Modern Life Q&A is a weekly advice column on the Global Rencai blog where Joy Chen answers readers’ questions about life, work and love.
Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for five years since college. In college we had so much in common, but since then we’ve fought a lot. I am very ambitious and am working hard to build my career, but he’s satisfied working at low-end jobs so he can focus on his real passion, which is sitting around all day playing video games. He’s become so lazy, but I’m sick of nagging. How do I motivate him to get a decent career so we can build a life together?
A: Women everywhere try to change (improve) the men they’re with. But I’m going to save you some time and effort and let you know that *You Cannot Change a Man *. Your boyfriend probably likes his life or else he would change it himself. What you need to do is to ask yourself whether he’s husband material for you. If like most women you are marriage-minded, try to avoid spending your 20s involved in long-term relationships which don’t lead to marriage. Better to focus on improving yourself, and meeting guys with whom you share long-term values and a common vision for the type of future you would like to achieve together.
If you feel that you and your boyfriend do not share common values, then cut back on your time with him and meet some new friends. If that scares him into realizing that he loves you so much that he wants to shape up and become the type of man you need him to be, then great. As he evolves, and as you evolve, you both can continue to assess whether you two belong together for a lifetime. If he doesn’t shape up and evolve into the type of man you want, then better to know that sooner rather than later. Today’s photo is from the Association of Pretty Women Who Broke Up With Boyfriends Due to Their Addiction to Video Games. You can join this association by clicking here.
Setting career goals
Q: I am a 22-year-old girl majoring in Law. My dream is to be licensed and then be my own boss. However, I am not sure about what to do specifically and I am afraid of the failure caused by hasty decisions. I think that I should first have a cool head and a clear goal and then set about realizing the goal. So far I have felt that I dream too big while I am not proactive and hardworking enough in practice. What do I lack? Experience, or courage? What should I do? Please give me some advice.
A: I’ve written a lot about how to find the right career; you can read a sampling of those posts here . In summary, stop worrying about finding the single right path for the next 50 years, because if you’re like everyone else in your generation, you’ll more likely have five or eight different careers over your lifetime. The economy is shifting so rapidly that in ten years there will be career options available that nobody has even imagined now, and even if you stay in the same career, the nature of that work will shift radically thanks to technology and globalization. So, your longterm strategy should be to position yourself for changing times, by developing the skills you need to excel. Also, identify and hone your A+ skills; you do this by paying close attention to when you achieve flow in whatever job you’re in, and making more of those moments. As you do these things, you will naturally gravitate toward projects, opportunities, and ultimately, jobs and careers, which best leverage you and make you happiest.
Q: Joy I like your blog and have given thought to some topics you blogged about. Currently I am worried that I don’t mature as fast as I want. What can I do?
A: Maturity does come with age. Medical studies have shown that negative emotions such as stress and anger decline after the early 20s, and people over 50 worry less than younger people. Being young is stressful! Things are new and confusing, and sometimes just the fact of having so many choices creates anxiety. You can hurry along the process of maturity by continuously exposing yourself to new ideas and new people, and reflecting and learning from all your experiences.
You might also reach out to develop friendships with older people. My own life has been greatly enriched over the years with a few deep friendships with women older and wiser than me . These friendships-across-generations can be a rich source of both learning and fun. I recommend them to you!
I welcome your comments, in Chinese or English, on the Chinese version of this blog post, which is here.