Rose left work for home, distraught and close to tears. Today should have been one of the happiest days of her life, yet her whole world was scattering right before her eyes, and she could do nothing about it. How could she be made to choose between the two most important things in her life; her career and her man?
The shouts from the people around immediately pulled her out of her miserable thoughts. Alerted, Rose grappled with her steering wheel and braked as fast as she could. The car screeched to a stop just five feet away from your puppy which had darted into the road from nowhere. She sat in her car quaking with fear and shock at the near-accident that had happened right in front of the popular mall in Massachusetts.
Mrs Philips had seen the near-accident. She’d been shopping for groceries and was just about entering her car when it happened. From her vantage position, she could see the younger woman in the car was still quaking, even though half-bent over her steering. She quickly locked her car and moved towards the woman’s car.
From the open window, she quietly touched the woman and murmured soothing words before gently opening her car. That act made the young woman whip up her head so fast Mrs Philips knew it had to have hurt her. But her surprise got the best of her when she looked into the reddish eyes of the tear-striken face and recognized Rose. Yes, she’d met Rose just some months ago at a top executive meeting when her company had employed the legal services of Rose’s firm. She’d liked the young obviously-intelligent woman at sight, and had kept in contact with her.
“Rose”, She exclaimed “I didn’t even know it was you. What are you doing here? Why are you crying?;What is wrong?”, She asked all in the same breathe. Rise didn’t answer, but started crying afresh. Mrs Philips questions had obviously opened the floodgate of tears.
Mrs Philips took decisions into her hands, quickly bundling the younger woman into her own car. She parked Rose’s car in a parking lot and dialed her driver to pick it up and bring to her house. She intended hosting Rose in her house until she was stable enough to leave. Now, comfortably seated in her living room with some refreshments on the table between them, Mrs Philips urged Rose to talk. With tears in her eyes, Rose told her story.
Rose graduated top of her class from Harvard Law School last year. On the day of her graduation, she got two job offers; one being her dream law firm. She didn’t hesitate to accept her dream job. Her boyfriend; Daniel was overjoyed. He was supportive of her academic and career pursuits and encouraged her to soar.
One year into her job, he proposed. They both lived in the same city and he had a successful career too. She accepted. Two months later, just two weeks to their wedding day, Daniel got the huge promotion that he’d always been aiming for, only he’d also been transferred out of the city. They gave him two months to move. Daniel involved Rose in decision-making. She knew how much he’d worked for that promotion, so she encouraged him to accept.
While she debated on whether to move with him or not after the wedding, another news hit them. Rose was given a promotion in her firm and she was overjoyed. Finally, she felt like she was living her American dream. However, this promotion caused her more dilemma, because it made leaving her job more difficult. Within herself, Rose considered her only two options – or so she thought.
OPTION 1: CHOOSE CAREER OVER LOVE
Rose had worked hard all through school, so much so that no one had been surprised by the two job offers that she got. At work, she had given in her best and extra in order to earn that promotion. She was fiercely independent and this job afforded her the luxury to keep her independence. She loved her job, her colleagues and even her office. Could she give up her job and her American dream just for love?
OPTION 2: CHOOSE LOVE OVER CAREER
Even though career-oriented, Rose was a die-hard romantic. She enjoys her own company, but she also loved the little love sticker notes that Daniel usually stuck to vantage positions in the house. The usual candlelit dinner just for two, the scented candles and petals strewn around the house on special occasions, and even the usual half-burnt popcorns that Daniel usually made and served on their home movie night were all a great favorite of hers. She cherished the luxuriant feeling of being another person’s top priority. She loved Daniel with all her heart and knew he loved her just as much. This was true love, but would she give up her career for her true love?
Much as she thought about her options, Rose didn’t seem to like any of them better. Distraught, Rose visited a friend and an older career woman; Mrs Philips; who seemed to have both the love of a husband, a family and a booming career. She sat her down and made her take a journey into her future with either of her options.
FORESEEING THE FUTURE WITH OPTION 1
Rose chose her career over love. Five years later, she was still single and had never been able to find the kind of love she had with Daniel. Most of the men she’d dated since Daniel were either inconsiderate egotistical men or obvious cheats that she feared contracting sexually transmitted diseases and infections. She dreaded the quietness and coldness of her extra neat apartment, and so kept late nights at the office. Her daily regrets was allowing the rare gem she found in Daniel slip right between her fingers, all for a career.
FORESEEING THE FUTURE WITH OPTION 2
Rose had chosen love over career. Five years down the line, she now had two under 4 years kids who were a constant terror to the house with their usual expensive pranks and exuberant running around in the house. Worse, she was again pregnant with her third child and the morning sicknesses were so terrible that they left her weak and depressed afterwards. After moving with Daniel following their wedding, she’d tried to start up a career in the new city, all to no avail. All she could find were temporary jobs that she could find no fulfillment in.
Even when Daniel had been transferred back to Massachusetts, Rose had been unable to secure a position again with her previous firm because a look at her CV had shown the two years gap with no real job. She lived regretting her decision.
Rose still loved Daniel, but hated her dependency on him. She hated that she found no absolute fulfillment in family life. Soon, her regrets and hatred started to show. An unhappy wife is an unhappy marriage; so even her marriage was showing the tale-tell signs of tumultuous times.
HAVING IT ALL
Rose left Mrs Philips house with tears in her eyes. After her journey into the future with both options and similar dreadful endings, the older woman had simply left her with a few words. “Why do you have to choose, when you can have it all? If your fiance really loves you, you both can reach a compromise that will favor both of you. I have once been in your shoes and I will tell you what I did. However, only you can decide what to do because it is your life to live”.
She left reinvigorated. That day, she accepted her promotion and in the evening, sat down to discuss with Daniel. He was willing to compromise because he loved her a lot and wanted her happy.
At the end of that discussion, they’d drawn up a contract of some sorts. They were still going to get married in less than a week and use the two months notice that Daniel’s company had given him to enjoy a proper honeymoon. Afterwards, they were going to operate a long-distance marriage for as long as necessary, while they work towards working their transfer back to each other. However, to keep the sparks flying in their marriage, they agreed to the following rules;
- Rose and Daniel agreed to videocall each other first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
- They were going to eat dinner together – albeit electronically – at least thrice in a week.
- They were going to share a romantic candlelit dinner once every month while gisting and staring at each other electronically at their favorite restaurants.
- The couple agreed to take the day off or at least the afternoon off on each of their birthdays to celebrate with the other electronically.
- On the weekends when any of them wanted to go for sightseeing, he/she would take the other along on the tour through video calls.
- They would take their annual one month leave in different months and each spend the leave by travelling to the other spouse’s city, so that they spent at least two months in a year together as a married couple.
They both maintained these rules and were both happy in their marriage. Two years later, Daniel finally secured his transfer back to Massachusetts where his pregnant wife was. Together, they had it all; successful career, true love and a happy family.
Society always infers that we can never have it all and would always have to choose one over the other. However, a third option always exist when couples can have it all. It is never an easy option, but what wouldn’t you give/sacrifice to enjoy to enjoy the benefits of a loving relationship and a successful career?
If it requires working on your relationship twice as hard – so far as you have an equally understanding spouse who is willing to compromise as well, shouldn’t you do so? If it requires maintaining a balance between your work and your relationship, shouldn’t you try to do so? Kim Leatherdale, a relationship therapist encourages having it all when she said, “People keep getting stuck in all-or-nothing thinking. They think it is either work or relationship, but life is more than both. Couples need to change their thinking to look for alternative”. Today, so many couples have it all. If they can achieve it, you too can have it all.
READ ALSO: TEN WAYS OF KEEPING YOUR CAREER AND LOVE LIFE ON AN EQUAL PEDESTAL