If Not Now, I’ll Tell You When

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Ryan and the Matterhorn

Nine months after deciding to move to Los Angeles–a decision we made after months of deliberation about L.A. and about Chicago–we’ve finally set a date. We’ve had detailed moving plans for months, covering travel and interviewing costs, securing and setting up a new apartment, and living for the first few months until we both settled into new positions. Our original intention was to move first irrespective of employment, but with enough in the bank to float ourselves comfortably for several months.

But plans change. My current dual nonprofit-management gigs at the Alliance for Regional Development and the Chicago Central Area Committee are terrific (see my Linkedin for more), as is Ryan’s current operations director position at a massively successful regional medical testing lab. However, the foundational federal grant that funds the Alliance–which in turn funds both of my roles–runs out at the end of June. The organization might continue (and definitely deserves to continue, given the amazingly innovative regionally collaborative economic development work that it does.)

But my relationship as it stands now sunsets in June, and I don’t want to peg my future to a maybe. Nor do I really want to begin a new gig in Chicago that I’m not really willing to keep over the long term. It wouldn’t be fair to the organization or to me. Our current lease ends in July as well, and we don’t want to lock ourselves into another year in Chicago in order just to guarantee a roof over our heads.

So we’ve decided to say goodbye to Chicago in July, at the end of the grant that funds my current position. At that point, we’ll have enough in the bank to make the move, and I’ll be leaving my current gigs in a good place for them and for me.

We’re eager to move on with our careers and our dreams in the city we’ve had our sights set on for a long time. We didn’t expect it to take a year for us to choose a moving date, and we didn’t expect to end up choosing a moving date only six months out. But I can’t help hearing Hillel’s words ringing in my head, “If not now, when?”

There are many reasons we could choose to delay the move, do it differently, or just stay in Chicago. But there are no guarantees in life, and getting wrapped up in the search for ensured comfort and success is what keeps most people from acting on their dreams. So we thought it would be better to set a real-life, actionable date. For us, that date is July 2015.

I’ll be seeking to leverage my nonprofit, communications, and planning experience to secure a new role in nonprofit management, business development, or even a return to regional and national consulting. Time will tell. The idea is for my new gig to get us over the moving hump and to give Ryan breathing room to interview once we’re already there.

So there you have it. The clock is ticking.

Updates to follow.

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What do you think?