Saturday, March 1, 2014

Love or money?

Last year I met a wonderful man. He’s kind, humble and hard-working. He treats me like a queen. I love and appreciate him for who he is and don’t ever want to imagine being with anyone else.

I am completely madly in love with him and would marry this man in a heartbeat if he were to feel the same way.

Everything between us is great except one problem. This one problem is like that cliché giant pink elephant in the room -- gaudy, overpowering, completely obvious, utterly immobile. I’m unhappy.

It’s not my man. It’s my life. I am completely, utterly unhappy with what I’m doing with my life. I am mentally, spiritually and professionally unfulfilled in my current job.

I manage product compliance and safety for a major consumer brand. It pays well but it’s a corporate dead end job in the company I’m with. I spend my days arguing over whether to spend $200 testing a product that the company’s going to make millions on.

I spend my days telling marketing folks that certain products are really bad ideas and then I deal with the aftermath of what happens when something goes wrong -- for example, when someone’s kid chokes on a product that should have been designed to be safe.

I get to be the sole voice of a moral constant in an organization whose sole existence is predicated on maximizing profits. It’s stressful and frustrating and ugly.

To make things worse, most of the team that I work on suffers from clique mentality. Oftentimes my work day is characterized by purposeful exclusion, catty behavior and backstabbing. It’s so unnecessarily miserable.

When it comes to my work life, I am completely and utterly drowning in unhappiness.

So get a new job right? Well, not really. What I do is very specialized. It pays very well, but it’s very specialized. Jobs in this field require working for huge organizations -- big box retailers, consumer brands, government agencies, etc.

Here’s where we get to the crux of the matter…this week I was at the biggest industry conference for my field. During the conference, attendees have an opportunity to engage in a job matching program. I entered my name into the pot thinking I might make a couple connections and maybe find an Ohio-based company interested in talking to me.

I was not prepared for what happened next.

Within moments of emailing the organizer of this program, I received emails and phone calls from 3 HUGE companies all interested in discussing their open positions with me. By the next day I had 3 more huge companies asking me to consider their open positions.

So what’s the problem? Every one of these opportunities require relocation, either across the country or across the world.

After sitting down with a couple of companies to discuss open opportunities, I wasn’t feeling very tempted to relocate. They were good opportunities but not “wow opportunities”.

Then, I sat down with the last 2 companies on the list. They completely blew me away. The opportunities they were presenting me with were amazing and I had a great rapport with the hiring directors. One of them had me so excited I was ready to get to work. Absolutely, utterly amazing.

Both of these positions would involve a significant pay increase, better titles and more opportunity for advancement. Career-wise I’d be insane not to jump on one of them.

Life-wise, however, I’d be facing a crossroads with the man that I love. He is in his dream job. He’s not going to leave the Cleveland area. He will not pursue a long distance relationship. He told me that if I accepted one of these positions, I would be ending our relationship.

On top of these relocation opportunities, two smaller, closer opportunities have come up as potentials. One involves traveling the other is a very long commute.

Astonishingly, he basically said the same thing about these jobs -- he can’t deal with me traveling all the time and if I have to commute long distance, we’re not going to be able to have a relationship.

Let’s put some perspective on this - he’s a police officer. He’s very black and white. He knows that I earn more and he feels like he can’t compete with my career (his words). He’s not willing to think of possibilities outside of yes/no or here/there and he’s not able to conceptualize a middle road. He is THE quintessential example of how a cop thinks and behaves.

He’s also a commitment-phobe. He hasn’t even dropped the “L” word and we do not live together. We do not have any plans to move in together and he’s not going to propose to me.

I love him. Even if he can’t say it, I know he loves me. He treats me better than any man ever has. He may be stubborn but he’s perfect and sweet and gentle. I don’t want to lose him.

I also don’t want to be miserable and I don’t want to leave my career to stagnate in a corporate dead end where I’m now sitting every day.

I don’t know what to do.

I know what I want. I want him to come with me to some new, amazing place. I want to make a life with him. I want us to both be happy and fulfilled, together.