The curious syndrome of vanishing careers
In love with an Army man? Badhaiyaan ji badhaiyaan!
In love with your career too? Good for you.
Until the time comes for you to bid one of the two a tearful goodbye, hopefully temporarily.
Two of the blog readers asked me what to do of their lucrative careers when they marry their fauji boyfriends. A very valid concern for a modern woman who has been brought up to excel professionally and is suddenly faced with this dilemma. What do you focus on, being with the guy you love, or earning that fat paycheque?
The reason we have to make this hard decision is because … er… okay lemme break it down into 10 points (like we used to for writing long answer to questions in school).
1. You love an Army man.
2. An Army man’s career is a cycle of field posting (border areas or sensitive areas) and peace postings.
3. They are allowed to stay with their families only during peace postings.
4. About 2-3 years separates a field from peace from field from peace…..
5. Marrying an Army man means a happy reunion at peace station.
6. “Where are the peace stations located?” you ask, well, the peace station might be in small city or in smaller town or in tinier village or it might be in the middle of nowhere and last but not the least – it might be in a place that makes you go …’Alright! where the FUCK are we??’ Unless you are super lucky to get good-city postings.
7. Now it so happens that in all of the above scenarios, the only viable career option for women is teaching. Because there are schools everywhere. And hospitals… so yes, its safe even if you are a doc or a nurse.
8. If you are anything other than a teacher or are in the medical profession, chances are you will find it extremely difficult to land a decent job.
9. If you do get a job, it will probably come with a 50-70 per cent pay cut.
10. Or you can just get a B.Ed degree and start teaching…just a suggestion.
There, in the simplest possible language, I have summed up the battle which we girls fight before making the choice. And when I had to make this decision, I chose to be with my man.
I chose to be with my man because (and I take special pride in it) I knew that I had found the right guy. However clichéd that might sound. I chose to put my 6-year-old journalism career on hold to stay with him for 3 precious years before he goes off on a field posting. And I did all this in spite having full knowledge of what lay ahead of me or didn’t – that there won’t be a stable career or an enviable CTC from now on.
I took solace from the fact that my husband would have adjusted his career choices to suit my needs had he not been in the Army. That it is something he can’t do, simply because it is not in his hands, is a different story. Now that’s one way to ‘look up’, isn’t it. I did not stop working though. Internet became my best friend and I took to freelancing and content writing. And it gave me time to blog — something that my regular job would have left no scope/time/energy for.
I meet women who were bankers, IT professionals, HR executives, lawyers, musicians, PR honchos, scientists, chartered accountants, air hostesses, doctors and real estate professionals, all of whom had to put their blooming career graph in the freezer when their husbands got posted to smaller military stations. And they all did it happily.
Then again, there are women who choose to stay in bigger cities to keep their jobs and travel frequently to meet their husbands. They try to balance work and married life quite well (and are deaf as well, specially to all those who say to them, “fir shaadi hi kyon ki”). I have special respect for all those women only because I know how difficult this choice is. Hats off to them!
So all those women out there who are still not sure what to choose, I have just one thing to say. Choose what you would miss terribly if you let go of. Choose what is dearer to you and won’t give you sleepless nights for not being a part of your life.
Do not feel guilty for choosing your career, you did nothing wrong. Don’t cry about loosing you career either, should you choose to be with your soldier. But since I chose to be with Major Sa’ab, I’ve already told you what the thought process behind it was. Now it’s your turn.
Good luck superwoman.
This post was written to satiate an urge to write when Housing prompted me to.