City or Small Town? "Career" or "job"?


I’m not sure what to do… My husband and I have the opportunity to move late next year.

I’m not sure if I should try to get back into the work I was doing (air traffic control) or if we should move to a small town and just go for a slow paced life.

Air traffic was exciting in a lot of ways and I loved it…but stressful, high pressure, and not the greatest for one’s health (awful rotating schedules) on the other hand.

I’ve always wanted to live in a small town (like 50,000?). I’ve been stuck in a city all my years…

My hubby and I need to make some decisions soon…either in prep to move to a small town (we want out of where we currently are) or start making contacts to work back into an air traffic job.

I’ve been praying and praying, but feel no guidance. I know God is there and loves me, but I’d really like a flashing neon sign about now!

I can picture our lives in a small town…getting to know neighbors, a tight-knit Catholic community, enjoying a slower pace…not to mention a NORMAL sleep schedule. :bounce:

But at the same time I miss the drive, the pressure, the excitement of air traffic. I love aviation… :yup:

I know to keep praying…and would appreciate all of your prayers. But, in addition to that…any advice?


is it possible to do both…find a small town within commuting distance of an airport?


Probably, but that’s not the point. If I go back to ATC I’d much rather just live near the facility. The schedules are rotating and you often only have 8 hours from the time you get off to the time you have to start again. Commuting would only make that worse.

What we’re trying to decide is whether we want to go the way of the crappy schedule, but fast-paced exciting (though stressful job/life) or live in a small town and be able to have a normal life…8 - 5, weekends and holidays off, sort of routine.

I’m not sure what would be best for us… One of the problems I worry about most is the scheduling… I love the work, but I dread the thought of rotating schedules…or all nights…and working Sundays. The last aviation job I had (not ATC) I could only make it to Sunday Mass every other Sunday. I hated that. :frowning: I admit, I do miss the work, though…


Can you survive off the income of just your husband? What is his opinion in this whole matter?


Well…I used to live in a small town, but I moved to a large city because of the horrible employment situation. If you move to a small town, I would definitely have a job lined up before you move.

(On the other hand, do you really consider 50,000 to be a “small town”? I would consider a city of 50,000 to be a medium-sized city. In my experience, you need to move into a town of 10,000-20,000 people to get the “small-town” values and atmosphere. The city of 50,000 near my hometown had many of the big-city problems.)


Hmmm… don’t airports still exist in “towns” of 50,000 or so?
What about something in-between? Wouldn’t a smaller airport be less stressful, too? Like one with just 5 gates or so?

What general area are you looking to live? Maybe someone here has a suggestion?!

Maybe search for a compromise!


Sounds like you want to have the job, simply because you mentioned it so many times. I’d stay in a bigger city because it sounds like that would make you the happiest. :yup:


I live in a Large town of 9000 people. Small towns around here are less than 2000 people.

I will never leave this town. I moved here 10 years ago.

WHy. No Murder, No theft, Barely any drugs, a near zero teen pregancy rate, The public school is staffed by a bunch of traditional minded Christians most of which are devout Catholics (all the way from the superintendent down to the custodian…actually both the custodian and superintendant are Knights of Columbus…er I think the custodian is the grand knight)

I can go on and on and on and on. And if I want to go to a California Pizza Kitchen, On the Border, Joes Crab shack, Buffalo wild wings?

I can just drive 45 minutes down I-80 to the brand new Mega Mall.

Love it and wil NEVER LEAVE IT… Everything in small towns is a fraction of the cost. 2 Years ago we built a 3700 sq ft house for less than 100000 dollars which is on 2 acres of land.



Wow! Sounds like you live in an amazing place! Care to share the general area?



Yes, you’re right…there are many airports in small towns. I was an Enroute controller…at a Center (ARTCC). It’s mostly traffic from 18,000 feet and up. Tower controlling is a different game altogether. :slight_smile:

We’ve been looking all over the country…Wyoming, Missouri, Montana, Texas, Pennsylvania…etc, etc…

Would LOVE any suggestions!! :smiley: Conservative, low taxes, great Catholic Churches (really active), low crime…are just a few of the points we’re looking into…


I want to work…so, surviving on just his income isn’t really a question…but yes, we’d be all right.

He wants me to be happy. If controlling again would do that, it’s what he wants. If living in a small town would be the key, then that’s what he wants… Did I mention he’s wonderful? :love:


Hmmm… Rochester, MN is bigger than what you’re looking for, but it still has a sense of small-town values, active parishes, and a good economy. The city has a towered airport, and if you’re lucky, an ATC position might open up (not having worked a tower before wouldn’t disqualify you…would it?) Good luck…


Hey :slight_smile:

My hubby and I stayed in Eden Prairie years ago for a class…it was only for about 6 weeks or so. I really enjoyed the area…very pretty…really clean city! The Mall of America was SO neat! (I must confess…having Camp Snoopy that close was probably not too smart for me…I LOVE Snoopy!!). :d

As for tower and center… They’re quite different. Two different schooling programs with the FAA. The only example that comes to mind would be like doctors specializing in different things…would you want your foot doctor to switch over to ear, nose, and throat? The basics are the same, but after that…it’s two different worlds!


I think perhaps the most significant positive feature of small town life is that you can “opt out” of the “keeping up” game. Most of the time, you can’t tell who is wealthy and who isn’t by such normal “yardsticks” as the neighborhood in which they live, the vehicle they drive, the clothing they wear or the school to which their children go (usually there’s only a public school and maybe a parochial school anyway). Sure, some people have million-dollar houses and drive Humvees, but it doesn’t matter too much. Some guy driving a pickup and wearing overalls might own a bank or a computer software company. The guys who have nothing but a pickup truck and overalls are on a first name basis with him and sit together at the coffee shop. It is utterly unacceptable for the guy in the Humvee to look down on the guy in the pickup in any way. You can save a lot of your earnings in a small town because there are not that many things that you feel any obligation to spend money on. Your character and performance, not your house, determine your position within the community; not what you’re wearing. I travel a lot to cities in my occupation, and it’s abundantly obvious that my professional “peers” are caught up in “have tos” that I simply don’t have to think about.

Having said that, I am also going to say that I have come to the conclusion in my life, after watching all sorts of people think themselves “burned out” or have some dream of another occupation, that if you find yourself in a highly skilled occupation at some point in your life, and if you do it well, it is almost certain that that occupation is precisely where you belong. It is unlikely you will contribute more to people, to society or to your own satisfaction doing something else, especially if you know nothing about the “new thing” going in.

Returning, then to small towns. If a person is fortunate enough to have learned a highly skilled occupation (like yours) that can be exercised in or near a small town, it is not too difficult to engage in other things “on the side”, just to keep your mind straight. That banker in overalls I mentioned most likely also has a farm where he raises cattle “on the side”, and is on the board of some other unrelated company in the town. But finding the place to exercise the primary occupation is the tough part. Some small towns are well situated for certain jobs like that, and some are well situated for others.

I wish you luck in your decision.


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