Work: Life-Balance to Retirement & Money


Petriglieri, Jennifer. Couples That Work: How Dual-Career Couples Can Thrive in Love & Work. Harvard Business Review Press, 2019.

Lots of information on dual-career couples focuses on how couples can grab at a work-life balance or better equalize the housework and/or childcare between the couple. In other words, those sources describe how the couples can work with work and improve their personal relationship. Seeing a literature gap, Petriglieri has crafted a theory and way forward to couples in discussing a couple and their careers by looking at how the couple can not only improve their relationship, but actually better support, improve, and reach their professional goals. Through interviewing professional couples from around the world, Petriglieri has identified three transitions couples with dual careers eventually all navigate, and she provides information on their traps and tools for moving through a stage successfully. The three transitions are merging careers together (who will have the primary career? Will we have equally importation careers?), taking a midlife stock and possible turn into what is really sought professionally for the next half of life (what do we want?), and accepting and moving forward after losing roles established in the first two transitions (having children, being the boss, before retirement) (who are we now?). Each transition is described and illustrated with profiled couples and psychological research. Petriglieri not only points out what not to do (traps) but also discusses what to do (tools). Rather than ultimate outcome, Petriglieri wants couples focus on following the outlined process of tools to come to what both members of the couple can be satisfied with through transitions. Sometimes, Pertriglieri acknowledges, she found that couples will not survive a transition to become who they truly are. What’s good about this book is its look at using a secure relationship to bolster career goals. Petriglieri aces discussing some of the key psychological literature such as Maslow and Bowlby. Where the book could have been stronger a wider base (so far only 113 couples have been interviewed) along with more of the relationship literature being used to augment Petriglieri’s argument. Overall, though, an intriguing theory of dual career development that can get partners talking about their career dreams and fears.


Bond, Casey. “6 Non-Financial Ways to Support Your Partner with Debt.” Huffington Post, 14 Feb. 2020,

Lido, Marie. “How to Be There for Your Partner After They Lose Their Job.” Vice, 18 Nov. 2019,

Shippey, Jonathan. “How to Make Time for Your Partner When You Have Completely Opposite Work Schedules.” Thrive Global, 15 Oct. 2019,