There’s a saying that if you care about someone, sometimes you have to let them go, even if it might hurt you. Human beings are selfish in general–we always want to do what hurts the least–but that’s not always possible to accomplish without hurting others. For example, AC, a girl I work with, has been applying to Masters’ programs and looking for a different job more in line with her interests and what she wants to do in the future. I would miss her terribly if she left, but I can’t judge her because I would do the same in an instant. Even if I stayed in NYC, I wouldn’t stay at this lawfirm past graduation because it’s not what I want for myself. I can do so much better than this, and AC can too. Plus, having a job you love is one of the best things in the world (I speak from personal experience because I loved my previous job at the movie theater. It may sound stupid to other people, but I was a manager there, and managing is what I love to do).
There is another coworker, JC, who is not as supportive. She has been working here since she was 16 (except for a short period right after she had her kid) and never plans on going anywhere else. She is told all the time by her friends that she could be doing so much better–and she really could–but she is very defensive about her choices. She feels that she is doing the best she can as a single mom and there’s no point in her going back to school when she could just be saving up for her child’s education. She used to just make offhand comments when AC mentioned her future ambitions about how she should just stay here–now she’s to the point of begging her to stay and actively discouraging her. I think it’s a defense mechanism. If AC leaves and betters herself, it will force JC to take a long, hard look at her own life and career choices. I think she knows that she might not like what she sees. Her child will only be a child for so long, and then what will she have after that? Sure, she could go to school then, and she might have more children, but when they all move out, how will she feel when she reflects on her life? Will she regret not taking a chance and taking a different job or going back to school? She might not–she does seem to really like this job–but at the same time, there’s a decent chance she might realize that all of her friends were right.
I could be completely wrong in my conjectures about JC and why she acts the way she does, but I could be right. All I really know for sure is that her constant discouragment is really starting to get to AC and it upsets her that someone she has always supported does not have the courage or the caring to support her back.