Dear Dr. Laura,
When I met my wife-to-be I was in graduate school with my sights set on a teaching career. I had about a year and a half left until I earned my Master's degree, and I intended to apply to get my Ph.D. to learn medieval Japanese history. She asked me how long I expected that to take, and I estimated about 8 years. She replied, "If you expect me to wait 8 years for you, you're crazy!"
Her response changed the direction of my career path. As my MA program drew to a close I searched for teaching jobs at local junior colleges. Much to my dismay, I learned that it would be nigh impossible for me to support a family as a new teacher here in sunny So' Cal'. I did not want my wife to work, and she certainly had her mind fixed on raising our future children.
A guest at our wedding rehearsal dinner (my wife's friend's husband) suggested I try my hand at selling cars since I liked and knew quite a bit about them. It would pay far better than 4 part-time jobs going between junior college campuses around here, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I consulted my bride, and she said she would allow me to try even though she did not have a high view of car sales or salesmen. She said that if it changed me in any way I'd have to agree to quit. I did agree, and I have not had to quit. It has been possible to remain honest and not fall into the mold of "slick" salesman.
For the past 12 years I have been selling cars and am now the fleet manager at my dealership. My wife stays home and home-schools our older daughter while our younger one goes to first grade at the local public school. Had I stuck to my original career plans I may have ended up with my doctorate in an obscure field (probably while remaining single). Instead I am married to a wonderful woman and we have two happy, good girls. My wife tells me I can get my Ph.D. when I retire in 20 years.