Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Dear Girl on the Train

Dear girl on the train,

Last week I rode the train and sat across from you. It was kind of late and you and your friends were doing homework--in between your discussions of boys, and classes, and life in general. And you reminded me of me once. Especially when you said "it doesn't matter what I major in because I won't have to worry about supporting myself. That's what a husband is for." When I was 19, I said much the same thing. I choose my major because it was a "good stay at home major." But what I'd tell my 19-year-old self, and you, is "That's not true."

While this may seem like a foreign concept, and something that will never happen to you, not every girl will get married. Some of the most kind, capable, smart, beautiful, spiritual women I know are still single. They want to be married and have a family. They long for sleepless nights and messy houses.  They hate going home to empty houses and making decisions alone.

They definitely didn't plan on having a career.

And that's my advice to you.

Plan on a career (whether or not you ever have to use it). It may not seem like it now, but, there is a difference between a job and career. A job is what you do while you're waiting for your life to take off. A career is when you build that life.

Find something that you'd love to do for 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years. If you remain single, much of your identity of who you are will be tied to your job so make sure it reflects who you are. There was a time I HATED my job and that stress and feelings of frustration spilled over into every part of my life.  

Find something that allows you to support yourself just in case that husband never shows up. If he does show up, that doesn't mean that you may not have to support your family. Divorce, illness, untimely death are sending many a mom back into the workplace.

Don't be afraid to make a change when things aren't going well. Don't stick with a job that you hate or isn't pushing you forward in life. No job is perfect and there will be times you like it more than others. But, I've seen too many women (myself include) who stayed at jobs long after it was healthy for them to do so. Trust that if you have something worthwhile, other companies will see that.

You major isn't your biggest decision--but it is a big decision. It will guide your paths and opportunities and make your dreams and goals easier. I don't work 100% in my major field, but, my major allowed me to the opportunities I needed to end up where I wanted to be.

My last piece of advice, take a business class or two. No matter where you end up, it'll be a helpful background.


Someone who has learned most of these lessons the hard way


Britley said...


Michelle said...

This is something every girl should read. Saving this to share with my own daughter someday.

Meg said...

I'm in tears reading this. It's so true, and I had the same thoughts when I was younger. I went into teaching fully expecting to be married before I ever hit the classroom. But, oh how grateful I am in retrospect that I had those 6 years of teaching before becoming a mother. It was a career I loved, and it has informed so much of how I parent. I still maintain that every mother should have a marketable skill to be able to make money if it every becomes necessary.

jamesandlindsaylattin said...

Wise words

Steph said...

Amen! How many times was I told I was crazy for going into science because it wasn't a good stay-at-home job? I lost count...but mostly by dumb people who were intimidated by it. But I like chemistry, and it made finding jobs much easier. Plus my dad told me and my sisters we had to have majors that would land us jobs that would enable us to support ourselves, because he wasn't going to do it once we graduated! Wise words from YOU and my dad, they must be true ;-)

Megan said...

I love this. Someday you may need that career. I, too, thought I would teach for a year and have kids, but our years of infertility have stretched on, and I'm grateful for something fulfilling to do while we wait and pray. I like being able to contribute to a household, pay bills, and be around other like-minded women (and a few men!) during the day. My parents always pushed me to get as much education as possible. Our bishop recently said he wouldn't encourage his daughters to finish their education if they had an opportunity to get married. I wholeheartedly disagree. You never know what the future holds, and an education can be a very difficult thing to obtain later on down the road.