Slowly Sipping Coffee

Stick to the Plan or Chase Adventure?

Last week I wrote about my skip a level meeting where I was told I was going to be recommended for the next geoscience leadership position. It was exciting news and I am happy to be recognized for that recommendation, but I’m not the only one in the house with upcoming career decisions. Last Fall Mrs. SSC saw a job posting at a large University that, on paper, looks like it would be a great fit for her and our lifestyle. She didn’t think that she would be a strong candidate, but like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play, so she turned in her application. Months go by, and she gets a call that she has made the short list of applicants! Currently, she passed that round of interviews and has moved on as one of the finalists! Congrats to Mrs. SSC!!
The only real issue is that this new career move would drastically alter our current Canyon Lake plan, as the position is in a different state. Yep, if everything turns out roses and rainbows, such as Mrs. SSC gets an offer, likes the University, and more importantly the job and time requirements of the position, we could potentially be relocating as early as this Fall. Yipe! There are still a lot of things to consider if everything aligns in that way, and here’s what we think could be the good and bad of that position.


Goodbye Canyon Lake?

First of all, as I mentioned, there are a LOT of moving pieces to this that could cause it to be a non-issue in a couple of months, but if those align we would be relocating out of state. This would mean that we would have to halt the building process for our house at Canyon Lake. Sure, we could still follow through with building it and maintain 2 homes, but with the change in income, it doesn’t seem feasible. Plus, we wouldn’t be able to get to it nearly enough to make it worth having a “vacation house” in another state. Our current thought is that we finish the design and “cash out” with our builder. We’ll have the full blueprints of the plan and can use them when we decide to build in the future, but it won’t be happening in the next 5 years.

Goodbye view, we’ll see you down the road…

Further From Family

This new position would be out of state, so we would no longer be driving distance to the in-laws. Okay, we would still be within driving distance, but not “pop in for a quick weekend” driving distance. It would be a bonafide road trip to get there or them to get to us. This would be a bummer because it has been nice having them closer the last 5 years and we were excited about being within an hour of them when we moved to Canyon Lake. I don’t see them relocating near us either, so we would be back to having a long drive between us. That’s something to consider as well.

Loss of Income

Loss of income is another area that would take a ‘UUUGE hit! Like another 6 figure salary reduction. Eesh! I would be leaving my job with its’ nice salary, good bonuses, Long Term Incentive monies, and potential raise this year if I got a new position. While the new position would still be a good salary when compared to most of American’s salaries, it would be dramatically lower than what we have been experiencing the last decade. On paper, it should be fine and we could still cover our expenses with a little cushion, but there wouldn’t be any more money going into our “pre-60” funds. Mrs. SSC would have a retirement plan she could put money into, but for the most part, we would be “done saving” if we took this position.

In a way, that’s fine, because our 401(k)’s are large enough that once we hit 59.5 we will be golden! That is even using the conservative assumption of 3% growth with 2.5% inflation, so that’s good. Our “pre-60” fund is fairly sizeable right now, especially if we’re not tapping a portion of it to build the Canyon Lake house. It would sit and grow until whatever time we would need to access it which is fine too. Plus, any years spent working by Mrs. SSC would be years we’re not tapping into any of our nest egg, while also reducing the number of years we would need it to bridge us to that golden 59.5 number. While we wouldn’t be putting anymore into it, I still think that this would be okay.

Why did we downsize our income??

I Could Retire!

If this move came to fruition, I could let work know that I wouldn’t be around come July/August and I wouldn’t be available for a leadership position. Of course I wouldn’t actually be retired, I’d just be transitioning to a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD) role, a full time blogger role, and then attempt to consult as a geoscientist. Sure, I could write the “I retired at 40!” post, but the truth is, my life would end up being dramatically busier than it currently is. Running a house and dealing with kids is way more work than I currently deal with. I still think it could fun, and I am sure I could get into a good schedule balancing running a household and whatever my activities become.

Fishing and kayaking would be plentiful, maybe…

Closing Thoughts

There are many ways that this could end up not happening for us, and that’s okay. If it isn’t a right fit, the department doesn’t feel like a good fit, the hours expected to work would be too much, the town is an armpit devoid of anything stimulating, or a myriad of other factors end up not fitting our lifestyle, that’s fine with us. Similar to my work situation, I feel that even making it to the finalist round is great recognition for Mrs. SSC’s work and academic capabilities. I’m really proud of her for getting to that stage, however it shakes out.

This year seems to be the “year of the career” around our house, so we’re excited with whichever opportunity presents itself as the best one for our family. Being in the position to choose which one would work best for our family is a great feeling, if we’re given the opportunity to make that choice. While it would shake up our “retirement” plans with our Canyon Lake property, it would still allow us to make another potentially great Lifestyle Change for our family. Until we know if we’ll get to make that choice, it’s just a waiting game to see how it pans out.

What about you, have you had any similar opportunities arise in your career? Have you gotten a job offer but had to turn it down because it didn’t seem to be a right fit once you investigated it fully? Do you agree that a full time stay at home parent will be much harder for me than a typical 9-5 job? I’d love to hear about it!

14 thoughts on “Stick to the Plan or Chase Adventure?

  1. Oldster

    Man, that is a lot of stuff. Whatever you guys decide to do, make it what will bring you the most happiness. Money is great, super job is great, time to yourself and with your kids is great, but the most important thing is whether the move increases your happiness. If yes, do it. If no, stay put.

    However it works out, good luck SSC. I look forward to vicariously sharing in your adventure.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yeah this last month has been crazy from a career standpoint on both of our ends. We’ll see how it works out with the “fit” with the department and more specific job demands and they may kill it as well.

      I agree, that happiness and better lifestyle would trump any other things in this decision.

  2. Wealthy Doc

    I’m not sure what advice or recommendation I have for you. I just want to say good luck. It is great that you have so many wonderful options. You guys have a great life ahead of you no matter what you choose!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks Wealthy Doc! It is nice having choices and not feeling trapped by “needing a raise” or “needing a job” and being able to make these decisions based on how best they would fit our family and lifestyle.

      Should make for some good posts in the near future just the same. 🙂

  3. Jason

    Wow, this post really hit home for me. First, congrats to Mrs. SSC for making the short-list. I have turned down jobs because it wasn’t the right fit and it usually is because of external factors like place of employment or money. What is great is that you guys have options. You have done a fantastic job with money. And in these faculty searches (I am on one right now) it is all about who is the right fit.

    My question is would this be a tenure-track position for Mrs. SSC? If so, that comes with a whole other host of stress and responsibilities (nothing that I am sure she can’t handle) but it does add a higher level of stress to one’s life, but also freedom. I have turned down a job or two because I didn’t want to do the tenure thing again. However, if I had more financial freedom I have seriously thought about taking a demotion to be closer to family.

    No matter what you guys are in a great position. If it were me, in this situation, I might opt for the adventure if you didn’t think it would interrupt your quality of life (e.g. family, being able to afford the lifestyle you want, etc). If so, you have earned the right to be adventurous and I am sure there are opportunities for you in that particular community or even the university depending on what you would want to do, aside from the momentous task of running a household which is a f/t job in of itself.

    Good luck. I/we all look forward to hearing about the opportunity.

    1. Mrs SSC

      It is a tenure track – and I am aware of the added stress and work that may come with it. I am really going up there with a critical eye to see if it is a department I would want to work my tail off for, or that I would fit in with (since I am a person who avoids stress and drama – which is prevalent in my current department, but since I am not tenure track I ignore it).

      I think a lot of these possible changes for me or Mr SSC stem from the face that we are currently very comfortable – in our jobs, city and family life, but with that comfort comes a small nagging feeling of complacency and boredom, and I think in some format we are ready for some sort of new challenge to help our family reach out of the comfort and grow.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yeah I am excited about it. I think it could be fun, even if I don’t get to the mgmt position on my resume. I’m good with just being considered. 🙂

      Yeah, i don’t see how SAHD would be less busy, but a different kind of busy, and probably a lot more free time if I can be disciplined about it.

  4. MrWow

    You guys are doing great! Its exciting to have the opportunities you have. These are those good problems.

    I think one of the most important things in life is flexibility. And being able to roll with it. If you’re too rigid, you miss opportunities, financial or otherwise… roll with it. Be excited! Make the decision when you have all thepieces in place. Make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. Then be willing to change that when new info shows up.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! We definitely try to remain flexible with life. We’ve seen so much change from when we first got the idea to FIRE ~5 years ago, from our locaiton changing from out West to East coast, to Texas. Job changes for both of us, and that improving our lifestyle in both moves. It’s been so fluid and flexible, we almost feel like quitting planning things because nothing stays constant.

      That’s our plan, “Make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. Then be willing to change that when new info shows up.” It’s worked out well so far. 🙂

      1. MrWow

        Sounds like you’re already set up in that mindset. So, this will all work itself out!

        How exciting! Here’s wishing you guys an easy decision. Because there really is no wrong one.

  5. Mr. PIE

    It must feel good for Mrs. SSC to get to that round of interviewing. Well done indeed!!

    Like Jason above, I had similar thoughts of added stress with potential tenure track.Having moved into a new role a few years ago which comes with more stress and urgency around timelines, it is a trade-off with lifestyle vs motovation/income potential/job satisfaction. Some folks thrive under significant work stress, but not too many. And certainly not for long periods.

    Need to change that moniker to:

    Fully Funded Lifestyle CHOICES.

    It’s a great place to be in, having these choices. Take time to think through them very carefully, which I am 100% you will do. A six-pack of good beer or a nice bottle of wine always helps those conversations……

    1. Mr. SSC

      I love it : Fully Funded Lifestyle Choices!! That may have to get its’ own post! I think Mrs. SSC would wilt and wither without any work stress. We’ll see how it plays out. She keeps debating, “Do I even want this job?” While I remind her that she’s too competitive to not go in therer and give it her all and be in the position to choose to accept it or not if she gets offered.

      Stille xciting stuff indeed, and depending on the fit for our lifestyle and current family needs it may not be what we want. But it’s exciting to think about. 🙂

  6. Mrs. COD

    I somehow missed this when it posted. Wow, that is a lot of decision-making to do! Congrats to Mrs. SSC for the recognition by this new university! That would definitely be a big change to not move forward with the Canyon Lake plan, but it sounds like you guys have plenty of options. It’s so hard to know…as you said, you have to make decisions with the info you have at the moment and then adjust as things change. Sounds like the crux of the matter is whether Mrs. SSC would be happier in the new position; hope the interview process reveals that clearly!

    You’ll be up for the SAHD challenge, I’m sure! Kids and household are a very different gig.

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