The challenges facing dual-career couples


POST (1) The challenges facing dual-career couples, particularly those aiming for academic positions, are great. While belt-tightening at universities is making extra money for spousal appointments hard to find, dual careers have become both a personal goal and an economic necessity for many couples, particularly in high-cost regions such as New York, Boston or the San Francisco Bay Area (Crawford, Thompson & Ashforth, 2018). But there is hope. With hard work, good luck, clear goals, patience and a willingness to compromise, success is possible, say psychologists who have made their own dual-career relationships work. And although the academic job market remains intensely competitive, institutions of higher education are increasingly recognizing that providing support for employees in dual-career relationships-who now comprise about 80 percent of the faculty at American universities-can help them meet their own recruitment goals (Crawford et al., 2018). The most common advice for dual-career couples is perhaps the least comforting for graduate students already anticipating a difficult job search. Work hard and build up your vita, experts say, so that you are as attractive as possible to potential employers. Flexibility is key. In the tight academic job market, it is rare for two appropriate positions to open up simultaneously at the same university. As Prieto points out, only a handful of faculty positions in counseling psychology are available each year across the United States. So if you are committed to an academic career, geographical mobility is a must. Staggering your careers by a year or two can also help. Jen Kogos Youngstrom, PhD, and Eric A. Youngstrom, PhD, met in college and attended graduate school at the University of Delaware together, even working in the same laboratory. But because Jen began graduate school a year earlier than Eric, they avoided competing for the same graduate positions, internships and postdocs. During Eric’s last year at Delaware, Jen was able to find an internship within driving distance of the university; when he graduated and found an internship in Pittsburgh, she found a postdoc at the same institution (Mohan & Chakravorty, 2017). The more different your interests and skills are, the easier the job search is likely to be. While Eric was committed to finding an academic position, for instance, Jen was interested in clinical research and training. Now he teaches in the psychology department at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, while she conducts research and directs the APA-accredited internship program at Applewood Centers, a large community mental health center for children and adolescents in Cleveland. Even when both members of a couple desire an academic position, as in the case of Prieto and Scheel, diversity of interests and skills is important. Part of the reason Scheel and Prieto were able to find jobs in the same department is that Scheel studies suicide prevention in university counseling centers while Prieto focuses on clinical training and assessment (Mohan et al., 2017). As the heads of their respective search committees pointed out to them, it was their independent professional qualifications, not the fact that they were married, that got them their jobs.

POST(2) Topic 1: What do you believe are the advantages and disadvantages of various work styles for employers and employees? Think temporary work, job sharing, telecommuting, and home-based work. Flexible scheduling has to be the best idea that has come to be from temporary work, job sharing, telecommuting, and home-based work. There are way more advantages than disadvantages. The advantage that I feel is the most important is that you are able to spend time with your family and/or friends. For those who have children, you are able to take them to doctors appointments or able to take them to their extracurricular activities. Torpey (2007) explains that many people want a job that can better match their lives. In other words, a job that works with their lifestyle needs rather than succumbing it, is an ideal job that people are searching for. It may be the idea that someone is searching for or finding a way to make their current job more flexible (Tropey, 2007). Honestly, who would not love to be able to work and have leisure time? When I first started college, I was working two full time jobs. I knew I needed to adjust something to make time for college, though still work enough to make ends meet. Luckily, the managers understand how important school is for me and they adjust their hours to fit my needs as long as I let them know a few weeks ahead of time. I have been doing this for years and even though it is not as flexible as I would like it, it still is working out better than having to chose work over school. When trying to make a job more flexible, it could bring some disadvantages with it. The main disadvantage I noticed is that when flexibility is not an option, then the options are to find a new job or deal with the lack of freedom. Torpey (2007) explains that employers look for candidates who are qualified and whose main focus is work, not flexibility. This means that they are hiring the person based on their skills and knowledge, putting their time limitations on the back burner, so to say. For example, if a person sees a temporary job, they cannot come right out and say, “oh I need to have only three hours a day, six days a week.” Most likely, the employer wants to hire a person based on the company needs, and then possibly in the future flexibility can add. If you have two potential employees, one who has open availability with no college experience, and the other is an undergraduate with very limited hours, most likely the open availability one would be hired. It would be based on that there is much time to be spent working, therefore possibly having them gain experience and training along the way. Even though there are some disadvantages to finding flexibility in jobs or careers, I find it very pleasing when it finally comes around to it.