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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Out-Of-State Job Search

Dear Sue: I moved to up-state New York about two years ago. I was engaged to be married prior to my move to a girl living and working in the Midwest. After our wedding last October she moved to New York with me.

Our newly married life together has been fantastic; however we did grossly underestimate the amount of travel involved with my job. I am an account manager of a small marketing firm. I travel an average of 15-20 days a month. My wife and I are new to New York and we donít know an abundance of people other than the ones I work with. When I hit the road for my next job assignment I leave my loving wife behind with hardly any friends to keep her company.

We have tried to make it work, living on the promise that my travel will decline, but the travel and the business continue to grow and I am traveling more than ever. Seeing an upward trend in my travel with little hope of decline in the future, my wife and I decided to move back to the Midwest.

Iíve spent the last six months searching for jobs, and every lead seems to go nowhere. I have become so frustrated with the job search. I have tried to use my network of friends and family to help, but canít seem to find any job that would be a good fit. I have found companies who have jobs posted on their internet sites that I would be interested in, but I feel like I am just another drop in the ďresume bucketĒ for their human resource managers.

I know we canít stay in New York and be miserable, but I also donít think it would be responsible to just leave with no job waiting. Do you have any thoughts for a newly married couple that just wants to move closer to home?

Ė Lost and desperate

Sue Says: You are in a challenging position, and struggling with some very important decisions about the priorities in your life. For many people, family and career are top priorities. Putting your marriage first is admirable and should be a top priority, but if you leave a job you love and fail to find another job with the right fit, it will create a new set of problems.

The question you need to address is whether you are moving for you, your wife or both of you? How can you be sure with any position you take how much travel will evolve or whether or not you would eventually be asked to relocate?

It would be risky to move back home without a job secured, but may be easier for you to find a job when you are living in the area you are seeking work. This would enable you to network more effectively and may help you set more face-to-face meetings with prospective employers.

Your marriage likely will face many challenges over the years, and this is a big one, but what if moving isnít the solution? If you move back your wifeís loneliness may subside, but what will happen to you if you donít find a job that you feel is a good fit? What will you do if and when you are offered a position in another location? You can make the decision to stay close to home and forgo future opportunities, but may regret it if other opportunities fail to arise.

I wish I could tell you what to do, but there is no simple answer. You both may be happier moving closer to home, and wonít know until you do, but if you end up in another job that has you traveling a lot, your wife will be left alone again. It may help her to be closer to home, but she still may feel lonely. Perhaps part of the solution is for your wife to find some way to get more involved in the community and a way to meet people.

Because you havenít had much luck finding a job, and you like the job you have, the first thing I would suggest you do is to find out if there are any other positions in the company you are with that require less travel. Perhaps there is a solution right where you are or a way to cut back on the amount of time you have to be away. Since you are on the road most of the time, perhaps there a way to live and base your work out of the Midwest.

Continue to look for work back in the Midwest and set a time to go there. Make contacts, seek interviews, and devote a few days or more to spending time in the area (before moving) so that you can make connections and become more than just another resume.

Finally, give yourself time and set a realistic deadline for your move back home. It may be six months or six years Ö but will take off some of the pressure of feeling the need to do something immediately. It often takes time, sometimes years for people to adapt to a new place Ė with a little more time, you and your wife may grow to feel at home right where you are. You donít have to live in New York forever, but may decide that a few more years will be good to establish yourself and increase your chances of finding something else some day closer to home.

There are no easy answers... you may need to work harder at reaching out to others since you are new to the area. Out of most challenges, opportunities arise. View this as an opportunity for you and your wife to grow, change and adapt.

I hope that your letter will be heard by others who have had to move for a career; please share with us what have you learned and what advice would you offer. I will print your responses in a future column.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

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