One of hardest decisions you may ever be asked to make is the one between career and love. I have a close friend who recently found herself at this crossroads, and in her case, she decided to give up a job for a relationship. She had moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from back east with her fiancé to pursue her career in start-up marketing. She loved her job. She loved her coworkers. She loved her compensation. But her fiancé, now husband, also had a dream, one that couldn't be realized that area of California. He wanted to be an actor. He tried to find work and did find a bit, but eventually they came to realize that if he was going to really go for it, it would mean relocating, and she would have to say goodbye to the life she had created in San Francisco. In the end, she made the sacrifice and moved to Los Angeles where he could pursue his lifelong dream.
Fortunately for them, it all worked out; she found another job she loves and he started to find steady gigs, but I am still blown away by the risk she took, choosing love over the certainty of a job she was passionate about. For her, it was the right choice, but it may not be for you. It really is a case-by-case decision.
So what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? It will require some soul searching, and to help figure out what questions you need to ask yourself before you choose, I reached out relationship expert Alessandra Conti, a celebrity matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City. Here's what she said you should consider before you decide to give up a job for love.
1. Is The Job A Once In A Lifetime Opportunity?
We’ve all dated our share of, let’s say, not-so-great matches, so when you do find someone you like, it can feel like lightning in a bottle. The same is true of jobs. There are plenty that come and go that just aren’t quite the right fit and are replaceable, which makes this decision fairly easy. However, if a job opportunity comes along that is a once in a lifetime shot, this can be more challenging.
Is this a dream job that will improve your quality of life and personal satisfaction? Then you may need to prioritize your career, particularly if it’s something that you’ve been working toward. Conti says that if you have a career path that may require relocating or being on call, these are conversations you need to be having with your partner. “If this is the case with your industry, let your partner know early on in your relationship that you may need to cancel plans because your schedule is unpredictable,” says Conti.
2. Is This Person “The One?”
This is a big question. All decisions require some level of sacrifice and it’s up to you to weigh which option is more difficult to let go of. The big question here is: Is this person someone you think you want to spend the rest of your life with? If so, is there a job that is more important to you than the life you want to build together? Also, are they as sure as you are that you’re the one for them? It may be awkward to have these kinds of conversations, particularly early in the relationship, but how else can you make a decision this big without all the facts?
Here’s the thing: If you can’t have that conversation without scaring them, then the answer is, no, they aren’t the one — which ultimately makes the decision a lot easier.
3. Have You Discussed The Decision With Your Partner?
Speaking of having deep conversations with your partner, have you actually clued them into what you’re going through? They may be able to offer some real help — either by encouraging you to make career choice while sacrificing on their part to support you or by letting you go.
One instance where you absolutely have to talk to your partner before you decide is when the career opportunity requires relocation. "Accepting a job before consulting with your SO is a great way of having a massive and sometimes irreparable fight,” warns Conti. “Always consult your SO before saying yes to anything that requires you to be out of the state or country for an elongated period of time. Especially a new job where you will need to uproot your [lives].”
4. Why Are You Being Asked To Give It Up?
This question may be hard because it forces you to take a close look at your relationship. Why are you being asked to make this choice? Is it because your partner won’t support your career? Is it because they have an expectation that you don’t have one? Is it because your life goals differ?
Consider why you’re making this choice and if the fact that you are even having to decide between love and career lends you some insight into which path to choose.
5. What Will Your Life Look Like After? And Is It The One You Want?
Now it’s time to fire up your imagination. Sit back and reflect on the two paths before you. Depending on which route you take, what will your life look like? What are the new opportunities and roadblocks in each scenario? Then, compare those visions to the one you have of your life long-term. Which one most closely fits your life goals? Which one is harder to give up? Once you decide on that, you should know what to do next.
Decisions like these, ones that shape you future, can be incredibly difficult and scary. The key is to learn to trust your heart and use your gut to guide you.
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