New 20-Something Question: Follow The Job Prospect or Your Heart?

Q. I’m a 23 year old new grad with a BSN and an RN. The job market in my town and state even (Cincinnati, Ohio) are slim to none for new grads. How licensing works for nurses is that I would have to apply and pay to get a license in another state before even being considered for a job.

However during this six months of unemployment, I met the guy of my dreams. It’s the first relationship that I’ve been in since I started dating that has the potential to be a healthy one. He is great and already established in this area.

My question is, do I stick it out here and hope that my hundreds of applications sent out will eventually yield something and pursue this further with the guy OR do I take a leap, ditch the dream man and move out of state or across country and hope that one day I’ll meet someone similar?

A. Don’t give up. Perhaps one don’t have to end the other. Can you expand your job search to nearby cities…Cleveland, Columbus, Lexington or Chicago….while continuing to search in Ohio? It’s a tough situation but in your twenties long distance relationships don’t have to be the end of the story…and they can give you some room to grow. Read on for  the 40-something perspective. Thank you to my amazing panel of 40-something women!

A: Dear 20-something,

Find a job.  If this is meant to be, it will stick.  Facebook, Skype etc… plus visits from this guy who hopefully has a job and can pay for plane flights will determine whether this is a good long-term decision.- 40-something, consultant, married, mom, Washington, DC


A. Dear 20-Something,

You haven’t been dating that long, so it seems early to make a  life-changing decision that cuts out a lot of professional options. On the other hand, if you leave to look for a job, it’s not certain you’ll find one. Maybe it’s possible to search for temporary gigs in other cities and maintain a long-distance relationship for a while. Would this be a conversation your great boyfriend would be willing to have? If he’s up for it, you can try to date long distance for a few months to a year — you’d get job experience in your chosen field, and you don’t have to close off all possibilities with the great guy.

But a word of warning, If the the great guy has told you to choose between staying with him in Cincinnati or breaking up if you decide to move out of Ohio, GET OUT OF OHIO. I’ve watched this exact scenario play out with a friend who gave up some of her professional ambitions to marry a guy who told her that it was over if she moved out of the state where he wanted to live. Two decades later, they have a nice house, secure jobs, 3 kids, and a deeply unhappy marriage. She is one of the loneliest people I know. – 40-something, education, married, mom, LA, CA


Dear 20 Something,

My best advice would be to concentrate on finding a job.  The value of being independent both financially and personally is what you have been working towards these past years in school.  Continue to apply in state, but also apply out of state.  You can slowly increase your radius as necessary.  If not OH, try KY or another bordering state and expand as needed.  Not only will this be productive in finding out what is available, but it will give you more time to consider where this relationship is going.  If you find a dream job, take it.  Maybe he will follow, maybe not.  You can test out the relationship while living apart and make a more focused decision then. – 40-something, entrepreneur, married, mom, Brooklyn, NY

Good luck on both fronts. I recently read an article on The Daily Muse from a woman who did give up her dream job to move for her dream man. It’s not exactly the same situation but it may have some helpful perspective for you!

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