On restarting your career

Just over a year ago I decided it was important to move to a new country to live with my boyfriend, learn his language, and get married. And it was, because the marriage is great and we’re happy together.

Professionally, however, I had few career options in his country because I was learning the language. We’re now in yet another (English-speaking) country where he found a job, but I’ve been out of grad school for almost two years now and have only a teeny amount of experience in my field. I worry that that experience is becoming irrelevant the more time passes. I think not being from here counts against me when I’m applying for jobs. Just to pay bills I’m now applying for some pretty menial stuff, and I went to grad school just to avoid this situation.

I feel like a loser and it’s hard to tell my husband without it sounding like I’m blaming him (I DO NOT BLAME HIM). Also, feeling like a loser makes it pretty hard to sell yourself in an interview. I don’t know how to make myself feel confident again.

You’re not a loser. You’re a citizen of the world with a graduate degree and a happy marriage. You’re leading a charmed life, even if it doesn’t feel that way.

What this boils down to is that you made a choice a few years ago to put your relationship ahead of your career, and these are the breaks. Now you’re whining a little bit because you can’t have your cake and eat it too. That’s fine. I understand the frustration you’re feeling, but all this loser talk has got to go.

Now it’s time for you to make another choice. Are you going to have kids, or are you going to pursue your career? That’s the only question that matters. It’s what every employer wants to know.

You say being international counts against you when you’re applying for jobs. Nope. That shit usually helps. What counts against you is being a married woman in her prime baby-making years. Every employer assumes you’re only good for a few seasons before you start squirting out dependents, and then they’re stuck with an employee who costs twice as much but is only around for half the time.

If you want a career instead of a job, you’ve got to let them know that you won’t be having kids for at least five years, and that you’re still very passionate about your chosen field. The way to sell yourself is that they’re getting a deal if they hire you. They’re getting an employee with a grad degree for the price of an undergrad, with the understanding that you’ll be advancing in the company.

Enough with all this loser talk. You’re brave and smart and strong. You moved to a country where you didn’t know the language for the man you loved, which actually makes you kind of a bad ass. Let your prospective employers see that side of you. Let them know how far you’re willing to go when you’re passionate.

Hell, with a narrative like that, I’d hire you.


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