By Kate Lorenz,
worked for a national engineering firm and remembers one engineer
whose wife called him at the office incessantly for the littlest things.
"He was always leaving the office and running home to help with
some 'emergency,' and once told me he felt like he couldn't do his
job anymore because of it. It was very wearing on him."
familiar? Does your spouse refuse to pick up and move one more time,
promotion or no promotion? Is your wife the life of the company holiday
party, much to your chagrin? Does your husband refuse to help out
around the house so you can concentrate on your MBA?
spouse can be very important to your image and career. Your mate can
either be a willing partner in your success and a positive reflection
on you, or could keep you from achieving the career heights you aspire
towards. If the latter describes your domestic situation, it may be
time to examine your life, your career and your relationship.
Here are some tips on addressing you partner's inappropriate behavior
in the workplace:
Overindulgent Partier -- Does your partner don the proverbial lampshade
at every company outing? Then it's time to pull him aside and let
him know his antics are out of line. Guzzling "upside-down margaritas"
may have been impressive in the frat, but in business it just makes
you both look like buffoons.
Constant Caller -- Her lightning-fast calls to the office put speed
dial to shame. Inform her that your company has a policy limiting
personal phone calls (most companies do) and her hounding phone calls
could get you fired.
Chicken Little -- He is forever cooking up emergencies at home to
get you to ditch that client dinner or shorten you business trips.
Remind him that his role at home is an important part of your job
as well and that without it, your family would not be able to succeed.
to the Root of the Problem
Quite often, many mates' antics are just a way of acting out their
frustration or may be desperate attempts to secure your attention.
It's important for you to sit down with your spouse or partner and
talk about the goals you have for yourselves and your family and what
it's going to take to get there. You need to work on your relationship
like you work on your career to head off any problems between the
- Don't let
your career take over your life. Be sure to set aside some time
to spend together regularly.
- Don't make
your partner feel the need to compete with your career. Discuss
your day with her -- good or bad -- so they don't feel left out.
- Just because
your career is fulfilling to you it doesn't mean it's fulfilling
to him. Encourage him to set his own goals and achievements.
- Perhaps a
career coach can help. Amy Dorn Kopelan, founder and executive
director of COACH ME, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides
executive coaching to women in the early stages of their career
who cannot afford it on their own, contends, "In many cases,
people hold themselves back because they don't want to approach
their mates and talk about what they really want."
Professional Help is Needed
If the problem persists, Sue Murphy, Association Manager for the National
Human Resources Association, says the employee may want to contact
the company's Employee Assistance Program, where counselors can address
the spouse's issues and behavior.
more than 80 percent of Fortune's Top 500 have an Employee Assistance
Program (EAP) in place, according to Katie Borkowski, professional
services director of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
sometimes it just takes a neutral third party to help you talk things
out, some partner problems require more than counseling. In the case
of the engineer, his wife eventually entered a mental health facility
to deal with her issues. If your company doesn't have an EAP, often
mental health services are often covered under medical insurance plans.
Lorenz is the article and advice editor for CareerBuilder.com. She
researches and writes about job search strategy, career management,
hiring trends and workplace issues.