> jumping into life.

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There are two jobs. One I've been offered, and one I expect to be. We'll call them Job A and Job B.

Job A is a customer service phone job, with a good company that helps people. It pays $23,500 to $26,000 a year; has the best benefits I've ever seen, including full dental, medical with no co-pay and no deductible, free counseling, and a gym; is about ten minutes from my house.

Job B (the one I've been offered) is a veterinary surgical technician job, with a small but busy practice. It pays $18,000 to start, has basic Blue Cross benefits, and is about forty minutes from my house (which equals about a 10% loss of paycheck to gas).

Job A makes all the financial and logistical sense, but I know full well I'd enjoy B a lot more. I've been going back and forth on this for a few days - can I justify the stress of being that much tighter on money and time in order to do something more fun? Can I justify doing something boring just for the money and ease when there's a more interesting option available?

Also: I've been considering going into vet school, which is obviously a bonus for Job B; we've been considering buying a house/land sooner rather than later, which is a nod towards sucking it up and being able to save some money. I could take Job A, live on Job B's budget, and have $5,000 saved at the end of a year without even accounting for gas. I've got about $50 to my name right now, so having some expendible cash is pretty appealing.


I'm very impressed that you're wise enough that you can make a one-year decision about a job and money. The way these are normally framed, people just ask about job "a" or "b" and leave out time.

If you're that good a planner (and you really will leave in 12-14 months and you WILL save the money and you will NOT allow yourself to get trapped there), then consider taking the money.

You really do need the money (it gives you maneuvering room for better planning later), one year is zilch for your 100-year life, and as someone who's read thousands of resumes and interviewed hundreds of people over the course of my life, I know it will be easy for you to credibly justify the decision to an employer in the future.

And invest the commute time you save in two things -- being nice to yourself for taking the less-fun job (in cheap healthy ways, like meditation and yoga and music), and study the things (build your library) that you want to know about ... for where you intend to be in the future.

As a recently retired dude who with his first job made the commitment to always choose time over money, and therefore paid more to live close to my various jobs (to have a low-commute time -- always within 15-minute biking distance), I'll tell you I never regretted it. Often the bike ride home was all the recover time I needed and then the rest of the day was mine. For several decades I was able to run ten miles a day and still have time to read a book a day.

You will rarely want to choose money over your true bliss, and doing it for one year early in your life will make the point. [If you make this mistake later in life, and use the larger income to get a bigger mortgage, you're locked in and can't leave. The country is filled with these people.]

But just once, this early in your career, for the bigger bucks and lower commute time, having a few extra bucks is a form of stored bliss.

I also always gave myself a real vacation between jobs, occasionally fairly long ones. I never went directly from one job to another. In the '70's, I took 4 months off to hike 1500 miles of the Appalachian trail. In the '80's, I took a year off to play judo for hours every day and write a book.

To me, time is the real wealth.

Good luck with your decision, your career, your life. Love your writing.

Can I justify the stress of being that much tighter on money and time in order to do something more fun? Can I justify doing something boring just for the money and ease when there's a more interesting option available?

To whom do you feel you have to justify this? Only yourself, or other people in your life?

As someone 25 years away from my first post-college job, I think ejh2's comments and advice are spot on. I have only a couple of thoughts to add.

Job B would be a plus on a vet school application. But let's say you take Job A. In the 5 hours per week that you'd not spend driving to Job B, you might find someplace closer to home to get hands-on experience with animals that would also serve you well when applying to vet school. Perhaps it's not all or nothing.

I hope that you'll never need to test the limits of your medical coverage, but I know several people (including my husband) who did while in their twenties. Therefore, I see the difference in benefits as important, too. (I will admit to a strong bias here, as my husband's chronic medical conditions mean that we cannot afford ever to be without good medical coverage.)

Best of luck with your decision. I love your writing, too.

[a] just the fact that the country could be at war with Iran in three months, or hit by avian flu in six, would make me a mite uncomfortable without the maneuvering room of cash in the bank (not invested, but real liquid fungible cash directly on hand).

anyone in your future would find that credible planning.

the short crude version -- take care of bunnies after you take care of you.

[b] your writing is better than you know, or can know. if you're future doesn't include writing, you're leaving your real treasure on the floor. so you need to plan on writing a page a day (and being supported in doing so, via mood and time, etc.), no matter what else you are doing, for the rest of your life (the same way a pianist does scales and finger exercises). just saying.

I say go with the job you're going to feel more engaged in. There's no need to miss an opportunity for money. You sound wise enough to spend carefully.

If you let yourself get caught up in the belief that earning a bit more money now is really that important, are you going to hold on to that belief as you grow older? The job you pick doesn't matter that much - what's more important is the attitude and environment you create for yourself when you start working.

Either way... best of luck!

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