After sending out nearly a million emails, stressing over edit tests, and totally screwing phone interviews, I finally landed an internship at a magazine. This was it – my big chance to pursue the dream career I’d always imagined. The only problem was I had already started another career – as a Teacher.
Up to that point, my boyfriend and I had been living together for over a year and it got real, real quick. We had bills; I had a new car (no more hooptie!) and we had a cat to support! Can you say adulting? Just applying to internships riddled me with guilt because I knew how difficult it would be financially for us. I was trading my fast commute, decent paycheck, and medical insurance for a three day a week, two-hour commute, $4-or-less-an-hour editorial internship.
But, when I got the offer, I took it. I refused to let go of my dream that easily. What I didn’t expect was the emotional toll it would take on my relationship.
In a similar situation? Here’s what you can expect in your relationship when you change careers (no, it’s not all bad):
The Stress Storm
A new job will always bring a level of stress. Now add the pressure of this being the first step in your new career. And let’s not forget life and all its problems. This can cause you to snap at your significant other when they increase the heat in your home from 70 from 72. You’re going to lash out. The best thing to do is acknowledge your stress. Just recognizing your feelings can ease the tension in your relationship.
A Change in Relationship Roles
I cried the entire first week of my new job. I was riding a wave of emotion and like the ocean, I couldn’t control it. My boyfriend realized he had to be my rock. He had to be the calm against the storm and talk me off the ledge every day. If you’re typically the “strong one” in your relationship, prepare your spouse. Not letting your emotions get the better of you during this change will be difficult. If he’s really your bae, he’ll step up.
When working at the Preschool, I was home by 4:30 pm. Now, I get home at 8 pm, if I’m lucky. And I am exhausted. I have a two-hour commute so it would really annoy me when my boyfriend would ask, “What’s for dinner?” The truth is he honestly thought he was being considerate by waiting for me to eat together.
When you start a new career you must make adjustment to your typical schedules. You’ll be tired, but remember that there are two people in your relationship. While you’re drained from a long work day, they may be exhausted from waiting for you to finally get home.
I assumed my boyfriend would just know how this new job would make me feel, but how could he? I didn’t even know this would be so stressful! I had to open my mouth and express myself. He then began to understand and open up about how his job makes him feel. My selfish ass wasn’t even thinking about his day. If you feel like your partner doesn’t understand you, they probably don’t! Talk to them and remember to listen.
Less Time Together
When work is taking up more hours than ever before, you are forced to make time for each other. It doesn’t happen as easily so make a conscious effort. Also, don’t waste those special moments fighting over stupid things. Don’t get mad because he chose “Fast and Furious” for movie night (for the millionth time). Cuddle up on the couch next to bae and relax.
In the end, transitioning into a new career can change your relationship just as much as it can change your life. But, it’s also a great test. Soon enough you’ll discover if you’ve found your “ride or die.”