I caught up with my friend Squidward just before he relocated to London for work. My friend Squidward is single now, and I asked if his decision to relocate would have been different if he was attached. ‘No’ was his answer. Career always comes first.
It’s pretty clear from the years that I’ve known him, that career is always first. His life goals are about excelling professionally, not just in Asia but across the different continents in planet Earth. Then it got me thinking, do couples break up because of relocation? What if the guy wanted to go, but the girl didn’t want him to. Would he go ahead? I believe some men would.
Here are some reasons why I think some, career minded men, and I (if I was a guy) would leave my girlfriend to relocate for work.
Disclaimer: These views are fictional are by no means the view of any living person I know. As with any piece on this blog, please feel free to disagree.
1. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
In some industries, chances to relocate are few and far between. Squidward is relocating to London, where it’s a global, dynamic financial centre. The work experience will be highly sought after by future employers. And it’s a start of a ‘global experience’ – perhaps relocation to other countries such as New York, Hong Kong and China in the future.
2. Career always comes first.
I want a global career. Unlike your simple friends back home who are contented with raising two kids in a small apartment, I want to be a C-level executive of a Fortune 500 company before I turn 40. I want to make decisions that make or break companies. I want to be rich. I want to use my hard-earned money to enjoy the better things in life. I want power – the ability to influence, to create and to win.
I want respect. I want to be admired. I want to leave a legacy.
Either you’re with me, or you’re not.
3. Commitment is not my priority now. Accumulating miles and hotel loyalty points are.
To be honest, I really missed the freedom I had before we were together. At my prime age of 28 years old, I wanna be hanging out at bars with my friends making new friends without having to tell you where I am all the time.
Just like Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) from the movie Up in the Air about a frequent flyer, my target is to accumulate 10 million miles under Singapore Airline’s Krisflyer programme. And accumulate as many free hotel stays from the Starwood Preferred Guest programme. It’s fun and full of bragging rights.
4. I love the prestige that comes with business travel.
Believe it all not, I want to be the Ryan Bingham of the business world. I want to be constantly on the move. Attending meetings at different parts of the world. Strutting across the airports of the world in my tailored suits, polished leather shoes and sleek Samsonite luggage.
Relocation is a step in that direction.
5. Long Distance Relationships (LDR) cannot work.
I’m gonna have to be working 14 hour work days. I wouldn’t have the time, or energy to be calling you everyday, telling you about my day and sharing about my problems at work when it’s 3am back home.
6. I have changed.
You are right. I’m no longer that rugged 21 year guy you met at Business School, walking around the campus in a T-shirt, pair of Berms and slippers. My goals have changed. I want a better life now. And to get that better life, I need to work hard. I need to make full use of the opportunities before me.
7. You can find someone better.
There’s a high chance you’ll be able to find someone better. Someone who is not flying around all the time. Someone who can be there for you when you need him. Someone who is willing to compromise. And sacrifice for you. And I’m sorry but I’m just not that person for that.
8. I’m just not that into you.
Hey, (I’m a girl) and I know this phrase hurts. Real badly. But it is a hard truth that you should learn to accept. The sooner you come to accept it, the better. If career is your boyfriend’s Number One priority and he doesn’t consider how you feel, chances are, he’s just not that into you.
* * *
As I said earlier, these views are purely fictional. Most of them are based on the show Up in the Air. And it’s stereotypical. For every 5 guys who would leave their girlfriends to relocate for a job, there are 10 more who would stay for her. Some have successful long distance relationships (LDR) even though they are miles apart.
Just some food for thought. Friend Squidward did say that he was inspired by Up in the Air, where Ryan Bingham travels a great deal for work. Though I’d mention that the ending isn’t too happy by Hollywood standards. Ryan makes that special effort to find the woman he loves after deciding he doesn’t just want ‘an empty backpack’ (metaphor for having no emotional luggage), only to find out that she’s married with two kids. He’s alone, up on a plane and says this:
‘Tonight most people will be welcomed home by jumping dogs and squealing kids, their spouses will ask about their day, tonight they’ll sleep. The stars will wheel forth from their daytime hiding places and one of those lights slightly brighter than the rest will be my wing-tail passing over.’
What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comments section. : )