By Mandi Bierly
Updated February 18, 2010 at 11:39 PM EST
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Ali Fedotowsky, who chose her job over continuing the “journey” with Bachelor Jake (and three other women), took time off from work today to address the rumors that she’ll be asked to be the next Bachelorette. On a conference call with reporters, she said, “I’m flattered, and I really feel great that people think that ABC would consider me for such a wonderful opportunity.” But knowing that she’d be asked to make that difficult choice again, “I would definitely have to think about it.” Pressed further, she said, “The idea of being put in another situation where I’d have to choose love over work is very frightening for me. It’s terrifying… On the other note, I feel like if given this opportunity, that would be so exciting.” So if she had to make that decision today? “Right now, I’m leaning toward if I was asked… I would challenge myself to put love first. I hope I’d make that choice. We’ll have to see.”

Okay, let’s recap what happened with Ali on the show and explain why we think she should say no if asked to be the Bachelorette.

Ali said right after her hometown date, she was able to check in with her work manager (with one of the show’s producers supervising) and found out that she would need to finalize her leave-of-absence paperwork since she’d be gone longer. Because she hadn’t been at her job a year, she wasn’t eligible for a leave of absence. She didn’t find out until about two hours before the rose ceremony that they definitely would not make an exception for her. She was able to phone her mother, and asked if it was okay if she stayed, lost her job, and didn’t end up with Jake. “She said to me… ‘I saw you guys together, he loves you. I think you’re great. I think you should stay. You should follow your heart’…. So my own mother told me to stay.” When she got back to work, her employer saw how much Jake meant to her and wanted to be supportive, so she was granted the leave of absence then — which meant she couldn’t not come back to work if she returned to the show, but they didn’t have to have a job waiting for her. It was after signing that paperwork that she called Jake and asked to return. His relationship with the other three women had already progressed (read: fantasy suite), so he said it wasn’t a good idea. Today, Ali said she feels like having her focus be on work and not her personal life is why she’s still single, and that she needs to believe in herself. (Since the show, her mother has sent her a rock with the word “Believe” on it that she keeps on her desk at work.) Ali thinks it’s time to shift her priorities.

Here’s the thing: Choosing love over work doesn’t have to mean quitting your job in San Francisco so you can go film a reality show in Malibu. To quote my colleague Jennifer Armstrong, “This was not her LAST CHANCE AT LOVE EVER. This was her being almost startlingly intelligent by reality show standards and realizing that this man was still ‘dating’ three other women and HE COULDN’T TELL HER SHE WAS THE ONE. To think for a week I actually lived in a dream world where a woman could come to her senses and see that her lifelong career was worth choosing over reality-show ‘love’ with a man who says things like ‘it’s about heart appeal’ for whom she already ruined very nice boots. Ugh.” Choosing love over work means when you have a choice to go out and meet new people after work or stay at your desk until 9 p.m. every night, you go out. That way, you’re still being true to the career you so clearly value (or you would keep your “Believe” rock in your home instead of your office), and you can meet a man who would actually fit into your life.

I suppose you could argue that if Ali’s company would agree to a leave of absence again, and the men knew they’d be the ones relocating, there’d be no harm in her doing the show… But it would break my heart, as a 34-year-old singleton, to think that the only way a working girl can find love is if she takes a leave of absence and dedicates 100 percent of her time to hunting for a mate. Is the choice really all or nothing? (I’m seriously asking that question. I’ve been conscious of the “go out” plan for four years now and haven’t mastered it. Do I need to go on a reality show or quit my job and move to the country like every romantic comedy seems to encourage?)

So, here’s where we stand: Should Ali be asked to be the next Bachelorette? If you say no, who should it be? If you say yes, are you sure you really want her to say yes?

P.S. Ali said being the Bachelorette might be difficult for her: She’s never met a man and been attracted to him right away. She likes to spend time with him and become attracted to his mind rather than his first impression. “I don’t know how good I would be because I might be just, like, drilling everyone,” she said, laughing.

P.P.S. If she does become the Bachelorette, southern gentlemen should apply. She likes you.

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Photo credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

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The Bachelor

Chris Harrison hosts the romance reality competition series in which a gaggle of women vie for the Bachelor’s heart — and a wedding proposal. Will you accept this rose?

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