The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a college senior and I’ve been offered a career track position at a foreign-affiliated company. I’m seeking advice about balancing marriage and work.
I’m thinking of marrying my boyfriend, who is also a senior at my university. He has a job offer at a leading company as well.
We’re talking about the ideal age to have children and thinking about getting married about two years after joining a company. However, the company where I’ll work has many unmarried women in their 20s and 30s, and I heard that many female employees there quit their job out of concern that it’ll be difficult to handle work after marriage or having children.
I want to get married and have a child, but I don’t want to give up my career either. I’m worried that getting married soon after joining a company could create a negative image of me as a person who “won’t work because she’ll get pregnant and give birth soon,” and the company will treat me coldly.
Should I hold my feelings back toward marriage and get married late in order to build my career?
Dear Ms. K:
You’ve crossed the hurdles of “job hunting” and “husband hunting,” but you worry about what might happen next. In my classes, I know students who’ve joined a private pension plan out of fear for their post-retirement years or come to me to seek advice on avoiding divorce.
Getting back to your question, the possibility of you being treated unkindly after marriage is not zero. Despite the trend of women’s active engagement in society, you might work under a boss with prejudices. Systemic support for work-family balance has started improving these days, but women who pursue both child-rearing and a career still struggle.
Having said that, you won’t be able to move forward if you’re determined not to get married nor give birth until you prepare yourself completely and eliminate all risk of losing your career.
The best timing for marriage is when you, or the two of you, want to get married. As a couple, you can overcome the hardships of juggling child rearing and your career. Also, developing a career doesn’t always mean continuous service at the same company. As long as you’re willing to perform at your potential, there will always be a place where you’re needed, and I believe you’ll find that place.