I have been reading your blog for a while and have found your advice to be incredibly useful.  I recently found one of your posts from 2011 where you talk about relocating to Hermosa Beach.  That post hit very close to home for me because I’m currently going through a similar situation (although I don’t have kids).  I was hoping you might be able to offer a little quick advice.  No one else seems to understand my situation.

I’m a 35 yr old engineer and moved to the San Francisco area in May of this year.  I was laid off from my old job and luckily had an offer from a couple of guys that asked me to help them build a small search startup company.  I make about 150k per year along with equity in the company that would be worth quite a bit in several years.

I don’t mind SF, but I’m from Ohio and have Midwestern values – so San Francisco is a little different than what I’m used to – but it’s tolerable.  My original plan was to move there for 4 years, collect my equity and then leave.  However, recently my old company offered me my old position back at a salary of $108k in Ohio.  That’s a reasonable salary in Ohio, but the job in California is more enjoyable.  It feels good and exciting to help build a company from scratch.

I am very close with my mom and sister  (who both live in Ohio).  My dad passed away 2 years ago from years of medical problems, so we have a close bond due to the trauma we went through.  Needless to say it’s difficult moving away from people I love, especially my mom since she’s getting older and starting to show signs of medical problems.

I don’t want to regret using 4 years for a great career at the expense of any memories I could be making with my family.  Although, it’s difficult to pass up a career opportunity that could be worth several million dollars in a few years time.

This decision has generated a lot of anxiety.  I’ve talked to my therapist as well as others who don’t seem to have a good perspective on the situation.  I feel like you certainly understand the difficulty of this scenario.

If you have any advice or comments, this Midwestern guy in San Francisco would forever be in your debt.  Any help at all would really help me.

Thanks again for all the writing you do, as it’s really helped me in the past.