Last week, my boss offered me a promotion. Her job, to be exact. Yay, right?
Not really. Managing a team remotely wouldn’t be impossible; I could do it fairly easily now, because I’m telecommuting from the same time zone as the home office. But next year I’ll be overseas, which would make this a swing-shift job. Given that I’m moving so I can be with my husband – enjoying his presence, talking to him without Skype, and exploring Europe with him – a workday that ends at midnight or 1 a.m. for me sounds like a bad idea for both of us. He’d come home at night and I’d still be working (and most likely snapping at him to be quiet). He’d be leaving for work and I’d still be trying to sleep (and most likely snapping at him to be quiet).
I turned down the offer. It was flattering to be asked, and it gave me heart that telecommuters can be taken seriously. But even though I’ve almost convinced myself that I didn’t really want the job anyway, I felt sad in saying no, because it didn’t feel as if it was my choice to make.
Technically, I had a choice. I could stay put while my sweetie follows his career and I follow mine, and hope that we can meet up again after his retirement without having grown too far apart. Maybe some couples have done this successfully (if you’re out there, I’d love to hear from you!). But for us, I don’t see it working. He’s at war right now, and we already know about the next deployment. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us, but with a loved one in harm’s way, I feel especially strongly about making the best of what time we have together. If anything happened to him, I would never forgive myself for doing it any other way.
So why do I still feel uneasy about my decision? Is it because this could be only the first of many job choices that aren’t really choices, as long as my husband’s in the military? Is it because I’ve iced my career and will be lucky if I’m working at all in six months? My boss has been an awesome advocate for me and extremely understanding of the quirks of the military lifestyle; the chances are slim I’ll have another manager who’s so great. Or am I just a spoiled baby who had it good for a lot longer than most milspouses, and now needs to suck it up and drive on?
Probably all of the above. I hate to complain without offering ideas on how to make things better, but right now I’m stumped. What could I have done differently? Am I going to be resentful despite my best efforts not to be? Is my husband ready for twice the wife and half the income? I’m not sure I am.
Readers, I’m asking you. Do you see these types of situations changing anytime soon? If so, how? Is there a point where we just give up, make our spouses’ career ours, and hope we get more autonomy after retirement? How do you keep fighting the good fight? I would love any and all feedback.