When Does “Mobile” Become “Running Away From Your Life”?

I’m going to do something on here that I haven’t done much of yet: I’m going to talk about my day job. The one in which I’m in a rotational management program with Anheuser-Busch InBev. The one where I’ve spent long hours understanding the rigorous inner workings of the business from the breweries to distribution centers to sales offices. The one where I’ve worked on process improvement projects, shadowed experienced professionals, and absorbed countless hours of PowerPoints. For 10 months, I’ve lived out of two suitcases, moved every 4-6 weeks through various cities, and lived in pre-furnished temporary housing. I’ve made friends all over the country – quite literally from coast to coast. I’ve made some enemies too, but we’ll save that for another story.

With a program like this, I knew what I was getting myself into. When mentors tell you stories of packing and unpacking bottles of kitchen spices, you start to get an idea of what your life will be like. To some degree, it was only temporary. After “graduation” this week we won’t be moving every month, and we can finally buy adult things like furniture, but there is still no guarantee. In six months, or nine months, or a year, we may need you somewhere else. We’ve been advised to always go where the opportunities are, to follow the “business need.”

“You’re young,” they say. “This is the time to be traveling and establishing yourself in your career.” I couldn’t agree more, and I’m thrilled be to exploring so many new places. To some degree, though, you could say that forever. At what point do I get to say, “I like it here” and just stay (preferably in LA, thank you very much)? Or, if I decide the mobile life is right for me, at what point do I have control over where I go and when I go there?

When you’re moving around so much, commitment of any kind becomes difficult. My parents ask me if I can join them for a trip this winter. Well, I don’t even know where I will be. My friends ask me to book tickets to a spring music festival. Where would I be flying from? It’s difficult not to be able to commit to plans, to friends, to a relationship. It’s ironic when the only thing you can commit to is your job, but your job just can’t seem to commit to you. When someone else controls your future, at what point does “mobile” become “running away from your life”?