The end of college and the years that follow feel like someone is taking a snow globe and shaking it REALLY hard. Everything you’ve known for a long time is suddenly flying around all over the place. Hopefully not literally, but definitely figuratively. Once all the pieces settle, it can be impossible to make sense of it all. Should you take the paid internship when you were hoping for a full-time job? Should you accept the amazing job offer even if it means leaving your boyfriend behind? These are all pesky questions that take a while to answer. Much more difficult than the Writing 105 homework that you can finish with a few, carefully-worded sentences.
Sometimes I feel like I’m getting pulled between my relationship and my career. It’s an either/or situation. And personally, I don’t like it. I’m a firm believer that you can have a boyfriend and a job that isn’t reminiscent of Office Space. Guess what? You can even have friends, too! It just takes some maneuvering.
To some people it may seem natural to say, “You’re only (insert age here), you should put yourself and your career first! A relationship should come second at this point.” But I don’t think that’s always the right way to approach things. I don’t think it’s wrong to place a high priority on your relationship. If you’ve found someone who you think could be The One, or even just someone who you truly love spending this part of your life with, then you shouldn’t feel like you have to give that up because you’re young and flexible. At the same time, you shouldn’t stay in a dead-end job just for a relationship.
Based on my own experience, I know people are quick to judge others’ life choices, particularly when they involve relationships. Move and leave a boyfriend behind? Well what if he was The One and now you’ll die alone!? Pass up a job because you don’t want to move to a new city and leave your boyfriend? Time to grow up and think of your career! It’s easy to be so tuned in to how other people will view your decisions that you lose sight of what YOU want/need. And isn’t that the most important thing?
Love and Career have a tumultuous relationship. Kind of like Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick. They’re cute together and you know they love each other, they just fight a lot. Sometimes they want different things, or one of them needs more attention. But with enough communication and planning, they live happily together. Some people may say they can’t work together, but those people don’t matter. Okay, so this may be a bad analogy, but I think you get the point. It’s not easy to have both a career and a relationship in your life, but it’s completely possible.
A few things to consider:
Is this person Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now? Is there a strong chance that this relationship is going to be a long-term one, or does this person provide temporary companionship? There is no shame in a temporary relationship, but you should realize that before you pass up job opportunities for that person. On the other hand, you also don’t want to wake up five years from now and think, “I love my job. I love my apartment. But I really, REALLY miss (fill in the blank).” It’s a delicate balance. You need to weigh that person’s importance in your life, as well as the potential the new job has to improve your current situation. Don’t forget, doing long distance for a little while doesn’t have to kill a relationship! Who knows, if you take the new job and are happier, it might even improve the relationship.
Would this person relocate? If your significant other is willing to relocate, you could have the best of both worlds. You could take the new job and perhaps he could come with you and get a new job as well. Obviously it’s not easy to get one job, let alone two, but it’s possible and something to think about.
Would you even WANT this person to relocate for you? This is something my friend and I were discussing. He was really enjoying dating a girl, but he got a great new job and was moving. She offered to move out to the new city with him. As much as he liked the girl, he didn’t want her to do that. He wanted to be able to adjust to a new job and a new life on his own. Also, it puts pressure on you when a person moves his/her whole life for you. If things don’t work out for whatever reason, then your significant other is unhappy and you carry a lot of guilt. Think about whether it’s worth that risk.
Is the job worth it? Will the job help you advance in your career? Will the job bring you more satisfaction, money, benefits, experience, peace of mind, or other perks than your current job? These are all important things to consider when deciding whether to move.
Would this person do distance? When you’re deciding whether to move, think about whether your partner would be willing and able to do long distance. My friend is really happy with her boyfriend, but it is understood that he will never do long distance. He has done it before and is not willing to try it again. It may seem stupid or unfair, but that’s his prerogative. You should consider your partner’s feelings on long distance before you decide what you want to do. I was surprised to hear that my friend’s boyfriend refused to do long distance. I assumed everyone would just try to make it work. This is why it’s important to have the conversation about y0ur partner’s feelings on distance just to make sure you’re on the same page.
Don’t overload your significant other: In the past, whenever I would find a job or city that sounded exciting, I would start telling my boyfriend about how I wanted to move and when I wanted to leave. He would (understandably) get overwhelmed. When none of the plans panned out (for the time being) the whole thing ended up being a huge waste of energy. He would get stressed about my “plans” (that weren’t actually plans) and I would be stressed because I didn’t feel like he was entertaining my ideas. Finally we came to an agreement. Unless there is a serious job offer or a serious plan to move on the table, we don’t stress about it. Since we’ve come to that agreement, life has been much better. I feel like I can kick around an idea without him getting upset, and he doesn’t feel overwhelmed about hypotheticals. I think this is a good strategy to use if you’re applying for new jobs and are in a relationship. If you get to an interview, you should discuss it with the person. When you’re just sending out resumes, you should let the person know, but don’t overwhelm them with things that haven’t even happened yet.
How are you balancing career advancement and a relationship? Find me on Twitter @lifewithlauren1 or e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org and check me out at Life with Lauren.
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