Dear Alexsa is a monthly feature by our counseling expert (and she’s got the master’s degree to back it up), who answers reader questions. Submit your questions anonymously and they may be answered.
My question is about the relationship between myself and my work. I’m kind of having a hard time figuring out what I really want from and to do for a career. I’m at a crossroads and it gives me a lot of anxiety. On the one hand, I’m a passionate traveler and want to continue to travel the world all throughout my 20s; on the other hand, I’m a hard worker and I don’t want to delay building my career. I’m not sure what to do. I feel like either way I gain and lose something.
The idea of traveling is something many of us dream of—seeing new cities, exploring new cultures—who wouldn’t love to do that? The wonderful thing about the world we live in today is that there is an abundance of opportunities for us to turn what we love to do, into our careers. Now I’m not sure what type of career you’ve chosen in life or how far you’ve gotten on that path. But I do know it’s never too late to expand the career we’re in or explore new opportunities for ourselves.
The way you describe yourself shows you have a lot of drive and dedication to succeed in your field. So let me share a little secret with you: when you are good at what you do—and I mean good—and have the drive to back it up, there are no limits to what you can achieve. I know, I know. It sounds so cliché, like a line from some movie about finding yourself, or beating the odds, but it’s true! Someone who works hard and does well for herself can see an endless amount of possibilities open up for her. In your case, this could mean traveling for work and enjoying the places you get to see. If you decide that you don’t want to be tied to an office, you won’t have to be.
Still trying to figure out what you want to do? Here are some ideas: what about a traveling nurse, or a retail buyer? I recently met a young lady who was a social media consultant. She is paid to go to different companies and enlighten them on the best ways to use social media to promote their brand. She also manages social media accounts if those running the company just don’t have the time to do so themselves. Traveling from company to company does not limit one to a specific city or state; travel possibilities are endless. Want even more leeway to travel? What about an au pair? This position is essentially a live-in nanny in another country. English teachers are sought overseas as well. You could live abroad teaching English in different countries. Still want more freedom to travel? What about a career where your sole purpose is to travel, like a like a flight attendant or a pilot?
Usually situations like this prompt retorts like, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” But it’s just not the case. It may take a little research and soul-searching on your part to figure out the first step, but it seems to me like you’re not scared of a little work.
My BFF and I have been partners in crime for years. The guy I’m dating is great, and this relationship feels like it might be the Real Thing. There’s just one problem: he hates her, and I am stuck right in the middle. What should I do?
No one can say you’re not in a tough spot. I think we’ve all hoped for that relationship that would lead to double dates with our best friend and her boyfriend. Then, of course, the boyfriends would become best friends and we’d all live in this happy world where down the line our kids would be best friends too! Unfortunately the people we care about don’t always get along. I know what you’re thinking: why do they have to mess up this great plan?
To try to salvage this dream and mend the relationship between your BF and BFF, one thing you can do is try to find out what the issue is. Does your best friend feel the same way as your guy feels about her? Was there an argument or a misunderstanding that lead caused a strain? I would suggest talking with your boyfriend to find out what’s going on and why he doesn’t like her. I would also do the same thing with your best friend. Things might get smoothed over, or at least a little less tense.
Sadly, sometimes things just can’t be smoothed over. You might have to come to terms with these people in your life not liking each other. However, you shouldn’t have to be in the middle. This is where you may have to set some boundaries with your boyfriend and your best friend. Let them know you love both of them and want them both to remain in your life. Speak up about how it feels to be put in the middle.
I would also suggest setting a boundary regarding what they say about each other to you.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but that doesn’t mean you have t0 constantly hear about them. If one is always talking smack about the other, speak up and let them know you won’t participate in these conversations. Make sure they know you expect them to show each other respect. Just because you don’t like someone does not give an excuse to be rude or disrespectful. As they are both important people in your life and if they want to stay in your life they will have to show respect and be civil to those you love. You may have to revise your expectations of how often you can all be together as well; you may not all be hanging out as often as you’d hoped.
People who love and respect you will be okay with you being in happy and healthy relationships (and that means relationships with friends, family members and boyfriends). Your boyfriend should know that you and your best friend have a long history of being there for each other and that’s not going anywhere any time soon. As long as both of these individuals are healthy, positive influences in your life, keep them both in your life.
Need advice on love, friends or family? Submit your questions anonymously and they may be answered in a future Dear Alexsa feature.