Lost Boyfriend

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Dear Hoopers,
My boyfriend, let’s call him Nate, got his real estate license last year in May of 2016. Nate’s mother is a big time realtor of Keller Williams and owns her own office and such. My boyfriend Nate works for his mother as a realtor. Being a realtor is a hard job at times because you never know when you are going to make a sale, you’re not always going to get paid all the time, and a lot of your work deals with calling people, meeting people, etc. But Nate has a very big lazy streak.

He hasn’t really had any luck with real estate. He hasn’t been making any money and my boyfriend has been so negative and down lately. I try to cheer him up when he is down. Nate always wants to make money because he spends more than he makes (that being, paying bills, buying food, etc). Today he tells his mom (aka his boss) that he quits his job as a realtor. Because he puts so much time and effort into showing clients, staying late at work, and pretty much doing all that he can for absolutely no money in return. His mom disregards that he even tried to quit.

Also, recently, Nate has taken interest in the nursing field (which is what I am pursuing). I had asked him what about nursing interests him so much? (Just because he sees how hard I study and such, I had to ask.) He said that he likes helping people, and that he wants set hours with steady income. I went along with what he said. I told him that to get into nursing, he will have to go to college, take all of the necessary pre-req classes (just like I did) which will take a couple of years, and to study ALL THE TIME. I told him that he cannot put off studying and being lazy. He now feels encouraged and inspired by me to do just that. He said he will put effort into nursing and that he wants that to be his career field. With all of this going on, I can’t help but to feel that Nate is lost. I know he hates real estate. Nate complains about work every. single. day. And it’s tiring for me to hear about it all the time.

One day I would like to marry this man but because he cannot keep a steady income, I worry. So here’s my question. How can I help Nate find his true passion in life? Is it really nursing? I don’t want everyone to think he is copying me. Also, how do I tell him and comfort him when he says he doesn’t make any money? Is there anything I could do? I do not have the financial means to help him out considering I live with my parents and have a part time job. I just really want the best for Nate but I don’t want him to spend all this time to go to college only to find out that nursing isn’t for him.
-Lost Boyfriend

Dear Lost Boyfriend,
You can’t alone find Nate’s calling in life. You can encourage him to pursue passions that may lead to career paths, but ultimately it will be self motivation that moves him to act. It seems like he struggles in this arena. Why did he pursue real estate? Was it the potential money to be made? Flexibility in schedule? The success he has seen his mother create in the field? You mentioned that he perked up to the idea of nursing because of his interest in helping people and steady schedule. Whether he pursues nursing, or another career, having a basis of likes and dislikes, yays and nays will be important.

With the confusion he is facing, I think a career counselor  may be valuable in helping him narrow down some options that fit his passions and interests. It may also help him unearth career opportunities that he has never considered.

A large majority of people go to work to afford things they value in life after clocking out.


As a girlfriend it is hard to see your significant other struggling to find their calling. Some people never figure it out. The quote, “love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life,” is awesome, but is it realistic? Maybe for some, but a large majority of people go to work to afford things they value in life after clocking out. Not saying that he has to settle, but having a legitimate job that works can often provide a financial platform and security for passions to be pursued.

Dear Lost Boyfriend,
You figured out a career that is valued for you and you have kick-assedly pursued it. Studying hard and working a part-time job to boot. Nate on the other hand has not had as clear of a journey. He successfully received his real estate license but that flamed out.

Now that he’s thinking about becoming a nurse, something about this isn’t adding up for you. If you are noticing a pattern here, you’re right. This is the second big career decision that seems to mimic important people in his life. Perhaps a coincidence, but more likely this is a crisis of self-direction. Your instincts are totally right. Nate almost surely will not work out as a nurse. Partly because of the reasons you mentioned, but also because this pursuit isn’t coming from him.

Ask him what he cares about. Ask him what he could see himself doing in 5 years. Encourage him to try an online career test. Whatever it is, Nate needs to take the lead on what Nate is going to pursue. My concern is that simply helping Nate find a career isn’t the answer. I’m very much over the millennials narrative, but when the shoe fits we must wear it. Nate needs to find his own way. He must also know that while work can sometimes be fun and easy, it can also be boring and tedious.
-Dr. Ryan