The problem with being married to a politician or someone who has political ambitions is at some point you may have to give up your own career so as to avoid possible “ethical conflicts.”
In 2004, Maria Shriver asked to be let out of her NBC contract because she felt that she could no longer perform her job as a journalist and maintain her new position as the First Lady of California without somehow entangling the two. She also, although being on the other side of the political spectrum of her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, wanted to devote more time to her husband’s ambitions and administration.
While there’s a lot to be said for anyone who would give up their career for that of their spouse, one thing is for sure, it’s definitely not selfish. In fact, it’s one of the most selfless things a person can choose to do. When the Schwarzenegger scandal broke earlier this year and Shriver’s world came tumbling down, one couldn’t help but ask: “Was it worth it?” Is it ever worth giving up your career for the sake of someone else?
Following in the steps of Shriver is Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz. After almost 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Schultz announced this morning that she was resigning from her position so her husband, Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, can seek another term.
In 2006, Schultz took a leave absence from the paper when her husband then ran for Senate. Her reason for doing so was that no matter what she wrote about, she may be accused of taking her husband’s side, and in not being able to write about politics, her topics were going to be limited. She then joined her husband on his campaign across the state of Ohio and shortly thereafter published …and His Lovely Wife, about her experiences.
Now five years later, Schultz is calling it quits for good citing that it had become “painfully clear,” that there would indeed be a conflict of interest if she were to continue to write the for the paper that would be covering her husband’s campaign.
Although Schultz isn’t giving up writing entirely–she is writing another book–she is giving up something. Eighteen years is a long to be in a position and to have garnered a devoted readership. That’s a large percentage of one’s life.
Perhaps, not every politician is like Anthony Weiner or Schwarzenegger, nor is every husband, or wife for that matter, going to cheat on their “lovely” spouse, but one has to consider is it ever worth it to give up your career for someone who, in the end, might betray you? Humans are flawed, granted gorgeously so, but flawed just the same. Nothing is set in stone and there are no guarantees. I just wonder how long these women took to make these decisions before giving up such an essential part of them. And if it does backfire, will they be able to look themselves in the mirror and convince themselves it was, indeed, worth it.