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Dual Careers Vs. Dueling Careers: Engineering The Two Professional Household

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.209.1 - 4.209.12

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Paper Authors

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Michael Tooley

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Melissa S. Tooley

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3675

Dual Careers vs. Dueling Careers: Engineering the Two-Profession Household

Melissa S. Tooley, Michael D. Tooley University of Arkansas/ Lucent Technologies


Balancing professional and personal obligations is a continuing challenge for today’s educators. Two-income families are particularly common among new faculty, where partners are required to share all the duties of family life. This paper presents the methods used by one professional couple to share the responsibilities of raising children, maintain a home for the family, and balance the professional needs of each working spouse. The authors represent a fairly typical example of a two-profession household; she is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Arkansas, and he is a Global Marketing Executive for Lucent Technologies.

A successful dual-career relationship doesn’t just happen, it takes planning and even engineering to ensure successful careers for both partners and a fair and equitable distribution of necessary tasks in the home. While all potential conflicts cannot be eliminated, a methodical approach to prevent potential problems has proved successful for the authors of this paper. After 14 years of marriage, one child and a dog, both careers are thriving, and the house is (usually) clean.

The paper will present the methodology used by the authors to achieve successful dual careers rather than dueling careers. Included are decision-making processes, goal-setting procedures, and suggestions for utilizing both for optimal balance between personal and professional responsibilities. The choices made by the authors regarding career paths and personal priorities will be shared in the hope that their experience will prove beneficial to others dealing with shared responsibilities in two-profession households.

I. Introduction

When reading this paper, the question that may come to mind is “Who are these people?” and perhaps “What qualifies them to give me advice on how to manage my life?” These are fair and relevant questions. We are two working professionals who are striving to make a positive difference in our respective professions, have a thriving family life, raise a great child, be active in our community, and enjoy our leisure time (such as it is) to the fullest. In short, we want it all, and we want it right now, as do our friends in similar circumstances. We have no special qualifications to give advice except that we are frequently told that we manage our lifestyle well. After 14 years, we have worked out a system that works for us and we welcome the opportunity to share our methods with others.

Tooley, M., & Tooley, M. S. (1999, June), Dual Careers Vs. Dueling Careers: Engineering The Two Professional Household Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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