Ways Your Career Can Ruin Your Relationship
No matter what industry you work in, your career can always pose a threat to your relationship. Some might say that the two biggest relationships in your life are your romantic one, and the one you have with your career (if you really care about your work, that is). Think about it: they both consume your thoughts, can keep you up at night, monopolize your schedule, and are the driving force behind most of your major decisions. They both bring you a tremendous amount of joy, but only when you put in a good amount of work. In life, we always have to walk that fine line between attending to our responsibilities—to the ins and outs of every day—and remembering that they don’t actually matter that much. At the end of the day, it’s always our relationships that make us the happiest. If you lost your job, you’d probably find joy again. If you lost the love of your life because of your job, that’s something from which you may never recover. So here are ways your career can threaten your relationship, and how to stop it.
Coveting money and power over time
If you have a high motor and pride yourself on working hard, then bigger and great opportunities are bound to present themselves. They’ll mean more money, but they’ll also mean more responsibility and less time with your partner. Even when you are physically with your partner, if the crown weighs heavy on the head due to money and power, you won’t be mentally present.
Know that money and power don’t bring joy
There have actually been studies that have found that, while having enough money to cover our basic needs helps eliminate stress and in that way makes us happy, beyond a certain income bracket there’s no increase in happiness due to an increase in money. Furthermore, those who are in a position of power over other people often experience more depression and anxiety.
Not setting communication boundaries
We live in a culture in which everyone feels that things must happen now, now, now! That’s how we wind up responding to work emails on our phone at the dinner table with our partners or taking work calls while on vacation. Before you know it, you can feel that you’ve missed out on those real life, bonding moments with your significant other.
Know that most things can wait
If you really think about it, most work-related emails and calls can wait. If they can’t wait a day, they can probably wait a couple of hours. If you’re really great at what you do, people will wait. They won’t replace you with some less-competent person just because that person is always by their phone.
Forgetting that it’s a means; not the end
We can get so caught up in our careers and our progress that we forget that we’re all just progressing towards the same thing…a cemetery. Sorry to be morbid but, it’s also just a reality check. You don’t get to take your money or power with you. Mortality does not care that you’re a CEO. CEOs get just as much time (aka a totally unpromised and unspecific amount) to be with their loved ones as coffee shop baristas. And yet, CEOs squander their time as if they get extra. They don’t. You don’t.
Remember that relationships are the point
Any time you’re letting your career consume you and take you completely away from your real life, remember that the reason you have a career is so that you can have a real life. You have a career so you can have stability from which you can enjoy romantic relationships and a family. So once your career is actually just getting in the way of that, the balance is off. You’ve missed the point.
Letting ego get the best of you
Everyone lets ego get the best of them from time to time when they’re killing it in their careers. We can become self-involved, narcissistic, always wanting to talk about our success and work, and believing that our career is the most important and interesting topic available. Perhaps more than, say, how our partner’s kickball game went or how his trip was to visit his college friend.
That ego would die without your partner
Just remember that, if you make your partner feel so insignificant that he leaves you, you’ll lose that troublesome ego real fast. You’ll realize how much of that partnership actually played a role in your sense of confidence and importance. And you’ll feel so stupid—devastated, really—for taking it for granted.
Troublesome “work husbands”
There will always be those men with whom you have great rapport around the office—the ones who make you laugh during your breaks and who are really great at discussing your career with you. They’re your “work husbands” but they can sometimes try to drop little hints—get into your subconscious—that you should actually be with someone in your field, rather than your current partner.
You aren’t your job
You aren’t your job. And that idea that you’d be better off romantically with someone in your industry is based on the idea that you are your job. You only hit it off with those people when you’re all in the work environment—when you’re wearing your little powerful hats that you get to wear in that world. But that is not who you are. Your real partner knows who you are and thank goodness for it because do you really want to be literally married to your work?
Not differentiating between crucial and non-crucial tasks
Not every task or every event is crucial. But, it can feel that way. Once again, if you’re ambitious, then saying no to opportunities can be very difficult. Before you know it, you could be volunteering to go to every out of town convention and join every team working on projects that keep you at the office late into the night.
Know that you have clout
If you’ve built up so much clout that you are invited to every out of town convention and people beg you to join this important project, then you also have enough clout to say no to some things, and still remain relevant.
Letting career setbacks devastate you
Career setbacks suck. They sting. They kick your ego a bit. But they don’t deserve all of your attention and energy. They shouldn’t have the power to deplete all of your happiness. If a career setback causes you to spiral into an indulgent, self-pitying depression that lasts for months and pulls you away from your partner, then you’ve given your career too much power.
Remember, again, it’s just a means to an end
Jobs come and go. But there will probably only be one or two true soul mates. If you squander that for a job that’s one in a thousand, you’ve gotten this life thing wrong.
You sort of only need love
You don’t only need love but, it will contribute to most of your happiness. Always be aware of that important balance between work and your relationships. Nobody is perfect, and sometimes, you’ll trend too far in the wrong direction, but simply being aware of that delicate balance will go a long way.