In the Staffing space, this is the term we use to describe a spouse or partner of a Microsoft newly relocated hire. And very often, we hire the trailing spouse/partner as well. Or the person we hire is a trailing spouse/partner of someone who works somewhere else in the Seattle area. Anyway, being a single person, I don't have first-hand knowledge of the decision making process many married or unmarried couples. But I have had situations where negotiating an offer with a candidate involved a very active and interested spouse. This pretty much happens when the candidate wants to take the position and the spouse or partner has concerns or questions. You'd think it wouldn't be a good situation but honestly, having an open dialog with a couple about what it will take to make them happy in their new location feels more like a conversation than a negotiation. Yes, we have excellent healthcare benefits...yes we do have a company picnic that your kids will love...yeah, we'll help you find a place you want to live in...uh-huh, your spouse could be coming home every night all hopped up on free caffeine (oh, yeah, sorry about that).
Anyway, despite that fact that I didn't have one (I didn't even have Jonas yet, but he knows he gets no vote in any relocation decisions), I understand how important of a role the trailing spouse or partner holds...it's their life, too (or lives too...whatever, let's hope the grammar police took the day off). Today, I found some articles written for a businessweek journaling project by the spouse (Dina) of a relatively recent Microsoft finance MBA hire, William. Those of you out there with MBAs, or who are the spouse of an MBA, will probably see some of your experiences in Dina's articles. You can also get a sense of what it's like to move to the Seattle area. For me, it was just a reminder of what a huge decision process leads up to accepting a job offer. Not to get all weird, but it really can and does change peoples' lives.
Anyway, I should probably tell you that Dina works at Microsoft now, too, and I just met her today. She's been here a few months so joined Microsoft well after William. She works on the MBA recruiting team recruiting for Finance.