WWYD: Husband Can’t Find a Job — Except In Asia

Game of Risk

Someone wrote to Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax today about an unwanted adventure:

I am writing because my husband and I are facing a huge dilemma. He cannot find a job in the United States. He recently got a job offer in Asia and wants us to go. I have conflicting emotions about this, as I do not speak the language and feel it would be very isolating for me. I would be leaving all my family and friends. We have no kids, and my husband thinks now is the time to take a risk. Any advice?

“Conflicting emotions”? The only evident emotions are negative ones, specifically fear of loneliness and the unfamiliar. And that’s totally fair. Big changes, like living abroad, are not for everyone. Perhaps the LW is an introvert and requires the support of the family and friends s/he would be leaving behind. S/he doesn’t mention a job but it might also be hard to earn money abroad, and not having the structure of work in a foreign place can be doubly daunting.

Carolyn’s advice is kind but urges the LW to take the chance, with some caveats:

So instead of “risk” or “dilemma,” try on “adventure.” “Challenge.” “A chance to push my limits,” or just, “prove to myself I’m not soft.” Then see how you feel about going. If you do agree to the move, vow to embrace it with your whole heart. In return, request a promise from him to pull the plug — after a year? x years? — should you develop a misery that your efforts can’t fix.

Risk-taking is hard. I must occasionally fight my own internal timidity, and when I do, I draw on the same Eleanor Roosevelt quote Carolyn offers the LW: “You must do the thing you cannot do.” At various times, I’ve lived abroad, but only places that felt somehow familiar, in Western Europe or Israel. I moved to NYC even though it scared me. I quit a stable but kind of boring job for a start-up (which failed). I took a four-month-old baby to Guatemala. I decided to have a baby in the first place, though I knew I’d never be able to be the kind of mother my mother is. How do we decide to take leaps and which leaps are worth the possible fall?

WWYD, dear reader?

Risk screenshot via EA

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