Wednesday, September 12, 2007


When I got home from Jerusalem, I was desperate to find a different job. I had been miserable there and I really wanted to go back into archaeology.

I still want to go back into archaeology. I don't love what I am doing now like I loved archaeology. But that said, I am not miserable anymore. I like my job. I can foresee getting other jobs within the department that I would also like, and I think I have a good shot at them. And I am tenured, so not only do I have a really good salary and great benefits, I have job security. So I am not desperate to leave.

But I put in a number of applications when I first got here. And today I had an interview with a job I think would be fabulous - archaeologist for Mt. Vernon. It is a permanent position with good benefits. I'd get to teach classes, be out in the field...the folks there seem great. The area is gorgeous. Problem? Huge salary cut. Not as big as some of the contract positions I have seen, but close. They said upper 40s. I make a good bit more than that. I could take a salary cut, but how much and at what cost? I put a good bit into my TSP and IRA to plan for my retirement. I couldn't do that with that kind of salary cut. Well, not and keep our condo. But we wouldn't find a place around here all that much cheaper. And hell, I'm not sure we'd have enough to keep the condo even cutting out saving for retirement (which at my age is an admitted dumb idea if I plan to actually retire).

But my conundrum is, where do I draw the line? At what point do I say that being happy now is more important than the money. It isn't a simple question. On one hand, I am SO much less stressed than I was before I got this job because I don't have to worry about my bills. But on the other, I love archaeology and I feel like I have something to offer there. I don't feel special in the State Department. And because my mother died at 48, I know living to retirement is not a sure thing.

I probably won't take this job if it is offered to me. But as the amounts get a little higher, I have to think more and more. And I don't know where line is.

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