Ask Mikey Michelle Arana

Dear Mikey,

Five years ago I moved to Arizona to attend college from my home state of Chicago. My whole entire family still lives in Chicago as well as my dear childhood friends. My plan was to finish college and then move back home. I am about to graduate this year and I have been interning at a place that correlates to my major that has just informed me that they want to hire me full time as soon as I graduate.

For a new college graduate this job is a dream come true, has excellent pay and benefits, and will take good care of me. Although I should be jumping for joy, I can’t help but think about my loved ones back in Chicago. I have been planning to move back for the last five years and now I get this opportunity presented to me and I don’t know what to do. Do I move back to be by my loved ones although I don’t have a job lined up in Chicago, or do I stay here in Arizona to have a job that will take good care of me, but no family or dear friends around to enjoy it with?

— I left my heart in Chicago

Dear I left my heart in Chicago,

Having a job that will take good care of you in this economy is beyond a blessing in the sky. The fact that you will be a new college graduate once you start this job makes it an even bigger blessing. You have quite a few options you can choose from but at the same time you need to figure out what’s most important to you. In a way you have to make a decision from your heart while also making a wise decision from your mind.

Do a little research on the company. Does this company have a location in Chicago to where you can look into what the possible requirements are for transferring? For instance, maybe after you have worked at this company in Arizona for one year, they will allow you to transfer to the Chicago office. This way you are not losing a job that will take good care of you and you would get to be close to your loved ones. If they do let you transfer, you might also have to look into if the rate of pay is the same, if there is a difference in benefit allowance, etc.

Another option to think about is if you choose to stay here in Arizona away from your loved ones, can this job take care of you well enough to where you can visit frequently to Chicago? Perhaps you can take your vacation time to visit Chicago three to five times a year, and then maybe your family members or friends can take turns coming to Arizona.

Then there is the obvious option: You decline the job offer, which entails walking away from a job that can take good care of you, to go back home to be with your loved ones with no job waiting for you. This is where you have to really think about what matters the most to you. Would working for a company that takes great care of you bring you a better sense of quality of life or would being in your hometown environment surrounded by your loved ones, and childhood friends, bring you a better sense of quality of life?

You know what? Whatever you decide it will work out for you either way. You can either stay here and visit everyone in Chicago, or you can move back to Chicago, decline the Arizona job offer, and find another place to work in Chicago. You just have to decide which you would rather have more. Think of the long-term effects. In 15 years from now, looking back at your life, do you think you will regret not taking a job offer or not spending more time with your loved ones?

Whatever you decide will work itself out. It always does in one way or another. Make a decision that will allow you to be confident that what you decided was what was best for you. And don’t forget to think about all of the hidden scenarios that could potentially happen such as how you would handle living in Arizona if a family member in Chicago suddenly grew ill, or if you were to one day get laid off in Arizona, or if it took you months to try and find a job in Chicago. You said you graduate this year so most likely you have a little time to write down pros and cons of staying or going. Make a decision that is the best one for you in your life with your circumstances. If you do what is best for you at this time in your life, chances are you will not have any regrets later.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at or


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