life, thoughts

Why I Moved

lng61-2Many years ago, when my husband and I were still newlyweds, we moved far, far away from family and friends.

Those who follow me know we went from the Chicago area, to Florida, but I never shared why.

Well, you see, the politicians in office were making it more and more difficult to afford the cost of living in Chicago. My husband was a blue collar worker where he was either forced to join a union, or work for petty wages outside of a union. Neither choice was good, and here is why.

Working outside of a union gave my husband minimum wage … but wait … it’s not what you think. In his business, during busy times, booking hours could mean much more mustang march wmthan minimum wage. The problem with this scenario was that there were slow times as well. Even with me working full time, we had difficulty paying one car payment and a mortgage on a small condo.

Working inside the union paid well, despite slow or busy times. Sounds fantastic, right? Not really. You see, my husband was excellent at his job. But, during those slow times, they had to lay people off, because they couldn’t afford to pay everyone those higher salaries. In a union, no matter who is terrible at their job, they can’t lose it. When times get slow, it’s the people with the least seniority who get laid off.Itsc house 1 517x800 wm

In the mean time, prices of homes were skyrocketing. Property taxes were shooting up and interest rates were at 11 to 15%.

After the third time my husband got laid off from a union job due to lack of seniority, he went to work for a nonunion shop. Busy times kept us afloat, slow times almost broke us. We talked about borrowing from our parents, but that certainly wouldn’t improve our long-term situation. That’s when we came up with an idea.

Could there be a place where my husband could get paid union wages without being in a union?

The possibilities seemed endless, but we didn’t know where to look. In those days, there was no internet to search for information. But, my husband’s brother had just florida wm 2moved to Florida just a few weeks earlier. Why not stay with him to check out the cost of living and the wages for work there?

So, that’s how it happened. We learned that my husband wouldn’t need to join a union and still get a good salary. During slow times in Florida, my husband’s expertise saved his job. The hacks and/or those who didn’t work as hard were the ones laid off, because there was no union. My husband also found it easier to move up the ladder in job positions there.

House prices were half of those in Chicago, and so were the property taxes. There was no state income tax either. I didn’t need to work, and we could start a family.

Well, some of you know that a family never happened for us, so I did eventually go to work … stopped working, went to work, and stopped working again to write.

It may sound as if this move was a simple decision to make. Of course, financially, it made sense. Mentally and emotionally, it didn’t fit as well. Since I surpassed my 500-word post limit, I shared the rest of the story in this post.

Aside from marriage and having children, have you ever had to make a decision that changed your life?

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26 thoughts on “Why I Moved”

  1. It’s a similar situation for many people here, in that there are limited jobs and limited wages outside the metro areas so many country people relocate to give themselves and their families opportunities, and communities are affected correspondingly. From time to time decentralisaltion projects are created but population growth means only the status quo is maintained. Now living outside the city again I see both sides, people who have less but wouldn’t leave their family-community-lifestyle and people who struggle and want for opportunity.

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    1. More good insight from you, EllaDee. The status quo … mediocrity and less chances to excel. It’s happening more and more in our world. At least for some, it reminds us of the importance of family.

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  2. Yes. Leaving New York and Wall Street to be a full time author was a major life changer. My perspective on what truly mattered shifted after my spine surgery and I wanted to write even if it meant giving up all the perks of my former career.

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    1. That truly is a life-changer, Kourtney. That was a big, brave move, and it’s been the right thing. It’s so much better for your health.Thank you for sharing about it.

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  3. My husband has been part of a union for as long as we’ve been married, and from his experiences, I can attest to all that you’ve described about unions. In my hubby’s line of work, everyone has a partner. Several times, he’s been stuck with a partner who fails to show up for work on a regular basis. He works in an operation where everyone has to work on a shift rotation. His current partner never works when it’s the week for midnight shift, thereby leaving my hubby to manage all of their work alone. (This particular partner is using his FMLA benefits to avoid ever working nights, which they do one week per month.) And somehow, these guys manage to keep their jobs in spite of their frequent absenteeism, and the union prevents their being replaced.

    As for a life-changing decision … I don’t think I’ve ever made one that had the kind of impact your move had on you.

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    1. I understand how maddening that can be for you and your husband, Tee. My husband just couldn’t get ahead when we were first starting out as newlyweds, and we didn’t see a way for him to in Chicago. So, some good things came from moving out of state, because he was able to get ahead. Thanks for sharing your husband’s experience with the union. It’s interesting to hear stories from others, too.

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  4. It is usually not easy to move from one’s home (domestically or internationally) and go to a new place. At least you had your brother-in-law in Florida to show your husband the ropes. I just heard that a young former colleague who moved to the UN in NYC misses Vienna terribly because her family is here. She is better off work-wise in the US but socially, not so much. I hope you achieved what you wanted to in FL.

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    1. Hi Miss Z. Yes, it was good to have my brother-in-law for those first 2 1/2 years. He had just moved there, too.

      You’re right, moving to a completely new place foreign to us is really difficult. It’s a life changing experience. I know you understand.

      It must be hard for your former colleague to be so far from family. I missed mine so much. I’m writing more about that in the next post on Tuesday.

      Thank you for sharing a similar experience to ours.

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    1. Yes, we did make a good and comfortable life in Florida. It seems everything turned out as it should, although I would’ve liked to have gotten back to Illinois a few years sooner. Thanks for reading, Andrea. Hope you are well.

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    1. Moving to a different country must be an adventure and scary all at once. I had culture shock just moving from a norther state to a southern state, let alone a different country. I’m glad you don’t regret moving. From the looks of your blog, it seems you are enjoying life out there on the west coast. Thanks for sharing your life-changing moment.

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  5. So interesting to read, as others have said, the back story. I never understood unions; we were farmers.
    Your explanation gives new meaning to unions. My sister would not join the union with Bell South. I guess we did not believe in them, however, no one ever said that to me.
    Excited to read the next chapter.

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    1. Yep, in sharing the facts as they happened, unions did play a role. I’m not making a statement about them or anything, but they certainly helped to put us on a path we hadn’t expected.

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    1. So true, Charlie, our journeys are anything but simple. Yes, it worked out for a while, until we got what we needed from Florida (years later). Thank you for reading.

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  6. Thanks for sharing the back story, always wondered why you and your husband made such a big move. Makes sense though, and a real-life look at unions vs. non-unions. (So much of the time it gets mired in politics, it’s nice to hear of a real-life example of how much one’s wages could be affected.) My dad was a Teamster but ended up getting laid off after about 30 years due to what he believed was ageism, though he probably had a better work ethic than most of those young whipper snappers, haha.

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    1. The same thing happened to my father-in-law after 30 years where he worked, and he wasn’t in a union. I do think it’s ageism and/or they want those who made the most money to retire so they’d didn’t have to pay those salaries anymore. Usually the longer one worked somewhere, the more they made. I’m sure your dad did have a better work ethic than most of those young whipper snappers. Ha. Thanks for sharing about your dad’s experience.

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    1. Hi George. Yes, it really was a difficult choice. I will share the point the story in the second half (next week), about growing and learning from choices. Thank you for reading.

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  7. I love the wedding photo, Lori. You remind me of someone on TV, but I can place who.
    The fact that Florida doesn’t have a state income tax is a big draw for many.
    A decision that changed my life was entering the Harlequin Blurb to Book contest last year. 🙂 I entered on a whim, last minute.

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    1. Hi Jill. Oh, that wedding photo was a looong time ago. Heh. I wish I still looked that young.

      Thank you for sharing what changed your life. So glad you entered that contest on a whim. Definitely exciting and life changing.

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    1. Hi Carrie. I knew about the right-to-work union dues issue, but didn’t realize it had gotten to the Supreme Court.

      These are just some details as to how we got to where we landed, and how we grew from it in the process. The second half will end with a meaning to it all.

      BTW, somehow I accidentally typed that the second half will be in the next post, but it was meant to read it will be next week. 😛 I’ve edited that since.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Carrie.

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