Discussing Career Changes with your Partner

A career change can be an exciting time for anybody. Thinking about the opportunities, lifestyle upgrades, and just how awesome it’s going to be to do something different is exhilarating. However, as positive as you may be about changing careers, your partner may feel differently.

Photo by cottonbro

 

A Career Change is a Big Deal

Give yourself huge props. Even if you’re still weighing your options, hopefully, you’re heading into something that inspires more passion, purpose, and enjoyment in your life. Keep in mind, though, that a career change is a big deal not just for you, but for your partner as well.

If you decide to move forward with a career change, it could require minor adjustments or huge compromises from your partner, both of which can cause a strain on your relationship. And when your relationship is strained, that stress can spill into other parts of your life, taking away your sense of fulfillment.

Ensuring that you and your partner’s career goals are compatible is one of the most crucial conversations to have, especially if you’re working toward marriage.

If your partner doesn’t support a career change, but you move forward with it anyway, it may negatively affect your relationship over time. On the other hand, if you and your partner are on board with the career change, a thorough discussion about it can ensure your relationship is prepared for the transition.

 

How Do You Decide if a Career Change is the Right Move?

Before you talk with your partner about a career change, you need to know if you’re really serious about changing careers.

 

Clear your mind 

This isn’t a choice you want your anxiety, stress, or negative thoughts to make. Just thinking about changing careers can be extremely anxiety-provoking. You want to make sure your mind and body are relaxed and in a good place before you make a decision.

Intentional self-care can help keep anxiety, stress, and negative thoughts under control. It’s essential to be intentional about the kinds of self-care you partake in because there’s a goal attached to it. In this case, the goal is to clear your mind, settle your spirit, and stabilize your emotions to ensure you’re ready to make a tough decision.

That said, sometimes a bubble bath or time at the gym isn’t enough, and the best way to get your mind where it needs to be is to seek support from a professional. They can give you the blueprint for making tough choices and handling heavy conversations — both of which you’ll be doing as you contemplate a career change.

 

Go to a place where you can stay focused 

Once you’re ready to dive into whether a career change is a good idea for your life and relationship right now, head to a place where you can do so without distraction.

You could go to your favorite park or trail. Hit up a beloved coffee shop. Visit a library, coworking space, or conference room. You don’t even have to leave your home. Instead, settle into your home office, living room, or balcony. 

 

Revisit your career goals 

Bring something with you to jot down notes, whether it be your laptop or a pen and notebook. Then, revisit your career goals. What is the vision that you have for your life overall? Where are you working? What is your role? Are you running a business of your own? What do you think your life’s purpose is? What does life look like professionally if you’re pursuing your passions?

 

Weigh the pros and cons of the career change 

Spend ample time listing out the pros and cons of this career change. Be as detailed as possible to ensure you’re covering everything that could sway your decision one way or the other. Once you’ve listed them all, talk yourself through the logic of each point and how influential it is in the final judgement.

 

Consider how it will affect everyone and everything around you 

You’ll obviously want to spend lots of time thinking about how this career change would affect your partner. But also reflect on how it will affect your other family members and friends, as well as how life around you would change.

For instance, would this career change require you to relocate? If so, you must consider:

 

  • How the move would affect your partner’s career
  • Whether they’ll even be able to move with you
  • What your new living arrangements would be 
  • How the move would affect your children if you have any
  • What you’re leaving behind
  • The financial impact 
  • How taxing the relocation would be on your mind and body 

 

Trust yourself 

If you stay on a topic long enough, you can find just as many pros as you do cons. Don’t get caught in a vicious cycle when deciding if a career change is right for you.

Put a time limit on your decision-making session, and trust your instincts. You know where you’re going in life and have done enough research and thinking to make a choice on if this career change supports that life vision. So, trust what you’re leaning toward and move in that direction.

After deciding you’re serious about changing careers, or at the very least feel it’s worth a conversation with your partner, you’re probably wondering how to move forward with initiating the conversation with your partner.

 

How Do You Discuss it With Your Partner?

Communicating with your partner about making a career change shows just how much you love and appreciate them and your relationship. A calm, rational discussion about the hopes you have for your career can help strengthen your relationship and move you both forward in your lives.

Here’s how to discuss a career change with your partner productively.

 

Do prep work before the discussion takes place 

Fear is one of the biggest threats to a relationship. You might fear your partner won’t support your decision to change careers. As a result, you move forward with the change in secret, causing severe trust issues in the relationship that ultimately erode a once sturdy foundation.

You can help eliminate this fear by doing some prep work a day or two before the big conversation takes place. Jot down some talking points and keep your pros and cons list handy. This will help you confidently communicate precisely why you feel this is a good choice for the both of you.

 

Acknowledge, appreciate, and respect your partner’s initial reaction 

Once you present the idea of a career change to your partner in a peaceful, thoughtful manner, you shouldn’t take their initial reaction personally. Although it may feel like an adverse reaction from your partner is personal, it isn’t. Many peoples’ first reaction to any kind of change is push back.

So, acknowledge, appreciate and respect your partner’s initial reaction to your career change. And if their response is negative, take it in stride and move the conversation forward with love and compassion.

 

Practice active listening and ask clarifying questions 

When conversing with your partner about changing careers, make sure you’re doing more listening than talking. Listen with intent and ask any clarifying questions about what they’ve expressed to you. Ensuring that they feel heard and understood can help you adequately address any concerns they may have and reassure them that you’ve carefully considered all involved in this change.

 

Always remember it’s you two against the issue, not you versus your partner

When your perspective about changing careers differs from your partner’s, it can lead to an argument. Additionally, if you both are entering the chat ready for war rather than a team meeting, things just won’t go in a positive direction.

You must never forget that you’re not against your partner, even if they disagree with the idea of you changing careers. You two simply feel differently about how it will impact your relationship and lives in general.

So, reassure yourself and your partner that you’re in this together throughout the conversation. This isn’t a “do it my way, or the relationship is over” conversation. Instead, it’s a “let’s find a way to do this thing OUR way” conversation.

 

Conclusion

Having tough, life-altering conversations is never easy. But, when making big decisions, you need to do your due diligence and keep your partner in the loop. Take time before the discussion to make sure you’re ready for their questions, and then approach the conversation with a clear head and even temper. Together, you can decide if a career change is right for the both of you.

 

 

 

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton