I’ll try to keep this as short as possible. I’m an American in London working my way up at what should be my dream job (entertainment journalism, celeb schmoozing, champagne, canapés, the lot) but… I hate it. I hate my job. I dread coming in everyday, working for my boss who has no ambition and gives me all of his work on top of my own. I want to quit, but I’m being sponsored by the company to be able to legally work here…
And, more importantly, I’m in love. Like, head over heels and back again in love.
I feel like my career and my soul could benefit with a change, maybe moving to New York or L.A. But my heart’s keeping me here.
I guess my question is: what would you choose? Career or love?
Oh goodness – what a big, round, juicy question. Career or love. Love or career. Either/or/both/none. It’s a beautiful problem to have, and a heartbreaking one, too. Career or love.
If you’d have asked me this question even a year ago, I’d have said: no brainer! Career! Men come and go! Go get on that flight! I grew up watching Sex And The City and singing along to the Spice Girls. My takeaway from both was that women like us – focused, ambitious, independent women with jobs and money and sass – we’ve got to protect ourselves. What is it Lady Gaga said? A career won’t wake up one morning and tell you it doesn’t love you anymore.
It is not as abundant as those TV shows had me believe. Real love – the arse-over-tit-let-me-give-you-everything-I-have-got love – it’s rare. When love appears it needs to have attention paid, and to be honoured for the exceptional, magical force that it is. So. If we were sat talking about this over cocktails, that’s what I’d say. I’d say, baby: don’t give up on the love. Start from the love. Let your answer be born from it.
I don’t know how long you’ve been dating or if you live together or know each other’s families. I don’t know if you poop in front of one another or if they know your bra size. I don’t know you, or them, or it. But I’m confident when I say: own the love. Talk to them about the love. Tell them what you told me: “I love you, and I do not want to give this up. Can you help me, honey, figure out a way to be happier?”
Whatever you do, don’t just leave. Don’t let it go. Fight for it. Commit to it. There are always jobs, but there is not always “head over heels and back again” love. Tell them: “it’s you, first. But I need to talk this out.” It doesn’t have to be a terrifying, Big Talk, but it does need to happen. You need to say, help me connect some dots. Can we do this together? The way they respond to that plea will tell you more than I ever could.
And as for work – urgh. I’ve absolutely had my fair share of uninspiring bosses, and it is the fucking pits. I am a huge believer in the side hustle, and that every woman needs one. When all of your energy goes into one thing, we easily attribute our value to that one thing – but if we have a side-hustle, a way to find meaning elsewhere, we can take the shitty job at face value until we figure out a way to deal with it. As a journalist I’m sure you already do this, and so I’m wondering where else you can interview in London, and what the other ways are to work out the visa situation. I REFUSE TO SUGGEST MARIAGE. But also: that legality struggle is real. I know. I implore you to keep working hard, to keep putting out feelers, and to take the glory when it comes. You will triumph here, of that I am certain. You’re too smart and open and honest and searching not to triumph here.
Career or love?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say… love. Because everything else will take care of itself.
Reader Question is a new series of advice columns from Laura Jane Williams. She doesn’t know shit about shit, but if you want to be reassured that everything is going to be okay, use the “Contact Laura Jane” box on her author profile to email her your question.