In Season 9, Jim and Pam have a fight – or really an argument – that stuns the audience. This fairytale romance suddenly seems not so much like a fairytale.
Essentially, Pam has a phone conversation with Jim that leaves her in tears. There are many decisions that ultimately led to this fight – including Jim going behind Pam’s back for a business venture – but in this post, I want to talk about another decision that led to the fight: Jim’s decision to not put too much thought into his career ambitions while he is crushing on Pam.
Jim’s Obsession with Pam
Throughout the first two seasons, Jim is almost completely focused on Pam. He appears to have no other strong aspirations in life, and certainly not career-related ones. His desire to date Pam (and prank Dwight) consumes so much of his energy that he isn’t thinking about other aspects of his future.
For example, he isn’t thinking about other things he is passionate about and determining how he can focus on them more. This probably would have been a good idea because then he wouldn’t be so depressed that Pam is with Roy.
Another reason it would have been a good idea to pursue other passions during this time in his life is because unmarried, childless people often have the most time and money to do whatever they want with their lives. In other words, this is the time to invest money in hobbies or start that business you’ve always been wanting to start.
(I realize this may not be true for many Millennials today as the cost of college and the cost of living has risen, but regardless, you have more free time now than you will when you have kids.)
Anyway, if you have an abundance of time and money during this time in your life, it will slowly melt away as soon as you get engaged. While, there are ways to minimize this time and money drain, eventually you may have kids and all bets are off.
This is how Jim found himself pursuing ambitious career goals during the period of life least conducive to it: while you have young children.
It’s not like he didn’t ever try to distract himself from Pam. His career move in Season 3 was a good decision, but this ended up turning into more of a romantic distraction when he started dating Karen. This continued to stall him in his career ambitions.
Reasons to Pursue Your Dreams Early in Life
Everybody has dreams, whether they are career-related or hobby-related. Even if you can think of a thousand reasons not to launch that blog or open that Etsy shop, here’s one big reason to do it: you may one day get the irresistible urge to do these things, and by then, it may be too late (i.e., you will have kids.)
I’m not saying you can’t pursue your dreams anyway, but it will be ten times more difficult, and your spouse and kids may not get as much of your attention. In contrast, if you had gotten the launching work out of the way before kids, you’d be in the flow of the business, which often is less time-consuming than the initial grunt work.
If you establish this flow early in life, your future spouse will have more realistic expectations about your availability and won’t have a rude awakening when they realize they will have to spend more time raising the kids than you do. In other words, they will know what they are signing up for when they marry you.
Pam is a good example of pursuing your dreams early. She went to art school while she was dating Jim. She mentions how there is no better time to do it because she may someday have kids.
However, even Pam idolizes romance a little too much. She ends up quitting art school because she misses Jim. For more about this questionable decision, read my post, Is Pam Beesly a Good Role Model?
Pursuing My Dreams
I recently married a very loving and supportive man. However, throughout the dating phase, I made the mistake of not focusing on my hobbies much.
To remedy this, I decided to focus more on myself when I returned from our honeymoon. I joined a yoga studio, started some Meetup groups and got this crazy idea: starting a business focused on The Office.
I know I have to work fast to get this business off the ground because we’re thinking about starting a family soon, and I don’t want to be in the launching phase during the newborn phase. I want to be able to give my kids as much attention as possible because I have a very nurturing personality (maybe a little too nurturing – my cat is super spoiled).
While I do love nurturing others, I also love writing and marketing. Fortunately, I’m not trying to turn a profit but just have fun. This business, once established, is a reasonable hobby to pursue while raising kids, and even if it falls off for a few months here and there, I will at least be happy that I launched it and pursued my dream. I can check off that box, and I don’t have to worry about an entrepreneurial itch suddenly popping up during the newborn phase.
Finding Yourself and Loving Yourself
I almost made the same mistake as Jim, but fortunately, I found myself before it was too late.
While fighting with my husband is inevitable, I hope I’m at least protecting against the feeling of regret that happens when you look back on your life and realize you never took full advantage of your special skill or passion.
You don’t have to start a successful business, or even start a business at all, but you should at least dedicate time to nurturing that skill and not letting it fall to the wayside for years on end while you nurture a new relationship.
If Jim could give one piece of advice to people planning to have kids, I bet it would be find yourself and do it soon.
The Office didn’t teach me this lesson. I just sort of had this intuition that something was missing in my life. However, watching Jim and Pam fight confirmed my suspicions that I need to find myself now rather than later.
What are Your Thoughts?
If you have some thoughts about Jim and Pam’s fight, please share them in the comments below!