You’ve accepted a new job in Switzerland: 4 tips on how you can help your spouse or partner feel good with the situation

This is an exciting time in your professional life: new job, new country, maybe even new company.

There are millions of things to think about.

Closing files in your current job, organizing with the moving company, setting practical details with the new one, planning visits for a new apartment, booking with the relocation manager, visiting the schools for the kids, resigning the contract for electricity, phone, insurance, for things you even had forgotten you had subscribed to, maybe even selling the house or finding a tenant, meeting new colleagues, new business partners, learning a new way of working, sometime traveling a lot…
This is without telling about the hundreds of other things you constantly have in mind.

In this overwhelming process, difficult to keep in mind that your partner is experiencing all the same but, and that’s where there’s big difference, without the excitement of making something he or she wanted deeply come to life.

Of course, this has been a joint decision, you have not forced anybody to move to Switzerland, this was really a family decision: you have discussed it in long and large, together you have made lists, allocated scores to the set criteria, you might even have weight the options according to their importance for the family. The decision was a family decision based on a robust decision process.

You are all extremely happy about the relocation.


Bear with me for one moment, I have a few questions for you:

  • In these circumstances, how do you think is it easy for your wife or your husband to share with you this bitter feeling dip down hidden inside?
  • Your partner is taking on him/her big part of the tasks related to the relocation. Does the fact he or she is fully supportive necessarily means that it’s not a big thing to grieve for him or her?
  • You are a bit stressed because of the new job, this is not the most agreeable feeling but how much do you think that the lack of professional stress is compensating for the loss of the professional identity of your partner?

Of course, you realize all this, you are even extremely grateful to your partner and you do what to help him or her as much as you can, this is exactly why you are reading this article.

Here are my tips:

Be open

I meet coahees who tell me that they feel their partners is having a hard time in the new job but do not open up to them, afraid as they are that it will be interpreted as “I regret I took the job and made us come here”. The partners I meet are often sad about this.
Be open about what you experience at work, about your difficulties, your challenges, your successes and your joy: You made the decision to come together, your partner is expecting it to be couple adventure, something he or she can share with you.
Just phrase things are they are: “You know, it feels strange: there’re all these things at work I would like to share with you and I witness myself, not daring to. Maybe I am afraid it will make you feel bad. How do you see that yourself?”


For your partner, it’s important that you acknowledge the difficulty of his/her situation. Simply the fact to acknowledge allow a release of tension. By telling these simple words “You know I realize it is not easy for you and I am extremely grateful you decided we would come despite of the challenge and the hard time we would have to face, especially you. It’s not easy every day at work but I am still glad I am taking this career opportunity and I am really aware that you participated for a large part in having made it possible”.

When coming back home after work, acknowledge again: it’s really simple, just say: “I thought about you today and I was wondering how much you were missing you job/your former life”

These are really easy words to say and they make a huge difference.

Don’t come with solutions…

Not that offering solutions is bad by nature, but in this specific state of mind your partner is now, solutions tend to be perceived as a form of reprobation.
“He/she comes with solutions, as if it should be easy and that’s me making it difficult. He/she doesn’t realize that I feel down and lack the courage to take action…every day he/she’s sending me job offers, this makes me feel even worth”
These are words I hear in my office.
When asking “have you told him/her how it makes you feel?”, the answer is always “I can’t because he/she will take it personally and will feel bad of having pushed for moving here, I do not want that.”.

…but be subtitle

You can help, you can be a supportive shoulder but it’s something one does differently than coming with solutions
Instead of saying “you should network”, say: “Tomorrow I take you out, we go for a drink with the Internations group, I take care of finding a solution for the kids.

Instead of forwarding job ads with the mention “FYI”, print it and take it back home and say:
“I’ve been forwarded that job ad. There’re a few words that made me think about you like -experienced biologist- and -strong interpersonal skills- and then, I was wondering if that’s a role in which you could imagine yourself. Have you ever heard about this group?

Instead of saying “you should investigate career coaching”, say: “The spouse of one of my new colleague has contacted the company job4U2, they are specialized in dual career support. My colleague said that her husband was positively surprised. I wonder what this is about. Have you heard about such thing?”

Keeping these 4 tips in mind will help you help your partner, however do not feel bad if you do manage to ease his/her mind as much as you would like to. When facing a change, we all go through a roller coaster of emotions and there’s no way to stop the process, the only things you can do is:
1- take good care of yourself and manage your own roller coaster.
2- smoothen the roller coaster of your partner by remaining open and not running away from his/her reality.
The roller coasters will soon or latter slow down and offer new perspectives to both of you.

Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes. 


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What do you know about Dual-Careers in Switzerland?

What is important to know about the dual careers topic in Switzerland:

The term dual career refers to a family organization where both spouses or partners have an education of equivalent level and for whom professional identity and success in this field is a vital part of their identity. Generally, both work full-time in senior and / or management roles.

Dual career refers to a partnership constellation where both partners are highly educated, have a high upward career orientation, and work full time in a demanding job.
Career is there, for both partner, a major component of their identity.

Dual career – Trend

The number of dual-career couples is increasing and the trend is worldwide. Recent studies estimate that 30% of couples are dual career partnerships; this rate goes up to 80% for scientists.

In Switzerland, we find many families with two incomes but few of them identify themselves to dual careering.
For example, in canton Vaud, amongst the couples with children, 75% of them are constituted of two parents having a professional, salaried or independent activity.

However, the financial participation of the wife is much lower than the one of the spouse and represents only between 13% and 23% of the total income of the couple (1).

As a result, within the hiring companies, identification to the dual career topic remains uncertain.

The particularity of the Swiss market

In Geneva, 33% of employees work for international companies, 30% in the canton of Vaud. 45% of all managers in Swiss companies are foreigners being in Switzerland as a result of a professional mobility.

The Swiss challenge to recruit executives, directors, sales managers, and engineers in highly specialized areas of expertise, generates a real need for talent mobility.

As a consequence, Swiss based companies are more and more often confronted to the dual career challenge.

31% of HR managers report having experienced situations where applicants declined a job offer because of their spouse career situation.

17% experienced employees leaving the company because the partner could not adapt to the life in Switzerland (2)

According to recruiting firms (3) , dual career applicants are more likely to refuse an offer of employment as they care about the reluctance or inability of the partner to relocate.

According them, female candidates refuse a position more frequently than male candidates: When they decline a job offer, the female candidates are more likely to openly explain that their reason to decline is related to family reasons or to the interests of the partner career.

For recruiters, it is clear that a spouse’s career support clearly communicated during the recruitment process has a positive influence on the decision to accept or reject a job offer.

Setting up an organization to take into account dual careers positively impacts the results of the organization in terms of:

  • Recruitment performance
  • Retention
  • Mobility
  • Gender Parity
  • Employer Branding
  • And in terms of Social Responsibility

(1) Vaud statistics, portait des familles vaudoises (2013)
(2) Survey conducted in 2011 by job4U2 and the HR academic chair of Fribourg University
(3) job4U2 2015 Survey at Swiss Recruiting firm

Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes. 

A 6 steps auto-coaching guide for New Year’s resolutions that won’t be forgotten

Tired of all these disappointing times when New Year’s resolutions have lasted a couple of weeks before we dropped them or forgot them, most of us have given up even trying to set them. “New Year’s resolution? Never mind!”

Yet, don’t you secretly dream that this new year could be a little different, a little better, maybe it could be the year of a real personal development, or even the year of a positive change in your life?
This year, not a list of objectives which are impossible to achieve but rather a bit of time for yourself to identify an objective that is really important to you while starting 2018.

In the first place: A profound yet dynamic self-awareness.

Profound because for your resolution to bring you something strong, durable and fully satisfying, it should be related to your deep-Self and not to your ego or to a passing wish. One tends to imagine the Self as something static but yet it is extremely liberating to think about who we are as being in movement, with a dynamic reality. Remember the person you were in early 2017, the thoughts that cluttered your mind, your internal state, your physical shape, your mood. Is it exactly the same now?
Thus it is to your Self of this beginning of 2018 that these resolutions should be addressed.

Step 1: A few questions to re-acquaint yourself with your present Self.

  • In what stage of your life are you? I suggest a very simplified model: period of construction, period of maturation or period of harvest.
  • What are the ones of your roles which today are important to you? Parent, professional, friend, child, spouse, other?
  • What is your body telling you?  Exhaustion, energy, need for movement, need for well-being, tension, relaxation, etc.?
  • What have you been proud of or satisfied with in 2017?
  • Which compliment has especially touched you? What does that tell you about yourself?

Give time to these reflections to make their way and to anchor before you move on to step 2.
Let them accompany you in a moment of calm, of relaxation where you can be alone with your own thoughts.

Step 2: Your current aspirations.

  • What more do you pursue today?
  • What less do you pursue today?
  • What difference are you seeking for today?
  • What do you expect from fulfilling these aspirations that is really important to you? What is there essential to you?

Of all these things that have come to your mind, which one induces emotion, which one resonates most in you, or which one provokes pleasant dreams?

Step 3: At this point, you start sensing which directions are tempting to take and which are most important to you.

  • What do you need to happen in your life to feel satisfied, at the end of 2018, with your progress filling the gap between current situation and targeted situation?
  • Note this as Your Goal.

How will you feel when you will have achieved this goal, what will you tell to yourself? What will you then think of yourself? What will make others realise that you have reached your goal?

Step 4: The very first little step.

  • What could be the smallest possible step you could make toward this goal? This must be something you can proceed with in the next couple of weeks.
  • What could still prevent you from performing this in the coming 2 weeks?
  • Modify your first smallest step possible until nothing can stop you from actually doing it within two weeks.

Step 5: Surround yourself with people with the type of energy that might fail you to be able to keep moving forward beyond the first small step.

Identify and write down at least 1 resource person and share your resolution with him/her. Ask him/her formally for his/her support.

Step 6: Plan how you will celebrate the successful achievement of your 2018 resolution.

Make an appointment in your agenda with yourself or with those you want to be part of the celebration of this success.

I wish you a lot of success in achieving your 2018 resolution and a wonderful year 2018!! Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes. Read more article from Sandrine on the blog

Closing 2017 & wishing you a festive Holiday Season!

Time to invite each of you to pause down for a minute and to participate to our now traditional mood-booster-end-of-the-year-exercise: writing the list of your 10 greatest successes and satisfactions of the year.
Successes can be personal or professional, they all deserve to be celebrated!

At job4U2, we did the exercise and are proud to share with you that in 2017, we…

• have enjoyed our achievement in obtaining a satisfaction scope of 4.8/5 on our key criteria: efficiency/ commitment/responsibility/empathy/respect/quality

• have witnessed coaches successfully, with faith and determination, embracing new meaningful careers paths.

• have been touched in the deepest parts of our hearts by the many kind feed-back words of the people we have accompanied.

• have proudly supported our corporate clients in their continuous effort to hire the best talents who more and more are involved in a dual career.

• have strengthen existing partnership relationships, have engaged with new corporate clients and enlarged our network with many new amazing highly interesting people we met all along this last year.

• have enjoyed rich exchanges, fun, friendship and the belonging to a well running bounded job4U2 team.

• have settled the job4U2 Basel team in the new job4U2 office on Grünpfahlgasse in the beautiful city center of Basel.

• have provided trainings modules in the “Brevet RH” program, giving us another opportunity to raise awareness on the challenge dual career creates for talent acquisition and retention.

• have further grown the community job4u2 circle reaching over 500 members and are still growing rapidly.

• have published 15 blogs on the job4U2 website.

• have learnt from our peers and enjoyed sharing our knowledge and our love for our profession.

All together we have enjoyed a beautiful, rich and diverse year 2017. All of us are looking forward to the holidays, but before closing the offices for a few days, we want to wish you all a very festive Holiday Season and a very happy start in the new year.

Enjoy the Season Holiday!

The job4U2 team