Ask The Readers — How Far Would You Go?

Ask The Readers — How Far Would You Go?

A funny thing happens when you try and hire someone you know: they usually tell you more about their life than a potential employee would ever tell an employer.

In the midst of talking to an acquaintance and trying to convince him to come work with me, we got talking about location. He did not currently live in the same city as me. He also divulged that he was considering a different job further away, just about as far away from where he lived as he could get (without leaving the country). We began discussing the merits of moving for a job and he stated it quite simply:

For the right job, he would move just about anywhere.

I, of course, immediately began probing him on worst case scenarios. What about completely barren areas or moving to a place that had very few resources (grocery, gasoline, etc)? What about if the weather was terrible? What if the cost of living was outrageous? But still, he maintained that the right job would get him anywhere.

It was at this point that I began thinking of my own perfect job (I enjoy my current job a lot but I still have a perfect job situation in my head). How far would I go for it? I know for me, I would need the following:

  • Ability to get back to my extended family once per year (once every two years maximum).
  • Decent enough weather to go outside once per day, even if not for long.
  • A town with one decent restaurant.
  • A modern grocery story that has available produce.
  • Not so remote of a location that I cannot have an internet connection (it’s my livelihood….sort of).
  • On the other end of the spectrum, if it were a big city, I would need some ability to get to green space once per day.

Much more importantly, dear reader, is knowing how far would you go? If you found a job that was truly a perfect fit for you, what would you give up? Where would you consider moving to? Have you done this in the past? Please let us know in the comments!

Thanks to amyfry for the picture of the truck


My feeling is exactly the opposite. My perfect job lets me live wherever I want. The perfect job is one that doesn’t ask me to make sacrifies.

Generally speaking no one will offer you that job, but it is possible to create one for yourself.

I have a very comfortable place to live now (cycling weather year round, many good restaurants within walking distance, decent public transit, world-class produce, miles of open space starting just a mile or two away, clean air, …). My job is a pretty good fit also and I make enough to live here and save a little for retirement, so I have a hard time imagining a job enough better to entice me away. (I’ve been here about 25 years now, and I’m a bit of a pack rat, so just the hassle of moving is a major barrier to considering another job.)

I have to agree with Steve for the most part. The perfect job for me wouldn’t send me to a barren wasteland with one restaurant, a general store, and a gas station. Ideally, it would be a small to medium sized city where there’s a ton of stuff to do year round. No mega-cities in this hypothetical unless I had other options of getting to work besides driving because I absolutely hate traffic. The ability to get back home and see my family a few times a year without recreating the Odyssey would be nice too.

Now this is not saying I wouldn’t consider an awesome sounding job in a remote location, I would just have to really weigh the pros and cons against any other offers I had at the time.

For me, the perfect job would be a compilation. It has to be something I have a passion for, but would also put me in a location that was agreeable with my less than optimal tanning abilities. 🙂 If i had an offer to move to Japan again, and the job was fish monger, I would take it. However if I had a job where I could work on designs for new projects and help people learn about electronics I could live with just about the same basics as Chris listed, with probably a couple of exceptions. There would have to be hills(not bridges as the highest point for 100+ miles), and seasons. There is so much lost when working in an area where it mild to warm that we forget some of the slower things about living.

For me it would be very difficult to separate the “job” from its “location” – it’s all part of the whole package. If the “perfect” job requires you to live in an absolutely miserable place in the middle of nowhere, how can it be the perfect job? Yes, you will enjoy the many hours you spend at work tremendously (it probably wont even feel like work!), but what about the rest of the time? What about your partner, your child(ren), the rest of your family and friends? It’s definitely worth making sacrifices for a good job, but you do have to be careful to maintain a healthy balance. Luckily today, it becomes easier to find those balances as geographical distance becomes less and less important (once you HAVE to take a plane to visit your family, it doesn’t matter too much any more how long a flight it is).

I can’t take any jobs/projects that would require me to be away from the Mad City for more than a few days. My wife’s legal practice and my engineering are established here. We have set a mostly-strict limit on the amount of time the kids are with a nanny and we have no other family who can provide help with the kids, so that means if one of us isn’t available for the kids the other is turning down lucrative legal/engineering projects.

I lived in Florida for 20 years, and I always wanted to get back to Madison. It’s a very good place to be stuck. Madison is blessed partly because of the money flowing in because of the UW and state gov’t, but there’s also a magical quality of friendiness, stoicism, hardwork, and family that would persist even if you subtracted UW and the gov’t. The number of engineering jobs is slightly better than average for a mid-sized city. I’m working on creating some more jobs here because leaving the Four Lakes is not an option.

Been there, done that… when I was younger it was easy to fantasize about perfect jobs and locations. I even moved several hundred miles for a promise of a great job in a better place… then reality kicked in when (after the move) the company put on a hiring freeze and I was stuck on the outside with no income.

There’s no harm in fantasizing about better situations, but before jumping do a lot of homework and realize that nothing is perfect or forever. Make sure you have a Plan B. Although I landed into a lousy job market at least it’s a nice place to live with a low cost of living, and I’ve managed to re-invent myself. But after this experience I doubt I could be seduced into moving again.

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