I don’t know why this is – whether it’s a lack of confidence, fear, or because they don’t want to rock the boat – but I’m here to encourage you, all of you, to do whatever you can to make your career dreams come true.
After all, your happiness is important in your marriage too, and you shouldn’t feel resentful or like you’re giving up something just so someone else can succeed.
A few years ago, my husband was accepted to medical school in the Caribbean. I was still in graduate school, though, and I had one semester left. We were newlyweds and I wanted to be with him, but I was in the middle of my graduate education.
So, he went to the Caribbean without me for a few months, and I finished my degree and then went and joined him when I was finished. It wasn’t fun. It was quite hard to be several thousand miles apart actually, but I wasn’t going to let his dreams hold back my dreams. Plus time flew by because we were so busy.
Once I got to the Caribbean I met a woman who was also the wife of a medical school student. We got to talking about what we did back in the States, and I told her I had just finished graduate school. She let out a big sigh and said she wished she could have done the same. She’d gotten accepted to a really prestigious graduate program at the same time her husband got into medical school out of the country. She said they had to choose between his school and her school so they could be together. Obviously, they chose his…
Now, everyone has their own reasons for wanting to be together and every relationship is different, so it would be judgmental of me to say this woman should have just stayed back and finished her degree so they’d both have careers they loved. I mean, maybe it was the right choice for them. However, I sensed so much regret in her and it made me sad. Why did she think she had to choose? Why didn’t she have the confidence to say what she wanted, to tell her husband they could make it work and that time would fly because they’d both be in school and buried in their studies?
I realize that no one can pursue every opportunity that comes their way. I know there are times when one person in a relationship has to be the supporter while the other does something difficult or challenging in their career. However, I also believe that with a solid enough relationship people really can do both. They can be super supportive of their spouses and write a book or start a new business or learn how to cook or whatever else they’ve always wanted to do with their lives.
In a few months, I am going to an event in New York City for work. Because of the time, etc. that the event is held, I will have to stay overnight in the city to get the most out of the experience and make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, my husband also has to be in a totally different city and state on the same night for his work. So, who was going to stay home with our kids?
Well, instead of cancelling my RSVP for the event or my husband going through the lengthy process to try to take time off for his work, we spent time putting our heads together to figure out the logistics.
He didn’t want me to cancel an event I was looking forward to. He didn’t want me to give up anything I wanted to do because of him. I wanted him to make the best impression possible at this particular hospital and I didn’t want him to appear like he wasn’t dedicated enough to go into work every day.
So, how could we both kick ass in our careers in two different states on the same day? The solution we came up with was having grandparents fly up to spend time with their grandtwins so we both can concentrate on what we have to do. I’m sure this will be the first of many scheduling clashes we will have as both our careers take off, but the fact that we’re willing to work together and hire help or ask for help when we need it makes me feel like we can accomplish anything together.
You Can Make It Work
The bottom line is, you and your spouse can make your career dreams work. If you want to go to law school, but you’re worried you can’t afford to quit your job, find a way to go part time or downsize. If you want to start a business but you’re a stay at home mom, ask your husband to watch the kids by himself so you can hit up Starbucks and work on your business plan.
We can all come up with every excuse in the book to not follow our dreams, and our spouse might be the best one ever because we can *blame* them for why we can’t do what we want. This is a myth though. The people who really want to pursue what they want out of life will go after it with a vengeance. If you have dreams that aren’t full realized, talk to you spouse. Be open. Ask for support. Be confident. But most of all, don’t let someone else’s career stop you from pursuing yours.