Why we decided to move out-of-state without employment

Guest post by Catefish
Leaping without a net may not be something you’d do with, let’s say, acrobatics. But is it something you’d do with your living situation? (Photo by: FrankzedCC BY 2.0)

My husband and I are no strangers to the well-meant-yet-still-abrasive questions: “Aren’t you a little young to get married?” “What are you going to do with that degree?” “Aren’t you going to regret not having your own children?”

And now that we’re moving out of state, it’s, “You don’t have a job yet?”

My husband and I have spent the last three years trying to carve out a living in Southern California — an expensive, dry, and hot environment that neither of us are particularly in love with. Both sets of our parents settled here, and when we ejected from the nest, that’s where we ended up because we had jobs here.

The J word. I spent sometimes fifty-to-sixty hours every week at a low-paying, demanding job with a demonic commute. My husband drove an hour-and-a-half into the desert to teach at a poorly-funded community college whose student body often tolerated his class only because their parents told them they had to go or risk being kicked out of the house. And then we would watch our dwindling bank account every month, hands a-wringing, sometimes not sure we could afford to put gas in our car to go to work to pay our (relatively low, by SoCal standards) rent. Classic “I hate my job” sob stories, right? Everyone hates their jobs! No one has money! Get over it!

Why? We started asking in return. And the resounding answer was “that’s what it took to make it in our area,” — an area which we didn’t care for anyway. The timing was right. Our lease was ending, and so we had to commit: another six to twelve months stuck in place, or a scary leap which could wind us up skulking home to our parents, richer only in life experience.

My husband managed to teach a few extra units, and I pulled yet more overtime, so our savings grew a little. Our parents pledged their support — a luxury which we know not everyone has, and for which we are so grateful. We applied for job after job in our new area, an endeavor which has not yet yielded fruit. And then came time to quit and pack up everything we own and just go.

We’re almost to moving day, and still not much on the job front. My husband is entered into a few employment pools, and I’m still cranking out cover letters like, well, like it’s my job. And still, with every new person we mention the move to, it’s, “do you have a job yet?”

I know. I know the conventional wisdom states that you never leave a job without having another one lined up. I know that you don’t make huge life choices without a safety net. But we looked at it and we thought and cried about it a bit and made a decision between being stuck somewhere that caused us stress where we didn’t want to be and moving to where we can breathe better and hopefully find a new start. It may not be an option for everyone, but we had to grasp this for ourselves.

That won’t be easy. The dreaded employment gap rears its ugly head. But for now, for us, with a loving support system in place and a modest savings cushion, this is our choice. Safety net or no, we’re going to fly.

Comments on Why we decided to move out-of-state without employment

  1. My husband and I made a move from Southern California to Seattle just a few months ago, with neither of us having jobs at the time. In Southern California, I’d been unemployed for over a year and had no realistic prospects for finding a job. Here in Seattle I found a job within a month, though my husband is still looking for one.

    We’re originally from the Northeast, so the climate in Southern California was just not for us. (It was too sunny, hot, and dry and there was too little variety in the weather.) The climate and scenery of Seattle are much more to our liking. Also the cost of living is dramatically lower here. It was the right move for us to make and I’m glad we did.

  2. It is much easier to find a job when you’re already living there! You have a much better chance of meeting your potential employers in person, and that can really work in your favor. I have looked for jobs several times before moving and never with any luck, but I always manage to find something once I am living there – I’m convinced that being able to physically turn in your resume to a real person (depending on the place), meet for interview right away, and so forth really improves your odds.

  3. We are gearing up to do the same thing. We are moving from Maine (cold, expensive, been here our whole lives, no job prospects) to Wilmington, NC where my filmmaker husband can actually get paid to make real movies (we hope!) and I can find something artsy and interesting (or just paying…) to do. I’m nervous about the bugs and humidity, and obviously the job prospects, but I think logically we both have a far better chance there than we do here, and we’re just struggling and hating it here, the only thing holding us here is family and inertia. So, time for a change, a fresh start, and an adventure! I’m so glad to hear such positive comments from everyone, we’re facing a lot of skeptics here as we prepare to take the leap.

  4. Good luck to you guys! Such an exciting new adventure.

    My husband works seasonally for the Forest Service and applied for a new job in a new state. We’ve heard n o t h i n g because the government moves slower than death, and even though I have a well-paying job that allows me to work from home, EVERYONE asks “so what about Rob’s job?” like they can’t conceive of the fact that we’ll probably be okay for a little while even if the USFS turns him down. I’ve just started saying, “he doesn’t have one, he won’t work, we’re just going to see what happens.” haha!

  5. I was kind’ve wondering what your husband’s name was because I used to attend a poorly funded community college in the SoCal desert.

  6. OH MY GOODNESS! 4 months ago my husband and I did this exact thing——cross country! Both of us grew up, met and fell in love in South Dakota. Notice I didn’t say fell in love WITH Sodak…just fell in love with each other. I almost left once, it was great; except for the being alone part. So when I met Geoff and he took me to Orlando and showed me Disney and Universal and I met my new best friend I knew that some day we would end up living there.
    So we got married, we got money, and we sold our furniture and excess gadgets. We waited for our first tax return and APPLIED, APPLIED, APPLIED! I eventually stopped because it became so fruitless. We started hearing from different people who either lived or had lived in FL that many employers wont hire out of state people because they tend NOT to move at all. Other people kept telling us that because we’re from the Midwest we will have jobs in no time and not to worry until we get there.
    We even so much as asked a friend if we could stay with them for two weeks and that we would try to be out at the end of that time with jobs and an apt. My family kept giving me that knowing look; “You’re so young and it’s so cute that you’re trying to move away from us. Good luck, we’ll see you in 6 months.” We piled everything into a UHAUL (including one very tiny dog) and began our journey. We made it all the way here with out so much as a flat tire! 1600 miles!!! We were so proud! We began applying using a PO box for an address and finally both had jobs at the end of 2 weeks. We found an apartment as soon as the jobs were in stone and moved out of our friends home.

    Now I will say this; this has been the most stressful experience I’ve ever had. My husband was fired from his first job and I had a workplace injury that eventually led me to quit. We only have one vehicle at the moment which leads to a nasty two way commute every day. We are Ramen noodles broke right now; BUT! We are alive, healthy and happy to be here, together! It really is a dream come true and in December when my family is plowing through drifts taller than their cars, I’ll be wearing shorts and going to Disney; so there!

  7. I’m assuming by the date on this article that you’ve moved by now, so welcome to Washington! My partner and I did the same thing just over 2 years ago. We moved here from Oklahoma with no jobs and no home waiting for us–on 2 weeks notice. I won’t get into why it was on such short notice (it involves some scary/violent family stuff.), but we had been saving and planning to move to Olympia for a while–just not so quickly!

    I won’t lie, it was crazy scary. We only really brought what could fit in our cars (both mid-size sedans), and had never even visited the area. Basically, instead of the vacation we’d been planning, it was suddenly going to be permanent. So we sold or donated everything we weren’t bringing along, printed out directions, and headed northwest. Two weeks later, we had an apartment downtown and my partner had a full-time job. It was 4 months before I found one, but luckily we had the savings to cover expenses until then.

    To those of you who are considering or already committed to doing the same thing, I say go for it! We LOVE our new home; I wish we’d made the leap sooner. Stop saying “I wish I lived in X” and start planning your move!

  8. Ok, so….updates! Are you settled? Did you find jobs? How is your adventure going? 🙂 Six-month later me is just now reading this and rooting for you!

  9. OMG I found this article right on time. I swear all of you guys have been god-sent. I have been in NC, same town since 96 and while the town is nice, the people weren’t so lovely. I ended up at a school where I was verbally and physically bullied for a decade, almost leading to my suicide a few times. High school came and my family fell apart leading to more dispair. But finally college came and I went to school in GA and although the extreme stress if the curriculum (the school is well known for sending kids to mental health facilities from anxiety issues…) I loved being somewhere new where there were so many cultures and things to do. I felt free. When I graduated and went back to NC I had a plan to be there three months tops before heading to London… When the graduate school rejection letter came I was destroyed. Here I am a year and a half later stuck in the same place doing the same thing while my 32k dollar loan and lost dream career hanging over my head. I met the love of my life but I still can’t shake the funk of this town. I tried to apply for jobs outside of the state, over 200 with not a single reply. Finally my therapist said, “the stress from your issues at work (a whole other issue) and being stuck here are sending you right back to the hospital.. Tie up loose ends and just go” I was inspired and I quit my job (my bf still has his tho it pays horribly) and put 100 % of my effort into finding a place in Atlanta suburbs to move to. A month later I have given up hope with no responses and being too overwhelmed and worried about picking the wrong place online. Until last night when it struck me “HOTELS” with in two hours I had my money added up and budgeted for the next for weeks and an idea of what the hotel will cost. But I started to get anxious because I had always been told “wait for the job” but I found this thread and I decided to do it. This was even more solidified after I talked to a work connection already down there who said projects start up in February so I was choosing a great time. My BF and I are packing my car up with essentials and leaving in 4 weeks, staying at a hotel and finding temporary jobs to hold us over while we explore and apartment hunt. Hopefully by the time we are unpacking our new place he will have a few job leads and I will be back working in my dream career!!!!!

  10. I really have enjoyed reading everyone’s stories/comments, and it gives me hope.
    Of course we’re in the same boat, although we are swimming against the tide and looking to move to the Bay area without having a job lined up.
    We’re currently in Richmond, VA, because I took a job promotion to come here, but we really don’t like it.
    I’ve been applying out west, with no success so far(3 months) I’ve been getting interviews(mostly phone, although I did have a company fly me out for a face to face, didn’t get an offer though), but no offers.
    It’s a scary thought for me to just pick up and move without a job lined up, but we’re getting to that point. Our lease is up in 6 months, so we are planning to move then, unless I’m able to land a job in the meantime.
    We do have a lot of family in the Bay area which is why we’re looking to move there, plus in my field, there just seems to be more opportunities out there.
    Good luck to everyone.

  11. WELL, I MUST SAY THANK YOU TO EVERYONE OF YOU THAT HAS POSTED HERE. I ACTUALLY TOOK THE TIME TO READ 85% OF THE COMMENTS. (THERE IS A LOT OF COMMENTS) AND IT HAS GIVING ME THE ENCOURAGEMENT I NEEDED TO RELOCATE. I LIVE IN WONDERFUL WASHINGTON, DC. ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLACES TO LIVE IN. IM READY TO GO. I LEFT MY KIDS FATHER IN APRIL OF 2014 AND I HAVE BEEN PLANNING TO MOVE TO GEORGIA BY THE AGE OF 40.. IM 36. BUT AFTER SOME LONG THOUGHT I THINK THAT WHAT IM PAYING NOW I CAN LIVE BETTER AND BE COMFY WITH OR WITHOUT A JOB(WORK IS MY DESIRE). I RECEIVE SOME BENEFITS FOR MY CHILD WITH EPILEPSY AND I HAVE A FEW OTHER MEANS OF EARNING SOME INCOME. IM JUST READY TO GO. I CANT TAKE ANOTHER DAY BECAUSE EACH DAY SEEMS TO FEEL LIKE ANOTHER WEIGHT BEING ADDED TO MY SHOULDERS. I DO HAVE A FEW FRIENDS IN GEORGIA BUT WHEN I LEAVE I WANT TO GO ON MY OWN. BESIDES ITS NOT EASY LIVING WITH OTHERS WHEN U HAVE 3 CHILDREN. PEOPLE ARE NOT VERY COOL TO THAT NOW A DAYS. SO THANKS FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL STORIES AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHERS BECAUSE THAT HAS JUST INSPIRED ME TO TAKE THAT LEAP OF FAITH.. I AM SEARCHING FOR APARTMENTS DAILY AND ONCE SOMEONE ACCEPTS MY APP. I WILL BE ON MY WAY. BLESSING TO EVERYONE AND NEVER STOP BELIEVING

  12. I wish I had that safety cushion. I hoarded every cent I could save, and I still only have 4,500 in the bank to show for it despite technical degree’s and a college degree that apparently isn’t worth anything. CT is a death trap, I already had “Family” that I don’t feel or want to be attached too giving me shit, but now they want what little money I do have DESPITE just getting let go from my “new” job. Apparently I’m too honest too sell “Insert major Japaneses auto conglomerate here” Probably didn’t help when I called them out for trying to sell a vehicle that my customer already had money on either.
    That being said I do not agree with the laws CT has enacted. There is barely any work here, and it’s certainly not the place to raise a family. Now im unemployed ( as of 2 days ago ), barely have enough money to scrape by, have family trying to put me into even worse financial situations, and not enough cash to move to RI or VA yet.
    If you can offer any advice on my next gameplan here, please Email me [email protected] Cause I have no idea what I can do.

  13. This makes me feel a lot better. My husband and I are planning to move from a snobby (and absurdly expensive) little tourist town in Massachusetts to Oregon within the next year. Glad to know I’m not the only one who is doing this.

  14. Hello, I stumbled up on this website and I am so glad that I did. Like everybody else the stories have given me more inspiration and motivation to pursue my dream to move to the Florida area, mainly Tampa or Fort Lauderdale. I currently live in Houston, Tx. and when I was younger I liked the city; however, it no longer appeals to me anymore. I have been wanting to move to Florida for quite some time and the feeling has just gotten stronger so I know it is time to relocate. I plan to sign up with some temp agencies and since reading the stories on this site sign up for substitute teaching as well. I want to to do more saving and once I reach the amount that I want saved, Florida here I come!

  15. I so needed this article right now. My fiancee and I are getting married right after I graduate from undergrad in May, nearby both of our parents in Maryland, and then we are moving to Colorado for me to pursue my Masters. I’ve had no luck finding a part time job (no surprise, honestly), and my fiancee, who has been working at a job she loves in her field for three years, hasn’t found anything either. So we are really, really stressed about the financial aspect of moving. We also are going to have to pick and sign for an apartment, sight unseen, as we can’t afford the $400 each (minimum) plane tickets to get out there before the move. We have two acquaintances out there from our undergraduate program that moved for the same reason we are, and that’s all.

    It’s extremely reassuring to read so many success stories about moving without employment, supports in the moving area, and a sunny prospect on housing.

    • I agree with you completely… I feel so much more motivated to make my leap of faith now…

  16. Thank you for this post and all the comments; it’s been a big help to me. I picked up and moved to a different state without a job last summer. It was scary, but I had some money saved, and worked as a substitute teacher to make some extra cash while I looked for a permanent gig. Subbing can be a breeze, and it can be intense, depending on the class. You generally make $90-$100 daily, and can work as much or as little as you want. In most school districts, the only major requirement is you have a college degree; the field doesn’t matter. If you don’t have a degree, you can work as an aide, although the pay is less. Getting the sub license from the state can take a month or two, so plan ahead before you move; I didn’t.

  17. Trying to relocate! Me and my husband have 3 children we are staying with my mother because our income sucks. When it rains he doesn’t work and I just hate my job, but I thank GOD I have one. So we have plans to move to Georgia because we want to stay in a new environment, a place where we no; no one and where we can just enjoy each other as a family, with no distractions.
    The problem with moving: We have 3 children so that means we have to find schools, Finding a job seems difficult because we have no family members in the area, and if I find a job I have to work around the kids school times because they are young (Kids ages 9,6, and 3).
    Sacrifice: We have a little money saved, but if we just pack u and leave i’m scared getting a job want be so easy. How would we find an apartment or rent a home with no jobs? Are there landlords that would reason with you?
    I’m sure moving would all be worth the blood, sweat, and tears, but I need some info.
    Does anyone live in Georgia, if so what are the best areas for a family?
    Is it easy to find a job?
    How are the schools?
    Is it easy to buy a house?
    Are there plenty of activities to do?
    I have so many questions, but I would love to here some great replies.
    Thanks in advance…..

    • I am trying to make a move to ATL also from NYC… I actually hate the city and the hustle and bustle every day… ATL feels like my soulmate of cities and like my heart just belongs here… I have a few friends who I plan to definitely use to the fullest of my ability lol,but I wont lie, I am freaking scared…. I have took leaps of faith before but by far, this would be the biggest as I also have no family here and 1 son…

      I am considering leaving my son up here probably until summer to finish schooling up here, which will give me a chance to sink or swim without having to include him and then slowly but surely bring him down.. My instincts tell me I might not have too bad a time finding work since I am in IT and coming from NYC might play to my advantage, but that’s just my instincts here…

      I have traveled here back and forth and compared to nyc living, this will be an upgrade for environments for my son, I cant see any reason why my son wouldnt like it here… But as with most places in the south, public transportation is heavily lacking here, which I will miss coming from NYC… I dont know about buying a house, but Im looking to rent and with the 1900 I pay for a 2 bedroom here in NYC, I was able to find 5 bedrooms for much less down here… My friend lives in a beautiful apt complex and has a 1 bedroom for 400 a month which is a freaking miracle directly from the father for me…

      Im getting depressed just wondering why i’m not there yet =(

  18. Hi all. I’m considering moving from Chesapeake, VA to somewhere around Seattle. I have a few chronic diseases and I am about to loose my insurance(my father is kicking me off, but lots of drama there) so pretty much I need to move somewhere I can get insurance, or sit here and die. My fiance and I have never been to seattle(and were gunna go this summer ) but we might pack up a car and just go. Any advice at all?? We’re young, and I’m still in school. I just don’t think I have any other choices. We don’t have any family anywhere we can stay with so we don’t have many options.

    • I’d say visit first. I had pretty much already decided where I wanted to move to before visiting, but going and see everything in person helped give me additional confidence I was doing the right thing.

  19. NJ to Vegas, that’s the plan. Next year..the kid will be 21. I hope I can encourage him to come with, maybe with a friend or 2. They could split a house or apt. Husband really wants out of this area… and LV we think has everything we need, want…been there like 5x, . Tired of cold and snow…..I hear “but it’s so brown”…,yeah okay, and….great food to be had, entertainment, the dessert was awesome.. I heard somewhere from an older gentlemen, we don’t regret the things we did, we regret what we haven’t done… sending you all peace &love

  20. Thank you for your post. No one’s saying you have to move to one of the two most expensive cities in the world. There are plenty of other places out there that offer challenging jobs, tons of culture, and reasonable prices.

  21. Thank you for the encouragement. My husband and I live and grew up in Baltimore. My mom and siblings re located to Florida a few years ago. I have a decent paying job here in Maryland and my husband has a low paying job, however, my husband and I really want to relocate to Florida. I finish grad school in December and we are going out on Faith in February when our lease is up. I had a few interviews in Florida in which I used my moms address but no job offers as of yet same for hubby. My mom will let us stay until we decide to leave, however, we don’t want to be a burden and rely on that…reading everyone’s experience has encouraged me even more. If anyone was wondering we plan to move to the palm beach/ ft Lauderdale area.

  22. After 21 years in OKC I finally decided to take a leap of faith and did a blind relocation a month ago to Richmond, VA. It was NOT easy. I wanted to move East for the last 6 or so years to be closer to my family in Maryland. But I had everything in OKC: a good job, a low mortgage, a few friends, my favorite restaurants, streets, the Thunder, my girls soccer team, etcccc….
    I knew that my 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son would have to leave their friends and have to change school. I also knew that my wife was going to have to quit her good job and will also be leaving her friends. So deciding to move was NOT easy. While decinding whether to really pull the plug on the move I had headaches and major stress for like two months. Before accepting the current job, i turned down 3 jobs, one of which was going to pay me a lot more than the current one, because at the very end I would change my mind. Too expensive, we are already too old, too much to give up just to be closer to family, too much to leave behind, etc., were some of the reasons or excuses why I hesitated for a long time about moving. But there comes a point in one’s life when nothing can fill that emptiness like a moment with Mom can.
    Moving is expensive. Very expensive. When is all set and done we would have spent around 10k to move. This doesn’t not include the fact that I am getting a 400k mortgage and starting all over again. But you know what? I just spent thanksgivings with my Mom and sisters and I can say that I really really enjoyed it. My depression has gotten better.
    I hope I don’t regret it later in life. I want my kids to spent time with their abuela before it is too late. Richmond has a lot to offer and I hope we enjoy it.

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