NEW YORK — Studies show the days of the devoted wife following her husband from city to city as he climbs the corporate ladder may not be over--but the days of the devoted husband following his wife in the same manner have definitely begun.
"My husband and I have a joke," says Lanell Clayton, a clinical director who relocated with her husband from Slidell, La., to Amarillo, Tex. "I followed him for 30 years, and he will now follow me for the next 30 years."
"My friends didn't understand why I'd want to make a move," she says. "It's a great risk. I did it strictly for me. I have never done anything like this before."
Mark Brunkhorst, national operations representative for Dunhill Personnel System, says women are making the same kind of career choices that men have always made--"including deciding whether or not to take a superior position at a corporation in another city or state to better their career."
Dunhill Personnel System, based on Long Island is an international personnel recruiting firm that specializes in executive and relocation placements.
Brunkhorst says: "The main difference between the women and men we relocate is that women have more of a desire to balance family, cultural, social and career concerns while considering their career objectives."
For example, when Debra Marr Vopal relocated with her husband and 2-year-old daughter from Milwaukee to Fort Worth, a condition of her move was that the hospital to which she was transferring provide space for her daughter in its day-care facility.
Married women say having a supportive husband is a "must" when making the decision to relocate.
"My original response to relocating was 'no,' " Vopal said. "However, my husband said that if I was interested in the position, it wouldn't hurt to listen. If he hadn't said 'yes,' it wouldn't have gotten very far."
However, not every woman who relocates is married.
Many single and divorced women--including those with children--are picking up and moving to a new job or town.
"My mother knew that when she sent her kids to college, they weren't all going to stay in Kansas," says Cathy Rhyne, who moved with her fourth-grade son from Little Rock to Provo, Utah.
She, like other women, found that relatives and friends were surprised when moving plans were announced.
"When people have never lived in an area, they can be very judgmental about the environment," Rhyne says.
Katharine Ryan, a single financial analyst, says she never intended to relocate from city to city. But she's moved from South Bend, Ind., to Cincinnati and now to Toledo.
But, she adds, "You have to move to get the position you want. All of my friends have spread out for job opportunities."