AI: Decisions

A few days ago, I learned of a job opportunity out of state starting next week, which, in order to take, I’d have to give up seeing four awesome concerts and going to Chicago to visit Elyse, as well as causing a headache for someone I respect a great deal by quitting my weekend teaching job. I’d also have to kiss goodbye the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo, which I was really looking forward to. In the end, I decided to take the job. It was just too good an opportunity to pass up when I was looking at not having work here at home until April.

So Sunday morning, my friend Lisa and I hit the road for St. Louis. I’m totally bummed about missing all those shows (Ben Folds, They Might be Giants, Jonathan Coulton/Paul and Storm, and TubRing), and I’m gonna miss the hell out of Tim3P0. The upside is that I get to hang with Pamela Gay and DJ Grothe and all the other St. Louis area skeptics, not to mention I’ll be there for Skepticon II to say a proper goodbye to Rebecca. All things considered, I think it’s the right decision.

What is a difficult decision that you’ve had to make? Do you think, in hindsight, that you made the right choice?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. To stop teaching. In school, I was convinced that it was the thing for me to do. When I was teaching, there were things I loved about it. But there were also a number of things I hated, and leaving it behind was the best choice I’ve made in a long time.

  2. I had a two week vacation longboating around the UK scheduled with my wife and parents when a job offer came through. I was living in Alabama at the time and the offer was in Colorado. From hell to heaven in one easy step. On this account the decision was easier than yours and I never really questioned it. The only thing I questioned years later was were the two mutually exclusive? I probably could have insisted on taking the vacation and the job, but I was young and fairly green.

    Looking back I really don’t regret anything not even marrying my first wife. All those decisions even the bad ones contributed to getting me to where I am which is pretty happy.

  3. To get married when a friend of mine got pregnant with my child.
    This decision forced me to drop out of school, to try to scrounge up work when I wasn’t qualified, to move to a colder climate so we could get help from her family, among other extreme difficulties over the past 10 years.
    Those things are the price I pay for the three beautiful daughters she has given me, and the sight of her when she lights up laughing as only I can make her laugh.

    Totally worth it.

  4. I get the impression this job is temporary – is it? Sucks to miss out on things, but congrats on finding a job.

    Every time I’ve ended a relationship (I was always the ender, and they were years-long relationships), the decision tore me up inside. I ultimately made the right ones, but they were hard.

    In hindsight, most other decisions I made that were super hard at the time seem like small things that I made out to be bigger than they were.

    Right now, I’m facing the decision of remaining in the teaching profession, or looking for other avenues. I don’t hate my job… well, I do… I don’t know. I know I can be an excellent teacher, but I feel like my “calling” or “talent” lies more in social justice and passion for advocating children’s rights (particularly poor and/or minority children). I also feel like that calling has gotten me into trouble in my job, because I teach these children and I “care too much” as somebody has told me. (SERIOUSLY, how can a teacher care too much about their students’ equal access to opportunities?)

    I’m determined to stick through several years of teaching (I’m only on year 2), in hopes that it will improve with experience, but right now I’m starting to think perhaps I should figure out where to go next if it doesn’t get better.

  5. It was July 23, 1990. Tangier, Morroco. Late at night, hot and dry with a wind blowing in from the desert. I hadn’t been in Tangier for 2 years. I never thought I would return at all. The last time I had been there the city had almost killed me. Just before I left an old fortune teller had said I would die the next time I returned and I believed her. So I had avoided it. But George was here. George had taken something from me. Something I couldn’t replace. Something I treasured. It had taken me 8 months to track him down. It was time to settle the score. I had tracked George to a cheap casino. I stood across the street in a narrow alley smoking one cigar after another. Waiting. Finally at 3:27 A.M. George staggered out and down the street in the direction of the flop he was staying in. I didn’t have to try to avoid being seen. He was alone and drunk. I walked up behind him, pulled my stilleto out of my pocket gripped it tight and plunged it to the hilt in his right kidney. He crumpled to the pavement trying to scream but he couldn’t. I stood there and watched while the light left his eyes. I spit in his face and left. It was the third time I had been to Tangier. I know that if I ever return I will die.

    I don’t regret the choice I made.

  6. I had to stand firm against my bosses at school. I knew that doing so would mean fewer opportunities for some students, but I felt I was being taken advantage of. It took 3 years, but eventually I was asked to come back at 4 times what they had been paying me.

    I look forward to seeing you (and everyone else) at Skepticon II next month!

    @“Other” Amanda: I also feel like that calling has gotten me into trouble in my job, because I teach these children and I “care too much” as somebody has told me.
    It sounds like you have the right attitude. Look around for a school that shares your view. They are out there.

  7. Back in my first year of post-religiousness, I still lived with my fundamentalist Pentecostal parents who made me go to their church. I tried to escape through college, but the first year I tried some financial support fell through and I had to bite the bullet and wait another year rather. I was in a very hard spot: I was utterly alone in this little town, and no one knew anything about my post-religiousness. I was being forced to go to church and pretend to be part of the flock. I’d lived with this uncomfortable situation for entirely too long, and another year proved to be too much. In January I decided to confront my parents and ask them for permission to stop. I made the decision that if they didn’t allow me, I was going to stop pretending.

    I don’t know what might have happened had they refused, but thanks to my arguments, I was free from my burden and faded away from that life.

  8. @Gabrielbrawley: Dude,
    1) Is that true?
    2) I’m almost curious what it was that was taken from you to cause you to go to that extreme,
    3) Remind me never to piss you off. Especially if the answer to point 1 is yes.

    New “hard” decision:
    Sukiyaki Western Django
    Slumdog Millionaire

  9. Moving to London in June this year to take a job at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Moving away from all my friends and family and the city I’d lived in all my life to somewhere I know no one or even where anything is.

    So far it’s working out, just bought a house in Muswell Hill and lovingmy job (even though it’s a teaching hospital and I have to put up with dumb-ass students)

    @jwwalker: You gave up tenure?! What did you do, murder the vice-chancellor’s daughter? ;-) I know people who would swim through a river of literal shit to get tenure!

    @Gabrielbrawley: Is that true? If so what did George do?

  10. I’d have a couple. First was moving from Iowa to Illinois. My parents were very skeptical, but they helped me make the move. After struggling in Iowa for years, I got a decent paying job in Illinois my first week. So it really paid off.

    The second was quitting my TSA job to work in the private sector. My mother went ballistic and for some reason thought I would be forced to go to Iraq. The job is working out for me, and they haven’t sent me to Iraq yet. ;)

  11. For small and big decisions I tend to do the old Pro/Con list, I like to keep it fact based, and make the smartest decisions, however the smartest decisions don’t always turn out to be the smartest and sometimes you have to go gut. I would say my hardest decision was whether or not to drop out of school. I dropped out of high school junior year to take care of a disabled parent. It’s been a rough choice (at times) to live with and has pretty much ruined my dating life but family comes first.

  12. @magicdude20:
    Ask around at your local high school about alternative diploma programs. Most schools would be happy to help you get into one of the many varieties out there. If they are closed to the idea, check for your state’s version of an on-line diploma program.

  13. The decision to keep my big mouth shut.

    I’d say yes it’s been a good decision based on all the times I don’t keep it shut and regretted it afterward.

  14. Pretty much all my big choices have been about moving to different countries. First moving from South Africa where I grew up to Singapore with my family when I could have stayed with everything and everyone I knew for university. Then deciding whether to go home or move to Australia for uni where I didnt know a single person (I went to Aus), then to go home, stay in Aus or move to London, where I am now. Its been a 10 year adventure, and I dont regret any of it so far!

  15. Hindsight can give you a pain in the neck and the view is often not worth the effort. The big jebuzz decision 34 years back was a definite mistake, but one I undid four years ago. That decision affected the rest of my life and dwelling on its ramifications is not worth the effort at this point.

  16. I’ve had two decisions, in roughly the same cirumstances, with the same decision in the end and the first one was definitely the right choice (the second has had the choice, but not yet gone as far as implementation).

    In short, “get offer of new job, in another country; emigrate”.

  17. @carr2d2: St. Louis is a good town and if you head south and west, it gets very pretty – The Ozarks are gorgeous – if you can stand the religiosity.

    @Cygore: I dunno – As an ex-airline employee, I don’t think much of TSA. YMMV. But I digress….

    Hard decisions?
    1) @MathMike, I can sympathize. I becoming a Union steward to stand up against some workplace abuses I witnessed. You know what they say about the nail that sticks up too high…? I eventually lost the battle and my job, but I kept my self-respect. That’s worth a lot.

    2) Moving from the midwest US to the East Coast for work after my college graduation in 2003. It meant leaving our kids and grandkids behind. However, they were the only thing left for us in that town.

  18. I was once offered two jobs in a week. Job A: Dream job – what i’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, back in my hometown, well-paying. Job B: Medical device salesman for a company i worked for at the time, selling spine implants (that I designed) to neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons.

    Job B Salary was ~3x that of Job A.

    I took Job A. I regret it.

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