Monday, March 26, 2007


I don’t know what took me so long to realize this. But part of my innate dissatisfaction with my job, I believe, is that it requires me to live way out here, on the east side of the city, where there is nothing but chain restaurants and strip malls and cement and yuck.

Not that I grew up running through the tall grasses on the countryside, by any means. My hometown – and, thus, my comfort zone – is an hour from where I live now. The area where I grew up has its fair share of strip malls, cement and chain restaurants. But it is also rich in the character that this newer, plainer part of the region lacks. It is more diverse. Lakes are seemingly at every corner. And nearly everyone I know and love lives within a stone’s throw.

Living out here is living in isolation. I work (unfortunately) and then...I’m on my own. To go to the gym by myself. To stop by the mall by myself. To pick up carryout for myself. It’s a lonely existence. I don’t see it getting better.

Part of it is my fault, for living with one foot here and one foot back at home (where I play hockey, where I play soccer, where I skate and where I go to the bar with my pals), but part of it is just the reality of my location. This is where young families have set their roots: where the land is cheap and new construction is plentiful, where everyone practices the same religion, where there is a snazzy gym with free babysitting service, where there is an Applebee’s and a Friday’s and an Olive Garden and every other generic source of characterless, bland food to feed their growing families. It’s not the place for a girl in her twenties who has emotional ties elsewhere; I’ve been here for 18 months and it continues to feel nothing like home.

My ticket out would be a new job. And that, as I have done nothing but whine about, is not a change that is coming fast or easy. The economy in my dear Michigan could not blow any harder; I have doubts that my elusive career change will occur in the immediate future. After looking for well more than a year, I can finally accept that I might have to remain at this job for a good while longer.

Something has to change.

I’m considering not renewing the lease on my apartment. Moving closer to home, choosing an apartment that is close to one of the two major arteries that I could take to work. Moving westward would mean a 45-minute commute. And random dinners out with Lucy that aren’t choreographed three weeks in advance. Watching Grey’s Anatomy with the girls on Thursday nights. Playing soccer more. Dropping in to see my grandparents when I felt like it. Cheering for Max in his hockey games. Feeling more settled, less shackled.

It isn’t a solution.
I will still hate my job.
I will resent the longer drive.

It’s a compromise worth considering.
A new job would be better.


Mrs. Architect said...

I live near FUN, not work. Always will. Period. I don't care where I am working, I will always commute. No matter how far.

Laurie said...

It is definitely a compromise worth considering, for your sanity.

Amy said...

I have given up on my job search in Michigan. They refuse to even call someone from out of state more or less interview me. I can't take the rejection any more. I think you should live near fun and let that be the focus of your life and let work be work. Maybe living where the fun is will help you to find a job where the fun is, too.

Paul Michael Peters said...

I drive an hour each way to work and back just to be near the people I like to hang out with. Yeah, more miles, but audio books are pretty good too.


Courtney said...

Maybe the new commute will give you a nice opportunity to make phone calls to friends and family?

I, too, live in a characterless hole... but it's close to work. So I totally understand yor delemnia. My boyfriend lives in SF (about 40 minutes north of me) so I spend every free moment up at his place. Someday I'll take the plunge and just move up there... but for now, at least a few more months anyway, I'll be clinging to the short commute and the lame resturants.

Unknown said...

But at least you are working on it and I give you tons of credit for that! We all need friends and contact with supportive, caring people. I hope you'll take it a step at a time.

A said...

Well! This is what it feels like to have a decision reinforced by your friends, huh? Thanks for all of the input, kids. I was afraid that I was acting somewhat childish, not putting my work life ahead of my social life.

Silly me, still learning (slowly) to prioritize.

Plantation said...

Interesting comments. I've been in both situations. When I took my new job, it put me into a completely frustrating 60-90 minute commute because of horrible traffic. So I basically wasted 3 hours a day getting frustrated. Plus, by the time I got to work, I was already ready to leave and go home. Despite all my social activity being close to home, I decided to move to be closer to work and avoid the traffic. Now I'm in your situation. I'm close to work, do most things alone cuz all my social stuff is 45 minutes away. But I've cut a lot of stress out of each day and have more time to do what I want now. That's the benefit for me. I guess we all have to pick our poisons. You have to figure out what's more important for YOU. For me, this is the better option.

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