Shut in, a couple shuts down as they struggle with their respective careers during COVID-19. What will it take for them to share vulnerabilities around work and love?
Episode 1 of How’s Work? with Esther Perel plunges us into the life of the mixed-secrets of a mixed-faith married couple. He’s a physician who can’t open up to his family about wanting out of his profession; she’s a government agent who only recently revealed to him the nature of her profession. Each partner is emotionally drained from the demands of work, with little left over to give each other. Pushed to shove by the pandemic crisis, they now face their own domestic crisis.
In If I Just Quit, What Will People Say?, Esther decodes the stoicism that enables them to succeed in their jobs — but not in their relationship — and proposes a switch towards shared vulnerability and trust.
What to listen for in this episode of How’s Work? with Esther Perel:
- The word “quitting” can evoke self-loathing. Instead, highlight the skills and values that will be parlayed to other fields.
- In a crisis, some people are “drawn to the fire, and some are “pushed away.” What are the emotional fallouts of either position, for the individual and their spouse?
- Any identity shift intersects with family and social taboos that we internalize. Who are the main protagonists when a new identity plot point unfolds?
- As caregivers, we often give the best of ourselves to our patients and bring the leftovers home. Best to save some of that passion for after hours.
- There’s no room for replenishment if at the end of the day there is no end of the day. The inability to break the connection from work is an occupational hazard and a relationship hazard.
- Fear of a parent’s reaction to our professional choices doesn’t always come with an expiration date.
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