6 Ways Your Significant Other Can Boost Your Career
Why you should let your partner into your professional life.
Talk to your partner about work, and he or she may be able to provide encouragement and advice.
By Hallie Crawford Sept. 17, 2015 | 11:06 a.m. EDT + More
Significant others can be great team players and a wonderful support system for us – personally and professionally. Our partners have a large impact on our lives, and it makes sense that we not only allow them into the professional element of our lives, but even ask them to participate in it in a positive way, if they're willing to do so. In fact, a 2014 study out of Washington University in St. Louis shows that conscientious spouses positively impact our career success and help us put our best foot forward.
Your partner can be a great boost when it comes to your career. And if he or she is not helpful for whatever reason, that can add a large weight on you as well. While you should keep certain business matters confidential, it's a great idea to let your significant other, in the right way, be a part of your business world. And if your partner is not helpful, ask him or her for what you want.
Keep in mind that this advice needs to be tailored to your situation, your partner and whether or not you want to involve him or her in your professional life. (And if so, how much do you want to involve him or her?)
If you're open to the idea, here are six ways your partner can help you be the best professional you can be:
1. He or she can give encouragement when you need it most. For all the times your mother could tell you that you are the smartest kid on the planet, it always seems to mean more when your significant other tells you that you are smart, capable and skilled at what you do.
Action tips: Let your significant other know that you really appreciate his or her kind words and support. Send him or her a text message on your break. Bring home his or her favorite coffee or treat. Don't let your significant other's support go unnoticed, and remember that you are a team. If you need extra support during a difficult time at work, ask for it. Letting your partner know what's going on at work can also alert him or her to times when you might be more stressed, and it can help him or her understand if you are more tense than usual and why. Your significant other will know when he or she needs to support you and won't assume it's something about him or her.
2. He or she provides an opportunity for give and take. If your significant other also has a career, make sure to encourage him or her as well! Time and time again, we hear from clients who are working on their careers before or after their spouses have done the same thing. Or after one partner makes his next career move, the other partner is going to focus on hers. Taking turns like this is a beautiful thing. It's one of the benefits of having a partner to lean on.
Action tips: If your partner is unhappy with his or her career in any way, talk about it and make a plan for what to do about it. Determine a three- and six-month plan of action to help your significant other move toward something he or she would enjoy. Develop a financial plan for the family as part of that process. If your significant other enjoys a career already, remember that he or she also needs support and will have bad days. Regularly ask how work is going, but spend time digging deeper into what's really happening. It can be too easy for either of you to gloss over what's really going on, because you are tired or don't want to address the difficulty. Set up time to talk one on one when the conversation can flow naturally. And make sure you spend time during that period taking an interest in what's really going on at work.
3. He or she allows the chance for you to set mutual goals. Be open with your significant other about what you want out of life, and be willing to compromise so that you can both be happy with your future together. When both sides have a clear plan for the future, they can help keep each other on track.
Action tip: Set aside time to really talk to your significant other during the week. Turn off your phones and tablets, and share your dreams with each other. Be honest, and listen to your significant other without interrupting. Be willing to make adjustments to keep both of you happy. For example, per the advice above, once you reach a goal in your career, can you allow your significant other to focus on reaching his or her goal? As you support each other, you will both get where you want in life and also get closer as a couple.
4. His or her actions and attitude can impact your success. According to the Washington University in St. Louis study mentioned above, when your partner is conscientious, diligent and self-motivated, this can contribute to your career success.
Conscientious partners are more likely to have a positive attitude, which can be infectious. These partners will help out more around the house, providing more time for you to work on your career. There is a proverb that refers to how iron sharpens iron. As a hard worker, your significant other will also help keep you motivated to be a hard worker.
Action tip: Perhaps as you read this tip, you realize that you or your partner could improve here. Before you tell your partner that he or she needs to start doing laundry, consider your circumstances. Are you both working? Are there children? Are you just starting your relationship? Instead of handing your partner a list of demands, sit down and talk about it. Ask him or her how you can be more conscientious. Then be specific about where you could use some assistance as well.
5. He or she can give you space when you need it. Although your significant other loves you, he or she understands that sometimes you need some time alone – whether it's to listen to music, watch your team's game or simply rest. (And if your partner doesn't understand, ask for it in a kind way.) This may seem like something small and simple, but it shows that you respect each other and your mutual needs. Giving your partner space also demonstrates that you respect his or her time, and vice versa.
Action tip: As partners, you are equals when it comes to whose time is more valuable. Your time is just as important as your partner's time. Talk to your significant other about what you each need when it comes to personal space. Sometimes we expect our partners to read our minds, but it's often as easy as saying: "You know that I love you, but I really need some down time right now."
6. He or she can be like your personal coach. Your significant other can provide advice when it comes to a problem with a co-worker, a good title for your project or what soft skills to talk to your interviewer about.
Action tip : When possible and appropriate, invite your partner on your business trips or the bonus trip you receive at the end of the year for a great year of sales. Bring your significant other to company events, and invite him or her to meet business partners when appropriate. This will help your partner understand what it's like to do what you do every day. It will also provide a window into your professional life, allowing him or her to support you in a more effective way. Do the same for your partner!
Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach, speaker and author from Atlanta whose coaching company, HallieCrawford.com, helps people identify their ideal career path, navigate their career transition and nurture their careers. Her team of coaches works with people of all ages, has clients worldwide and has helped thousands of people achieve their career goals. She is also regularly featured as a career expert in the media, including CNN, Fox Business News, The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger and Forbes.com.
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