Expert Help for Dual-Career Spouses

By Frazee, Valerie | Workforce, March 1999 | Go to article overview

Expert Help for Dual-Career Spouses


Frazee, Valerie, Workforce


A poorly adjusted family is bad odds for a successful global assignment. So when you encounter a spouse who takes his or her career seriously, you know you have some work to do.

It used to be so easy. The spouse (a.k.a. "wife") obligingly played the agreeable hostess to her husband's business social functions and kept herself busy by taking care of her family and their home. But now, as the social climate in America shifts, there are more and more two-income families.

Chances are if you have employees working placed on international assignments, you've already learned about the importance of culture training and language lessons. You probably have a global relocation policy that incorporates occasional visits back home. You may even have a destination service that's ready to show your expat families around. And in spite of all of this, every once in a while you have a disillusioned family return early. The reason could be that you're not handling your accompanying spouses any differently than their nonworking predecessors.

GLOBAL WORKFORCE assembled a team of experts to help you grapple with this issue. And after animated discussion, three key suggestions surfaced that will help you head off problems before they bring your overseas project to a screeching halt. Our global round table consisted of:

Noel Kreicker, president of International Orientation Resources, based in Northbrook, Illinois.

Bonnie Michaels, president of Managing Work & Family Inc. based in Evanston, Illinois.

Rebecca Rolfes, managing editor of Imagination Publishing based in Chicago and former accompanying spouse of 12 years.

Carrie Shearer, manager of global compensation for Caltex Petroleum Corp. based in Dallas.

Chuck Steel, manager of expatriate administration for ALLTEL, based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Marian Stoltz-Loike, Ph.D., vice president and director of cross-cultural and intercultural programs for Windham International based in New York City.

Collect firsthand information.

It only makes sense. The less your expat couples know about a particular destination country and its culture, the more difficult it will be for them to anticipate the questions they'll have when they arrive. And the more unanswered questions they have, the more unsettled-and unsure-they'll feel when they finally get there.

Sure, a house-hunting trip is a start-but even that isn't a real-life experience. It doesn't help when the spouse has relocated with the intention of starting a business from home, only to learn that the permit he'll need won't be available to him; or the certification she'll need is only awarded after passing an exam-in Thai.

What your expats and their spouses need is the inside scoop-and preferably straight from other expat couples who have lived in the same location. Bonnie Michaels explained: "The well-meaning HR manager will give 10 really great ideas of what the spouse can do, and none of them will work because they don't exist in that country. I would suggest to HR managers that they interview expatriate spouses who have already gone over and come back-because they're the ones with the wealth of information."

Michaels also suggested trying to get your hands on realistic case studies, with an eye for country-specific issues. Try calling HR managers at other multinational companies. Even ask if you can talk with some of their expats-especially if you don't have employees of your own who have been there. Arrange for your employee's accompanying spouse to meet with an accompanying spouse of a dual-career couple during the house-hunting trip.

And seek out a global relocation consulting company that has specialized knowledge in the country you're interested in. Just remember: You can't talk to too many people. You may discover it's easier to gain employment in the Far East because there are more jobs than there are qualified people. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Expert Help for Dual-Career Spouses
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.