Strive for harmony

1. This post is written for a friend of mine. She is a close friend of mine at university, the one who knows how and when to give advice and she has a great talent in turning things from complicated to simple. She often told me about her dream after graduation. It is to strive for balance between work and life. She told me that she is ready to be challenged in a dynamic working place but she is willing to trade off success at workplace for her future family. I understand it and I know that everyone has their own choice to maximize their own happiness.

2. Sometimes the choice is not limited to only work and life but career and life. My above-mentioned friend is a student coming from a province far away from Hanoi. Unlike students from Hanoi like me, she does not only have to struggle with the choice of which job to pursue but also have to think about whether stay in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or come back to their hometown. And her decision-making process is much more complicated as her parents get involved into her choice. Her parents insisted her on going back to the hometown, where they can help her find a stable job in a bank branch or in a local department of taxation. However, it is surely not what my friend wants. She used to be a dynamic student at university, actively participating in an international student-run organization. Her work has allowed her to meet a lot of people, and travel to many places in Vietnam. Moreover, she harbors a dream of being a successful sales manager. If she comes back to her hometown, and starts her career in bank or local department of taxation, in which her work is more likely to be paperwork, I think that she will be bored to die sooner or later.

3. My friend graduated from university and immediately landed a job with a Denmark company. This company has provided her with a very ideal working environment, I must say it is ideal for almost every fresh graduate for its friendly and open working environment. However, her family did not want her to stay in Hanoi any longer and continuously called her back to the hometown. As she refused to come back to the hometown, they got angry and said that if she stayed in Hanoi, the situation would be worse. After calling for her for months, they said that the relationship between her and her family will be ruined if she does not follow their arrangement.

4. I am used to seeing this kind of conflict on the movie and I am not quite surprised if her parents reacted that way. However, we get used to knowing the end where the parents understand about their children’s desire and let the children make their own decision. In my friend’s case, the same thing does not happen. My friend, unable to stand for this pressure from her family, decided to quit her job and came back to the hometown. I happened to chat with her yesterday and she said that she decided to come back because she is not an extremist and she thinks that it is some kind of harmony or balance that she used to talk to me before.

5. I am surprised at her decision as I do not think that it is my friend who I used to know. And I speak up my own opinion: “I don’t think so. I don’t think that your choice is made for the sake of harmony.”

She must have been a little bit confused at my opinion and asked me if I could explain further.

I said: “I personally do not think that what you are doing is to strike for the harmony that you desired for. Harmony, in this sense, should be a maximization of desire, where you trade off something in return for something. In your case, it is more like sacrifice, more like compromise. You sacrifice your own dream, your own desire so as not to “lose” your parents’ satisfaction with you. In fact you just try to protect something from being lost and I don’t think that you gain anything for this sacrifice.

I know it is not easy to stay in her shoes to make decision. I always feel blessed for having my father understand and support all my decisions. I do respect any decision made by my friends but I think that 10 years from now, would there be any case that she may think twice and feel regretful for compromising?

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