Category Archives: Dual career

The real reasons why most people don’t go for a better work-life balance.

A work-life balance can mean anything depending on who you are, what you value and what makes you feel alive.

You can reach a wonderful work life balance working 80 hours a week if you do what you love. The more you work, the more you build energy, the happier you are and the most you are able to give the best of yourself to your beloved and your relatives.

Alternatively, you can be finding your balance in structuring your time, working part-time per example. Being dedicated to your work and working efficiently while keeping time for yourself and/or your family.

You can also find a good work life balance by making career breaks when needed and keeping on with your career development when the pause time is over.

In all cases, your choice will possibly make you happier than what you currently are. So why not going for it?

Here are a few reasons why people are reluctant to engage themselves with more balance that I have witnessed during my coaching work.

  • There are so few people who successfully reached an enjoyable work-life balance, that most people do not know in their circles, anybody who has. Therefore, they tend to believe that it is an utopia. However, you only need to find one person who succeeded at living a balance: If one can do it, you can do it as well.
  • Most people are too scared to lose what they have: They think “If I ask for a part-time or a job-sharing, they will believe that I am not willing to grow in the company, they will refuse and my career here is dead”. This is might be true but it is also true that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”. That’s all about the courage to go for what you want while measuring the risks and making a decision.
  • Some other people do effectively reduce their working time to be doing more of what is really important. However, they fail at learning to say no. Working at reduced occupation time is an art and requires a strong personality. It requires to be clear with oneself about what you can do and can’t. It forces to cope with the risk to disappoint someone’s expectations although we spent our entire working life to make it up to the company and to others’ expectations.
  • Sometime when considering making a career break people believe that they first need to give up all their professional ambitions. There are so many example of people, often women, who have made a definitive choice: I stop working now and I accept that latter, I won’t come back to the level I was. Yet employability is an asset that can be developed during a career break. Getting out of corporate life does not necessarily mean that you stop developing skills, increasing your knowledge, growing your network or building new experienced. It is unfortunate that a lot is said about “back to work” and less about how to keep employability high. But there’s a choice there. It’s possible.
  • It also happens that having set an organisation for more work-life balance, people fail to enjoy it. They do not dare to be happy with their balance and even less to say that they enjoy their lifestyle. They might even feel frustrated, sometime even guilty of not being 120% in each part of their life. Self-satisfaction and being able to enjoy what you have require to be aligned with yourself and to develop a mindful attitude towards life.

Reaching an enjoyable work-life balance is not something you get as granted, in one day but it is feasible: It works as other projects do; by allocating time, the right resources, persistency and sometime, the outside support of a coach.

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. 

Never offer a job to the candidate on Friday!

Recently, I read on LinkedIn about recruiters’ frustration with candidates disappearing after having verbally accepted a job offer.  Having myself conducted a reasonable amount of recruitments, I easily relate to this frustration which, in fact, is double.

The first frustration is about the time wasted in working with a candidate and not having, at the end, fulfilled the position. In a recruiter’s job, that is perceived as a professional failure.
The second frustration is more personal and is related to the non-answer, the unsaid. What could be the reason behind this reversal of situation?

In this LinkedIn post I recently read, the conclusion was “Never conclude a job agreement on Friday, strange things happen with the candidates during the weekend…”
That might be a bit of a simplistic solution to a larger issue. What recruiters often forget is that a new job does not involve only the candidate, it involves equally his/her spouse especially when a relocation is necessary.

During the weekend after having accepted the job offer, the candidate has the sensitive task to inform his/her spouse about the upcoming change. Yet the spouse career is often equality important and could be a major blocking point to the relocation.
One can imagine the tense debate at home, sometime leading to the renunciation to the new job. Going back to the recruiter on Monday to say “my spouse did not agree on me taking the job” is not an easy thing to do. Sometime the candidate runs out of the courage it takes to call the recruiter back.

Good recruiters are knowledgeable about the dual career challenge and make sure the spouse employment question is openly discussed in the early stage of the recruitment, they are able to discuss the issue internally or with the employer and to come up with a suitable solution.

Addressing properly dual career is a key parameter to the recruitment performance.

Read as well: The impact of Dual Career constellation and gender for recruiting professionals in the Swiss market

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. 

News from the mentoring partnerships for job4U2 dual career clients

Mid of 2016, job4U2 has launched an initiative to set up some mentoring partnerships for our dual career clients or former clients, professionals who moved to Switzerland to facilitate the career mobility of their spouses or partners and who are now either working in Switzerland or in the process to land their next job.

The mentoring partnership is placed under the sign of volunteering and mentors and mentees have all freedom to get organised as it suits them in the frame of a 2 years’ commitment to meet or talk 4 times a year time.

We received many positive reactions to our call for mentors and are pleased to see some mentoring partnerships in place and to witness the relationships evolution over the time.

MentorIt is now the time to reflect on this initiative and to ask our mentors how the live this experience. We have interviewed on of the very first job4U2 mentor, Nicolas to ask him to share with us his first impressions:

Sandrine @job4u2: “Nicolas, can you please explain in a nutshell, what is your mentor mentee relationship like? “

Nicolas @Mentor: “The relation installed between the mentor and its mentee is a relation based on trust, respect, and authenticity with in backdrop an exchange of the past work experiences and the future visions.”

Sandrine @job4u2: “What, in the first place has motivated you to enter in this mentorship program?”

Nicolas @Mentor: “The first vision I had for this mentorship program was sharing professional experience and also equally important, the human aspect that these exchanges can have.”

Sandrine @job4u2: “How have you heard about this initiative?”

Nicolas @Mentor:  “The idea came from the Human Resources manager of the international company where I work and who happens to know Sandrine well. She thought that I could be part of this program and that I could have some interest in it. The concept pleased me, having had in the past the possibility of taking advantage of a mentorship program myself.”

Sandrine @job4u2: if you should select 3 words that express the best what is this mentoring activity for you, what would they be?

Nicolas @Mentor: “Sharing, Vision and Discovery”

Sandrine @job4u2:” Is there anything you would like to add?”

Nicolas @Mentor: “To all professionals who feel the desire to share and to discover its environment through a new and different point of view, I recommend to engage in such a relation of mentoring.”

Sandrine @job4u2: “Many thanks Nicolas, I wish you a fulfilling continued mentoring experience with your mentee”.

Job4U2 is continuously looking for more mentors, should you think that is something you would like to be involved in, please register here .

Sandrine van den Oudenhoven
job4U2

Read as well: Call my mentors!! 

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. 

Michelle Obama or the true magnificence of dual career

Last Saturday, while watching the retransmission of Donald Trump’s inauguration, I saw Michelle Obama hugging with Trump and had a deep compassion feeling for her, imaging what it all meant for her to be forced to act like this, very likely keeping her real feelings inside for the sake of an entire nation and to keep up with the role millions of people had given to her husband, and consequently, to her too. She impressed me a lot.

My compassion is going in the first place to Michelle, not that I do not have any for Barack, I do. As the spouse: She is the one standing strong on the side, generous by definition and by action (having allowed her husband to embrace his dream and destiny 8 years ago).

Michelle’s attitude is nurturing the sense and purpose of my involvement with the job4U2 mission.

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

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 2017.

resolutions-2017In 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 2016, 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 2017 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 2016?
  • 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 2017, 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 2017 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 2017 resolution and a wonderful year 2017!! 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