Shackle of coupledom
Weeks passed, but I didn’t see Stuart taking action to change jobs. Every evening, I studied on the kitchen counter, and Stuart played video games on the sofa. I sometimes asked how he was doing with job hunting, and he’d answer he was updating his CV. I was curious to find out why he wasn’t busying himself after making such a grand speech about how bad his current job was and how motivated he was to make a change. When I confronted him, he let me help with his CV as I had learned the skill in a workshop at the business school. He then put the CV on the job search website. For weeks after, he’d receive calls from recruiters, but they all looked at his stint experience in sales, which he didn’t want to do. Instead, he wanted to do something creative, preferably creating video games. So I told him to do some research and talk to people to find out what opportunities were out there and what he could do to enter the new field. He said he couldn’t because they only hired those with experience, and someone like him would have to start from the bottom, which he could not afford because he had to support me. I told him not to make me his excuse for not reaching his potential and to go back to sales as that was the only way out. But at the end of our discourse, he broke down and started crying. He told me he was just scared of a change.
Stuart looked like a hero when he told me he was willing to support me while I went to school. But when I found out about the annual salary Stuart earned, I was thrown back to the bottom of anxiety well. After expenses on essentials, he had only a couple hundred pounds left at the end of the month. Without career advancement, there would be no prospect of improving the quality of life. He might have been fine wearing the same clothes, eating the same foods, vacationing on a budget, and playing video games every day for the rest of his life. But I considered where I was the beginning of a new life. I believed there was still a lot of room to grow in my career, personality, and wealth. Stuart’s narrow view of the world and lack of aspiration for life felt like a heavy shackle that restricted my future.