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Career Vs. Relationship: How Compatible Are They?

career-vs-family

At times, a career can come in conflict with family values. Sometimes the company brainwashes the employee, filling their mind, time, and thoughts and eventually invading them completely, including one area in which, at the beginning, the employee wanted to start and build everything – the family.

“Since he was promoted as a manager he changed!!! He comes home later and later, no longer interested in anything. The food is too salty or too hot, the children are too noisy, insolent and rude and I’m invisible…“.

“He spends all his time in the office, eats in the office, communicates with the office, does sports with the office, goes for training and team-building, or does brainstorming conferences through Skype. God knows what he does in the office. But once home, he is tired, bored and does not feel like anything, no matter what we try. For some time, we have been going together only to our closest friends’ parties. It looks like he is attending his colleagues’ parties with somebody else…”

These are just some of the issues discussed with some of my patients. The frustration of the one who comes to the psychologist is huge, as he or she no longer understands what is happening with their partner and the direction their relationship is taking.

This is happening if the partners develop different professionally, ending up living in two different worlds with rules and different schedules, two worlds that may exist completely parallel if there is no communication or understanding or if you do not help each other be promoted professionally and possibly achieve the same level of social development or intellectual and financial level.

In many couples, most frequently the woman is the one who supports her partner to grow in his career. In a recent session, my female client told me: “My partner did not want to go to the university; he didn’t see the point wasting his time there while he could use that time to achieve something in life. I hardly persuaded him to go to classes and was almost impossible to convince him to take the final exam. Frankly, I learned more than him because I had to learn with him to ensure that he would pass the exams. I finished the commercial university and he finished law school. He currently works in a multinational company, having a very good job. He is very well paid and very busy. I work at a bank where I didn’t progress my career too much because we had children quite early. We both wanted them. I just had to take more care of: awaking at night, changing diapers, nursery, school, meetings, etc. He took care only of his career. But I was thinking that he needs this time to grow and to take care of us later … I was wrong…. Now I found out that for two years, he has been taking care of another woman. He is taking her on expensive holidays, and with us, he goes just to the local seaside. He takes this woman to his colleagues’ parties as well. He is ashamed of us because I am not an important person, our daughter is too rude and disrespectful, and our son, too naughty … maybe because they did not have a father involved? I do not know, I just wonder … You have to know more as you are a psychologist …”

How do we solve these problems?

Unfortunately, company values are based a lot on the time-resource equation, and everything is done for results. The results are what counts, and you should be satisfied as you are well paid for that. But is that all? You receive money for all the time that you have and give to the company and have nothing left for your personal life.

Well, no. Companies offer training, coaching and personal development, and that should help you balance your life. For us, the psychologists, personal development lasts a minimum of five years to address the mistakes resulting from the corporation’s approach. In companies, training, coaching and personal development courses are held by engineers or former executives who think they understand everything, and now they come to pour their wisdom into these classes. But they forget that at the base of all these issues is a simple person who needs to be understood and have training tailored for his needs. His needs are not just “time management” or “stress management” in relation only to the company or subordinates. Time management, stress, leadership, and communication must take into consideration the person as a whole and include career, immediate family, family of origin, childhood friends, etc.

Unfortunately, the company offers the following alternatives:

  • Do you want friends? Make some at work, and we’ll call it team building.
  • Do you want vacations? We pay for your training in the country or abroad, at the seaside or in the mountains where you have everything at your disposal.
  • Do you want a family? Well you have us, with whom you spend most of your time. What else do you need?
  • We gave you a car, laptop, phone and all the latest technology. You have a health Platinum card too.
  • Because of your high salary, you could build the big villa where you could live happily–your wife, daughter, son and a cat–served by a maid that cleans, cook, washes and irons for your family. What else could you possibly want?

Solution: It depends on who you ask and which side of the fence that person is on. For Mr. Director, the solution is discovered when he gets sick or is fired – the family. The one who returns to or would like to return to after a bad dream. For the one waiting at home, the solution is to use the services of a psychologist before it is too late for her family and her partner too.

Constantin Cornea, Psychotherapist and Life Coach

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