OK, so I know Garote's been having a similar problem recently, trying to decide what to do for the next couple of years, but I find myself at a crossroads, independent of his dilemma. In my case, the problem is less of a career decision, and more a question of location.
Data thus far (no particular order):
- I currently work at the best job I've ever been at.
- But the job doesn't pay well compared to others in the field ($65,000/yr, no benefits to speak of, for a Sr. Software Engineer w/ 4 yrs experience & 2 BS degrees (EE & CE)).
- And the things that have made this my favorite job ever are starting to go away. The new CEO is making the company more... business-like.
- I currently own a home. It's very nice, but bigger than I need. Not a problem, of course, just noting.
- My father is converting his downstairs floor into a rental apartment. He has offered to let my family (I'm married w/ a newborn) live there rent-free for a year. But I'd have to move to Utah.
- I currently have very few friends up here (Seattle). Nor in Utah. The majority of my friends are in Sacramento. That said, even Utah would be an improvement, since I consider my father & brothers among my list of friends.
- I'm tired of my job -- not just the changes involved at the workplace, but the actual work itself. Frankly, with how bored I get of most things, I'm surprised I lasted this long (~2 yrs).
- My life's driving goal for as long as I can remember is to retire as quickly as possible. I think my side business has a better chance of getting me there faster than my current career.
- I have a little bit of money saved up. Enough to live on for a while if I didn't have to pay rent. Otherwise, I'll have to keep working.
- I have an idea & plan for a business of my own, but I'm currently having a hard time finding enough time to get it off the ground.
- Cost of Living is lower in Utah, and higher in Sac.
- My wife is interested in moving just for the excitement.
- I HATE moving. Just emotionally. Then there's also the additional costs involved. And we have a shitload of stuff to move, now.
- The climate here is my favorite of any place I've ever lived (this includes Davis, Santa Cruz, Idaho, Michigan, Newhampshire, & a couple of places in Utah). It's just too hot & dry in Sacto for my tastes. On the other hand, I don't much like going out-of-doors, so as long as I've got AC, I'm probably OK.
- My wife is a ballet dancer, and has found a good school here. She'll outgrow it somewhat soon, but for now, it's good. University of Utah has one of the best ballet programs, and she'd love to be able to be a part of it. We don't know much about what Sacto can offer.
- Housing opportunities are good in Sacto... values are going up, but cost is currently still fairly low.
- My wife's allergic to cigarrette smoke, so going to clubs or whatever up here in Washington is pretty much out of the question. Both Utah & California have laws that would allow such outings.
Well, that's more or less all of the factors. We've actually been writing them down and assigning point values in order to try to help us. We're currently undecided, though we're leaning toward either staying here or moving to Utah. Which is kind of sad, because I'd really like to see my friends more often, some of whom I've barely seen in 5 years.