Questions and Answers with Career Expert Michelle Fleig-Palmer
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Dual-career expert Michelle Fleig-Palmer, MBA, is the Director of the Dual Career Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK).
|Q:||What, in your view, are the three biggest challenges that dual-career couples face?|
|A:|| Here’s a typical dual-career couple scenario. One partner comes home and says, “Guess what, honey! I got a promotion and we’re moving!” To which the other partner responds, “I don’t want to move. I’m finally at the point in my job where I’m successful and everyone knows it! I don’t want to start over. And we can’t move the kids in the middle of the school year.”
This scenario represents the top challenges that dual-career couples face. Namely, to balance career fulfillment for each partner in the same geographic location while often juggling family concerns as well.
The balancing act is tough because dual-career couples are trying to manage two careers, not just one. Questions faced by dual-career couples include:
These challenges are met successfully by dual-career couples who are committed to a long-term relationship. They recognize that nurturing their relationship is as important as pursuing their careers. Despite setbacks (that happen to everyone), they work together to help each other find fulfilling careers.
|Q:||What do you feel is the most exciting or hopeful trend in job-hunting?|
|A:|| One of the most positive trends is the expansion of services at college career centers to alumni. In the past, college students had access to many resources to assist them in their job search; however, as soon as they graduated, they were unable to continue utilizing those resources.
Now, colleges are recognizing that a valuable service they can offer their alumni is continued access to the career-development center. Providing alumni with the tools to manage their careers successfully could ultimately provide a college with a solid base of potential donors as well as mentors for students.
For job-seekers who have graduated from a two-year or four-year college, one of the first networking contacts should be the director of the career center. I recommend sending a resume and cover letter, followed by a phone call one week later. Ask about services that are available to alumni, especially networking opportunities and access to job postings.
|Q:||What techniques — beyond assessments — do you advise for really getting at a client’s career passion?|
|A:|| I recommend creating an “IDEAS” folder. You start by doing some general reading of newspapers and/or magazines. As you read, clip anything you find interesting. Then drop the clippings in the “IDEAS” folder. Add notes of conversations you’ve had or something you heard on the radio that you found exciting.
Soon the “IDEAS” folder will have enough information that can be shared with a career counselor. It provides a real springboard for a fruitful discussion of career options.
For someone who doesn’t know what they want to do, it is an inexpensive way to begin to explore what they are passionate about. It is also valuable for someone who has put their career on hold. One mom said the “IDEAS” folder allows her to continue dreaming about her career and provides a ready-made resource for when she is ready to re-enter the job market.
Michelle Fleig-Palmer, MBA, is the director of the Dual Career Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). She developed the Dual Career Program for UNK in 1998 to assist the relocating partners of new employees in securing employment. Fleig-Palmer speaks on dual career issues to professional and academic conferences and community groups. Her recent publications include a resume in Best Resumes for College Students and New Grads as well as articles in Resume Writers Digest and Career Masters Connection. Her successful career transitions include jobs in marketing, accounting, human resources, and training at manufacturing, service, and non-profit organizations. Ms. Fleig-Palmer is a member of the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA) and Career Masters Institute (CMI). She can be reached at [email protected].
Check out all our interview with career experts in Quintessential Answers: Q&A’s with Career & College Experts.
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