Dual Career Challenges
T is exploring career options – the timeline and path are both still uncertain, but we’ve been having some interesting conversations about our future plans.
After so many years of his training/education, I admit that I’m a little impatient. “I’m tired of making all the money,” I said in conversation the other day. That is a really not-true statement – we both know that he makes enough to support himself with some savings. Still, my savings and earnings easily double his, and it’s hard, because his skills and his brilliance probably double mine. (We’re in relatively similar fields.) He is a little impatient too, but you can’t rush these things.
There is one mostly certain path where he could find a job fairly quickly and easily make $100k+. Then there are a bunch of other paths where he could make anywhere from $60k and up, with slower salary growth initially, and maybe more potential overall… and eventually, a much more flexible lifestyle and quite quite good salary. (Eventually. Ideally.) And work he would enjoy MORE – but he’d probably be quite happy on either path. I’ve put some stipulations on what career paths I consider realistic options. Moving to a small town with no job opportunities for my career is a no-go, but I’m trying to be open to most other options.
I’m exploring my feelings about our career paths, and how our two careers will be managed through our lives. For example, he has a potential opportunity to work in Switzerland for 1-2 years. I could probably find a way to continue my career there, but it would certainly be most productive for me to build my career here. What would it mean to alter my career plans for his? What will we do when we have kids? Does he understand what I’m sacrificing if we choose certain options? What can we do to protect me? T’s always been there for me, but financially, I’ve been taking care of myself for quite some time. How would I feel if that were no longer true?
Do I want to climb the corporate ladders and make the sacrifices that come with that? Is he willing to make sacrifices to help me do this? Can we both have high powered careers without losing out on the other things in life? What is it that I really want out of my career?
Clearly, I have more questions than answers, and that probably will continue to be true for awhile.
It seems in a lot of marriages, the wife’s career takes a backseat. This is somewhat due to traditional and cultural norms… but also because woman are the ones who must physically birth children (if children are involved). Women traditionally are the ones who do the bulk of the child-rearing, and more often than not, the stay at home parent is a woman. But let’s leave children out of the discussion for the immediate future – it still isn’t all that simple!
In an ideal world, both careers would be weighed equally. But can that possibly work? How do you all manage your careers with your spouse/partners? If you had to choose, would you rather be the leading spouse or the trailing spouse?