Sunday, 27 September 2015

I see Lucy Turnbull

has said she intends to carry on her life as before even though her husband/partner is now Prime Minister.
That's an interesting idea. I wonder whether she will be able to do it?
It came under discussion at the library yesterday and opinions were divided on the topic. How much should one person give up for another?
The Senior Cat had a very close friend who, with extreme reluctance, turned down a chair at Cambridge because his wife flatly refused to go or allow the children to go. He spent the rest of his life regretting what might have been. 
A cousin of the Senior Cat was in the diplomatic service. His wife saw herself as being part of the team. They were posted all over the world, often to some difficult and dangerous places, before they finally returned to Canberra - and both of them went on hosting diplomats from all over the world. I asked her once if she regretted not having a career of her own. No, she told me, being a diplomat's partner can be a career.
My cousin and his partner currently live in London. His partner would like to stay there. My cousin is not as keen. It will be interesting to see what happens.
I have known other people who have had to make choices about location, partnership, or career.  It has always been difficult. 
But I wonder too if there aren't times  when you simply have to accept that there is a need to give. If your partner is a sailor then you surely know that they are going to be away at sea sometimes. If someone is in the police force then you surely have to accept that the role can sometimes be dangerous.
You might be lucky of course and be able to pursue your own career or have a very accommodating employer. I had a lecturer at  university who was able to retain her post each time she needed to go overseas with her husband. It is not the sort of thing that happens often. But we talked about it once and she told me she knew that marriage to her husband would mean certain adjustments to her own career.  It was, she thought, the right way around. His was the more high profile job by far. Partnership meant accepting that you had responsibilities as well as rights. 
If you are the partner to the Prime Minister then does this mean that you should give up your own career? I think the general consensus would now be that this shouldn't be necessary. 
As we were talking yesterday though I thought back over what I knew about the partners of people in high positions. Many of them have worked very hard to support their partners and the partnerships have often been very successful - as have been the careers of the major player.
We didn't resolve the issue of course. There are too many variables but I wonder what I would want to do if I had to make such a compromise or choice.

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