Friday, December 15, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Soon-to-be dad feels itch to leave stable, boring desk job

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Soon-to-be dad feeling the itch to leave boring, stable desk job

Q: 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, I'm 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?

D.C.

Carolyn: Did you read your own question? And see how whiny and self-centered it makes you sound?

No, the beginning of fatherhood doesn't 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 didn't hold you to it or hasn't been as reliant on your stability as she's about to be. Maybe she assumed you'd "settle down"; her mistake, if true.

So, a couple of suggestions for making unselfish but personally sound decisions:

(1) Think more broadly about your restlessness. Since you've also become "obsessive," there might be a diagnosable third party here, maybe an attention-deficit or obsessive compulsive disorder. 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 don't look for immediate gratification. Not as catchy, but I like it better.

(2) Treat your wife as your teammate, not your opponent. Brainstorm together about careers that offer stability and stimulation.

If you resent your wife or kid for cramping your professional style, then you're more likely to need an attorney than to become one. You made these choices, and produced a dependent — so, you signed up to place your child's needs above yours and to place your wife's needs equal to yours.

"Equal," for what it's worth, doesn't mean she keeps your ambition in a jar. It means you scratch your career itch in a way that isn't just about you.

Anonymous: As a law school professor, I can't stress enough how time-consuming and stressful law school is. You will not get to spend any time with your child for those three years, beyond one hour a night. You will be in $100,000 of debt. Unless you go to a top five or so (seriously — not a "Top 25") law school, expect to spend the next 20 years with less disposable income than you have now. And you might not have a job at all, with no ability to free yourself of those loans through bankruptcy. Unless it has always been your dream to be a lawyer, do not go.

Carolyn: I'm just the messenger here.

Anonymous 2: I'd just add, if he's unhappy about his boring desk job, law school is probably not the best scratch for that itch.

Carolyn: . . . said the lawyer dryly, chained to his or her desk.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Thrown off by sudden, no-gift Christmas

Thrown off by sudden, no-gift ChristmasI am meeting part of my family for an early Christmas celebration. Five days out, my cousin e-mails everyone to say she will only be giving a present to her mom and our grandparents. She is skipping our aunt, my...
Published: 12/14/17
Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Superstar Katy Perry: In the ever-escalating arms race to be the most eye-popping pop star on the planet, sometimes you have to call in for backup. Even if you’re Katy Perry. When plotting her lavishly spectacular Witness Tour, which arrives i...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

NEW HOPE: Star Wars partiesWith the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the force of fan excitement is strong, so of course there are Star Wars parties this weekend. The giant movie complex Riverview 14 GDX is having celebration with characters from...
Published: 12/13/17
5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

1 Battle at the Beach: The Gasparilla Bowl is coming to Tropicana Field on Dec. 21, but before that the bands, cheerleaders and dance teams from Florida International University and Temple University will have a day of beach-related games and competi...
Published: 12/13/17
6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

A grandparent can be a tough person to buy a Christmas gift for. Likewise, many grandparents are stumped on what to get the kids besides some cash. Why not make your Christmas gift something you both want more of: more time together making memories. ...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Leave gender out of division of housework

Leave gender out of division of houseworkWhy is it that when a woman cares about the division of labor at home ó like her home being a decent level of clean ó she is considered to be overreacting?OK, Iíll get down from my soap box now. (Iíll also bre...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Overwhelmed parent weighs out options

Overwhelmed parent weighs out optionsQ: Since my kids were born, my job basically covered the cost of day care. The kids came home overtired and overstimulated.As they became preschool age, I restructured my work to freelance so I could drop off and ...
Published: 12/12/17

Tell Me About It: Identity of biological father is revealed

Identity of biological father is revealedQ: When I was 18, my mother revealed that the father I grew up with was not my biological father. She claimed she didnít even know my bio father, and never contacted him again after their brief weekend fling a...
Published: 12/11/17

Tell Me About It: Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepy

Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepyQ: My daughter, 11, has three friends from school. One girlís parents are generous hosts. "Emma" is an only child and has a pool, fun toys, great snacks.The problem is that Emmaís parents donít let Emma be a gu...
Published: 12/10/17
Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. ...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/12/17