life, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

Men at work

Once, I had a conversation with one of my best friends about the men we wouldn’t date at all. And she pointed out an important point: she couldn’t date a man whose job is simply too controversial or against her principles. An example? “I could never date a politician because I don’t care about politics at all, and I have no respect for politicians. I could not date a dealer, a man who sells weapons, one whose job consists in swindling the others. Also, I have a hard time with cops” she said.

Her choices are quite restrictive, but I can understand her. We all want someone we can respect, and if he/she already disappoints us with his/her job, the relationship may be ill-fated. Another friend of mine doesn’t necessarily agree with this. “Of course, I wouldn’t want to date a crook or a dealer. If he’s condemned, you can get condemned too as his accomplice, and that’s a situation I don’t want to live. But for the rest, what he does to earn his life doesn’t interest me that much. If he’s happy with his job, why would I ask him to change? Besides, there’s a clear line between the professional life and the private life. I don’t believe these two ever cross” she said.

Another one said she cares about his profession if it takes him all his time. “I was married for three years with an analyst who was barely there during the week and spent all his week-ends working. I felt completely secondary feels, and that’s why I asked for a divorce” she said. So, in  her no-no list would fall the doctors, CEOs, firemen, cops,… every job that is time consuming in fact. She could add in her list the journalists. Just in my newsroom, one of my colleagues managed last year to be for seven months away from home, traveling the world for his press trips. And also sailors and military men.

Dealing with a man whose job is very demanding isn’t easy. As one of my contacts said delicately about his wife: “If she’s not happy with my job, then I will change for another woman“. How nice.  Personally, I don’t mind if he’s working more than 12 hours a day, as long as he thinks about me and has from time to time some special attentions for me.

On the other hand, if he’s not working at all, while the woman is working, some women find it hard to maintain him financially. 

So, is there any profession that is a turn off for you?


celibacy, life, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

A simple kind of life

One of my colleagues is having a difficult pregnancy at the moment. Her unborn child has one chance out of two to live, because his lungs haven’t properly developed. How sad. I just hope for her that everything will be OK. One of my friends is convinced those problems are linked with the fact we get pregnant later than our previous generation. If you ignore the example of Britney Spears’s sister who got knocked out at 16 or Lily Allen at 22, well, it’s true that women choose to have a baby at an older age. “I was hired in my office because a few female employees were out for their maternity holidays. They were all in the same range of age, from 33 to 38 year old” recalls T., 31.

When you ask people at what age did their parents have them, they would generally answer they were conceived by their parents at a much younger age than they are now. “My mom had me when she was 22. I had my first child at 32″K., 35, said. “My parents were 24 year old when I arrived in their life. I’m not ready yet to conceive my first child” M., 32, said.

Why do we get pregnant so late? Well, compared to our parents, we enter the professional life later because we follow longer study. Remember than before, women in university were a rare breed. It’s not the case anymore. Then, the evolution of the job market makes it difficult to foresee a stable life. With the multiplication of part time jobs, temporary jobs,… but also mergers of companies and the restructuring that follows, additioned to delocalization in cheap producing countries like China, the future has never seemed so gloomy for the young workers of today. We cannot hope to stay in the same company from the beginning to the end of our career like our parents did. And also, earnings can be really disappointing, as in Italy.

This financial instability makes it difficult for young people to think about raising a child (at least, for those who think). But it’s not the only factor.

We tend to marry (or not) at an older age too than our parents. Most of my friends who took the jump into marriage did that when they were 28 in average. Why? Simply because they needed a longer period to find the one. “My gyno told me that if I wanted to have a child, I would have to get myself into it as soon as I can. But for that, I have to find my prince charming first, and he hasn’t come yet” R., 32, said. Some women don’t wait to find their prince charming to conceive a child, though. Either they turn to IVF, either they choose to pick a man to get pregnant, like the character played by Juliane Moore in the Big Lebowski. But they are an exceptions.

Then, there’s also the fact that we become mature later. “I didn’t see myself having a baby at 22 like my mom did. At that age, I just finished my studies, and I didn’t feel as an adult yet” K., 34, said. “Right now, I feel more like a teenager than a complete adult. I go out a lot, and I don’t want to slow things down for a child right now” B., 28, said.

Finally, the fight for equality between men and women has brought deep changes in the women’s life, and hindered their desire to have a child. Before, women used to be housewives and depended on their husband. Now, because we work, we’re independent and we decide when we want to have a child. And this decision doesn’t come quickly.

So, when do you think it’s too late to have a child? Personally, I think this example shouldn’t be followed.

celibacy, humor, life, love, men, thoughts, wacky, women

All that you can’t leave behind

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.