Partner career development; it’s about paid and unpaid work and career life roles

I often use the word employment but it’s not really partner employment I’m interested in – it’s partner career development. It’s understanding and helping people make decisions about their career, and making the context they are making those decisions in as just as possible. And by career I mean the journey through work, learning and leisure. Work doesn’t just mean paid work. There is so much essential work done in our society that isn’t paid. Like raising families.So when I advocate for solutions to partner career development it is not just about supporting partners into paid work (although that is certainly a big part of it). Some of the solutions put forward to support partner employment (by myself and others) aren’t only about paid work. For example, encouraging the uptake of flexible work by ADF members allows members to make their unpaid home and family roles a bigger part of their own careers. It can help partners who make their caring roles their primary roles enjoy that role without drowning in laundry (unless laundry = satisfying work!). Or it can free up time a partner spends on caring and domestic work to spend in satisfying paid work, study or leisure. We need to change systems so that caring work is respected and valued, and that engaging in it (paid or unpaid) doesn’t put people at financial risk. It’s about creating an environment where people can pursue the path that makes the most of their strengths, interests, values and value to society. Partner career development is part of a bigger narrative about health and wellbeing of military families. And we need policies and programs that reflect that.

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