So, where to next?

A pondering of relationships.  From Oct 2007 Northword magazine.


So where to next?

By: Russell Bowers

I just had a chat with a guy who moved to Prince Rupert to join our “booming” economy. He’s mid-20s, makes six figures, and looking to buy a house. He thinks he’ll be here five years or so, and then move on to wherever there is work.
He asked me what the situation is in town regarding “good-looking” women. As a single guy, my answer can vary with the winds of the week.

This day, I said, “Oh, indeed.” I mentioned a single woman I know who is a lawyer.

“Good,” he replied, as if meeting and mating with her was a foregone conclusion. “I want someone with her own career.”

Now here’s the bit I’m interested in: Where does he plan to go from there?

Let’s assume that his “unquestioned” ability to match up with my friend does come about, they hit it off and find much in common with similar life goals.

But what happens when things change?

What if work in Prince Rupert dries up and he has to relocate? And what about her ambitions? Maybe she likes it here. Or maybe she’ll be ready to move on before he is.

What would you do if you were in either of their shoes? In fact, let me give you a scenario. I’d be interested to hear how you would handle this.

Here’s two (fictional) people: Kerry and Chris.

Kerry works in a trade, makes $80K per annum, and has been doing it for three years, gaining a good reputation along the way. It looks like the job with this company will be permanent. Kerry loves the work and wouldn’t consider doing anything else.

You are Chris: a lawyer (not the one I mentioned earlier), new to your practice, but you’re in with a good firm in town, making about $120K, and the partnership has lots of connections in larger cities. Although new, you’re gaining a great reputation fast. Sometimes, you have days when you’d be just as happy running a little shop, like your parents had. But you like the thrill of legal work and you’re focused on that.

So far, so good.

But Kerry finds out that the company is folding, and the job isn’t going to be permanent after all. But, in acknowledgement of being such a good worker, a great opportunity has been offered: a permanent gig down south, with a salary increase to $120,000 a year. Kerry really thinks it would be a good move for both of you.

You find out that the legal work in this new place is pretty crowded and, realistically, you’ll be looking at a big drop in salary, plus starting all over again in establishing your credentials.

You both still have some very significant life goals that your careers can help achieve.

As the economy of northern BC grows and more people move for work, and people inevitably hook up here and there, what happens to these relationships when the time comes to move on, for whatever reasons?

Most people want personal and professional happiness, but few of us ever attain both. As you look back over your life, if you could have picked only one, would you have opted for an unsatisfying job with a personal life that makes you happy…or professional work you love that meant sacrificing a quality homelife?

We know the past can’t be rewritten, so what do we do with an inexorable, and sometimes pitiless, future?

So where do we go from here? What would you do?