Career Bucket List -- Spouse Conversation

Career bucket list spouse conversation


It has been observed by people in management and career counseling that many, perhaps most, people don’t have discussions about career planning with their spouse or partner. The annual meeting to build a development or career plan at work goes by without any discussion at home. Your partner may be unaware of your career goals and aspirations are.

This often creates issues as one person’s hopes and wishes are in conflict with the partner’s expectations.  For example, one person’s desire for advancement (”I need to stay late at the office to get the visibility I need for that promotion I want”) may be misconstrued (”She’s never home to help get dinner for the kids.”)

The career bucket list is a good tool for starting a career conversation. When your partner knows the items on your list, it helps them understand your behaviors more easily. Importantly, your partner can support you better if they know what you are trying to achieve. Ideally, your bucket lists mutually complement each other. Perhaps your desire to run your own business fits perfectly with your spouse’s art and design skills, as one example.

You’ll also want to consider and reflect on your goals and dreams if there are conflicts — which can be major over the course of two careers. One person’s dream for getting tenure at a university may be difficult to reconcile with a partner’s desire to move to corporate headquarters, for example.

Dale Rebhorn

Dale Rebhorn

Dale Rebhorn is a teacher and student of leadership.
Madison, Wisconsin, USA