Changing Jobs: Navigating a Job Change as a Couple

When one of you feels the need to change jobs—or for some, change careers—it can be unsettling. After all, you may have already fallen into a predictable, comfortable routine as a married couple. This includes not just your daily schedule, but also, perhaps most especially, your monthly income and expenses.

A few years ago, I was working with a big multinational company. I enjoyed the job, but after a while, I felt that it was time to move on to something else. Admittedly, my monthly salary from that job had contributed a lot to our monthly needs. That was partly why it took a bit of discussing, planning, and adjusting, before I was able to take the plunge and resign.

Of course, a job change doesn’t always equate to less finances. Other times, one of you may be moving to a job that pays more, but demands more time. Whatever the case, changing jobs will always result in change for both of you as a couple.

Having an idea of whether the job change will be long term or not can help you decide whether the time demands or adjustments are worth it.
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5 Things to Consider When You or Your Spouse Changes Jobs

Here are some of the most important things to consider in navigating the change that comes from switching jobs:

1. Is the new job ready? Or is one of you resigning to look for a new job?

Sometimes, you might decide to quit your job because you have something better waiting for you. In cases like that, your finances may not take such a direct hit, and instead you will need to adjust in other ways, such as in terms of work hours or responsibilities.

But if you or your spouse decides to quit your current job without anything else yet on the horizon, it can be a little trickier. Make sure that you keep communication lines open, so whoever is holding the fort understands why the change needs to take place. Maybe the workplace has become too stressful or toxic. Or maybe the resigning spouse is longing for something that the current job could not give.

2. Where will the new workplace be?

When you change jobs, chances are, the workplace address also changes, unless of course you’re moving to a different company in the same building!

Discuss the transition with your spouse, because it may affect things like who has the car when, or what time you need to leave the house or what time you can have dinner together, or whether you can meet halfway for lunch during office days.

3. What will the new working hours and responsibilities be?

Perhaps one of the things that will have the most impact on your marriage and family life is the new work hours and responsbilities associated with your new job.

For example, if your previous job was a fixed 8 to 5 position, and the new one pays a lot more but expects you to stay at the office until 7pm, it will definitely affect your time at home. Or, if the new job requires greater responsibility, such as being on call during evenings or weekends, it has to be something that you and your spouse both agree to. Or else, if will cause a lot of friction!

4. What are your dreams or goals for the new position?

A new job isn’t just about the money, although it’s good to discuss beforehand what you and your spouse intend to do with any added income so that you don’t waste it. But a lot of the time, people switch jobs not only for the salary but also for intangible things like achievement, quality of life, or influence.

When transitioning to a new job, it will be very helpful to discuss your dreams and goals with your spouse. That way, you’re on the same page as to what you would like to see happen. For example, if you foresee your new job to be an opportunity to mentor the members of your team, your spouse needs to be on board so there’s no misunderstanding when you decide to bring them all home for dinner!

5. How long do you foresee to be in that job?

Is it a transitionary job just to get through a tough financial situation, or is it something you see yourself working at for the long term? We can’t always tell right away how long we will stay with a given company, but there are times when we have to make do with a temporary arrangement just for a season.

Why is this important? Having an idea of whether this will be long term or not can help you decide whether the time demands or adjustments are worth it. For example, if it demands a 60 hour workweek, but it’s only for a one-month stint, it’s more manageable and acceptable, compared to a long-term position requiring the same number of hours per week!

Transitioning Jobs Affects Marriage

When a spouse changes jobs, it inadvertently affects not only himself or herself, but also the husband or wife. As we like to say, any change affecting your spouse affects you. This is because married couples need to make time for each other and for the children.

That’s why, when any change comes to you or your spouse, we highly recommend you to be as intentional as you can about discussing and planning for the changes. This helps you set expectations and understand each other better, so that you can go through the transition stronger together than ever.

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