Tips for working with your recruiter #5: Be frank about how your spouse’s/partner’s career relates to your own

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Long gone are the days when the man was the “principal breadwinner” of the family, completely at the mercy of the company with respect to location (and relocation), with wife and children tagging along for the ride.

This model of things is obsolete in two ways. First, people express a lot more autonomy in their careers than they used to do. They will often switch companies if they don’t want to relocate. Second, dual-career households are now the norm, and there is a greater variety in the types of households as well.

For this reason, any career change on the part of one spouse or partner needs to be discussed with the other, since both careers are important. Here are some issues that can arise:

  • One spouse/partner is willing to relocate, whereas the other spouse/partner is not.
  • One spouse/partner may be willing to take a pay cut for a dream career, and the weight of household finances would fall more heavily on the other.
  • The schedule of the new career (e.g., moving from a flexible job to a 9-to-5) may negatively impact the schedule of the other spouse/partner (e.g., time spent together, vacation time, etc.) or the children (e.g., school pickup time, extracurricular activities, etc.).

Relocation is a common deal breaker: one spouse/partner is offered a great job in another geographic area, but moving would have a negative impact on the career of the other. It may even be that the other spouse is excited about the location itself but is unwilling to give up his or her current career.

The other common deal breaker is the situation in which one spouse or partner has a flexible schedule and spends more time taking care of the children. If he or she gets an offer that requires more time spent at the office and a more rigid schedule overall, then the couple may find that they don’t want to put their children in daycare because of cost or other reasons.

It is therefore best to discuss with your spouse/partner at the beginning of a job search how a career move could impact his or her own career. Then, the conclusions you reach should be communicated to your recruiter. This will allow your recruiter to steer away from opportunities that would not work for you while focusing on those that could.

The Key Corporate Services Blog Team