The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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Career vs Friendship

Should I focus on moving to advance my career, or stay put to be with my best friend?

(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)

Dr. Kenner: And right now I want to turn to the phones and speak with Jim. Welcome to the show.

Jim: How you doing today?

Dr. Kenner: Okay.

Jim: I’m a little nervous.

Dr. Kenner: That’s okay, I was nervous first time I went on the air too. Tell me, what’s your question?

Jim: Actually, I’m having a chance of getting a really important job, a federal job, and I have a chance of going in two cities. One is in Boston and one is in Washington, D.C. The problem I’m having making a choice is I have a good friend, my best friend who has been like a brother to me, and his family has been very close to me, because my family is kind of scattered. I don’t think he wants to see me go to either place. He wants me to stay local and I’m trying to convince him I won’t be that far away and still keep in touch. I’m trying to figure out how to sort out or deal with it in the best way.

Dr. Kenner: He’s a friend, not a partner?

Jim: No, no. He’s my best friend. No, I’m heterosexual.

Dr. Kenner: Just checking that out. With this, there are always trade-offs in life. And what you want is the cleanest honesty with yourself. If you love this job opportunity, then the worst thing your friend could do, in which case he would not be a good friend, is to try to prevent you from pursuing your dreams. With email, with cheap transportation, he can come visit. You can have daily contact. But to prevent you from excelling? Because of the friendship? It will destroy the friendship. It destroyed many women of the 50s. If you had, if your parents grew up in the 50s with the traditional relationship and the woman sacrificed for the sake of the family? Well now I work with a lot of embittered women who feel like they gave up everything for the family, and for what? The family is getting on with their lives and doing what they enjoy, but the friendship is destroyed.

Jim: I see. I want to go on and do things that take more. I’m 35 years old and I feel this is something I should have done probably back in my 20s and I’m wondering if it’s too late.

Dr. Kenner: Never too late. I went back to school late. I was out of school for 10 years, becoming that housewife I am referring to – doing needlepoint, crochet, cooking – and I loved it. Maybe for the first year. And then it became mundane, boring. I mean, you can only fold socks and towels so many times and put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. It’s not a life. So if you have a career move that you’re excited about, that’s the key. If you’re not excited, search for another one.

Jim: Oh I am.

Dr. Kenner: If you’re excited about this, if you’re just starting to launch your career, take it to the hilt and help educate your friend that the best gift he can give you is his loving support, and keeping connection.

Jim: The last few years, I’ve been helping my mother out because she was sick and getting back on her feet, and she’s engaged to be married, so that was part of the problem too. I was moving out for the first time in a long time. And to be comfortable in being my own person which I haven’t been for a little bit, trying to get back to that realm has been kind of tough. I’ve been slowly getting into that transition. I’m on my own now, living in a motel, just to think about things and relax and then put everything into perspective.

Dr. Kenner: What was the hardest thing in moving out on your own?

Jim: The hardest thing is I wouldn’t know how to take care of myself – not that I wouldn’t know how, but just to transition back to myself. As you get older you get set in your ways and that’s one of the things I was worried about, that it might be kind of tough for me.

Dr. Kenner: What was the most exciting part?

Jim: I’m starting to make my own decisions again. Not that I wasn’t before, but I’m not under somebody’s roof. Starting to grow again. That’s what I want to do, I want to grow and move on and do a lot of things in my life. It’s just a little bit funny because I haven’t done it in quite a while, but starting to get a little more comfortable as I go on each day and progress.

Dr. Kenner: And that within you, that wants to grow? That is something that you never want to give up. It’s not something you trade. It’s non negotiable. When I’ve worked with housewives who have been set free or set themselves free through a divorce, after being embittered, they love coming in and saying, “You know what? I chose the paint in the kitchen. I was able to get a plumber. I decided to move to this location. I don’t have to answer to anyone. I love making my own choices and living by my own mind.” They love it. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a partner, but that’s looking for a soul mate relationship, which is a different question. But the big, big issue is career, because that’s what we derive our identity from.

Jim: Right, true.

Dr. Kenner: Thank you so much for your call. What type of a job is it? Are you comfortable saying?

Jim: It’s a federal job. I better not say.

Dr. Kenner: That’s fine.

Jim: Not a bad job, just kind of a security job.

Dr. Kenner: Don’t tell me, enough said. Notice your confidence there too, to be able to not say it when you were put under pressure. So good for you. That’s your independence. Grow it and enjoy it.

Jim: Thanks for your time, I appreciate it.

Dr. Kenner: I’m Dr. Kenner and Jim, if you want to call me sometime and let me know how things are going on the new job.

Movie clip
Female 1: You’re a good mom.
Female 2: I’m the best.
Female 1: No I’m pretty sure the best moms let their daughters drive.
Female 2: And yet?
Female 1: Well, come on!
Female 2: Let’s not have this conversation.
Female 1: But I took the class.
Female 2: I spend enough time not knowing where you are. I don’t want to add to that the possibility that you’re on the highway. I just don’t want you driving, okay? I want you here.

Dr. Kenner: Do you have an overprotective mom? I work with some people who are in their 40s and 50s and their moms are still overprotective and it’s suffocating. They feel trapped. They want to live. They want to enjoy their lives. They want to take risks. Even if they fall flat on their face occasionally, at least they can pick themselves up and enjoy the world and have an adventurous spirit. But if you have an overprotective mom who doesn’t have cause to be overprotective – I know this mom says, this is from Buffy, that it’s hard enough keeping track of where you are. Of course it’s Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. If she’s a good kid, she should be able to drive. If she isn’t driving while intoxicated or doing road races with random people or cutting people off in her driver’s training, then let her drive. Let her earn the experience. Drive with her initially, but explore your own reasons why you don’t want your daughter to drive. So if you’re overbearing as a parent, take another look. Think again. You may be producing the exact opposite effects that you want. You may be producing a rebellious child who goes underground and doesn’t communicate with you anymore. And why ruin that? I mean, you wanted to have children for some reason and I hope it’s a good reason.