For love or money

by Erika Torres

I’ve kept a secret from you.

Almost two weeks ago, Eric had a fire chief’s interview for a firefighter position. A fire chief’s interview is essentially the last interview before you’re offered the job. To get to this point, he has already competed against 500 other people in a written test. The 150 people who score the highest made it on to the first oral interview. And from those 150, a select few move on to the fire chief’s interview. But ultimately, only 12 will get hired. Out of 500.

Getting this far, we’ve allowed our minds to wander. To think of all the “what ifs?” Not only would it be an amazing career opportunity if Eric got this job, it would also mean more than tripling Eric’s last salary. It would mean our combined income would be in the six figures. um, hello.

We started talking about the future. About the house we could buy. A yard for our furry child. We’d talk about the vacations we would take. Costa Rica, Thailand, Europe. We talked about the debt we could pay off. The new family car we could buy. Perhaps a new furry addition to the family? I would no longer have to lust over clothes, I could actually buy them. Eric could start all those expensive hobbies he wants. We could go out to eat more often. I do miss restaurants. So much.

Taking the job would also mean we’d be living 300 miles apart. The job is in northern California.

I can’t leave my current job. It’s the fifth job I’ve had since college and it’s the first one I thoroughly enjoy that also pays me well.  And I have amazing benefits. Benefits that would be tough to find elsewhere. It didn’t come lightly, but slowly we started talking about him moving up north and me moving in with my parents. (It would be too expensive for me to live alone).

Because of my 9-80 schedule, I have three day weekends every other week. I could visit him when he’s off duty, and he would work a 2 day on, 4 day off schedule.

And this is how the wheels in our head started turning. The money, the opportunity, the future. It would be hard, sure, but it would be worth it.

It seems the decision has been made for us, though. We were supposed to find out last Thursday if he got the job or not. I nervous pooped four times that day. (tmi?) When my cell would ring, I would jump, hoping I would hear Eric on the other line screaming “I got the job!” I pictured myself crying with joy.

I didn’t even take out anything for dinner that night because I was so sure we would be out celebrating.

But the champagne bottle we have been saving for a special occasion, for this occasion, has yet to be opened.

There were so many signs that he got the job. We were so sure. Including the fire chief telling him at the end of his interview that he did well. Who says that and then doesn’t offer the job? Bastard. The chief also told him he got a “gold star” for talking about a fire paper the chief had written. His interview lasted 25 minutes, which was 20 minutes more than the last guy.

Our disappointment was so thick, we’ve barely been able to talk about it. At first, our disappointment was rooted in not knowing about whether he got the job or not, and slowly as Thursday passed, and here we are more than a week later, we’ve slowly started to let go of the dreams we had talked about and the future we had hoped for. But truth be told, I’d rather be poor and get to come home to Eric everyday than to have our bank account full and have to go to bed alone every night.

Perhaps this wasn’t our time. Perhaps the Man upstairs knew our marriage wouldn’t survive the distance. I firmly believe something better is waiting for us. Something that won’t necessitate a 6-hour driving distance between us.

Until then, life goes on. Ho hum.

ppsst..have you entered my giveaway yet??


City Girl October 6, 2011 - 7:04 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that Eric didn’t get the job. He made it so far, though, in such a competitive process. He will get his dream job soon, and it will be the right time and place for both of you. xoxo

Lorena Reyes September 17, 2011 - 9:19 am

Im sorry to hear that Eric didnt get the job! This is a blessing in disguise. The distance and time apart might not be what God wants for your marriage right now. The big guy has bigger and better plans for you to. Stay positive!!

IntrigueMe September 13, 2011 - 6:38 pm

It’s too bad for Eric, but he probably has a good chance the next time they hire. My best friend went through a similar process for the city police and it was dreadfully slow. She pulled her application at the last minute for a different government position, and now she’s going through the same painfully slow process that may or not work out.

Julie September 12, 2011 - 5:41 pm

Have faith! As a wife of a Firefighter that waited a looooong time from “Fire Academy” to “Paid Firefighter” you have to keep the faith and believe it will happen at the right department. We traveled up and down California (and part of Nevada) for tests, physical agility tests, interviews, and background checks for him to be hired in the next city over from where we were living, two miles away. Hang in there! 🙂

britt@knewlywifed September 12, 2011 - 11:12 am

Sorry that it didn’t work out for you. That reminds me of my husband. We waited 3, yes THREE, years for him to get his current job. He kept getting passed over because he wasn’t a local guy. We were pretty bummed out, and then this year, he got the job. Looking back, it was totally in God’s hands. If he hadn’t gotten hired any of the 3 previous years, he would have been let go due to budget cuts. Talk about a blessing in disguise!
I’m SURE your husband’s time will come 🙂

Money is a tricky little thing. Sometimes I think if we only had more we could do this, this, and this. But in reality, all I really want is to spend time with my fam. If that means I have to be poor to do it, then I’ll guess we’ll just have fun being cheapskates!

I always tell myself marriage before money 🙂

Shannon September 11, 2011 - 6:06 pm

Wow. I am so sorry. I know how much this meant to you both. It is true though, it was meant to be somehow. There may be something greater set aside for the two of you. It will come.

eemusings September 10, 2011 - 8:05 pm

I’m a nervous pooper too. That must have been a nail-biting wait…and it sucks that Eric missed out. That said, it’s definitely a good thing that you guys get to stay together, especially as newlyweds – it would be really tough to be separated so soon after marriage.

We’re dealing with a bit of a similar disappointment at our house – a position he was being groomed for ended up going to somebody else. If he had really pushed for it, it would have been his – but he’s better out on the ground, and a desk job would really not have suited him all that well, though the money would have been nice. Management is still totally within reach on the operations side, it just won’t be quite as niche/prestigious and won’t pay as much.

jobo September 10, 2011 - 6:12 am

Wow. I am so sorry Eric didn’t get the job (and wow, I thought I was the only one that uses the phrase ‘nervous pooped!’ I do that too! LOL! TMI!) but I also firmly believe everything happens for a reason. there IS something else out there for him and this ‘thisclose’ job proved that you are both dedicated to your future that you would love 300 miles APART for it. I am impressed. I hope you are doing better and give Eric a consolatory hug for me! He’s almost there!

Red September 9, 2011 - 10:45 pm

Okay… I’m glad you said that at the end about preferring to come home to Eric, ha. I was reading this and thought, “Dude, living with – and seeing – your spouse would be so much better than having loads of money.” Of course, different people have different priorities, but I can’t think of any amount of money that would make living 6 hours from Mr. Red and rarely seeing him worth it.

I am sorry you both had your hopes up, and it didn’t pan out though. 🙁

Newlyweds on a Budget September 12, 2011 - 8:59 am

Well, it wasn’t just about the money. It was also about Eric getting the firefighter position which is extremely tough to get in our state. I know depending on where people live, benefits and competition are different, but here, getting a firefighter job is almost like winning the lottery. So no matter where he gets the job, he has to take it.

LBC Teacher September 9, 2011 - 9:13 pm

I can understand your disappointment, but I have to say that the long distance sounds like it would be really tough…I tend to agree that this was probably for the best. Like you said, it’d be fun to think of the vacations, but it would be pretty crappy to only see each other a few times a month.

Melissa September 9, 2011 - 4:19 pm

I’m so sorry to hear things didn’t work out with the job. I know it always sucks to be disappointed, but it really stings when you let yourself think, just maaaaybe…and then it doesn’t work out. I know the feeling all too well. But I’m sure something is right around the corner for you guys that will be a much better fit!

Keenie Beanie September 9, 2011 - 3:51 pm

I’m so sorry that your hopes were raised and then dashed. But you have exactly the right attitude – living apart from your husband would have been SO HARD, so perhaps it’s for the best. Someday you will look back at this as one of those “fork-in-the-road” moments, and I have every confidence that you will feel that things worked out for the best in the end.

Hugs to you!

Teacher Girl September 9, 2011 - 2:32 pm

I completely understand the disappointment but I am also a firm believer in that there are always reasons for things happening the way they do. Hugs!

Erin September 9, 2011 - 2:11 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but have never commented. Just curious – can he not get a job in y’all city that you currently live in?
Hate that he didn’t get this one, but just rememeber the one he does get will be perfect!!!

newlywedsonabudget September 9, 2011 - 3:11 pm

Firefighter jobs in our state (California) are extremely competitive (excellent pay, even better benefits). Fire departments usually only hire about once every couple of years, and even then, they only hire about 10 or so guys. So you have hundreds, thousands, of guys competing for a very small number of openings. He’s applied all over California, including Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. It’s tough. You just have to be really qualified, and extremely lucky. It’s not impossible, but it’s almost like winning the lottery.

Couple A Saving September 12, 2011 - 11:45 am

My husband is trying to get into the firedepartment near washington dc. Its a very competitive job market. Like she said they hire a few people every year and hundreds apply. It can be really great pay with great schedule so its really hard to get into.

Kellie September 9, 2011 - 1:42 pm

So sorry to hear! I know how it goes! My husband (boyfriend at the time) lost his good-paying job. I was so upset because I thought we would never get engaged because of it. He ended up working for a friend for a year. During that time, he interviewed for a job he really wanted. They told him he was “over-qualified” for it and said they would call him if anything else came up… yea right! he was so incredibly bummed. almost exactly a year later, that company called him back with an opening that actually paid more than the original job he applied for! He is LOVING his new job.
It’s tough to go through the denial and everything but God certainly has a plan in everything He does. I’m not in your shoes, but I also would much rather have my husband come home to me everynight than living it up on Friday & Saturday. Praying for you guys & that everything will work out in his timing.

Jan September 9, 2011 - 1:12 pm

I am a lurker who doesn’t comment, but I want to chime in and say that it is actually good that he didn’t get the job. I have been in the position where my husband was a consultant for a big firm and he would be on the road Mon-Thur and be home Thursday night. The company paid for all flights, all his meals from Monday – Thursday and we were saving a lot of money. But when Sunday rolled around, there was no money in the world that could make the sick feeling in my stomach go away. We stopped doing that a year and ago and are much happier now! Even if he did get the job and had taken it, I am sure you guys would have found a way to be together (one of you quitting jobs) within a year. There are couples who make that work, but I have noticed that those are the people who don’t generally do a lot of things together.

newlywedsonabudget September 9, 2011 - 3:13 pm

thank you jan for de-lurking and commenting! I appreciate it.

although i was bummed a bunch last weekend, i think we’re doing better now. we LOVE spending time together, so i know it would have hit us hard to be away from each other.

Lindy Mint September 9, 2011 - 1:09 pm

We went through something very similar recently. A full time college job opened up in our town, in my husband’s field, and that only happens once in a blue moon. He was well positioned to snag it, and even had insiders who wanted him there.

We also dreamed of the pay increase, and me moving to part time work, etc. But in the end, someone else was better networked and got the job.

Like you said, you have to have faith that another, better opportunity will come up. Long distance love would have definitely been difficult.

Michelle September 9, 2011 - 12:37 pm

I am sorry to hear about the job however I was in a long distance relationship with my fiancee for 2 yrs and 4 months. The reason being? When he got out of college he went to work at a place 180 miles away but he got paid significantly higher than he would if he stayed in the home area. I can tell you this on the weekends we spent together man we lived it up spending all kinds of money eating out going out to bars all the time, he also took me shopping but I always hated Sundays when I would have to head back to be at work on Monday. When I finally moved to be with him with no job we learned that being able to spend everyday together was way better than living large.

Couple A Saving September 9, 2011 - 12:14 pm

The feelings you are feeling is so much what I felt when B didnt get his fire department job. I was so sure he would get it…i just knew it. I was ready to celebrate and enjoy! Its the exact same thing. He felt so good when he left the interview. But he didnt get the job. I was so sad i almost started cry at work. I wasnt sad for myself but more sad for him. I knew he wanted it so bad. He worked his ass of to get there and it didnt happen. I know it is for the better. He is going back to school and getting so much more training now. For us next year will be the year. I know it. I know it will happen for Eric too. :0)

Megg September 9, 2011 - 12:03 pm

That’s a huge disappointment, but I have to say I’m a little relieved for you guys. As someone who was in a long distance dating relationship (3,000 miles, for 4 1/2 years? Yeah, that was fun) I cannot recommend against it more! Plus, if you were going to buy a house, but you like your job, and he likes his…where would you buy??
Anyway, I’m so so sorry about your disappointment, but know that there’s something else out there that’s even better for you!

KIm September 9, 2011 - 11:39 am

That’s so tough to take, but you two have the right attitude. You married him for a reason, right? So getting to see him everyday beats the cash any day. Tony and I have discussed other job possibilities, shifts that would have him working over night, we would be living in the same house, but on opposite schedules. I don’t even like that possibility.

Good luck with future opportunities, obviously he’s a great candidate and the right opportunity will come soon!

The Coach's Wife September 9, 2011 - 11:37 am

definitely a disappointment, but what a great way to look at the situation!! I’m sure others will come up for him, especially since he interviewed well, maybe fire stations talk amongst themselves and he’ll be high on the list? I always stick by the ‘everything happens for a reason’ belief system, so there is something else in store for you guys!

Rachel September 9, 2011 - 11:24 am

I’m a firm believer that everything (the good, the bad, AND the ugly) happens for a reason. I know this must be hard for you all, but know that something better lies ahead for your little family! 🙂

Amanda @ Newlywed Trek September 9, 2011 - 11:21 am

Wow, that’s rough. I’m sure there’s a better opportunity out there. When I got my job, I was so happy I hadn’t been offered the other jobs I had interviewed for since this job is so much better. But I know it’s no fun when you’re still waiting on that opportunity to come along. Right now we’re waiting for my husband to find a job, and the rejection is rough, even if it wasn’t a job he really wanted.

RondaMarie September 9, 2011 - 11:11 am

You are right, things do happen for a reason, and they always work out just as they should even if you can’t tell why something is happening at the moment. Look at it this way, you know he can impress a chief enough to get his attention out of 500 candidates, now he just needs to do it again, somewhere closer to where you live 🙂

newlywedsonabudget September 9, 2011 - 11:17 am

thank you. you are SO right. and we still do have another opportunity coming our way that IS closer to home, it’s not as lucrative but anything is better than his last job : )

A Super Girl September 9, 2011 - 11:06 am

Oh, I’m so sorry you guys! But, I think you’re right that there has to be something else in store.


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