How Sacrificing My Job for Adventure Advanced My Career 5 Years
It’s no secret that while I (Mr. RRR) have a pretty good job that I enjoy, I’m pretty easily out-earned by my incredible wife. I’m not even remotely ashamed or emasculated by this fact, Mrs. RRR busted her ass to get through school and now she’s a relatively high earner, even though she hates it. But, earlier this year, we were approached with an opportunity for her to go work on a project in St. Louis. The perks were:
- 10% pay increase for the length of the project.
- Move 100% covered by her company
- Housing allowance.
- Per-diem’s for food.
- Furniture allowance (if you kept your moved belongings under a certain weight).
- Paid for travel back home to visit.
Not to mention the obvious opportunity for an adventure, while having a pretty large safety net provided by her work. Neither Mrs. RRR or myself have lived more than 20 minutes away from either of our families. It took a little time for us to come to a decision, mostly because I genuinely enjoyed my job, my co-workers, and the company I worked for. Ultimately though, with this laundry list of incentives, the financial benefits essentially added up to my salary at my current position. That made it hard to turn down. Also, as long as we kept our expenses low, we got to pocket all the excess from the housing, food, and furniture allowance.
Next thing you know, I’m putting in my notice at work and we are taking a “home finding trip” to STL (also covered by Mrs. RRR’s employer). We had already discussed the potential for it to take me a while to find a job, but since we had more money coming in, it wasn’t too worrying of an aspect for us. I think I could handle being a stay-at-home husband and keep a watchful eye over RRRjr.
Long story short, after little while, I found a great job doing essentially the same thing I used to do back in Alabama (Medical Administration). We had a pretty sweet gig up there, I got to work 1/2 days on Wednesday and Friday while being off every weekend. It was biking distance from our apartment on the river that was also yards away from the Katy Trail (a biking trail that runs practically the length of Missouri). Not to mention the fact that since I got a decent job, we kept our expenses incredibly low (tons of free stuff to do, Aldi, biking most places, etc.), and we were already raking in money from the move, our savings rate was well over 50% even including the rental property we purchased while we were up there (which is cash flowing nicely now, but that 20% down was a nice chunk of change), and the now three mortgages we have.
Unfortunately, the move wasn’t permanent, and yet again I had to leave a pretty appealing job. But, we made our way back to Alabama and I began another job search. I’m obviously used to the process at this point, but it’s still a daunting task. I lucked out relatively quickly because my previous employer was actually hiring for the same position I had left earlier, just at a different clinic. Because I left on such a good note, and had a pretty excellent track record, my old boss didn’t even interview me, he just gave me the job.
Here’s where the fun part comes in: I negotiated nearly a 15% pay increase over my previous salary. It helped that they knew what I could do, they didn’t have to train anyone new and deal with the time, effort, and money that is involved with training new employees. It was a win-win for both of us. And this pay increase helped sweeten the deal of having to come back to Alabama and lose all those nice financial incentives that Mrs. RRR was receiving. With 3% cost of living raises (which aren’t all that standard anymore) it would’ve taken 5 years to reach the pay increase that I got. That five year timeline was expedited by about 4.5 years. Not to mention all the experiences, memories, and life-long friends that we made while we were in St. Louis.
(Update: they asked me to transfer back to my old clinic and manage it, and I negotiated another 13% raise to do so. So, we moved to STL for 6 months and I was back in my old position in less than a year but with a 29% overall raise.)
So, to sum it all up: Mrs. RRR got transferred to STL, I quit my job, we went there and fell in love with the area and people, all while growing closer to each other, made incredible memories and friends, and got paid extra to do all those things. Then come back to Alabama only to get my old job, that I thoroughly enjoy, back along with a significant pay increase. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
Tread Lightly, Retire Early
What an awesome story! And picking up and moving somewhere for a year totally alters your perspective on the world as well, in my opinion. I picked up and moved to South Carolina after college because my husband was stationed there, and while we moved back home after his time was up, I’m so glad I got to experience somewhere totally different from the northwest.
You are absolutely right! Moving to another area really opened our eyes to other perspectives and we became more open minded about everything from food to politics and ideas.
It’s awesome that the move benefitted both of you! Sometimes it can be really tough on one of the partners. My sister moved for her now-husband, and it was unfortunately a major setback in her career. However, she worked hard to overcome it, and is now out-earning him. Kudos!
Thanks for the feedback, Kristine! I’m sorry to hear that your sister had a hard time career-wise with her move, but I’m glad she didn’t throw in the towel on it.