I graduated from law school 6 months ago and was able to get a job at the law firm I had interned at throughout school. The job pays very, very well and I am very excited. My husband is a High School teacher and he does not seem to share my excitement. He seems more angry than happy. When I brought home my first big paycheck he didn’t congratulate me but walked away in a bad mood. It looks as though he is jealous or mad that I am making more money. It is affecting our entire relationship – emotionally and in the bedroom.
What’s a lawyer to do?
Congratulations on both your degree and your job. This is an exciting time for you. I’m sorry that your husband isn’t able to share in your success right now. Money is one of the biggest stressors in relationships. Even couples who have plenty of money often argue over how best to spend it, and, as you know, money can trigger insecurities in people.
Your husband has a deep-seated insecurity and I don’t think there’s anything I can say that will improve the situation. Therefore, my advice is that you see a therapist. Since this issue has seeped into every area of your relationship and your husband isn’t willing to talk about, it’s only going to get worse in time.
Now, if your husband couldn’t handle the size of your paycheck, I’m guessing any suggestion to go to therapy will infuriate him further. I recommend that you go alone, at first. Speak with a professional about how best to approach your husband about the money issue and, eventually, how to approach him about possibly joining you in the therapist’s office.
At first, I wouldn’t announce to your husband that you’re going—because I fear he’ll get defensive and you won’t yet know how best to respond—but if he asks what you’re up to then be honest. Tell him you are worried about your relationship and you want to speak with someone about it. I hope he comes around and ultimately sees the money as something he can enjoy too.
I am going to be 50 next year and have given a lot of thought to my life so far. I have decided that I hate my job and I want to do something different. The problem is that I don’t know what. All of the things that I would really like to do take more training or a different kind of education than I have, or they are low paying jobs. Can you recommend a way to figure out my next step and change careers? Is there a book or people who help people like me?
Bravo! You have done what few have chosen to do. Examining one’s life can be terrifying at times, especially when we come face to face with what we don’t like about it. But considering your courage, I am confident that only good things will come from this remarkable step forward. I hope you take a moment to sit with the gravity and the potentials of the decision you have made. You deserve to experience a little pride along with what are likely many immediate discomforts. Let this be a gentle reminder that a metamorphosis is never without growing pains. Keep your eye on what is to come of it.
My first advice in moving forward is to attune yourself to the potentials of your desires, while centering yourself in the realization that only you can define what it is you truly want, how hard it’s going to be to get it, and what you are willing to do to make it happen. And, what is most fabulous about this is that you can choose what mindset to hold throughout the entire process. You are going to reap many rewards from this transition and period of growth if you choose to focus on what you are capable of, what you already have to offer, and if you have a little faith in your decision to start fresh.
From here, simply begin by organizing what you have in front of you. Spend some time revamping your resume and adding some of those qualities you might have previously understated. Advocate for yourself; no one else will do it for you. Make a list of any job that immediately evokes feelings of joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, and a sense of security within you. This is your time to dream! I say this and I mean it, even while considering that many people believe themselves to be bound to work that feels obligatory and unfulfilling, simply to get by. If you hold this way of thinking, stop! We are no longer fastened to old perceptions of class and work roles so much as we are fastened to what our perceptions of Self will allow us to do. Apply for those jobs that you appear to be under qualified for if you feel you are capable of doing the job well. Few people apply to jobs with all of the credentials required, but attain them by demonstrating unique and valuable skill sets that perhaps others don’t have. Take a deep breath, smile; you’ve got this.
For those positions that you want, but realize you are also at an educational disadvantage for, assess the possibility and the level of desire you possess, and consider what it would take to become a student again. Is going back to school a realistic venture for you? Many people experience deep healing and growth when diving into an educational opportunity that was not previously available or had. Is this something that you might want to do?
Rather than reading books about how to take your next steps, which I am sure you know how to do if you could only address your fears about making a move, invest your time in researching what it would take to do what you actually want to do, and really decide how much you want it. That’s the hard part, making a commitment that might take time and hard work when you have already spent much of your life doing something you hate. It can be awful to feel as though we might never get to do the thing we yearn for, but I have it on good authority that the satiation we find comes from the process, the journey. The hard work makes it that much sweeter, it makes us
that much stronger, that much better! What you need most is to find what inspires you. Who and what inspires you? Grab on to that. Don’t let go until you’ve done it and then see what presents itself to you next. Someone once told me that I have the capacity to make a brand new choice every moment. That’s powerful. You can’t make a wrong move here; you can only expand. Remember to believe in possibility. It’s all there for you.
You can ask Samara and Caroline questions for the Love & Life Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.