How to Talk to Your Partner About Decisions in Your Career

Posted May 8, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

Countless times in our careers, we will reach a crossroads – a point where we must choose which path to take. Perhaps there is an opportunity to move to a new company, or a new job within your current company, to change industries, to embark on a journey of entrepreneurship, to become a stay-at-home parent, or any number of other monumental decisions you will make in the course of your career. In those crossroads moments, you will turn to those closest to you to aid in your decision – close colleagues perhaps, or friends and family. If you’re in a committed relationship, though, you know that your decisions don’t just affect your life. They affect your partner’s life as well. How, then, do you effectively communicate with your partner regarding changes or moves in your career?

Recently, one of my favorite blogs for women in business, The Glass Hammer published an article addressing exactly this problem called, “How to Talk about a Risky Career Move with Your Partner.” And anyone facing a big move or decision in their career should absolutely read it.

In addition to the article from The Glass Hammer, also consider the following:

  • Think Globally, Not Locally. When considering a big move in your career, it’s easy to think about the additional salary you could have in your paycheck in just a few weeks, or the better office, swankier expense account, etc. But all of those things are really “local” if you think hard about them. This is not the time to think locally. Think “globally” when considering big changes – in the global sphere of your life, how will this change affect you 10, 20, 30 years down the road? Will it? How will it affect your family, your friends, your time? All of those questions are larger global indicators.
  • Set a “Talk Time.” When it comes to your job and especially a big decision, it may be that you want to talk about it RIGHT NOW! Don’t. It may be best to give your partner a few hours or even days to think through their side of the opportunity before having a strong and rational conversation about it. Tell them about the situation, give them time to think it through, and set a specific time to sit down and talk it through, hopefully coming out of the conversation with a decision.
  • Don’t jump the gun. When my husband and I moved to Chicago for a phenomenal job opportunity for him, he went all the way through the interview process before we really discussed whether or not it was right to make the move. It wasn’t logical to talk it to death before we even knew there was an offer on the table. It’s best to wait to have any deep diving discussions about your future until you know something is solid. Then you can make the decision with the best information in front of you, not “what if’s” and speculation.

Read the article over at Glass Hammer, and above all, the most important thing is to involve your partner in your decision. You may be the person running the race in your career, but they have to stand with you as you do.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."