Female Careers

A while ago a guy discussed his relationship woes with me. The problem was that his girlfriend had gotten a job offer in a different city and wanted to move there. He was supposed to quit his job and come along. He did not want that, so she gave him crap for “not supporting her career”.

First, for context, this woman worked in a pretty small company, about 50 people, and in a role that is pretty exchangeable, some social-media bullshit. Her new role was the same, just in a different city. This alone tells you that we are not talking about a career move. I will get back to this later. Second, you do not get offered jobs out of thin air. In particular, if you are an individual contributor in a field that is flooded with applicants anyway, there are no headhunters reaching out to you. She applied to that job and her motivation was to live in a much bigger city, not to “advance her career”, no matter how much she may protest. In financial terms, this move would not make any sense for her either. Her pay would be roughly the same but the cost of living significantly higher.

I have occasionally heard women talk about their “careers”. They move from one job with low barriers of entry to another job with low barriers of entry. However, you do not advance your career if you are the “social media manager” of a small company and move to the exact same role at another small company. It is also not clear to me why the physical location would play a significant role. In fields where you can advance quickly, e.g. banking or consulting, there are cities where all the jobs are so you will be in a place like London or New York City already anyway, and normally you only move if there is a very good reason. In rare circumstances, for instance if you think that your current employer is about to go under, you might move to a different company even if there is no change in compensation, but normally you would like to see an increase of 15 to 20% or so. These are moves that significantly move your career forward.

In contrast, many women seem to approach their supposed careers from a lifestyle-first perspective. A job in an expensive city, which will lead to them having to live with roommates, is better than the same job in their hometown because they think they will snatch their 6’5″ finance guy. A lot of other women have the same idea, which is why cities like NYC have a surplus of women, and places like the Bay Area, where you can make a lot of money in tech, are full of men. This leads to a bigger issue: for a lot of women, a “career” is simply a means to an end. They want to get a guy who makes so much money that they do not have to work anymore. This is the reason why a lot of women drop out of the labor force within a few years. This happens in medicine, law, tech, finance, anywhere. They got a guy who makes big bucks so the pretense of them having a career no longer makes any sense and therefore gets discarded.

With regards to the guy above, if your girlfriend surprises you that she has a job offer from a different city, let her go. You should not sacrifice your job for hers because she will not be interested in financially supporting you. In fact, she is much more likely to just dump you. Conversely, if she had a hard time in the labor market, she would of course expect to live off you, i.e. not pay rent, not pay for food, not do anything in the apartment, and get pocket money on top so that she can have fun meeting her girlfriends in cafes and clubs.

4 thoughts on “Female Careers

  1. Something very similar happened to me a few years back. A girlfriend I had at the time moved to a big European capital to do another masters degree, and following her would have meant giving up my very good job and my academic positions here, to start from scratch there. Needless to say I did not even for a minute consider going there.

    In fairness to her, she also offered me to stay for me, if I asked. She would have been willing to stunt her career (in a STEM field no less, she pursued no bullshit degrees) in order to continue our relationship. But I did not, because I thought that would lead to trouble down the road, and I was not sure about the longer term future of the relationship anyway.

    1. She would probably have told you incessantly about giving up that great Master’s program for you, which would have propelled her career to the highest heights. As you rightly said, if you had stayed with her, either of the two choices would have been disastrous in the long run.

    2. Yes, that was exactly what I feared.

      One of the reasons I was dubious about my future with her is that her academic and professional career plans (she wanted to go for a phd after!) pretty much ruled out any possibility of having any children.

      Once over there, she might have felt the weight of the Wall on her (she was just past 30 at the time) and got married (and fatter, according to her wedding pics).

    3. Do you suspect she “settled” in marriage? or did she find a guy she liked as much as (if not more) you?

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