Dreams of moving back to PA are shelved…for now
In a post last month, I hinted that I was working on other job opportunities while waiting to start my next contract with my current employer. I kept it secret because
1) My boss at the time knew about my site (but I doubt he reads it). My new boss doesn’t know about it, and I don’t plan on letting any of my new coworkers find out either.
2) Some of the people where I applied also read this site (including the manager…Hi “S”!).
You see, I used to work at this company a few years ago, but things didn’t work out as they got acquired by a bigger company and I couldn’t convince Stacie to move to PA at that time due to the uncertainty. So, I just found a job in MD and “moved” back (I was only staying in PA during the week).
A few weeks ago, I mentioned to the manager that my contract ended abruptly and almost jokingly asked him if they had any job openings, not thinking they actually would. Well, he told me his old job opened up, which was pretty technical and something I want to do again. So I applied formally.
We went through the interview, but I had to admit my technical experience is 2+ years old. I know I could get up to speed fairly quickly, but I also figured my only chance at getting the job was if they didn’t get enough good resumes. Kind of “success by failure” He took some time to talk to some of his team members, as well as his boss, and came to the conclusion that they needed someone with more technical experience than I had at this time.
I don’t begrudge them the decision as I totally understand. They are going through some major implementations and they need someone with “the full package” quickly. I know that I just couldn’t get up to speed that fast, and I accept it.
Why Did I Want to Move to PA?
Granted, if it did get to the point of a job offer, I can’t say right now whether I would have accepted it. There’s more than just money involved here, and that was also a big talking point in our conversations. But there were a few other tangible and intangible reasons to move. As a note, even though our families are in PA, they’re the same distance from the work location so “moving closer to family” is not a factor either:
- Less people – There’s too many people in D.C., and I came from a smallish town (like 20,000 people). I like our house (when it cooperates) and where it’s located, but honestly I think D.C. is nicer for a visitor than a resident.
- Tired of being a contractor – Government contracting is a lonely business. I’ve made a few personal connections, but I don’t think I’ll find any real friends through work. I mean the type that I hang out with after work or on weekends, or trust enough to get personal advice or share personal stories (can I get more personal than this site?).
- Interesting work – I can see my career heading down a non-technical path, but that’s not what I find interesting. Unfortunately, my current employer sees me as project manager material and unless I change companies or work extra hard at redefining myself in my employer’s eyes, I’m stuck on that path. The job I applied for was doing work I did 3 years ago and I loved it.
- Familiarity – I already knew the people I worked with and knew they were a good bunch of people. Some of the people had left the company since I was there, but they’re still close by.
- Cost of Living – Obviously the cost of living is much lower in certain areas of PA than here in MD (depending on your perspective…property tax is higher there). We could rent a place twice the size of ours and 60 years newer for the same amount or even less.
- “PA Pride” – Some of you may laugh at it, but a piece of my heart is still attached to PA. I love the Steelers, saurkraut and kielbasa, pierogies, the chicken dance, and “younz”. Granted, this job is closer to Philly than the ‘Burgh, but it’s still PA. And what does Maryland have anyway? Heck, it even has the same sales tax as PA now.
I would still have to consider the move to an area with less job opportunities in case of a market downturn, and especially away from an area with so many job opportunities in my field. We would also consider that Stacie likes her job (but not the commute or the politics), and she would need to find something else up there. Lastly, we would need to go through the hassle of selling our house, as we wouldn’t rent it out since we have a pool.
All in all, I’m saddened that I didn’t have the opportunity to potentially change my life situation, but not getting the job also relieves a lot of burden about the decision process. I can now pay my college tuition for this semester without worrying that I would have to drop out or scam my employer into forgiving the tuition reimbursement from last semester.
So for now, I’ll give my current employer and new client a chance, even though I’m not going in with much confidence that the contract will challenge me. Now, I just need to start the actual job! I’m still waiting to get the go-ahead from my new boss, so I’m just sitting around picking my nose until I do.