Way back when I was but a naive TT hopeful (ahh...2009), J and I had a not-that-serious conversation about which cities we'd be willing to grace with the privilege of our permanent/semi-permanent residence. In truth, it was not so much a conversation as it was me naming places, and J either accepting or vetoing, comme ça:
Me: San Francisco?
J: I could do Chicago.
J: No-HO! No Texas.
Me: Not even Austin?
J: Can we just rule out the South altogether?
Me: Sigh. OK, how about Boston?
J: Eh...maybe. But what would we do about baseball?
Look, seriously NO OFFENSE to any of you who live in any of the poo-pooed locales, mkay? We were mostly just being jokey, and really this has nothing to do with anything except that at that point we were in total idealist/denial mode, i.e., that we'd be able to stay in New York forever. We are comfortable here--the energy suits our demeanor, the late hours our lifestyle. Some of our best friends, including J's brother and his wife, are here. Things feel right here.
And yet, I have always known that one day we'd have to leave. There are only a handful of research institutions in the city, and I've had ID cards at four of them (I'm a good collaborator). I need to go make a name for myself in a place where I'm not overshadowed by my mentors. And so in just over two months, J and I will pack up the kitties and our ridiculously well-stocked home bar and head to a new city. A city in which I have been given an amazing opportunity--a lab, a healthy startup package, my dream job--and J has...me.
Oh sure, eventually J will get a job and we'll find some new friends, and we will be totes happy and successful for-EVER. Plus, we won't even be so far from NY that we can't visit once in a while. But I still can't shake this feeling of guilt that right now, I'm putting him in an unhappy situation. I want him to feel like we're doing this together, that he is at least partly in control of our life decisions--not that I'm dragging him along as I run after my dreams. The reality, though, is that I am the mover. He is moving because I have to move, and there is a part of me that feels really bad about that.
I imagine many of you have been in a similar position (on either end of things), and I'm curious if you have any wisdom to impart. Before you ask, J is not an academic, so any kind of couples hire was not an option. He's pretty much on his own in a terrible job market. Are there things we can do that will help make this easier, if even just psychologically?