Carolyn Hax: Her dream job vs. his change of scenery

Carolyn Hax
Columnist December 19, 2012

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

I love my job. It’s the closest thing I can imagine to a dream job, in a highly selective industry where positions exist in only a few cities in the country. My husband does not particularly love his job, although — as he’ll fully allow — it pays well, has a great mission, and involves nice co-workers. He just feels he’s outgrown it.

I support this in theory, but whenever he forwards me listings for new positions, they almost always involve huge pay cuts and locations where I have no hope of finding work in my field. He doesn’t seem particularly excited about these potential positions, other than that they represent something different.

Recently he told me he’s frustrated because he feels like his career has taken a back seat to mine. I told him I didn’t want him to feel resentful, but that if I were going to uproot my dream, then I’d want it to be because we were heading toward his dream — because he’d found a job he was passionate about, and not just something he would be trying out for a change of pace.


Was that unfair of me? For what it’s worth, there are many organizations in our city that cater to his qualifications, and I would fully support his making less money if we could remain in this area.

Love My Job and My Husband

That sounds so fair that I wonder what he’s thinking.

You’ve told him clearly (right?) that you don’t want to give up your bliss for his what-if so ask him what he believes is and isn’t fair for you to give up, and for what reason.

To: Love My Job:

Hey, how about your husband quits and starts his own business? Consults? Teaches at a local college or elsewhere, contracts for companies, finds people he thinks have great jobs and “shadows” them, offers them services for free for some training or research into a totally new career . . .? I mean, there are probably a zillion things he could do — a possibility?

Anonymous

Can’t see why not — although if he’s set on scratching the I’m-bored-and-I-want-to-start-over-somewhere-else itch, she can expect him to rule out any suggestion that doesn’t involve uprooting.

One advantage in that case, though, is that she’ll know where he really stands.

Hi, Carolyn:

My husband and I just had a beautiful baby boy. His first name is a name we like and his middle name is for my father. In my husband’s family, it is tradition to give boys names from the father’s side.

My in-laws call my son my husband’s name followed by “Jr.” This is extremely frustrating to me and my husband. I am also concerned that my son will be confused. I am considering never responding when my in-laws use anything other than his given name. Thoughts?

Family Name

You can also say, “You mean Realname, yes, he’s fine.” But the more important step is for your husband to say to them, without equivocating, “His name is Realname. If you have a problem with that, then we have a problem.”

This is not about confusing your son — he’ll know what his name is — it’s about your in-laws being bullies. That’s a problem to address strongly and now.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Subscribe at www.facebook.com/carolynhax.

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