Jennifer Dziura writes life coaching advice weekly here on TheGloss, and career coaching advice Fridays on TheGrindstone.
Let us hear today from a writer I have renamed Donna Summer, singer of the 1983 hit, “She Works Hard for the Money.” I changed a few details, but not many, because a lot of this email is about horses. What am I supposed to say — Donna’s training llamas? Mastodons? Groundhogs? You cannot ride a groundhog.
I’m 23, I work as a contractor, and I have a boyfriend and — oh man — two horses. On the side, I do art/photography modeling, dogsitting, or a couple hours of gardening for my mom’s awesome self-started landscaping business (she is the most Bullish woman I know). I’m also paid to ride another boarder’s horse for her.
I have a contract until next year, maybe longer, and I’m making enough money to pay my student and car loans and other bills. I also pay my parents a small rent to stay in their house and eat their delicious food.
I feel good about my situation: I have a full-time job I like and I’m applying for others. I’m paying off my debts, I have a beautiful young horse I’m training myself, and I can still go online and buy some silly dress if I want to. I have $2,000 in my savings account. I have planned, saved, and paid for a one-week trip to Spain with my two best friends in August, which I am so pumped about. But here’s where things get rough.
I see my boyfriend about three or four times a week. Due to his very erratic sleep schedule and the fact that I am constantly running around, it’s often very late when we see each other and I’m tired at the end of the day. We have been together for three years. I love him. But he feels:
1) I am putting him on the back burner
2) I’m working too hard for the money I make
3) I should change how I am living my life
I’m frustrated that my boyfriend doesn’t see things the way I do, but at the same time I’m sympathetic to his feelings and I want to make him happy. He’s leaving for Morocco for two months and I admit that I haven’t been spending as much time with him as I should have. I just don’t know how to compromise on this: if I stop taking extra gigs, I lose my extra income (I would say the work I do on the side makes me about $150-250 a month, which for me, is no small thing). I refuse to see my horses less than three times a week. Honestly, I think I’d just feel frustrated and resentful of him if I did everything he wanted me to. How can I make him happy and also up my Bullish game at the same time?