The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The age-old question of “if you ever have to choose one, which will you pick over the other? Love or career?” is surprisingly easy to answer for some people. The ones who have always dreamed of meeting and marrying the love of their life would answer “love” in a heartbeat. However, those who have always seen themselves excelling in their career and being able to build the future they yearn for answers “career” in a snap.
Of course, this decision isn’t always black and white because there are a lot of factors to consider. For one, a person may be inclined to choose career because they’re paying for a persona concierge for their parents. Or maybe they know that their partner would truly understand if they had to choose career over staying with their family full time. And some would do everything to keep their family the number one priority.
The question of choosing family over career or career over family can only be answered on a case-to-case basis and none should be judged for the decision they make. As every individual’s situation is unique, a person cannot solely rely on a single source of inspiration when making a decision as big as this. For instance, you have to think about how much you are and will be making, how much time you can spend with your family, who’s going to take care of your kids or parents, if the decision will be beneficial in the long run, etc.
Some people don’t have the luxury to do both, especially if the situation calls for choosing between caring for their parents or leaving their job when that job is the one they’re getting the funds from to care for their parents. It truly is a tricky situation, but it’s manageable in most cases. Here are a few examples of people who had to make the call between choosing their family or career:
Michael, 24, single, a freelancer
Michael just got out of a full-time job working for an advertising company. He experienced long, grueling hours and had a not-so-good boss. So, he decided to tender his resignation and venture freelancing. He knew that finding clients and maintaining a stable long-term relationship wasn’t going to be easy at first. But after some time, he figured it out and successfully maintained a few high-paying clients.
Even with a packed schedule, he manages his time well as he makes time for his social life, family, relationship, and hobbies. He never misses a date, a family holiday, or game night with the boys which makes some people wonder if he’s doing well as a freelancer. Little do they know that Michael does have a busy work life, but he chooses to spend time with what invigorates his soul rather than drown in work again. He always puts his loved ones at the top of his priority list and his job second.
Lucy, 32, single mom, an accountant
Lucy finds it hard to juggle her job, taking care of her 11-year-old daughter, and checking on her dad who’s being cared for in a home because he developed an early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Luckily, she taught her daughter how to take care of herself at a young age and can manage to spend a whole day by herself.
Even though she badly wants to spend time with her daughter, she knew that she just couldn’t take a day off work because that’s her only source of income. Without her job, she wouldn’t be able to give her daughter a somewhat comfortable life and the proper medical care her dad needs. She has to sacrifice family time to take care of her family.
Joseph, 29, married, a graphic designer
Joseph lives with his wife and two kids and has worked at home since day 1. He helps his wife take care of their kids, pick up some groceries, cook dinner and do chores whenever he can. On busy days, his wife takes care of them and the house. Being married for five years, they developed a nice dynamic that works.
They contribute and help each other out as much as they can as they both fully understand that being a graphic designer, husband, and a father weighs just as much as being a full-time housewife. Along with the privilege of working remotely, Joseph is able to spend quality time with his family without sacrificing his work.
If you ever find yourself in the inevitable situation where you have to make this decision, take a deep breath, think about who the decision will affect and its possible repercussions, and if you won’t regret making the decision in the future. When the time comes, you’ll know which path you should take. You just have to be brave enough to take the first step and keep your eyes on the prize.