Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Path Of Least Resistance

The NY Times has a fascinating article today entitled "The Five Bedroom, Six-Figure Rootless Life." (free registration required). The article profiles a growing class of high-paid professionals, many of whom travel extensively for work, who move their families every 3 years in pursuit of the next job opportunity. These families invest entirely in the career of the bread winner and go where that career leads. This article is really about a family in Alpharetta, GA, that is left behind while the husband travels for his career. The mother that keeps a color coded schedule to get her children to the right practice at the right time, enduring choked roads and social pressure to have "the biggest possible house, on the biggest piece of land."

This strikes me as the result of some faulty assumptions, a selfish view of the world, and doing the easy thing. The assumption that more money is always better, and worth moving for, the narcissistic view that career fulfillment is worth an incredible amount of family sacrifice, and taking the path of least resistance in following the next step on the career path.

We're lucky to live in a place like the woman profiled in the article would like to get back to: Pittsburgh. While it's not always easy to stay, my family and I have so far been able to focus on building the kind of lives we want: to be part of a great neighborhood of friends and strong community, close to family where our children know aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. Pittsburgh has become a place where we truly are more than a house in the right subdivision with the right car in the driveway until the For Sale sign goes up. We haven't been forced to accept the next thing in the next city. It has taken some work and some good luck along the way, but I hope we'll be able to keep it up.


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