Getting Your Spouse to Support your Career Change
When you’re committed to pivoting your career, there are a LOT of things you’ll need to consider. And if you are anything like me (aka responsible human being!) being able to financially and emotionally support your family and yourself are probably pretty high up on your list. That fear may even be contributing to the golden handcuffs that are KEEPING you in your current job. Getting the support of your partner or spouse is instrumental when it comes to elevating your career.
It’s one of the BIGGEST things I needed to face when I was launching my own brand. Chris, my husband, has ALWAYS been incredibly supportive. But starting RX Ashlee was such a massive jump from my pharmacy career that I wasn’t sure what he’d think. I think this worry is something A LOT of us deal with when coming to terms with our next career moves, specifically when we’re planning what our next step may look like.
In this blog, I’m going to cover why it’s essential to have your spouse on board with your future plans and HOW you can help get them on the same page as you. I’m also going to share tips on what you can do if your partner simply doesn’t get your goals and how to find your own support group so that you can be successful NO MATTER WHAT.
Let’s get into it!
Why It’s Important For Your Spouse to Support Your Career Pivot
I think we can all agree on changing your career is a HUGE step in both your professional and personal life. It ranks up there as one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. So, it only logically makes sense that you’d want your spouse there to support you every.single.step of the way.
To allow them to support your career pivot, you’ll first have to TELL them. And that can be an intimidating first step.
Your career pivot is something only YOU can decide on, but it isn’t something that you should try to do 100% on your own. You’re going to need SUPPORT, and your spouse should be included in your support group too!
Telling your spouse about your career change has a TON of benefits, especially if you start discussing them when you are in the early stages of planning your next moves!
Your partner already does a lot for you, but when it comes to changing your career they can:
Offer their advice (sometimes good, sometimes bad… we will get to that!)
Support you through challenging decisions, so that you are not totally isolated in tough times
Take on more responsibilities to give you the space you need to do your work
Brainstorm with you and provide feedback
Listen to your concerns and help you emotionally dig through the tough stuff
If you don’t have the support from your partner, your career pivot could become a point of tension rather than CELEBRATION. Because, really, doing something that you are proud of and super pumped for should be the goal – and your partner should recognize that!
What You Can Do to Get Your Spouse on the Same Page as You
Depending on your communication style, you can take a lot of ACTION to help your spouse understand where you’re coming from to get their support. It can make a world of difference in the success of your endeavor for them to be on board, so this part is critical when considering a big career pivot.
My #1 tip for this is to PITCH YOURSELF to your spouse as if you are pitching it to a new employer or client. You should be able to articulate what you want, how you will start shifting your focus onto your new career, and how it’s going to impact your family for the BETTER. You should have a clear vision of what success means to you inside your new career, and how this will make your life even BETTER together!
Think of telling your spouse as an exercise in perfecting your elevator pitch. You’ll have to prepare your talking points, get ready for any questions, and make them just as excited about your career change as you are!
While some partners may be surprised, others will have seen this change coming, and they will be happy for you! If you’ve been coming home exhausted, burnt out, grumpy, feeling undervalued by your boss or coworkers, or if you are just OVER YOUR JOB, chances are that your spouse ALREADY understands precisely where you’re coming from!
If your spouse seems surprised (this is extremely rare, BTW!), make sure to take your time and lay the groundwork for them. Bring your strategy, plan, goals, and vision to the table whenever you speak to them about this dream of yours. Here is a huge tip: It DOES NOT have to be a one-time, all or nothing conversation. You are a TEAM, and you should be able to discuss your dreams with them confidently.
And What If Your Partner Doesn’t GET It?
Okay – I can already hear it now: “My partner DOESN’T GET IT, and there’s no way to get them to support me!”
Immediately tell them to call my husband Chris, and they can chat ;) JK.
In all seriousness, your spouse may totally not understand WHY THE HECK you want to change your lifestyle or career so much.
BUT HERE IS THE TOTAL TRUTH: the success of your career pivot will be up to you. Some partners may be staunchly against your career change because they just don’t understand why you’d leave a traditional, non-traditional, or high paying job for something completely new.
Remember that everyone has a different relationship to their career. Many people view it as a necessity that doesn’t NEED to be their passion. Others will understand that completely changing direction may be exactly what you and your family need.
If you have spoken to your partner, put your heart on the table, and discussed the WHY behind your career change, and they STILL don’t support you, that’s kinda on them.
You may need to take the time to do some extra planning if this happens. If your spouse is worried about the financial side of things, you may have to do more work on weekends or after business hours so that you can maintain your income. Setting very clear financial and emotional expectations is critical when undergoing a career pivot because this could be a huge downfall in the success of your transition.
Working double-duty won’t be a walk in the park, BUT it can give you an important talking point later on: you were able to maintain your income AND start building your new career. Not so far in the future, you should be able to change careers without it impacting your finances!
On the complete other side of the spectrum, I’ve had several clients go from working part-time to full time, and this is another transition many families experience. When this happens, I recommend, similar to a career pivot, outsourcing as much as possible (aka house cleaning, meal prep, etc) if needed. Whenever you shift gears and rearrange how you are spending your time, whether more hours or fewer hours at work, you have to ALWAYS think: How will this affect my home life? How will this affect ME? Prepare to take care of yourself, and know YOU CANNOT DO ALL OF THE THINGS alone!
Don’t Forget to Find a Support System
Whether or not you can get your partner on board, you should ALWAYS be on the hunt for a support system. You can build one from your friends and family that you can meet with regularly. Or you can find a great network online.
My Career By Design Membership is EXACTLY this. So many of us have the support of our spouses, but many don’t! One of the many things we have in common is that we are ALL committed to making these big changes. And we’re here to support each other each step of the way with EXPERT advice for each other. It’s honestly REALLY cool to see the level of love and support we have for each other as we start on our new paths.
(BUTTON FOR MEMBERSHIP HERE)
Your support system will be able to step in with guidance so that you can work through any hurdles that you may face. So make sure that you are dedicated some of your energy to building those relationships!
Having your spouse on board with your career change can be one of the pillars of support you can rely on while you’re navigating these changes. Allow them to help you and support you along the way. I know that Chris’s encouragement meant the WORLD to me – and it still does!