Last year, when Darby first started the job-search process, I had a little bit of a breakdown. It was not pretty and I'm ashamed of some of the things I said, but I think my general feeling was justified. I realized for the first time that where we end up, both now and in the future, will pretty much always be determined by Darby's job. This is based on the reality of our situation, not some idea that the man's job is the most important and the wife should tag along. Darby is super-supportive of me and wants me to be successful in whatever I choose. But, facts are facts. He has spent years and a lot of hard work training in a very particular sub-field of engineering. Contrary to popular belief, Ph.D. engineering jobs, especially in specific research areas, are not widely available. ESL teaching jobs, however, are. It does not make sense for us to move somewhere for my job without him having a job. The chances of him being able to find an appropriate job in the same city as my job are much lower than the reverse situation, and, practically, we know he will almost surely make more money than I will, so we definitely need his job to be secure.
I thought that I had understood all of this for years, but it just became real to me a few months ago. I realized that I won't ever have the opportunity to apply for all sorts of jobs in all different places. If a great opportunity opens up for me in another city, it probably won't make sense for us to move so I can take it. I think, for the first time, I started mourning those missed opportunities.
However, now that graduation is becoming more imminent, I'm beginning to see the bright side of my situation. I'm holding off job searching until we have a somewhat more definite idea of where Darby will get a job (or at least have it narrowed down to 2 or 3 places). I don't want to waste energy applying for jobs that I might not even be able to take. And, let's face it, job-hunting sucks, so being able to put it off guilt-free is a nice feeling. I think this is one reason I've been able to feel so unworried about our future; there's literally nothing I can do about it. Darby, on the other hand, feels a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to find a job quickly.
I still sometimes feel sad about my situation. Often, I wish that I had been more concerned about my future career plans and set more goals when I was in undergrad. But, had I done that, I don't think I would have settled on ESL teaching, which I love, so it's difficult to say I would change things.
I definitely don't want to make it seem like I'm sacrificing my dreams or goals for Darby. We've both made sacrifices. He certainly would be looking at jobs in a much broader geographical region were it not for my intense desire to return to Texas. Sometimes the best decision for the two of us is not the best decision for either one of us individually. That makes decisions a little more difficult at times, but it's definitely worth it to go through life side by side with him.