At All Costs: Singleness vs. Career?

February 8, 2020

There can be the assumption that individuals who are single and highly engaged in their careers have chosen to exchange their personal lives, or starting their own family, for a career. This especially applies to professionals who aren’t vocal about romantic relationships or having kids, and give no indication of what their desires are in this area.


But is this really true? Does the assumption above accurately reflect the decisions that people make every day about their future and present well-being? I don’t think so. Of course some individuals decide that their careers are their ultimate priority/what they perceive will give them the highest fulfillment in life, but this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. We all make decisions based on our goals, priorities, histories and the lives we consciously and subconsciously hope to be able to live.


For example, it has become apparent to me over time that the best thing I can do for myself and anyone else is to live the life I feel called to live. To some, it may not sound like I’m saying much but for me this is a loaded and heavy statement meant to remind me that there is a journey I’m supposed to be on. At any given time, there are people that will join me on my journey and, whether they like it or not, I will try my best to be as true to who I am as I can be while learning what I’m supposed to learn from each leg of my journey. When the tables are turned and I’m joining someone else on their journey then I invest energy in supporting them in the ways that I can before our paths diverge.


This brings me back to the point of this post. The real question we may all be trying to find the answer to for ourselves or decipher for our single friends, family, or colleagues may boil down to one or a handful of things centered around this idea: What does one desire and hope to achieve and/or maintain in this life at all costs?


Is it:

  • Children

  • A spouse

  • Fame

  • Wealth

  • Knowledge

  • A family

  • Companionship

  • Peace of mind

  • Joy

  • Physical health

  • A PhD

  • A specific job title

  • A specific career

  • Community

  • Intimacy

  • Space

  • Power

  • Unconditional love

  • Adventure

  • Safety

The list could go on. Even though these options are not necessarily mutually exclusive, it’s not difficult to observe that even people who connect on two or three of these values or goals may have them ranked or prioritized in a different order. They also likely have different reasons for why a certain value or goal matters so much to them.


Now that the question has been re-framed, the answer choices can move beyond assumptions that this or that single person is exchanging marriage, kids, etc. for their career. For example, if the question is whether or not an individual has temporarily or permanently decided that their main goal is not to have children, companionship, adventure, marriage, career progression or whatever it may be at all costs then it’s easier to obtain a black and white response.


To be continued…



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