Work: Life-Balance to Retirement & Money


Hochschild, Arlie and Anne Machung. The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home. Updated ed., Penguin Books, 2012. **

The “Second Shift” is everything outside the realm of work that needs to be done around the house. Chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry, and the physical and emotional labor of child-rearing. The labor of the household is one of the most contentious topics for heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples of course face the same challenges of navigating the second shift of chores and parenting, but power dynamics of gender that come into opposite sex households especially heats up the couple’s push-and-pull of the Second Shift. This book is a blend of psychology and sociology. Originally published in 1989 and this updated edition in 2012. Arlie Hochschild argued that while empowerment has been praised, care (ie, the second shift) has been intrinsically devalued. Even the term “unpaid labor” demonstrates our society’s drift into everything weighed against its ability to make money – or relinquish the opportunity to make it. Hochschild argues that we have a stalled revolution in which women have been shifted much more away from their mothers’ lives and have entered workforce and take on the (traditional) empowerment of money, yet men have shifted away from their fathers less dramatically. Men have less systemically transitioned into taking on Second Shift roles as much as women have transitioned into the workplace. Women have in many respects added on to their work load in “having it all”. She profiles the Second Shifts of many heterosexual couples. Some have been somewhat worked out and settled to everyone’s liking. Others couples are unable to hear and navigate challenges and shifting priorities, and they emotionally distance. Some husbands are not able or willing to hear the wives’ pleas for action, and even if the husband wins the Second Shift battle, he may lose the War (fighting against inertia and an unhappy marriage). Not at all a guiding couples how to manage the Second Shift – these are longitudinal qualitative interviews of couples, this is more from the sociological lens of advocating for paid leave and (presciently) remote work. This is more of a book that illuminates the problem of the second shift and can get couples thinking about the Second Shift and how THEY are going to handle it (spoiler alert: hopefully as a team). This is an articulate and well-researched read for any working family navigating the complexities of work and family.

** See Also Two Become Three

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.


Most of these articles are going to be free online. If the article is not freely available, I will indicate that. In that case, check with your local librarians! Please first ask your librarian at your local library before buying online – many times you can get an article at no cost through one of your library’s databases or interlibrary loan.

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

Glassburn, Sharon. “Relationships and Work Demands: Finding Time to Reconnect.” Good Therapy, 24 Nov. 2015,

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,