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Career and Carrier
These are two things I have been juggling over the past 3 months - career and carrier. So, it’s only apt that in this edition of Shapely Gal, I am going to talk about this in the context of relationships.
Marriage and Career
Marriage affects career, and career affects marriage. There, I said it. Yesterday, I learnt that 8 out the top 10 billionaires in the world are divorced. Career and marriage are at odds with each other by design, and especially so, in the world of technology. There are no clear boundaries between office and home anymore, so it’s not surprising that find that balance is much harder when you’re at one end of the spectrum on either axis. So yeah, even if you suck at your career, your marriage suffers.
Wait, let me break that down for you.
Suppose you’re having an insanely busy day at work and you can’t make it in time for dinner, someone’s got to feed the dog (or the child). Sure, your partner can help. But you can’t abuse their support.
Or wait, you can hire help - a cook, a nanny, what have you. But you’ve got to do the hiring, and also, ensuring that they are available when you need them. You can build enough slack in the system so you don’t sweat, but that would also mean you have to work harder in office to afford the slack.
Or may be you don’t have to have kids, or pets. May be you have plants? no, forget it. May be your partner needs you that evening? how will you manage work and home? These dilemmas present themselves more often in life than we ever anticipate. Finding the right balance on a daily basis can be exhausting sometimes, but people still choose this path for the occasional upside they have from being married, which could very well be when your career is over, assuming your partner is still around at that point. Well, one only hopes, right?
In any case, the more important question is, how do you balance both?
I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll spend a lifetime figuring it out and so might you.
Being non-career oriented
A while ago, someone told me that they were okay to find a wife who is employed, but not career oriented since he himself isn’t. In my experience in the marriage market, I hadn’t met too many such women and I started thinking about why that may have been the case.
I think it’s much harder for women to stay in employment, not just when they’re married or have kids, also when they’re single. This is simply because there are far fewer women in any organisation or industry the older and the more senior you get. If you don’t work harder than an average man your age, it’s really hard to keep your job, or at least that’s what it feels like.
So, if a woman in well into her thirties, and still employed, chances are it’s because it is a choice she has made for herself. But if you really don’t want to be with a woman like this, then you’ll have to be okay with her being unemployed because that’s a choice too. Either way, her partner may have to learn to respect that.
Career and Marriage Markets
One of the questions I am often asked is if one’s career choices have an impact on their prospects of finding a partner and the other way round.
People in India have a fascination for master degrees, and especially so in the marriage market. So, if you’re having trouble getting married, people think doing one MBA and getting one product management job will solve all their life problems.
Keeping my personal views aside, if you have a job/ decent lifestyle, then you’d rather invest your time in doing interesting things, growing your social circle and dating rather than doing one MBA in the hope that your CV will swipe for you.
People living in exotic cities across the world also have some trouble finding a partner because their pool is now restricted by other Indians already living and working in the same city and people who are willing to move here from India. The problem with people moving from India is that they may not always have the skills/ ability (read visa)/ interest to work there.
Now, what happens when they don’t work? Well, when you’re an immigrant, living on a single income is not always easy, especially if you live in a city with a high cost of living. Secondly, the person who has been uprooted from India may not have a social scene in this new city and may depend on their spouse entirely for all entertainment and emotional needs. This may put unnecessary burden on the working spouse along with battling additional financial expenses.
Now, if you are a woman working/ living abroad, your pool is even smaller, because in most cases, men aren’t going to relocate for you anywhere unless you are their passport out of the country. This is vastly different from when you’re already married/ in a relationship with someone because I know lots of men who’ve relocated for their wives (including my own husband).
There are lots of people who’ve chosen to live in India, and not go abroad in pursuit of “stable” career opportunities. The average boy in India today is a start up fellow with disproportionate “wealth” in uncertain equity, which is also precisely why he’s chosen to be here versus go abroad. Women on the other hand mostly are in stable jobs, and know exactly where they want to be from a career perspective, so are less likely to move unless finding an export quality boy in India becomes impossible.
Given how illiquid this market is, I feel genuinely excited when someone announces going steady because imagine the odds they had to beat to find each other. If you’re actually one of the lucky ones to have beaten these odds to find each other, here’s some unsolicited advice for you:
Sneak peak into what I’m reading/ watching/ listening to:
K-drama - I am officially an addict. I can’t even start listing the shows here, I’ve probably watched them all now. I can’t wait for South Korea to get rid of their travel restrictions.
Lovestack - randomly chanced upon this, but this is such a cool idea and I can’t believe I discovered this so late. Did any of you participate in this? Was it even real? How was it? I’d love to know.
Shapely Gal song of the month: Can’t Bring me down by Quintino