In the Financial Times, there’s a column published each week that always makes me giggle. It’s called “Dear Lucy“, and is dedicated to the problems we encounter in our job, including and especially the love problems. A reader asks Lucy Kellaway about his/her particular problem, and she answers, not without a certain wit. It may not sound professional, but I’ve become addicted to this column (and some of my colleagues too).
This Wednesday, a woman explained she was torn between an opportunity to work in New York and her lover,a young doctor, she just met six months ago. And Lucy had this very down to earth answer: “You cannot tell in advance if your relationship would last with your lover, yet you cannot tell if you would like your job abroad”. And also this cracking conclusion: “I just hope your lover doesn’t come in a long list you collect”.
This kind of dilemmas is quite frequent nowadays as most women work and take their career seriously. Women who sacrify it over their family and relationship become more and more an exception. The average one just try to find a balance in all this. And it’s not easy. Being a journalist, I’ve seen many and many of my female colleagues struggling to combine their job and their love life/ family. It’s difficult when you have to travel a lot not to break the equilibrium. Besides, when you’re away six months of the year or more, how could you expect to have a solid relationship, especially when it’s just the beginning?
“I just started to work for my company and this job was the one I always wanted. I also met the most charming man and we started to date. I was in heaven. But three months after, I was offered to work in their London office, because it was the path every employee in the company has to follow if we wanted to progress in our career. And of course, this was an offer I couldn’t refuse. My man accepted this, and promised he would join me in London. The first months in my new city were going well, I still loved my job, and my man came to see me as often as he could. But he couldn’t join me as he promised as he got promoted in his company to manage another team. And things started slowly to deteriorate, until we decided we should part”D., 36, explained.
“I have a very comprehensive husband, who accepted to follow me in the country where I was assigned. Luckily for me, his company had also a division in that country where he could work. I’m lucky, I know”L., 38, said.
“I had to choose between a job abroad and my man, and I chose my man. I don’t regret anything” P., 34, said.
I also knew this journalist who was a special reporter for her TV, and she was barely in the country during the year. Fortunately for her, she managed to hire her man, a cameraman, so he could follow her everywhere she traveled. So far, they’re still happy together.
So, if you ever fall into such a dilemma, what would you choose between your career and your significant other?
N.B: Maybe Nicolas Sarkozy should have asked Lucy before things turned sour with Cecilia? I would be curious to know how he would have addressed the problem, and how she would have answered.