How to make major decisions when you have no gut hunch

I have it on good authority that I’m about to be offered a position I applied for, but it’s an odd case of having no “gut hunch” (not that gut hunches are 100% or even 89% accurate) over the decision. It’s a job at a university that has lots of advantages over my current position but nothing that’s absolutely major, and at the interview I got neither warm fuzzies nor cold pricklies- just a resounding “hmmm”. The people were nice but we didn’t super-click, and neither did I get a “two faced byatch” sentiment towards anybody. The job itself is doable but not a dream-job. The city is likewise.

A fairly concise (at least for me) bit of back-info:

I have job hopped a good bit in recent years due mostly to family matters. I left a job I liked in Georgia for Alabama when my mother’s health began to decline, and my impression of the library I worked for there, even on the day I applied, was negative- I never would have taken it left solely to my own devices. When my mother was diagnosed as terminal I accepted my current position, which is a job where I am not utilized to the best of my abilities (nice people, but NO professional challenge- I’ll probably kick myself when I go to another job and have 4 plates spinning and 4 on a table waiting to be added and remember that “I used to complain that I wasn’t challenged enough”). I don’t regret the hopping in recent years as it was necessary, but it is important to me that I remain at my next position for a while to atone for it.

The advantages of the new position include-

1- it’s convenient to Atlanta (within an hour to MidTown) so that I can take advantage of the things that city has to offer (and Atlanta is where “my platonic soulmate” lives)
2- it’s far enough away from Atlanta that I don’t have to put up with the traffic and the congestion and the prices that city has to offer
3- I can complete my second masters on the U’s dime (tuition remission) and I really need one if I’m to remain in this field
4- I know the boss very well and got along well with her when we worked together before
5- It’s a large enough college to have a college feel but it’s not a research university (i.e. the “publish or perish” and faculty ego factors aren’t as huge)

Money is about the same- a little more but the higher CoL eats it evenly, so no loss no gain.


1- The library is old and somewhat neglected
2- The people seem nice but unimaginative/unexhilirating (if you know what I mean- not that there’s anything wrong with that)
3- I would have to deal with the tenure track stuff again (which this library is blessedly free of)
4- Moving’s always a pain-in-the-ass
5- There’s nothing remotely “special” about the town or the campus
6- While I’d be closer to my closest friend there, I’d be leaving good friends here

So it’s a Burridan’s Ass type of thing. I have no instinct in the matter and the two bales of hay seem roughly equal. The job I have now is tolerable but unsatisfying, a semi-pleasant waste of time careerwise, while the one I’ll be offered would be more challenging, but you never know when you’ll stumble into a hornet’s nest (so, major risk, but also a chance I’d get there and love it).

So the reason I put this in IMHO rather than MPSIMS is to ask this: when you have a major decision to make and no real overwhelming advantage to moving or to standing still, which do you think it’s best to opt towards- move, or stand still?

PS- Not to sound bitchy, but to even out the number of advantages v. disadvantages, to advantages I’ll add

  1. I’d be further away from my family (I have a brother I’m not close to at all- just sort of neutral, and a sister who’s a piece of work that I have a major showdown coming with eventually) and from the Mamaleum (my house, formerly my mother’s, that it’s driving me nuts living in)

I very slightly prefer to move.

What I really do in a case like this is consult my Tarot deck. Wait a sec! Hear me out! It’s not because I believe that the deck knows or tells me anything, but it’s because that lets me hear the teeny tiny gut voice that I can’t make out. If I pull a spread with a definite answer one way or the other, my gut will react, and then I know what to do.

Doesn’t have to be Tarot. Flip a coin. Heads stay, tails leave. Now, after the coin is flipped, what’s your instant unthinking feeling? Excitement? Relief? Disappointment? If it’s still ambivalence (or apathy), then sleep on it and ask your three best friends for advice.

I say, move. Life is short, the status quo is boring, and it doesn’t sound like you’ve got any major commitments keeping you where you are. You can visit your old friends, or they can visit you. If the new job is kinda “meh”, you can tough it out to score the free master’s degree - and I don’t know about you, but I love being in school enough that this might be worth it in and of itself. And if the job sucks, find a new one - I imagine you’ve got good references from your current gig.

I always love moving to a new place - for internships, school or what have you. Schlepping your stuff is a pain in the ass, but exploring a new town or city is invigorating. Even if the town you’re moving to is boring, I hear Atlanta can be fun.


I vote for a move. For starters, you don’t have to contend with the family issues. Plus, if it doesn’t work out, there’s always the rest of Atlanta to look for gainful employment. Plus, you’ll be with the soulmate. Plus, Atlanta is a fun city.

How to make major decisions when you have no gut hunch?
Dude - the quarter never lies.

Heads you go. Tails you don’t.

Take it.

Seriously, take it. Your plusses and your minuses clearly add up to “take it.”

I always play for the queen to lie over the jack.

(I can’t imagine why you would gamble on the unknown effects of changing for a job you don’t activeley desire to have.)

The fact that you have to think about the choices would indicate that the new one is an option. So I say, go for it; how bad could it be?

You get a chance to get your master’s degree for free (which you admit that you need) and maybe an opportunity to spruce up an old and neglected library?

Start packing.

How to make major decisions when you have no gut hunch? You’ve already used my answer, post about it here and let the collective figure it out. :smiley:

And I’m agreeing with the majority so far, take it.

A waste of time is a waste of time, no matter what shade of mediocre you paint it.

Start looking for a place to live.

I recognize all of these words, but they make no sense together! :stuck_out_tongue:

I say go.

Sampiro , I know you didn’t ask about this specifically, but . . .where is the job? I lived in Georgia for all of my life until recently. Decatur?

Dare I say it . . . Athens?? AKA: The best city on Earth? You said it’s not a “large research university,” which is what I always considered UGA to be, but I suppose others might not feel that way . . .

Feel free to PM me if you don’t want to share with the universe.

God, I miss North Georgia sometimes. The DC metro area might afford lots of opportunities and have lots of culture and nightlife, but man, ain’t nothing like that sweet southern comfort . . .

Okay, sorry to hijack.

I think you should take the job. Particularly for the Master’s degree aspect of it all.

It’s not Athens, which I agree is super cool, but I wouldn’t want to live there. (Major urban sprawl, exorbitant rent near campus, and football Saturdays are nightmares.) I won’t say where precisely, but I’ll say it’s a university in west Georgia (nudge nudge wink wink).

People who end up successful and happy always lean towards the decisions that are beneficial in the long term.

The new job seems to be the better long term move.