Career Vs. Love

A while back I ran a small competition in the comments section of a question. Something I do from time to time - usually find the sourcing of a quote I used. Pablo was the winner and her prize was a request blog. This is her request:

"MM! Finally ready to collect my 'winnings' and make a blog request. I will be done w/grad school soon and starting a career. I'm also in love (for the first time) and my bf and I are talking about what's next. Can you blog about career vs. love? Making decisions for "me" vs. "us"? When/how do you get to that point?"

Don't want much, do you! Entire books have been written about balancing work and life. Still, a guy's word is sacred.

The first thing you need to know is that work/life balance is a gentle phrase for a vicious task. It implies something like a set of old fashioned scales, when in fact it is more like walking a tightrope across Niagra Falls during a hurricane. While blindfolded. With people shooting at you. Kinda tricky, in other words.

Starting and growing a career, you want to give it your full attention. Being in love, regardless of if it is the first time around or the twentieth, you want to give it your full attention. Not even the "gals can multitask" myth can pull that off without help.

Career comes first. You have sunk years of time and a ton of money into training for it, now it is time to get going and get ahead. Oddly enough, your guy will be pretty cool with that. We make the same choice. Love is very much in second place. Sorry if that makes me sound like a materialistic jerk, but it is truth.

Love is still important, don't get me wrong, as it is possibly the only thing that keeps you sane when you discover the full horrors of the workforce. As you progress in your career, the balance shifts more towards love and home life. Maybe family, maybe not.

There is one tool which helps you to briefly achieve some sort of balance.

Communication.

Note, I did not say talking - silence is an equally valid way of communicating with friends and lovers. Got a problem? Discuss it. In a foul mood? Keep your mouth shut until you can be civil, at the very least. Hold your breath and count to 10 in as many languages as you know. While conventional wisdom says that a trouble shared is a trouble halved, the associated rage and pain spills over and can screw up your life.

The "me vs. us" decisions just happen. It isn't something you can plan for or put in your calendar, it depends on far too many factors to be predictable. Again - talk. If you don't want to do something, be clear as to why you do not want to do it. If you do want to do something, again, your guy is not a telepath. He needs to know. He'll be tired and stressed too, so hints really do not work.

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