As a physician looking for your next job, you are likely taking into account many different criteria. You may be considering how well the job pays, how the experience will affect your career trajectory, and how well respected the institution is in the medical field.
But, arguably one of the most important things you need to consider is how the new job will affect your spouse. A physician’s spouse makes many sacrifices—albeit, willingly—during the course of physician careers. The spouse goes where the physician’s job take him or her; moving house and setting up the family life in a new location, perhaps over and over again over the span of a lifetime. These challenges that a physician’s spouse must accept and overcome can be made a little easier when the physician factors the spouse’s interests into the equation. Here’s how to include the spouse’s needs and wishes in your physician careers decision.
Encourage Independent Activity
As a physician, much of your time will be consumed at the medical facility where you work. Long and unpredictable hours are the hallmark of physician careers, no matter which position you decide to take. This leaves your spouse alone for several, if not most of their waking hours. Because of this, a physician’s spouse can feel lonely and isolated. In worst cases, this can lead to feelings of abandonment or depression.
When you encourage your spouse to enjoy independent activity, you are helping them find fulfilling ways to spend their time alone. As your spouse finds new ways to enjoy their own free time, you will naturally feel less pressured in your job as a physician, knowing that your spouse is not sitting at home counting the hours until your return.
When considering places for your next job, look for areas where your spouse can pursue and engage with their chosen independent activities. For instance, if they have taken up bicycling, look for towns with plenty of bicycle paths. Taking your spouse’s interests into consideration will help both of you to find happiness in your new job.
Include Your Spouse in Social Occasions
Being the spouse of a physician is dissimilar to being the spouse of other career men and women. Often, the unique issues and problems of a physician’s spouse are not able to be understood by those who are not married to a physician. As such, it’s very important for your spouse to be able to develop friendly bonds with other physicians’ spouses in your new job location. In that way, your spouse will be able to find emotional support in times when no one else seems able to understand their feelings.
When you are meeting with potential new employers at cocktail or dinner parties, be sure to bring along your spouse if possible. These social occasions and informal interviews are excellent opportunities to ensure that your spouse and the other physicians’ spouses will be a good match. Your spouse should be able to find at least one other person who might be a potential friend. These friendly relationships between physicians’ spouses will form the foundation of a community of friends and colleagues upon which you and your spouse can build a rewarding life in your new job location.
Remember that you and your spouse are, at the heart of all matters, a team. When you take your spouse’s needs and wishes into consideration, they will be emotionally and mentally able to support you in your career goals. Physician careers require an extraordinary amount of time, commitment and focus. When you and your spouse operate as a cohesive partnership, both of you will flourish.
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