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Excelling In Two Careers: A New Team Approach

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.271.1 - 3.271.5

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Ben Humphrey

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

Session 3675

Excelling in Two Careers: A New Team Approach Ben Humphrey Parks College of Engineering and Aviation Saint Louis University

INTRODUCTION Dual career family situations have traditionally been approached with the assumption that both spouses have individual careers and must integrate them into their family situations. This paper presents the viewpoint that one spouse can successfully administer two different careers simultaneously, if the other spouse acts as organizer/augmenter to both careers (and the family.) Many situations exist which allow enough time for one spouse to take on two careers, but the burdens of scheduling, organization, and research, can stymie productivity. If that person is freed from basic or repetitious tasks and supported by not just an assistant, but a partner, a team can develop which produces superior results in both professions and in the home. In the University setting, with the flexibility of contact hours, research and service requirements, it is possible and reasonable under those suppositions to combine two careers, i.e. Professor/Minister. DIVISION OF EFFORTS-UNIVERSITY PROFESSORATE Because the wage-earning spouse bears responsibility to their employers, they necessarily assume general direction of the team. The "director" bases the structure of the partnership on the major requirements and/or expectations handed down by their superiors. They analyze obligations; sets priorities and chooses the specific route each project should take. They decide what actions and resources are needed to meet each goal and communicate those needs to the augmenter spouse. As conditions change, the director alters major and interim deadlines. Weighing the emphasis for individual projects or parts thereof falls mainly on the directing spouse, though input from the augmenting spouse helps balance the outlook.

Formal research needs are coordinated with the augmenter at all stages. The director tracks the progress and direction of major facets of each project. By receiving timely feedback they maintain a high degree of control over information. They avoid the tedium of overseeing minute details, which allows them time and energy for personal growth and creative endeavors. Though secretaries, research assistants and research partners do accomplish many of these functions in other cases, the family relationship of this team approach yields several benefits.

First, since the spouses already have many ideas and ideals in common, they tend to think along the same lines. Each partner knows what to expect from the other. Quality lines of communication already exist. Family bonds strengthen the desire and ability to understand each other's viewpoint.

Second, the augmenter appreciates the mindset, hidden expectations and otherwise unexpressed factors that motivate the director. This allows for candid communication, possibly inappropriate in a public setting.

Third, contact between partners is extended due to time spent together in normal family situations. Thoughts shared during casual conversation often lead to excellent solutions to

Humphrey, B. (1998, June), Excelling In Two Careers: A New Team Approach Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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