Advice for career

Hi all,
I was hoping to get some help in discerning what could be the best career choice. Trying to make a long story short, I went to graduate school in a city I loved being in, my wife was happy, and we had a wonderful community in our local church. After grad school I moved to a postdoc in a city that my wife and I do not like, the job is horrible, and we have found difficulty in finding a community. I am in the process of applying for faculty positions, and got several interviews, one offer, and am waiting on other schools to decide.

As I wait with some anxiety of these schools to get back to me, I wonder if I will ever find the same community as we did when I was in grad school. I have little job prospects in that city, but I’m sure I could find something to do if we moved there - but it is always risky moving somewhere without a job. Sometimes I wonder if I’m clinging to my old good memories because our life seems so difficult right now compared to before.

I know that’s sort of a ramble and maybe difficult to parse. I would feel open to having a discussion with anyone who is willing to talk to me.

also please let me know if there is a more appropriate forum for this question.

Every situation has its good and not so good aspects. The challenge is to focus on the good and limit the effects of the bad. No one escapes this challenge.

As you are writing on a Catholic site, we should keep in mind that our primary purpose in life is to do God’s Will, not just our own Will. Hard to know which is which but reflection does help. Perhaps there is something God wants to you accomplish before you move on.

In my first career I worked and lived in 7 different locations in 24 years. Four of those 7 were overseas. My career was successful and we found the good in each area to enjoy. I knew that wherever I was, I was working in my chosen career field and I was a help people I otherwise would have never met. Our children did well in different locations. My second career was in one city split between 3 organizations. Yes, it was the city of my choice.

I think a major consideration is the relationship you have with your superior and his or her superior. They have so much control over your ability to make a difference and grow in your career. I moved out from under a couple of them. You never know if that relationship will actually work. Thus, constant prayer is vital: Work, boss, location - hard to get all 3 right up there for the length of a career.

In building a career, we usually have some idea of the end position we want. So, taking the next position should be one that helps you get there. Where ever it is located.

I agree, it is risky to move without a job. That would my choice of last resort.

I think community is very important. Finding that community will mean looking online and making some phone calls. Don’t be shy. I’m not sure what you are qualified to do but contact some other parishes and find out if they have the kind of community you are looking for. If they do, ask if if they have any job openings that fit your skill set, and if not, ask them if they know of some other - similar - parish that does.

So, my advice: expand your list of possible choices. For example, when I go to a parish web site and they have a school, I always look to see that they offer programs that build a community inside their Church but also encourage evangelization.

I heard a local priest on Catholic Radio talking to his parish men’s group. “I have another question. If some of you are not going out and evangelizing, why not?” He, of course, wants parishioners to build a community outside the church building.

For example, google: Catholic 2014 job openings teachers

Be aware that some sites may require a fee. Be careful. Whereas contacting individual parishes is your other option.


part of the issue is that i’ve worked so long (6 year phd + 2 year postdoc), and i am very close to moving to what i’ve been working for - i’m second guessing whether this is the route i should go. i will have some job security and money - but there is uncertainty of whether it will be a good place to raise my family. i am sure the place where i was in grad school would be a great place for my family.

Agree. It is why I returned to the Sacramento area after 10 years away. But we are grateful for our experiences elsewhere.

It is a personal choice a husband and wife must make whether to follow the career where ever it leads or limit choices to a certain area.

Another factor is balancing how much one can earn and STILL have a family life - time for wife, time for kids.

No two communities are ever the same. And any community changes over time. But I also doubt that there is only one community that will satisfy.

Make a table. List the important factors and put an X under each location. It is a bit challenging when you have no real experience in some locations your skill set is needed. But with research you can discover. Seattle, Denver, Miami are quite different for example.

thanks. i think part of what i’m worried about is that the places that i have potential job opportunities are all much smaller places than what i’m used to living in.

still, has anyone else been in a similar situation? sometimes i feel like letting go and letting God guide me in the right path. but it is difficult for me to discern what is my own will and God’s.

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