Another title brought to you by the fabulously funny Robin. We actually haven't had this fight, because rather than committing to jobs, we've committed to a place to live. Or more specifically, I've committed.
Currently, I'm the one applying for jobs. This has been the case for the last year. And lawyers are a little bit lucky, in that we are limited to a particular state, so I know I'm not going to find my dream job in Oregon and pack up and move. However, I've applied to jobs that would be an hour, or more, commute. And I have applied to those jobs with the full knowledge that we will not move for my job.
This is for a couple of reasons. The first is that we really really like living in Baltimore. It's a great city, we have a fabulous apartment in a great location, and we are finding and building a community for ourselves. And in the past couple of years, I've seen several friends make the decision to take great jobs in places that they don't like to live, and I think that geographic unhappiness can be almost as bad as career unhappiness. This might seem silly, but plenty of people make the decision to move to a city like New York or LA to try to make their careers happen, so it seems to me like my family should be able to make the same choice. So I committed to only applying to jobs that are commutable.
The second reason is that my husband has a job already. And if I were going to be getting a job that made more than twice what he does, we might consider moving wherever I have a job. But it seems really unfair to make my husband leave the job where he has built up seniority and a reputation for himself, all because I found myself a job that pays the same and would require that both of us start over.
The third reason is that well, it's my turn. When I started law school, even though I desperately wanted to live in the city, we moved in together at the halfway point (he had a 45 minute commute, mine was 30), and when my husband got laid off, two weeks after we signed our lease, I refused to even entertain the idea that he would take a job that wasn't as close to Baltimore as he could get. I was kind of a jerk about it. But he found a job that was outside of the city, and we moved into the city as soon as our lease was up, even though his commute actually got a little bit longer (his office was supposed to move into the city when we did, but they took another year.)
The fourth reason is that we only have one car. So any job that I get would have to pay enough for us to buy a second car, if we were both going to have driving commutes. The money we save by not needing another car almost makes up for the fact that I have yet to find full time, permanent employment.
But sometimes, it seems like all of these reasons aren't enough. It seems like considering that I worked really hard for my degree, I shouldn't be holding myself back based on geography. It seems like if we would be making similar money, it maybe makes sense for his career to take a backseat to mine for a little while. It seems like if I want to really consider myself a feminist and a strong independent woman, I shouldn't be taking my husband's needs and wants and his desire to keep riding his bicycle to work into account quite so much. But I think that if my husband is willing to get up and go to work every day and support me and generally keep quiet about how many pairs of shoes I buy and not pressure me to get a high-paying job, or take any job I'm offered, then I'm very very lucky and all I can offer him back is not asking him to quit his job and move somewhere else.
If we were both on the market right now though, man, this would be a constant fight. I think if I really did want to take a job that wasn't commutable, we would end up with a commuter marriage (living in two separate places), which doesn't seem terribly cost efficient unless new job pays a lot more.
Have you had this fight? How did you resolve it?