Once again, I’m doing something unusual: leaving my husband behind in Italy while I move (mostly) to the US for work.
And, as usual, I’m struggling to explain to people what I’m doing and why. (The story of my life is that there is almost no question about me to which a simple answer can be given.)
So…. what am I doing?
I have accepted a job with Sun Microsystems, which comes with a requirement that I be based in the US. I’ll have an office at Sun’s Broomfield, Colorado campus (though I’ll also travel a lot); I’ll have a home within easy commuting distance of that office.
My husband Enrico will remain in Italy, where he has a good job as a university professor, and we will maintain our home in Lecco as it is today. We will travel as much as we can to see each other – fortunately, both our jobs allow for flexibility. But the cold fact of the matter is that we will mostly be living apart. No, I’m not happy about that.
So why am I doing this?
Because I aspire to challenging work in which I can make a real difference to at least some small corner of the world. I want the possibility of growth in my profession, commensurate with the skills and hard work that I bring to it. And I need to make a dignified living, to help provide a secure future for myself and my family (not least: our daughter has just been accepted to college in the US!).
I have tried for seventeen years to achieve all this in Italy, in my industry (high tech). For part of that time I have made progress along my chosen road. But it’s never been easy, and it’s only getting harder. Italy is in a zero-growth slump from which neither I nor anyone else sees much hope of near-term recovery. As much as they love their country and the lifestyle they have historically had here, many Italians despair of the future, for themselves and especially for their children. (More on that, too, in a future article.)
Most Italians don’t have or would never make the choice to leave Italy – they are deeply rooted (which has its upsides, of course). Some foreigners, too, have chosen to make lives for themselves in Italy, and are far more emotionally invested in living here than I ever was. For many years I chose to be here for my family, and that was the right thing to do at the time. Now that Rossella is grown up and gone from home, probably for good, I have more scope to make choices that are right for me. And I’m very excited about that.
So I have a chance to get out, and I’m taking it. Better yet, I have a chance to do something new and exciting with a great company. There are risks, and there may be costs. But, weighed against the certain costs (both financial and emotional) of not taking the risks, this is the best choice I can make right now.
Wish me luck!
ps. For those who come here for my articles and info about Italy, don’t worry – there is still plenty to say about it, and I’ll be travelling back often enough to keep plenty of ink in that particular well.