Jeremy Bullmore: Moving further afield

Should I leave my family and friends for better career prospects?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

I work for a food distribution company based in Cornwall, where I grew up. I love my current lifestyle; I have friends and family nearby and I can walk to work. However, the company is rapidly expanding and it's opening a new HQ in Basingstoke - where the management team would now like to send me. It goes without saying that I really don't want to go. The problem is that this could be an excellent opportunity for me. It would mean a significant increase in pay and more responsibility. I am still young and don't have the ties of a family. Should I suck it up and relocate?

A: This is the kind of testing question that most of us dread. Without being overly dramatic, how you respond to it could affect the rest of your life. I can't possibly give you a definitive answer but I hope a bit of avuncular advice may help clear your mind.

At the moment, as you clearly realise, you've got it all: a job where you're valued - and one which also happens to be conveniently close to friends and family and just a walk away from where you live. So far in your short life you've never had to face one of those agonising quality-of-life-versus-career-opportunity decisions. And now you do.

That you hesitate at all seems to suggest that you're not (yet) a driven climber of the corporate ladder. If you were, you'd probably have deserted rural Cornwall long ago and headed for the Big Smoke. Lots of people of your age can't wait to escape their childhood surroundings. You're obviously not one of them.

So your first consideration has to be this: in so far as you can tell, is your affection for all things Cornwall likely to be a lifelong thing? How will you feel if some of your friends, as they certainly will, up sticks and leave?

Of course you can't be sure; but you need to recognise that your delight in your perfect current lifestyle may well be temporary.

Next, your job. Is it one that truly absorbs you? Or does it just suit you right now, primarily because of its location? I know that the move to Basingstoke would mean more money and more responsibility; but would it also mean more satisfaction?

There's not a one-size-fits-all answer to your dilemma. Only you can weigh up the pros and the cons. But, in the end, it will probably come down to your likely levels of regret. In five years' time, which of those two decisions are you more likely to wish you hadn't taken?

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