|Question||Pete Gettings, director of human resources for XYZ Company’s research and development laboratories, was relating a success from his State University recruiting trip to Derek Hills, XYZ’s manager of computer operations.
“Derek,” Gettings said excitedly, “you know how you’ve had me looking for engineers who could add technical strength to your operation? Well, I’ve found one— a senior at State University and a straight-A student, with lots of ambition, interested in computers for what they can do in applications, and anxious to work in industry. I’m bringing her in for an interview— I’m sure you’ll want to hire her, and I’m positive we can.
“But,” Gettings continued, “that’s the good news. The bad news is that she’s married and she and her husband want to work for the same company. Her husband is a marketing major and a jock. He played four years of basketball for State but is not nearly good enough to consider a pro career. I to consider a pro career. I met him; he’s got lots of personality and a C-grade average. I don’t see any particular talent in him, and I think our marketing people will turn him down fl at. But if we want her, we’ve got to find him a job!”
Sally Finch and her husband, Mike, were brought in for interviews with exactly the results Pete Gettings had predicted. Everybody was impressed with Sally, for she had prepared well for the interview and was able to point out some unexploited applications of computers at XYZ. Her suggestions about product performance simulation were particularly thought provoking and impressive. Her husband, on the other hand, did very poorly in his interview. Mike could discuss his basketball prowess, but little else. His earring and ponytail hairstyle did not fit the conservative atmosphere of XYZ either.
The interviews resulted in a very attractive offer to Sally and a rejection for Mike. Sally’s response was a blunt retort that she and Mike would continue to look for opportunities to work for the same company. XYZ wanted to employ Sally so badly that it made a diligent search of local employment possibilities for her husband, thinking this might be a good alternative to employing both of them at XYZ. A small telemarketing firm finally exhibited some interest in employing Mike, and because of the excellent offer that XYZ had made to Sally, the pair decided to accept both offers.
Sally subsequently proved to be a valuable asset to XYZ’s R& D computer operations, and her work resulted in some excellent product development progress for the company. Derek was d and continued to pay for her additional training.
Sally received two promotions during her first two years at XYZ. Occasionally Derek asked about her husband, and Sally’s only response was that he was doing OK and they were considering buying a home. This was good news because XYZ felt that Sally was definitely an employee they wanted to keep.
As time went on, Derek saw Mike several times at departmental social functions and noted that he had matured and become a very self-assured individual. In conversations with him, Derek observed that Mike seemed to have all the characteristics of a successful young businessman. Derek, in fact, wondered to himself if XYZ had made a mistake in not hiring him.
Derek was surprised and ill prepared one morning when Sally walked into the office and told him she was resigning.
“What’s the problem?” Derek asked.
“My husband has done very well in the telemarketing business and has been offered a promotion and transfer to the West Coast. His company has asked him to open and manage a new branch operation there. I’m certain I’ll be able to find employment in our new location, and we think this is the chance of a lifetime for Mike. I’m sorry to leave XYZ, but I really see no other choice. I’m willing to stay a month or so to train a replacement if you can find one quickly. Of course, if XYZ could come up with a job for Mike equivalent to the one he’s been offered on the Coast, we would stay here.”
1. Should XYZ find (or “create”) a job for Mike to retain Sally, a valued and well-trained employee?
2. Should XYZ management have anticipated a possible retention problem due to different career paths when it placed Sally and Mike in jobs with separate companies?
3. Do situations such as the one presented here make companies cautious about offering positions to members of dual-career families?