on my toes.

Two years ago, I was chomping at the bit to move to the Nashville area and get back into my church and find a job. I did all those things. I guess I thought it was a choice for the rest of my life. Now I'm not so sure. In fact, I think I've made up my mind about a new direction to take.

I have decided to look nationwide for my next "career move", with an emphasis on still trying to stay in a warmer climate. The reason is simple: Nashville cannot meet my financial needs at this time. While there are a few jobs I could apply for in my field in this area, they are either upper-level management positions or entry-level grunt jobs. I've put in my share of grunt time. Now I need to develop the skills I've accumulated and use them in a position where I am hired for my capabilities and not just my eagerness to enter the field. This, combined with the fact that I would either have to move to the Metro area or Brentwood /Franklin in order to economize on gas, has made me realize that it does not matter where I look—I will still end up separated from my current church family by distance. It is too hard to faithfully serve and attend when you have to drive over 30 minutes in order to get to church on time. I know. I've tried.

What I am evaluating:

- Opportunities for growth in my field. If I am not able to start my business right away, I need to find a city where I don't have to move yet again in order to better my salary and position.
- Entrepreneur friendliness. I need to find a city or region in which a new business would thrive, whether a retail boutique or a freelance copywriting/publication design service.
- Availability of solid, Bible-believing, vibrant churches. I need to be able to plug into a local church quickly so I can grow and serve under sound spiritual guidance.
- Likelihood to meet like-minded Christians my age for much-needed friendships. Iron sharpens iron.
- Cost of living. If the city has many opportunities, but it costs too much to live there, that's a big no-no. (Read: unless God writes it in neon letters in the sky, I am not moving to NYC or L.A.)
- Commute. I never want to have to drive an hour to get to work again, if at all possible. I would need to know that there is adequate housing not too far from my place of work.
- Salary opportunities. In order to warrant moving out of state, I would need to have a certain salary. This is to cover the cost of flying back to see my parents on occasion, as well as to help with my primary objective: get out of debt. I hate the bondage of debt, and never wish to be enslaved again. My current job only helps me tread water with my payments. I want to drain the lake.
- Enjoyment of job. I have a job I can "tolerate", and I've been in bad jobs that I "couldn't stand," I think now, that I still have a job, is the time to try to find that elusive thing ... the job you like. It needs to be for a company or non-profit I can wholeheartedly support, or at least stomach. It should be a new, challenging position that enables me to use my talents and requires that I am fully engaged with the process.
- Extracurricular activities. Though hardly the most important part of a city search, I think this is important, as well. It can be lonely and frustrating to have nothing to do on the weekends other than browse Barnes & Nobles (as wonderful as that is, it only is wonderful for so long). Ideally, there would be musical venues, a symphony, pro sports, a theater, well-kept parks and historical locations, and great shopping (i.e. not just the chain stores, but also fun boutiques).
- Length of time it would take to visit family and friends. I'd prefer to keep travel time to 4-6 hours max. That's what it currently takes to go see Mom and Dad (and Kevin), Elliott and Morgen, and even extended family in Pennsylvania or Rhode Island. I'd like to keep it that way. Anything more is too exhausting, and would drain all the enjoyment out of a weekend visit.
- Educational opportunities. It would be ideal to live in an area with a university that has a solid M.B.A. or M.A. in Mass/Corporate Communications program or even an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. I still fully intend to complete a master's degree at some point in the next few years, although I doubt I will ever again attempt full-time classes while at a full-time job.
- Good Community. As a single woman, safety is always of great importance to me. The cleanliness of the city, as well as the pride and care in its upkeep by residents is also important to me. And eventually, if I am still in the same area and God sees fit to allow me to be married and raise a family of my own, I will want to know it is a place that is safe for children.

My main concern is how this will affect my family. Especially after the death of my maternal grandparents, I've found that I value the closeness and camaraderie that only family can provide. We need each other to get through life, that much is certain. However, after initially discussing this with my Mom, she has been incredibly supportive of my plans. She affirmed my decision to move on from my current position. The wonderful part about growing up and becoming true friends with your parents is that you value their wisdom and advice so much more, and are pleasantly surprised when you discover you can have in-depth discussions about life and come away feeling energized from sharing a dream, not drained from defending your point of view.

My next post will be about the reason I have finally decided "Enough is ENOUGH."

No comments: