Marriage and Career

Marriage and Career :

Karen and Ross have been married for six years. During these years, each has had to make decisions concerning their careers to accommodate each other. Two companies have now confronted Ross with a career opportunity, those being California Energy Systems and Petrolia Oil. He must decide by September 28 what opportunity to act upon, taking into account the effects it will have on his career, Karen's career and their marriage.

Situational Analysis

Both individuals come from traditional families and are career orientated people. Karen believes the women in her life were career women but this is not entirely true. Her father held an executive job that forced continuous movement. Where as her mother held a traditional position as a school teacher and she was not permitted to have work interference with home life and child-rearing responsibilities. On the other hand, Ross had a mother who devoted herself to the well-being of her husband and son. Where as his father was a business man that earned a high income allowing the family to live in a comfortable home with a luxury lifestyle. Karen and Ross appear to be leading a life that is different from their parents but this is not entirely true. It is noteworthy to mention that each has a traditional role within the marriage. For example…Ross is responsible for the financial aspects of the home while Karen is responsible for the household chores. At the beginning of the marriage, they attempted to have a weekend marriage but this was a great strain and Karen sacrificed her career by finding a job closer to Ross. This demonstrates they are traditional within the marriage although Karen has an untraditional career.

Career Opportunities

As both Karen and Ross hold dual citizenship in Canada and the United States, they have frequently discussed the possibility of working in Canada. They concluded the Canadian market is less competitive and offers more options than California. However, Karen considers Canadian culture to be slower than U.S. culture concerning the treatment toward women. In June 1990, a Canadian utility company asked Karen to consider the possibility of joining their company. Upon consideration, Karen became less enthusiastic about the position and decided to decline the offer. Then in mid September, California Randle Corporation offered her a job in the organizational development department. This position would provide an increase in salary, double responsibility and a great opportunity to learn and advance. The Bank of Ontario also interviewed her for a junior position and told Karen an opportunity might open later in the year.

Simultaneously, Ross reluctantly extended his own job search to Ontario. Both the Bank of Ontario and Petrolia Oil offered him positions. The position at Petrolia Oil offered a major salary increase, a chance to work in a new and challenging field and a request to begin work November 1. At the same time, he received an offer from Cal Eng. to join the Personnel Department. This position would represent a sizable pay increase but only a lateral move in responsibility.


In all dual career marriages, problems or issues must be considered. One issue that arises between dual career partners transportation. Who is going to take the car to work and how will the other get to work? This is only a minor concern and can easily be resolved. Another concern is the increase in money they will earn. Karen and Ross must consider who will be responsible for managing the funds. For example, will each maintain their own income or is it pooled together. Presently, Ross manages the finances for the home but each maintains their own accounts, contributing equally to the home. They must then decide where the money will be spent and invested. Again this is only a minor concern and can easily be addressed. However, there are more serious issues and problems that must be considered in dual-career marriages.

To begin, Karen and Ross must arrange how they will divide the household responsibilities. As both partners are busy with work, they must divide the responsibilities evenly. For example, the couple must decide who will be responsible for the laundry, grocery shopping, cleanliness of the house and meals. The division of responsibilities should not leave one feeling as if they are holding down two jobs. Today, jobs are demanding and stressful. This leaves a twofold affect on dual-career marriages. First, employers expect employees to work sixty to seventy hours a week, leaving little time for oneself. If two people are working this many hours, it makes it difficult to spend quality time with each other. Luckily, Karen and Ross realize the need for time together and take the time to plan quality time with each other. The other side of jobs today is the increase in stress among individuals. Since both partners are experiencing this stress, it is necessary for them to learn to cope with the stress and prevent it from entering the marriage.

With both people working in the marriage, they can assume that each will have different goals, aspirations and missions. Recognizing and accepting the differences between each other's is important. If both parties want to be successful with their careers, while maintaining their marriage, they must support each others goals, aspirations and missions. If they do not support each other, then one may have to give up part of their career or the marriage may end. The final issue that must be considered in dual-career marriages is children. At this time, Karen does not have any children and Ross has one from a previous marriage. Talking about what will happen if Karen becomes pregnant is important and they must take time to discuss this issue. They must consider areas such as who will stay home with the child after birth, will the children go to day care and whose career desires will have to be put on hold when the child is born. All of these issues must be considered before any couple marries to prevent problems from arising later. Both Karen and Ross have already been through one marriage and they can attribute this to the work styles each hold. Unfortunately, they only dated for a short time before marriage and there was no indication these factors were considered. Before Ross makes any decision about his career, it is important they discuss these issues.


There are many options available to Ross in respect to his career. To begin, he could choose to accept the job with Cal Eng. This job will provide him with a sizable pay increase but will only be a lateral move in his career. The advantages of this option are the increases in pay and the ability to remain in California. As his parents are in the Bay area, the job with Cal Eng. will permit him to remain close to them. Another positive side to this option is Karen's career. As California Randle Corporation has offered Karen a position, this will provide her with the opportunity to further her career. At the same time, she will have the opportunity to learn, advance her career and receive an increase in salary. An additional option available to Ross is accepting the job with Petrolia Oil in Toronto. In respect to his career, this position will provide him with a new and challenging field while receiving an increase in pay. Unfortunately, this alternative may or may not further Karen's career. At this time, a utility firm has offered her a position and the Bank of Ontario has interviewed her for a junior position. After considering the offer from the utilities firm, she has concluded she would not like to work with the company and the position with the Bank of Ontario is not definite. Also, as stated before, Karen finds the treatment of women in Canada to be behind that of the United States. On a positive note, OD field in Canada is less competitive and therefore provides more options than in California. Another possible alternative for Ross is to decline the offer with Cal Eng. Instead, he could remain at his present job while looking for another. This will allow Karen to accept the position with Randle Corporation and permit Ross to remain close to his family. Unfortunately, this option may leave Ross feeling unsatisfied with his career which could lead to problems within the marriage.


Ideally, it is recommended Ross either take the job with Cal Eng. or remain at his current job continuing his job hunt. This will allow him to remain in California and close to his parents. In addition, this will allow Karen to further her career. Unfortunately, this is probably not what Ross will choose. As mentioned earlier, both Karen and Ross come from traditional families. It is evident their upbringing is playing a significant role in their lives today. For example, within the home Karen is responsible for the household chores while Ross is responsible for the household finances. Therefore, it can be predicted that Ross will decline the offer from Cal Eng. and accept the offer with Petrolia Oil in Toronto. Since Karen already sacrificed her career when she moved closer to Ross, it can be anticipated she will do the same in this situation. Although Karen sacrificed her career before, this alternative will probably lead to long term problems. To begin, Karen does not know if she definitely has a job in Toronto and therefore might not want to relocate in Canada. However, Ross can probably convince her of the benefits that exist in Toronto. For example, he can point out the OD market in Canada is less competitive and therefore can provide her with ample opportunities. Once she gets to Canada, she may not find a job that suits her desires. This in turn may leave her feeling unhappy with her career which could lead to her resenting Ross for moving to Toronto. If this does happen, the marriage will probably end. On a positive note, she might be able to find a suitable job in Canada since competition is lower and she is highly qualified. Also, the lifestyle in Canada is slower than the United States lifestyle. This will allow Karen and Ross to get their marriage back on track as the two began their marriage with a weekend marriage. Even though this later changed, the two do not appear to be spending a great deal of time together. In conclusion, it is recommended Ross and Karen sit down and discuss the problems and issues that arise in dual-career marriages. From this, they should decide together what Ross should do. This will allow a win/win situation and thus both should be satisfied with the outcome.

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