Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: I did a lot of career-shopping in my 20s (just turned 31) and, after spending the past two years in an unstimulating desk job, Im feeling the itch to try something new again. I am becoming obsessive about the idea of applying to law school.
The problem? My wife is pregnant with our first baby, and she is strongly opposed to my giving up a decent, stable income for loans and instability.
I see her point, but within a few months I will be miserable where I am. Does the beginning of fatherhood really mark the end of my right to make decisions based on what makes ME happy?
No, the beginning of fatherhood doesnt mark the end of your chance at happiness. It is the end, however, of your seeking happiness without regard for the way your choices affect your family.
In fact, that whole me-me-me jig was up with I do, but apparently your wife either didnt hold you to it or hasnt been as reliant on your stability as shes about to be. Maybe she assumed youd settle down.
So, a couple of suggestions for making unselfish but personally sound decisions.
(1) Think more broadly about your restlessness. Since youve also become obsessive, there might be a diagnosable third party here, maybe an attention-deficit or obsessive compulsive disorder, or similar. Please get screened; chadd.org is a good place to get started. Also consider that your restlessness is as much an emotional habit as a professional one. When the going gets tough, the tough dont look for immediate gratification. Not as catchy, but I like it better.
(2) Treat your wife as your teammate, not opponent. Brainstorm together about careers that offer stability and stimulation.
If you resent wife or kid for cramping your professional style, then youre more likely to need an attorney than become one. You made these choices, and produced a dependent so, you signed up to place your childs needs above yours and your wifes equal to yours.
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