Her Husband Won’t Support Her Career Change

Dear Vicki: My husband and I have been married 15 years and worked in academia for much of that time. Simon taught at a large medical school and was always the most popular lecturer there. I managed the medical school’s library and dearly loved helping the students. Several years ago, Simon pursued his dream of going to med school (he wanted to be the doctor rather than just teach about it) and I kept working to support both of us. After completing his degree, he opened a successful practice. I no longer want to deal with the politics of academia, so this feels like the perfect time for me to change careers and do something more artistic, which I have wanted for years. The problem is that I expected Simon to be as encouraging regarding my potential change as I was of his, but he’s not. Whenever I bring up the subject, he’s completely unsupportive. He suggests that I probably won’t be successful, that there are more talented people around, and at his worst, that I should consider becoming his receptionist (how artistic is that?). Why is he so resistant to me changing careers? And what can I do? Signed: Ready for a Change

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 Dear Ready for a Change: I can understand why this makes no sense to you. It does seem only fair that he supports your career change as you supported his. And in truth, it is only fair. But I think a closer look at your elemental personalities and how they interact will shed some light on why he isn’t jumping for joy over the idea but instead, is actually trying to squash it. We will also cover ways to help you both move through this process.

First, being a popular lecturer suggests that Simon has a good deal of Fire in his elemental personality. However, Fire people usually don’t have the structure necessary to get through med school. That suggests that Simon’s secondary elemental personality is either Wood (more of a doer) or Metal (more of a thinker), as these are the two most structured personalities. And given his desire to “be” the doctor rather than “just teach” about it, I believe his secondary personality is Wood.

You, on the other hand, are clearly a primary Water personality given your life-long desire for creative expression. Water people also usually have a passion for books, which is where working in a library would come in. But the Water personality alone doesn’t have the structure to manage a library. And given your joy at helping the students, I suspect that your secondary elemental personality is Earth, which is exactly the element that helps provide structure to Water (think river channels, ocean floors, etc.). Also, since we all have all five of the elemental personalities in our wiring, you have probably drawn on the Metal personality in you a time or two for added structured when needed.

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