Guest Author - Dianne Walker
If you are married or have a significant other, career changes are no longer about you. This is especially true in relationships when the household is a two-income family. So what happens when you decide that you want to change careers? Not just jobs, but a total career change? It should not be considered “unusual” for your partner to be concerned about how a complete career change could affect the stability of the family whether it’s finances, family time or some other concern. So how should you go about discussing a possible career change?
Build a foundation for the conversation. If you spring the topic about changing careers out of the blue, you may be in for a lot of resistance. Start the conversation early. If you’re unhappy at work, discuss it with your partner. Don’t only discuss the problems, introduce solutions for a happier you. What are some of the possible options for work happiness besides simply a new job? A total change in careers. Slowly introduce the idea rather than jumping on it with both feet.
Practice the discussion. Find a trusted friend who knows both you and your significant other and practice. At the absolute minimum, practice in front of a mirror. Delivery is half the battle.
Be ready with answers. Most partners will have a lot of questions concerning, what they believe to be a really drastic step. Brainstorm on potential objections your partner could possibly have. Definitely have answers prepared regarding benefits and salary. Will there be any changes needed to health insurance? Be able to discuss factors such as the possibility of advancement and other increased responsibilities. Talk about your current stress level or dissatisfaction with your current career. Studies show if you’re happy at work, you will be even happier at home.
If you have a family or significant other, a career change is no longer just about you. Even before you have the conversation, you will need to decide what type of action you will take if your partner is vehemently against your changing careers. If you decide to go through with the change no matter what, you may be able to win them over later when they see positive results. If the ultimate decision is not to change if your partner is not on board with the decision, be sure it's something you can live with without resentment.
Either way, a career change can be a major move with great impact. Getting the “buy-in” from your significant other may just be the first step in career change success.