My Current Dilemma: To Move or Not To Move

3 min read

Last August I moved to Cincinnati to become a contractor at my day job as a data analyst. I currently get paid at an hourly rate equivalent to earning a salary of $80,000 per year but I have no 401(k) match, no personal days, no vacation days, and no healthcare coverage.

This past week at work my manager approached me with an offer to become a full-time employee with a salary of $70,000, two weeks of paid vacation, three personal days, a 401(k) match of 4%, eligibility for company stock options and the annual bonus, as well as opportunities for paid travel to analytics conferences around the U.S.

I went back and forth with my manager to get the salary offer up to $80,000. Now the company is just waiting to hear back from me. I plan on asking for an additional week of paid vacation before I accept the offer, but by the end of next week I will likely be a full-time employee with my current company.

I’m pretty happy with the salary / benefit package as a whole. And despite being someone who dishes out a lot of shit about the drudgery of Corporate America, I have recently started working on a new project at work that has involved a lot of data visualization, which is something I obviously enjoy.

I have been picking up new coding skills on a regular basis too and I feel like I’m becoming a more valuable asset to my team. Even if I find the work meaningless at times, it’s nice to feel like I’m learning and growing.

This brings up my current dilemma: My apartment lease ends in August and I have to decide if I want to stay in Cincinnati or move somewhere else in the U.S.

If I do choose to stay in Cincy, I would obviously just stick with my current job. If I move elsewhere, I would likely find a new company to work with.

For a long time I considered quitting Corporate America altogether and just becoming a full-time freelancer, blogger and stats tutor. The more I think about it though, the more it makes sense for me to keep bringing in a salary for at least a couple more years. I currently have the freedom to blog several hours per day and also tutor people in stats sporadically online. I’m not sure that I would actually get more done on this blog or earn more money through tutoring if I didn’t have a day job.

So, knowing that I will be keeping a 9-5 job, I am trying to weigh the pros and cons of moving.

The Pros

  • Potentially a new job with a higher salary
  • A new city with better year-round weather
  • Forcing myself to meet new people / create a new social circle
  • A chance to live outside of Ohio for the first time ever

The Cons

  • Potentially not enjoying a new job
  • Not knowing anyone / not having a social circle
  • Not seeing my family very often

I know that moving to a new city would force me to get out of my introvert shell and meet more people outside of my current network of family and friends. Things also ended recently between me and the girl I had been seeing for the past couple months, which is one less reason for me to stay in Cincy.

I also think there’s value in living somewhere outside of the area where you grew up to gain a different perspective of the world. Every time I have traveled internationally, I have grown as a person and gained a better worldview. I can imagine that living in a different state would also enhance my view of the world.

In terms of cons, the first obvious one is that I might end up hating a new job. That wouldn’t be the end of the world, though. I could always find a new place to work since analytics is a skill in high demand. 

The second obvious con is not being able to see my family as often as I would like. I currently get to visit my parents and twin sister once or twice a month since they only live an hour away. Also, my older brother lives about 20 minutes away and he just had his first child with his wife this past week. If I moved, I would barely get to see my first nephew grow up.

As I’m wrestling with this decision, I’m trying to remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. A new city wouldn’t necessarily make me any happier and there is so much to be thankful for about my current situation. 

Deep down, though, I have to admit that there’s something alluring about moving outside of Ohio and embracing a new city and culture. I’m in my 20’s with no wife and kids, so now is probably the easiest time in my life to pick up and move to a new city. And if I did hate my new job or if I was unable to make new connections with people, I could always just move back to Cincy.

My question for you readers is: Have you ever moved to a city where you didn’t know anyone? How did it turn out? Was the grass greener on the other side? Is leaving family and friends to see what else is out there actually worth it?

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22 Replies to “My Current Dilemma: To Move or Not To Move”

  1. I’m not from Cincinnati but have a couple of good friends who live nearby. A few other reasons to consider staying:

    – MadTree Brewery
    – Rhinegeist Brewery

    These two won’t help if you don’t like beer or their particular products.

    On your negatives, you can continue to make those new circles of friends / co-workers. Overall, your package seems good and can hopefully get better based on the additional asks you’ve mentioned (that travel coverage could also up other opportunities).

    Worse case is you can always quit and find something else if you don’t enjoy the new gig or if something better comes up. You’ve got options – and that’s a great thing that you’ve created for yourself. Congrats on your progress. – Mike

  2. This is one of those situations where I think it’s useful to have a clear idea of what your long-term goals are. This decision will be difficult if you don’t have a plan for your future, if you’re not clear on your values. To me, it sounds as if family is important to you. This might be a reason to stay.

    I’ve lived almost fifty years within a 25-mile radius. Yes, my girlfriend and I did undertake a 15-month RV trip, so for that time I was forced to meet and interact with new people on a daily basis. (And I loved it!) But for most of my life, I’ve lived in the same place. There are definitely pros and cons to it. I’ve done a poor job of maintaining friendships, though, so I’m less rooted than I might otherwise be. This is a very roundabout way of saying that I believe it’s very possible to establish new connections when you move to another city. And often, those connections will be stronger than you think because you’ll develop relationships of choice (mutual values and interests) rather than chance (you went to the same high school, you have the same blood). Just something to think about.

    I haven’t been reading closely enough to know what your saving rate is either. If you’ve been setting a lot of money aside, you have more leeway in your decision. If you haven’t, it’s probably in your best interest (financially) to stick with Cincy.

    1. That’s an interesting idea about developing relationships of choice rather than chance. I’ve never thought about it that way. My savings rate is typically around 70% each month, so I do have some savings and some financial flexibility. In terms of values, family is very important to me, which makes this a particularly tough decision. I appreciate your insight J.D., and I’ll keep your words in mind as I’m making this decision.

  3. Great spot to be in, tough decision to make. As someone who’s moved around a bit I absolutely agree that it helps to shape and grow your perspective but like you said, moving isn’t guaranteed to make you happier. Since you have such a good deal in hand right now, I would say negotiate that extra week of vacation and make use of those opportunities through work to travel. Sounds like you don’t actually have another job elsewhere lined up meanwhile, you have a really cheap cost of living, decent salary and a job that allows to keep growing your skills (you’re awesome btw, love coming to the blog to see what new chart/graph/visual you’ve come up with). Preserve where you are but keep your eyes open to a great opportunity in the future to move. Sounds like you could also do with a nice vacation somewhere, the best ones are the ones you get paid for while doing no work!

    1. I am in a pretty good situation now, as you said, so I’m trying to be grateful for that. I like your advice of continuing to live in a cheap area and growing my skills even more while also keeping an eye out for other opportunities. And thanks for the kind words about the site, I’m glad you enjoy the visuals 🙂

  4. It’s a very interesting decision Zach, and in my opinion, it all depends on what matters most to you – the comfort of what you know, or the excitement of the new.

    Will you regret what you did, or regret what you didn’t do?

  5. I’ve moved a couple times but I don’t think my experiences would be directly applicable to yours. I would say that that they have probably been +EV overall in the long run though not necessarily positive financially or in the short run.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that it can be scary to move someplace different where you don’t know anyone. When you do move and you survive in your new environment, your self-confidence gets a boost. It’s like you better understand that you can handle this life thing.

    I would also like to add that your decision isn’t permanent. I’m sure you know this but deciding to stay doesn’t mean you can’t move away later. Similarly, deciding to leave doesn’t mean you can’t move back. In the decision making moments, it can be hard to remember that. We recently decided to move to Texas from southern California. It was certainly hard for me to remember that while we were deciding on what to do.

  6. I really really think getting out of the place you grew up in makes a lot of sense. It does add a completely new perspective. But for now I would choose to stay, it doesn’t have to be “decide on the dot” and you’re even younger than me. I’m known for having too many rash decisions so now I’m older, I’m trying to avoid all boat rocking. It’s not a never, just a not right now answer for me but you know your situation best and you do you.

  7. Stay in Cincy! 8% lower cost of living than the national average.
    You have a great job offer and you get to stay close to your friends and relatives.
    This is a no brainer! You should be proud of yourself for accomplishing so much at a young age. Good luck!

    1. Cincy is a low cost of living area and I have a lot of good things working in my favor. If I do move, I will definitely be looking for a city that is comparable in terms of cost of living. Thanks for your thoughts, Don!

  8. I agree with Alana and Billy. Take the position for now, keep expanding your skills, and find the place that speaks to you. And, no choice is permanent or binding!

    I grew up on the East coast & lived in Boston after college, but wasn’t particularly loving my life. I spent quite a while coming up with criteria for the type of place I wanted, and moved to Portland OR without a job, friends, or place to live. (But that was more than 20 years ago & it was way more affordable then.) I thrived immediately, making great friends, getting into camping and hiking and biking – it was a great fit.

    After 10 great years in Oregon I moved to the Bay Area (again, at a more affordable time) and while I did thrive, with really terrific friends and experiences, every day I missed the Pacific Northwest. I moved back 5 years ago and it was the right thing for me.

    Hopefully you can get in tune with your intuition and figure out what speaks loudest to you. I do live very far from my small niece, but her parents move regularly so I wouldn’t see her lots no matter where I lived (I see her 2x/year now which isn’t enough for me, but at least she knows who I am). As my parents age, I frankly don’t know how it’s going to play out. But I’ll keep living my chosen life and will figure the next thing out when I need to!

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences, I really appreciate that. I think you’re right that as I get older I’ll get more in tune with my intuition and find what’s truly valuable to me, which will help me make tough decisions like this one. Best of luck with your own situation and thanks for your insights 🙂

  9. If no other offer out of state yet then I’d keep working in current full time offer.
    There is nothing stopping you from getting outside job offer while you’re still working.

    You can keep doing your side hustle fun hobbies while working regularly day job like tons of people in Fire community and save more dough.

  10. This might be a weird recommendation but I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and it has a low cost of living and great weather. There are also a couple cool data visualization companies popping up. RS21 and Xpansiv are two that come to mind.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Samantha. Albuquerque wasn’t on my radar at all – I’ll be sure to check out those two companies you mentioned, I’d love to get into the data viz field full-time. The low cost of living and great weather also sound like great perks. I’ll have to research the area further 🙂

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