Focus on dual careers: children, careers, equality?


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If both partners want to have a career, it is often difficult. Because a high degree of flexibility and usually mobility are a must in many jobs today. How can a dual career be designed if there are still children around?

Focus on dual careers: children, careers, equality?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.

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Double career: There are two variants

A study by the German Youth Institute (DJI) identified two variants for the dual career of the future. One was “doubling the male career model”. Here, two careerists just get off to a flying start and more or less completely hand over the parenting to third parties. With “Dual Career - dual care”, both partners adapt to their respective needs.

Because the division “He doctor, she his assistant?” Is long gone! In more and more partnerships, both are highly qualified and want to make a career. At the same time, the demands on mobility and flexibility are increasing. How do couples reconcile a partnership and later family with a career?

Universities as pioneers?

But it becomes particularly difficult when there are children. It becomes even more difficult when both partners want to have a career despite having children. What can you do? In this case, it is important to have a clear agreement, which is best made before there are even children. Talking about it is therefore a basic rule. But even after that, the need to talk does not stop.

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Germany's universities have now also recognized how important a good compatibility is and have adjusted to the new dual careerists. So-called dual career centers, which specialize in placing scientists in pairs, are almost part of the standard service at many universities.

The economy makes life difficult for both spouses

The situation is more complex for career couples in Company . Flexibility and global mobility are required in the free economy today. Many couples therefore live in long-distance relationships. When children are involved, time management usually becomes a real stress factor, as many parents know from their own experience. Because the family networks are often no longer available due to mobility.

Parents and grandparents who would like to look after children do not live on site. Without a nanny or babysitter, it is impossible for both of them to be equally involved in their work at the same time. “But many mothers want to continue to raise their children themselves and not just see them asleep,” says career expert Dagmar Rissler, who advises female executives and the self-employed.

Alternating career times as a solution model?

One solution can be to alternate career times, for example the man takes off three years, the woman three years. Coaching can help to “see what I want, what my partner wants, and what do the children need?” The career expert Elisabeth Bröschen from Hamburg has had a double career herself and specializes in advising double career couples with “Paarundprofession” . In the interview on Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®  she stated:

“Especially with couples in ambitious positions, it is important to negotiate living and working conditions that are acceptable to both,” she says. Your couple coaching is about working on your own ability to compromise. This is all the more in demand when career couples have children. “Keeping an eye on the children in addition to the workload of both partners and growing up caring is a balancing act that counseling can support”. 

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Always follow your own ideas

Above all, it is important not to be guided by other people's ideas about family and work, but to see which path suits me? For example, some client pairs have decided that everyone stays at home for two years and looks after the children - and works as self-employed during this time.

Dagmar Rissler also thinks this is a good solution. “Self-employed people are often more flexible in terms of location and time.” For example, a partner who works creatively or runs an online shop can more easily relocate the local focus. Ultimately, however, it is important that each partner supports the other and takes them seriously in their career ambitions. That assumes that you talk about it.

8 tips for a dual career

How do you get children and career under one roof when both partners are professionally successful? 8 tips that can help.

  1. Communicating is the key: It is important that both partners agree - preferably before the issue of children is acute.
  2. Discussing conflicts: A dual career plus children is a burden in which conflicts can quickly arise. Allegations do not help. Better: Communicate constructively and resolve conflicts fairly.
  3. Attention expectations: There are no role models for the new models. Most couples have very high expectations of themselves. Best to screw it down!
  4. Finding balance: You have to find a sensible balance between child and job: Sometimes I can direct my child to bed on my cell phone, but not three times a week.
  5. Compromises are necessary: ​​When there are children, you have to be able to do without and make compromises.
  6. Equal rights: It is important that renouncing where it is necessary is not carried out unilaterally by just one partner and that a couple can find good deals with each other.
  7. Delegating work: It can be helpful, for example, to hire a domestic help.
  8. Time management: It is necessary to structure the time appropriately for the family and professional situation.

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