Sunday, November 21, 2010

And next?

A. is doing his MBA in Paris. But his university has the option of doing a dual degree. This means that he would do one year in Paris (ending in April 2011) and then the second year could be undertaken in any of the schools his university has agreements with. The choices are vast... from London to Singapore and China, Mexico, Brazil, etc, etc (nope, no options in Norway). And A. is excited about going elsewhere (hopefully a developing country) and increasing his network (it's all about networking in an MBA) and getting some more international experience.

So as the end of his first semester approaches, A. has to start applying for a place to do his dual degree. Each day a different option seems to pick our fancy... it has varied from Mexico to London, he suggests Brazil, I counter with India. But lately Brazil seems to be the option of choice. And that's when an interesting interaction occurs:
A. has been learning Portuguese with me and then had a month of classes in Rio de Janeiro in May. So he wants to put this knowledge to work by doing an MBA in Brazil. I am not as excited about this as he is. Not that I don't love my country, but I've always believed that a third country would be easier for us to live in. In Brazil I will have no problems with language, culture, and all the quirks that come from living in a different culture than your own. However, for A. everything will be new: new language (including classes in Portuguese), new classmates (differently from his school in Paris in which only 10% of the student are French, in Brazil 99.9% will be Brazilians), new culture, new everything. Yes, he's been there and has an idea of what to expect but that's quite different from living there for a longer while. And then there are all the not-so-nice comments we make about countries other than our own, but that can be hurtful for the people of that country. I mean, we all know the problems of our countries, but we don't like them thrown in our face. So I am worried about moving to Brazil and A. is worried that I'm worried about moving there. I think he's a little overoptimistic about the whole thing, not that he would not do well professionally, but I think that personally the difficulties will be a tad greater than he's considering.

Then there is the job issue. Yes, I'm flexible where I work, but changing jobs every year is not  a good strategy. There is the job seeking, applying, interviews, and besides, in my field, let's just say that there are not jobs in every corner. To find work at a university in Brazil is mainly a matter of luck: post docs are badly paid and scarce and faculty positions are even scarcer. (The latter point has to do with public servants keeping their job until they retire without a chance of being fired and there not being so many universities in my field.) So I told A. I would like to consider Brazil if we could stay more than a year there, to which he said he's fine, since he hopes to work in Brazil for a while after the MBA.

Yes, I guess the best is to stop wondering and be patient...

So this is where we stand right now. Making decisions in a couple in which both have careers, both are hard headed and both have an idea about what they want to do is hard!!!!!!!!!
Any experiences in how to reconcile such decisions?

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