I am frustrated. This is what I've been thinking about, almost constantly, for the last couple months. Turns out, I've been thinking about a lot.
Zac and I have been married close to two years. That entire time he has been working in St. Louis while I work in a little town two hours away from St. Louis. This little town is only 20 minutes from my hometown, where we live. I say we, but Zac spends 3-4 nights a week at his friend Lou's. We are fortunate to have friends kind enough to let Zac basically live with them without asking for a penny, but it's not the newlywed years I was hoping for. So, the big question....do I keep my job here, stay near my family and the new babies, or move back to St. Louis to be with my husband.
Zac and I will have our 6 year anniversary this fall. A family is not terribly far off in our future. But you don't want to start a family when the Dad is gone half the week. Zac can't quit his job as he carries the insurance for us. He has a good job, that he LOVES, with great benefits and he is frequently promoted. Seriously, 3 different raises in the last 2 years. He is moving up and as he is earning double what I am, I don't think it's fair for me to ask him to give it up for a job he won't like near as well, that doesn't pay as much (which is all that seems available around here).
This would all be easy to decide if I hated my job or my boss, but I don't. He is a nice, honest guy. My patients are very sweet. I like it here, but not everything about my job is good. I am an associate doctor, which means I am an employee, I get no decision making power, which drives me nuts as I want to be the boss. I will eventually (next 2 years or so) be able to buy in or purchase this practice. But do I want this practice? The pros, it's a 25 year established practice that has solid collections and billings and I like our office manager very much. The cons, after 25 years, patients want what they want, when they want it, and it becomes difficult to change/update based on what I want for the practice to be. But I have a practice already. I have patients that come to see me. They like me, and I lose the efforts of my last 2 years if I walk away from it.
Why not start my own practice you ask? Because we're poor. We've dumped every extra penny we've earned into paying off debt and we do a good job of it. Zac and I don't have the savings for me to hang up my own shingle and start working away. If I were to start a practice, I'm looking at a minimum of 3-5 years of hard, everyday, unrelenting work to get it up and off the ground. That means no family for 3-5 years, long hours, little pay, lots of struggle.
If I move away, I have to start my practice over. I may not like where I practice, or who I practice with, but Zac will be there. It will probably be longer before we have kids as I try to get things rolling somewhere else. But once we have those kiddos, our support system is 2 hours away. I want to see my nieces and nephews on a regular basis. I want to be able to build a house on the land my dad gave me. I want my kids to know their grandparents and have their cousins feel like brothers and sisters. Hard to do from a distance. But again, I will actually get to live full-time with my husband and comes before my family.
My family keeps telling me to have my kids and the other things won't matter near as much anymore. But I want to be able to provide for my family and have my children be able to have a dad that's home everyday. I can't really justify being a stay-at-home mom after putting myself $160k in debt to do what I do. As much as that is appealing, how would I ever get out from under that debt? How could we ever buy a home, or start college funds? But then again, maybe those are the "other things."
So this is my big dilemma. I've got 5 months to figure it out. Stay here, or find a different job and a new place to live. Keep on keepin on or start anew. For now I will sit, contemplate, occassionally cry, and wait for it to become clear. Know that if any of you out there would like to pay off my student loan debt, hire Zac, and help fund the opening of my practice, I'd be thrilled for the help.