If someone seeks advice on whether they should take up an opportunity which involves relocation away from their family, I will evaluate its merit purely on a professional basis. I will not even take into consideration how it will affect this person’s psyche, his relationships, his family etc etc.
In fact I have spent the last 15 days trying to convince people at different levels (third party sales executives, on roll sales executives, managers) to relocate away from their hometowns with or without their families. If you want to build a career in sales working in different geographies will always win you brownie points, add to your CV and skills and it is always better to do it earlier rather than later.
Most of my team’s family lives in a different city in a different state not in Western part of India. I know many people who have done it in the past and two of my colleagues shifted around the same time as me. Sure, we talk about it. We talk about how stretched we are financially, how difficult and frustrating it is. We also see some of our colleagues get everything on a platter and wonder why we have to do it the hard way. Then we cross our fingers and hope someday it will be worth it. Hope is what keeps us going.
But there are so many things we don’t talk about. We don’t talk about how it affects our marriage or how betrayed our spouse’s feel. Add children to the mix and it has it’s own complication.
I would never dream of mentioning going to bed in tears and waking up in tears for the initial few months.
(I just mentioned it. To strangers. Good job, Buls. So smart)
Staying at the gym till closing hours so I could drop dead once I reached the empty house.
Not being able to sleep a wink alone on the bed without a tranquil spray.
I won’t even skirt around the topic of sexual frustration. Let me leave some things to your imagination.
Eating dinner in the Uber pool because that was the only way I could eat dinner with people around.
Filling each minute of every Sunday with activities so I didn’t have to listen to the voices in my head.
Travelling like my life depended on it so I could stay out of Mumbai as much as possible.
Trying to deal with partner’s loneliness by pushing him away because I can deal with only one messed up head at a time and I will always choose my well being over anyone else’s.
I remember the first few days in the flat. I was unpacking alone. KC and his mom had helped move in and he had left for Gurgaon. I was putting up curtains but it was just so hard. I kept telling myself “I can’t do this again. Not again. I just can’t”. I messaged my friends and she called me immediately. I am sure everyone of us have been here. Have experienced this exact moment.
Everytime I was frustrated and unhappy in the job, I had to answer questions like “Are you sure this is worth it? Is it worth throwing away the life we created? Is it worth it? And if you are not even happy, why are you doing this?” I didn’t know. I had no answers. This is what you do. Maybe I have been brainwashed to consider difficult options as an opportunity. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be this hard. I am not geared to make easy choices in life.
There was a time when social media made the distance irrelevant and you could make up for the lack of face to face time with facebook or WhatsApp. That isn’t the case anymore. More and more we realize that social media can never replace a real person. My friendships suffered in both cities. People in Mumbai can never rely on me to be in the city for company when they are feeling lonely or want to hang out. People in Gurgaon knew I was stretched between fitting everything I wanted to do over a weekend. Atleast the friendships haven’t ended. Not yet, anyway. Am sure some of them felt betrayed but they have been very graceful about it. Like, I feel betrayed because a good friend is busy with his brand new kid and hectic job. I find it difficult to be gracious about it.
(I just admitted I resent a kid. How old am I?)
I am in Mumbai, a city I know so well. I got the opportunity to make amends to my parents and visit home every month. At my lowest point I could have gone to MIL’s house but thankfully, it never got so bad. I have the most amazing friends in the city. I probably have more friends in Mumbai than in Gurgaon. What if I was in an entirely new city? How much worse would it be.
But I know why I made the choice. I was bored. I wanted to get out of my comfortable life. When you have lived with someone for too long you forget where the other person ends and you start. I needed to get away and figure for myself what I wanted and listen to the voices in my head. I am not saying am closer to the answers or still know what I want but atleast am not afraid of the questions. And I know that whatever happens, I will be able to deal with it. I will be able to survive, no matter what happens in my personal or professional life.
So yeah, in a way, these 2 (almost) years of loneliness, travelling and living out a suitcase have been worth it.