Do I Uproot My Family To Follow My Dream Job?
I work for a law firm in New York and have put in a lot of hours and made a lot of sacrifices to get ahead in the industry – especially in my personal life. I have missed countless parties, family gatherings and holidays for my career – but I don’t regret the choices I’ve made.
I’ve now been offered my dream job – the chance to open and run my company’s west coast office in San Francisco. Obviously it would mean relocating and a big upheaval but it’s an amazing opportunity and I would have an equity stake in the new firm and a pay rise.
Unfortunately my husband Lee is totally opposed to the idea. We’re both in our mid-thirties and have been married for 6 years. We don’t have kids – yet – but plan to down the line.
Lee works as a chef at a local restaurant and I think he could easily find work out west. But all his family and friends are here – he comes from a close-knit Italian family – and he’s adamant that he won’t leave. He’s said if I go than we’re over and that there will be other opportunities for me here if I stay.
So what do I do Rene? If I don’t take this leap I think I’ll always regret it – but I don’t want to break up my marriage either.
Elsa, New York
I have to say this is one of life’s dilemma’s that seems patently unfair. It’s long been assumed if you are the woman you will follow your husband’s career; that you would be the one to uproot if he got a new job and turn down opportunities if his position was stable. But that’s no longer the case with more and more women not just in JOBS but careers.
This is not meant to be cliché but I feel your pain. I feel it because I was there about eight years ago. Buff and I had been married for 9 years or so when I was offered this big, huge job at CBS News in New York. Problem is, he had a big, huge job in Dallas, Texas and was not really looking to leave. I remember the night before my second interview, he and I stayed up until four in the morning arguing about what we were going to do (unlike your situation, we DID have kids). I remember one thing so very clearly about that time; I knew in my heart that if he had not allowed me to pursue that job opportunity I would have grown to resent him and I doubt our marriage would have survived. As it turned out, he was able to transfer to New York and I took the job and the rest, as they say, is history. But those were some very tense moments for us.
Honestly, I don’t know what the answer is for you, that really is for you and Lee to decide/work out. But here are a couple of things that come to mind.
1. You Could Take The Job And Commute
Now this is MUCH easier said than done. When I took the job at CBS in New York, I left my family in Dallas. The difference is that, for us, it was temporary; we knew that ultimately we would all be living in New York, sooner rather than later. But I must tell you the commuting was HELL. Bad weather during the winter, the time change and just the hassle that is modern day air travel really took its toll on me and you are talking about commuting all the way across the country! You need to ask yourself if you’re up for that.