By: Jessica Jackson
We met in August 2009, just a few days before I started my freshman semester of college and he entered his very last semester of college. We stayed together all those years and in December 2014 I graduated with my degree in Marketing. Shortly after my boyfriend asked me to relocate to the city he was then a resident of. He had a growing career and I had yet to really start mine, so it made sense for me to be the one to make the move. But, at the time I said no. Fast forward one year later and we revisited the topic and came to the conclusion that if we weren’t in the same city within 3 months we would have to end our long-distance relationship. I was fortunate enough to get a job at a local boutique, but was still searching for a position in my field so the deal was whoever found a better position first in whatever city, we would go. Exactly one year after graduating, and a few weeks after having this conversation, I was blessed to be offered a position with a company in Mobile, Alabama as a Marketing Coordinator!
To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. Shortly after my boyfriend was able to find a position in Mobile and we moved in together. Halfway through the year my boyfriend was offered a better position with much better advancement and growth- in New Orleans, Louisiana. Which leads me to why I’m writing on this topic. Although I love my family, friends and my job, I’ve made the decision to move to New Orleans, Louisiana for my significant other. Considering that there are more women getting an education and contributing to the households, I’m certain this is not an uncommon decision for a woman to have her own career and be faced with this predicament. In fact, I’m sure someone is facing this dilemma right now. This is my advice and what helped me come to my decision:
1. Determine what your mutual goals are for the relationship, and your own professional goals.
Is this someone you would like to marry? If you don’t want to be married, is this a person you see a long future with? Professionally, is there growth in your industry in the city your partner is in? If not, would you be open to and/or able to transition into a new industry? Have this conversation with your partner and do research on job opportunities in the new city and surrounding areas.
2. Make the decision when you’re ready, and only then.
When my boyfriend first asked me to move in with him, being the strong-willed independent woman that I am, I very adamantly told him no. I now know that I simply wasn’t ready for that big of a change or commitment. I was 23 years old, fresh out of undergrad, and even though I had several internships under my belt, I had yet to establish a proper foundation to build my career upon. The reality is that if I had left at that time I may have been able to build that foundation, but it would have taken much longer in the area he was in and it would have eventually led to resentment between us which is absolutely not healthy for any relationship.
3. Accept the fact that it will be an adjustment- good and bad.
Whether it will be you living with your partner for the first time or leaving your career and family behind, this process will no doubt be an adjustment so embrace it. Be patient with yourself and try to focus on the positive, you’re in a new city with new opportunities, activities, restaurants and your love! Communicate honestly with your partner during this time. Talk to them on the days you may feel homesick or be frustrated with your job search. If you both don’t know anyone in your new area, take the opportunity to discover new activities and hobbies with one another. For me, I’ve always wanted to learn how to sew because I’m a shorty and have to get everything hemmed so I plan to take sewing classes!
4. Utilize the skills you already have and work it.
We all know the job search process can be a hit and miss, but this isn’t the time to be pessimistic. It’s time to use what you know and get to work girlfriend! We all have unique skills and talent so now is the time to utilize something you really enjoy doing, but may have never had the time for because you were working a full time job. Apply with local staffing agencies. They often have access to positions that aren’t advertised because some companies prefer anonymity to avoid being bombarded with resumes. Even if they aren’t able to find a full time position for you right away, temporary assignments are a great way to still earn income and maybe find something else you enjoy.
Network, network, network! Seek out professional organizations to get connected to other professionals in your industry, possible job openings and this is a great way to stay abreast of new information while you’re not working and maybe make new friends!
5. Let the opinions lie where they may
Any action or decision will no doubt warrant a response from those closest to you. Don’t expect a resolution of this magnitude to be exempt. My advice on this, as stated before, have the conversation with your partner about what your goals are for the relationship. Review your professional goals and assess the area and industry which you’re relocating to. Once you have done both of these, and you are at peace with your conclusion don’t allow anyone to disturb that peace. Decipher between what is true wisdom, unsolicited negativity and advice based upon self-seeking motives.
If you’re struggling with this dilemma, have the necessary conversations with your partner and make evaluations for your own desires for the relationship and professionally. Make sure that you’re ready for either outcome, and most importantly, understand that making a sacrifice now doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your own dreams nor does it make you weak. I have a career that I love, but I also have a man that I love more than words and I’m ready to have them both in the same city while enjoying beignets at Cafe Du Monde!