Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Take This Job and Move It

I’m putting together some fodder (love that word) for a radio show on work-at-home parents, where I’ll be sharing my wit and wisdom. (Love that phrase - my husband came up with it for me.)

Here’s the thing: If you move a lot - whether you’re a military family who’s PCSing or a corporate relo always on the move or just someone who loves the adventure of living in new places - if you’re the trailing spouse you probably aren’t going to be putting a lot of effort into your own career. Moving for your spouse’s job puts a big stumbling block in your own career path.

I survived several moves during the years in which my husband and I both worked. The out-of-town move that had me looking for, finding and starting a new job was horrible. In addition to the never-ending moving to-do list, I had to buy new work clothes for a different office attire protocol, bone up on required job skills (in my case, page layout. I read two college textbooks on newspaper design and page layout in three days), and work overtime making connections with my new colleagues and community leaders. On the day that the movers were loading our house, I wasn’t even there. I was already at the new place, started my job, and left the moving details to family and friends.

I'd love to hear how you handled a job and a move at the same time.

That move put into motion a working mom hamster wheel for me. The entire time we lived there I felt like I was one step behind in my work, in my child-rearing, in my family obligations and in my personal life. When I was at work, I was stressing about all the things I had to do at home; when I was at home, I was thinking of all the work that I had piling up at my office. It was generally sucky. I blame bad moving mojo.

For my subsequent moves, I was either a stay-at-home mom or working from home or I didn’t mind leaving the job I had. I had to quit jobs because we moved, but I didn’t have to find a new one right away, which put me in unemployment well before our leave date.

I honestly don’t know how the rest of you do it. Moving out while you’re working, moving in while you’re starting a new job - how can you do it? The move itself involves enough challenges to be considered a part-time job. Adding in a “real” job makes it almost impossible.

I can’t think of a better argument for working at home. That’s going to be my message on this upcoming radio show. Being able to work out of your house, wherever that may be, is the mother of all job perks.

I’d love to hear how some of you handled a job and a move at the same time. Did you keep a steady handle on your sanity? Was there any prison time or involuntary commitment involved? Did your boss notice that that piece of strapping tape on the back of your skirt? Or the fact that you were eight weeks past due for a haircut and color?

Let me know. I'd love to go on the radio with your perspective in my tool belt. Comment here or email me at


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

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