A Warning Against Prioritizing Love Before Your Career
From a very young age, I’ve had at least one job. I grew up in a divorced home with parents who often struggled with money. If I wanted something, I knew that I had to get it myself. My freshman year of high school I got my first job at a local pizzeria. By college, I was a fulltime student, interning in the city at a production company, and working two waitressing jobs at night. I was able to put myself through undergrad and save enough money to move out after graduation. While most of my friends were struggling to find their first “job,” save enough money to move out of their parents home, and pay their own bills, I had all of my bills on autopay, my own car, apartment, and saving’s account.
My childhood, before my parents got divorced, was much like any other kid in the ’80s/’90s—most dads went to work while most moms stayed home to raise their kids. My mom, originally, was no different. But, when the divorce happened and rocked all of our worlds, my mom went back to work to make ends meet for us all. Work ethic, to me, was something I felt I was born with. Watching my single mother work 6 days a week (she still does at 62-years-old) taught me some very valuable lessons—both good, and bad. While I’ve learned to put work and success as a top priority in my life, I’ve also learned that I will never rely on a man to get me by in my life.
I’ve always been someone who has valued work. No matter what, in my eyes, work comes first. Before friends, before family, before relationships — my success is what is important to me. It’s not about money, it’s not about objects, to me it’s always been about my independence. I don’t want to be the girl who looks at something and thinks, “I wouldn’t have this if it weren’t for _________.” Far too often, I see so many of my peers settling down in their lives, thinking they should do “easy” majors in college because eventually, they will marry rich or rely on their family for their stability. To each their own, but I could never settle for a life in which I owed someone something or could lose everything at the drop of a hat without something to fall back on.
Putting your success first means that your career will be thriving and your future will unravel for you — wonderfully. No one is going to help you climb the corporate ladder by pushing you up, only you can move your legs up the posts to reach the top. It shows you that you are accountable for your own actions and if you want something, you go out and f*cking grab it. You should want to push yourself to your absolute limits in terms of success — never take “no” for an answer. If you feel defeated, pick yourself up and try again. Redo your resume, fix up your cover letter, apply to every and any job you can and network like your life depends on it. You will meet people, go places, and see things that are priceless, and that will help shape you.
But, how does this impact your love life? Take it from me, it’s no walk on the beach.
Typically, no matter what decade it is, men tend to feel “emasculated” by a successful woman. They feel as though they should make more than their female S/O — or at least seem like it. Every relationship I have ever been in, the amount of money I make and success I’ve had has caused some problem. And, for this reason, I am no longer in relationships with these kinds of men. I’m sick and tired of men trying to make me feel bad, guilty, or insecure about my own success. I’m sick and tired of people saying that I shouldn’t “work overtime” because my boyfriend may feel “neglected.” The man for me? The man for me will stand by my side and say he’s proud that I make my own, he’s happy to have such a powerhouse as a partner, and will want to build the world with me, not for me.
Putting your career before your love life may not be easy, but it will always be worth it. It allows you to find your own and get everything you’ve always wanted, for you. You don’t need to rely on others for what you need, you don’t need to ask before getting things you want, and you sure as hell don’t need to settle. Putting your career first allows you to learn more about yourself and what you want out of life and love before settling for much less than you deserve. You wouldn’t settle for a job that’s offering you a salary below your worth (or I hope you wouldn’t), so why settle for a relationship that’s giving you less than you deserve? Newsflash: don’t.
Love will always be there. There are billions of people in the world who will want to be by your side — a successful and powerful woman — and support you. You have time. Everyone has time. There is no “right way” to do things in life, it’s your journey. You don’t need to be married and have kids ASAP. You don’t need to retire as soon as you get your first gray. (Side note: in this economy, you probably won’t be able to TBH.) Take your own path, explore, discover, and accomplish.
I had my fair share of breakups, heartbreaks, and men who couldn’t handle a woman who had my level of success. I’ve had people tell me I work “too hard,” and I’ll “never find a husband,” and “I’ll never have time for a family if I keep working like this.” But, I am able to afford a lifestyle I want to live, travel, shower my loved ones in all they deserve—and, I’ve found someone who loves me for how hard I work, not despite it.
The right person will support you and push you to shatter all of your goals. And, until then, keep hustling until your name is at the very top of the company spreadsheet, reading CEO. Whoever said that girls don’t run the world was sadly mistaken.