A Curious Army Wife

I joined this crazy tribe when I married into the Indian Army

The curious symdrome of vanishing careers

In love with an Army man? Badhaiyaan ji badhaiyaan!

In love with your career too? Good for you.

Until.

Until the time comes for you to bid one of the two a tearful goodbye, hopefully temporarily.

Two of the blog readers asked me what to do of their lucrative careers when they marry their fauji boyfriends. A very valid concern for a modern woman who has been brought up to excel professionally and is suddenly faced with this dilemma. What do you focus on, being with the guy you love, or earning that fat paycheque?

Photo credit: outsidethebeltway.com

Photo credit: outsidethebeltway.com

The reason we have to make this hard decision is because … er… okay lemme break it down into 10 points (like we used to for writing long answer to questions in school).

1. You love an Army man.

2. An Army man’s career is a cycle of field posting (border areas or sensitive areas) and peace postings.

3. They are allowed to stay with their families only during peace postings.

4. About 2-3 years separates a field from peace from field from peace…..

5. Marrying an Army man means a happy reunion at peace station.

6. “Where are the peace stations located?” you ask, well, the peace station might be in small city or in smaller town or in tinier village or it might be in the middle of nowhere and last but not the least – it might be in a place that makes you go …’Alright! where the FUCK are we??’ Unless you are super lucky to get good-city postings.

7. Now it so happens that in all of the above scenarios, the only viable career option for women is teaching. Because there are schools everywhere. And hospitals… so yes, its safe even if you are a doc or a nurse.

8. If you are anything other than a teacher or are in the medical profession, chances are you will find it extremely difficult to land a decent job.

9. If you do get a job, it will probably come with a 50-70 per cent pay cut.

10. Or you can just get a B.Ed degree and start teaching…just a suggestion.

There, in the simplest possible language, I have summed up the battle which we girls fight before making the choice. And when I had to make this decision, I chose to be with my man.

I chose to be with my man because (and I take special pride in it) I knew that I had found the right guy. However clichéd that might sound. I chose to put my 6-year-old journalism career on hold to stay with him for 3 precious years before he goes off on a field posting. And I did all this in spite having full knowledge of what lay ahead of me or didn’t – that there won’t be a stable career or an enviable CTC from now on.

I took solace from the fact that my husband would have adjusted his career choices to suit my needs had he not been in the Army. That it is something he can’t do, simply because it is not in his hands, is a different story. Now that’s one way to ‘look up’, isn’t it. I did not stop working though. Internet became my best friend and I took to freelancing and content writing. And it gave me time to blog — something that my regular job would have left no scope/time/energy for.

I meet women who were bankers, IT professionals, HR executives, lawyers, musicians, PR honchos, scientists, chartered accountants, air hostesses, doctors  and real estate professionals, all of whom had to put their blooming career graph in the freezer when their husbands got posted to smaller military stations. And they all did it happily.

Then again, there are women who choose to stay in bigger cities to keep their jobs and travel frequently to meet their husbands. They try to balance work and married life quite well (and are deaf as well, specially to all those who say to them, “fir shaadi hi kyon ki”). I have special respect for all those women only because I know how difficult this choice is. Hats off to them!

So all those women out there who are still not sure what to choose, I have just one thing to say. Choose what you would miss terribly if you let go of. Choose what is dearer to you and won’t give you sleepless nights for not being a part of your life.

Do not feel guilty for choosing your career, you did nothing wrong. Don’t cry about loosing you career either, should you choose to be with your soldier. But since I chose to be with Major Sa’ab, I’ve already told you what the thought process behind it was. Now it’s your turn.

Good luck superwoman.

This post was written to satiate an urge to write when Housing prompted me to.

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12 thoughts on “The curious symdrome of vanishing careers

  1. Sandhya on said:

    The same is running in my mind . Working in IBM with v good package, secured good marks just to get campus selected. As engaged with him , after marraige i have to leave everything just to be with him just for his love . Anyhow i m happy we will be living TOGETHER 🙂

  2. Thats wonderfully written mam..Liked it, especially the minor SD :D….. I think I should be suggesting all your blogs to my fiancee.

  3. harri on said:

    Superwomen…just the right word. Keep it up, ladies.

  4. Vipula on said:

    I guess I was one of the girls who asked U the question how did U make that choice ? 😉
    U have summed it all up very aptly.U have suggested to ask…what would U miss terribly.Answering that question actually gives a clear answer to the dilemma.
    And I have got my answer 🙂
    I think any girl in love with a soldier would relate to this blog post and it would help her in getting clarity. 🙂 🙂

  5. Priya on said:

    Firstly i wud lyk to thank you for your great article. I really liked it and ended up by reading all your articles in one go.As my husband is @ field location so i have no other option but to be a superwomen 😉 and have to continue for atleast 2 yrs 😦 . I have been wedded to the olive green for the past a year and have jst spent only 2 days in army world (thanks to my hectic schedule..err) so , i am very much new to this world,your articles not only helped me to understand its culture more better but to have a look on some of its brighter side as well. 🙂

    • Hey Priya, thank you ;). I am still a long way from understanding how the fauj works, so everyday is a new experience for me (good bad ugly and wonderful included). Keep sharing your stories too as and when they happen.

  6. pushpita on said:

    Great article!Infact the perfect write up i was seeking to give my decision another round of boost.In couple of months leaving my oversea job to join my Army Man.Though I am superexcited to be with him after a loooong gap….but feeeling little wreckless of leaving my career….But am quite affirmrd now what i ll misss the most and what could be the hardest choice !!!!:)

    • Maybe you will enjoy a little break from work. You will get to travel and meet new people, which should keep you in good mood for sometime. If you can look for a way to continue working, then that would be great, hai na? 🙂 Good luck. Waiting to hear from you in a few months. Sorry for the late reply.

  7. Armywife on said:

    I find myself in a similar predicament. I have been married for 5 months now and i thought i could balance my work and my newly married life by traveling back and forth. But this job, which was my entire life before, is quickly loosing its charm and I find myself counting days when I would meet my husband again. It’s so comforting to know that there are other women going through the same situation.

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