CAT – “Convincing My Spouse I Should Accept My New Job”

March 15, 2011

Dear Infosecleaders:

It appears that my work life and my home life have officially collided.  

I am an information security professional by trade and have been working in my field for close to 8 years.   I am also happily married, we have a daughter – and have a very good relationship with my spouse, who also has a career.  I am a little further advanced in my career than my spouse is – however my spouse has more traditional education. 

My issue is this, I have been offered an external opportunity that really moves me closer to my long term career goal as a CISO, and my spouse does not want me to take the job.   The reason given is that my spouse believes that I will be required to work more hours, travel a little more (about 10%), and have more stress.   

My spouse’s lack of support is a very big setback.

I know that the opportunity is not without downside risk, but it is the job that I need to advance my career and it is with a company that I feel very good about joining.  The job does pay more money – but it does require more time and sacrifice.  I do not think that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity –but I do believe it is a real career accelerator.

Can you help me convince my spouse to support my decision?


“Two Worlds Colliding”

Dear TWC:

This is the first time that we have been called on for some marriage therapy – so please understand that we do not claim to be experts in this area.   

Our initial thought is very simple; it is much easier to find a good information security opportunity, than it is to find a good life partner/spouse.

This being said, I think that your question lies in the extent of sacrifice that you are willing to take to achieve your long term career goals.  It is clear that you personally understand what is necessary to be successful in your career pursuits and are willing to go after them, however your spouse does not seem to share your willingness to sacrifice.

What you may or may not realize that in a committed relationsip, sacrifice is shared and collective.

One thing that you mentioned is that your spouse also has a career, and just like your career is valuable to you – your spouse’s career is valuable to them.  Your spouse may think that the extra commitment that you have in your role, may detract from their ability to maximize their career goals and aspirations.  It could also be that they feel that you will have additional responsibilities – and the burden of the home front will fall on their shoulders.

The problem that you are dealing with is a situation that many dual income families have to deal with, when they are balancing both of their careers and their parental and marital responsibilities.  

The best advice that we can give you is to talk things through with your spouse and appeal to them on a very personal  level and explain to them why the job is important and critical.  You may also provide your spouse with some recourse if the job does change your home life, and commit that you will find another role if this new position affects your relationship with each other and your child.  

In the end, if your spouse objects strongly, and provides you with logic that you can live with, then I would respect their opinion, and turn down the opportunity.  However, before you do, you should ask your spouse to provide you with acceptable criteria that you can apply to a future job search.

This way, you will have their buy in and support from the beginning.

 Hope this helps,

 Mike and Lee

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Behavior, Career Advice Tuesday, Personal, Planning, Position Selection, Uncategorized 


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