Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dear Abby

Two Crabs found this piece in today's Dear Abby:

DEAR ABBY: Last year I decided to pursue a career as a foreign diplomat. My wife and I weighed the pros and cons and concluded that the opportunity was worth the separation from family and friends. I'm proud that I'll be able to provide the kind of life for my family that we have always wanted, and I'm set to begin training soon.

We have begun spreading the news, and most of our relatives and friends share our excitement. My wife's sister, "Lucinda," however, is furious. Her objections started with snide little "jabs" but have grown into a full-blown assault. She is accusing me of ruining her life and threatening to cut off all contact unless we reconsider. My wife is distraught from the badgering and I'm afraid their relationship is on the verge of collapse.

Should I bow to Lucinda's threats or follow our dream and risk being disowned by a member of the family? I'm afraid I have inadvertently ruined my wife's relationship with her sister. -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN MINNESOTA

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Unless you want the remainder of your marriage and your career to be dictated by your wife's sister, do not back down. Lucinda appears to be an insecure, and possibly troubled, woman who is trying to control you and your wife through emotional blackmail. You have a bright -- not to mention fascinating -- future ahead of you. So follow your chosen path and do not allow your sister-in-law to continue to interfere. To fold now would only be the beginning of your problems.

You should head over to Two Crabs to read their response. I agree with his assessment that you should talk to your family early and often if you are considering joining the Foreign Service, because your career affects every family member you are close to, if in no other way than through your absense from important family events. I do agree with "Abby" that you can't let extended family dictate your life, especially when you have such an incredibly opportunity presented to you, but certainly your spouse needs to have as much say in the decision as you do. Because ultimately, it is the family that serves, not just the employee.


Jen said...

Just wanted to thank you for the Quarterdeck recommendation and let you know I mentioned you today!

Donna said...

I linked to 2 Crabs, too.

I met a spouse at one post who so didn't want to be in the FS that she refused to participate in packout, even though it was her stuff that was getting packed and shipped to post. That's a career that's likely to go nowhere...

Digger said...

Ouch Donna! You aren't kidding! Either that career or that marriage is not long for this world. My wife and I talk about career vs marriage, and our no-brainer answer is that the career stays only as long as it works for us. But our family comes first.

Anonymous said...

That's the thing Digger- you talk about it. I think the situation in the 2 Crabs article is different because at the end of the day, the decision is between the WIFE and HUSBAND. But when it comes to what Donna was referring to, in many cases it seems as if spouses sometimes just decide to bring up their FS aspirations after marriage, after kids, after a wife or husband has made career plans and I think that's selfish. I've already met one couple in the FS where the husband's career aspirations were just sprung on the wife and luckily she got on board and joined the FS also, but in other situations, I think its just awful to put a family member in that predicament.