You’re considering relocation, and you have a spouse who will also need to seek employment.

There are so many moving parts in a process like relocation that it’s easy to find yourself paralyzed, and unable to move onto the next step. So, we want to clear up one of the most critical decisions when it comes to relocating with a working spouse.

Here is what you need to do in 3 steps.

Step 1: Understand what really happens in a dual – income relocation

This is where relocation starts to get real. In a perfect world, when spouses relocate together, both get fantastic offers at the same time, they relocate, and both start at their new positions within a few weeks of each other.

This is rarely how it works.

What is far more typical is that one spouse will get an offer. They move. The other spouse has a few leads.

That’s it.

Step 2: Plan your relocation as early as possible

During relocation, one career takes the lead and the other follows. You have to know which is which. If you’re a dual income family, you must recognize the reality of having just one job offer. You can plan for it by deciding whose career is Priority 1, and whose career is Priority 2.

What do we mean Priority 1 (P1) and Priority 2 (P2)? The spouse with the P1 career is the spouse considered first during relocation, and the P2 spouse is considered next.

Step 3: Choosing P1 and P2

It’s simple to assume that the spouse who makes more money is automatically Priority 1. Here is why this isn’t always the case:

There are fewer than 1,500 hospitals in the country that use NNPs. As an NNP, your employment opportunities extremely limited because of the industry.

If your spouse is an accountant, for example (and can work in any industry) he or she may have thousands or even tens of thousands of opportunities open to him. However, if your partner’s career is even more restricted than yours, they may have even less potential job options to choose from than those of an NNP.

In short, it’s all about job availability.

If your NNP job search offers fewer employment possibilities than your partner’s, then your career may be Priority 1.

We always leave it up to our candidates to make the final decision on P1 and P2. Here are some examples they have shared with us about how they chose:

  • the highest paying job is P1
  • one spouse has historically been P1 over the years, now it’s time to switch
  • one spouse has retired and is living on discretionary income. He or she wants to provide the other spouse with flexibility and the opportunity to ‘just be happy’, wherever that may be
  • opportunities as an NNP are limited, especially for new grads, so P1 is the spouse with the new career as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

No matter what you end up deciding, this three-step process will help you make it through ‘relocation limbo’ with more clarity and confidence for both you and your spouse.

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