Transitions can be stressful. Moving from the classroom to the workplace is a time of great personal and professional transition. Many students are navigating this transition with a partner and couples are making career decisions simultaneously. Navigating the job search with a partner can bring up a range of emotions. Frustration and fear may be part of the process. It can also be an adventure, starting over and getting to experience a new place together. Below are a few tips to help you and your partner work through your career search and transition:
Discuss your career-related values. What is most important to you? What do you most want to get out of your work? Flexibility or stability? Prestige? Upward mobility? Personal fulfillment? It isn’t necessarily a problem if your priorities don’t align perfectly with your partner but it is important that couples realize and honor their different perspectives.
Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? Chart out your next 10 years in a lifeline. What events do you want to happen? What goals do you want to achieve? Share your lifeline with your partner and discuss areas where you are the same and areas that may be different. For example, conflict can naturally arise if one partner highly values proximity to family and therefore expects to move back to his or her hometown, while the other partner anticipates a career with frequent relocations.
Practice open communication. The job search and relocation process can be a difficult transition. Share frustrations, reactions and feelings openly with one another. Provide support to each other and be sure to listen to your partner.
Schedule time to focus on your relationship: Moving and starting a career can overwhelm your time. Schedule time to spend with your partner for a date night, make time for fun.
Meet with a UCS counselor. A career counselor can help you prepare for and navigate your search individually or as a couple. If you are relocating, consider including a statement in your cover letter indicating your intention. “Please note that I will be relocating to Chicago in July 2015. Your sales manager position presents the precise challenge that I am seeking, and I would welcome the chance to discuss this opportunity with you.” Schedule an appointment online.