People typically don’t plan to be a trailing spouse. More likely, the journey begins as a job opportunity for their spouse, resulting in multiple moves and corporate career climbing. As one spouse’s life and career blooms, the trailing spouse can be left feeling aimless and a bit lost. These so called trailing spouses can thrive by confronting their unique challenges head on.

Tips to Acclimate Quickly

Trailing spouses often experience high levels of stress each time a new move occurs. Mitigating this stress is an important part of ensuring the success of the working spouse and other family members. Companies, hiring managers and recruiters can play an important role by assisting trailing spouses in acclimating to their new lives successfully.

  • After the decision is made to move, trailing spouses should quickly acquaint themselves with the new area. Acquire maps, real estate agent listings and information on restaurants and nearby attractions. This information helps the family settle in faster and helps children acclimate to their new home as well.

  • Be open to change and to new experiences. Whether relocating to a new state or a new country, recognize that things will be different. Instead of trying to recreate the past, try different foods, outdoor activities and local customs.

  • Focus on short term goals, such as getting children enrolled in school, finding suitable housing and meeting your spouse’s new coworkers. Put longer term plans on hold until the family unit is once again stable.

Advice for Those Who Wish to Work

Trailing spouses often find obtaining employment challenging. Though many don’t have a consistent job history, they do have specialized skills that are beneficial to the workplace. Those who do wish to work can overcome their spotty resume history by focusing on these highly valuable skills. Whether at a live interview or at a virtual interview, trailing spouses should highlight some of the following areas where they excel.

  • Advanced negotiation and people skills

  • High adaptability and openness to change

  • Self starting abilities

  • Meticulous supervisory skills

There may come a time when the spouse may secure a position that no longer requires regular relocation or retire. In these instances, the trailing spouse may then have the opportunity to take a much faster track to advancing their own career.

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