Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Job Relocations Present Troubling Dilemma for Dual-Career

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Job Relocations Present Troubling Dilemma for Dual-Career

Article excerpt

The scenario of the past three decades in which a wife dutifully followed her executive husband from city to city as he climbed the corporate ladder has become history. In 55 percent of all marriages today both husband and wife work, and a fifth of all "trailing spouses" in a job transfer are now husbands.

In addition, the dual-career family of the '90s faces a troubling dilemma. In many cases the on-going downsizing and restructuring of businesses in the United States have required that employees move not to advance their careers but to save their jobs.

The dual-career family must assess all long-term effects location could have on the careers of both spouses. If, for instance, the husband, a midlevel manager in a large corporation, has been transferred and his wife has just been made a partner in a prestigious law firm, the decision of relocation becomes a complex one. The husband obviously is well-respected in his company since he has been transferred, not terminated, and the wife has reached a pinnacle in her career. In this case, it might be easier for the husband to find a new job than for the wife to achieve partnership in a law firm in a different city.

Fewer spouses today believe that they should move to preserve or advance their partner's career at the expense of their own. Many large corporations such as Exxon, Grace Energy Corp., The Dow Chemical Co. and Pepsico Inc. provide spouse relocation programs which reduce the trauma and conflict in deciding which spouse relinquishes his job.

These companies recognize the extraordinary management talent that dual-career couples possess and they retain outplacement firms to make the transition less painful for families moving to a new city. Outplacement firms which provide spouse-relocation programs offer assistance with networking techniques, resume preparation, interviewing skills, job market information, library resources and the location of volunteer and community groups in a new city.

When faced with a job relocation, the dual-career couple must agree that the sacrifices required are mutually beneficial to both and that one partner is not being martyred at the expense of the other. …

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