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You are at a geographical paradox here...
A move to Chicago, LA, NYC, San Francisco or Dearborn Mi would potentially (highly likely) doublethe posted salary (to 85-90 K a year) for a person as skilled and as VERY well qualified as you are. This I know as fact. I have seen your work. Its awesome.
Yes it would mean relocating again, but for double the money...(?)...tempting....
And I know many places (and have the numbers) to go to in Dearborn...
This is Armstrong White's website. You should see the stuff these guys can do. These people were my sole inspiration for starting my business in California (there is nothing like them here and there is a gigantic customer base in California for this type of work). I spent two weeks at Armstrong on a "idea sharing" trip and was knocked square on my ass. This place is literally MIND %^$%^$^%$^%$^%&$%^ BLOWING!!!!!!!! Retouch, Imaging, Illustration, Design, 3D you name it, they do and do it awesome! I know them quite well. I am friends with the owner Chuck White. They are of the same outfit (corporate) as my other employer CenVeo/Anderson Lithograph, Los Angeles.
That job is in Chicago (well within 30 miles or so, you can see downtown from there)... I guess RC2 just doesn't pay very well for Graphics people
There are in-house positions (like RC2's) or Mike can go right to the jugular and work in a high end retouch design studio who do all the work for everybody else (real clients with COLOSAL budgets like General Motors, Proctor Gamble or Ford for example). Bigger budgets mean higher pay (and higher expectations - which in my opinion Mike exceeds this criteria). Why settle for small potatos?
Chicago has many of these studios, CAPPS Digital for example is one of them.