Why Picking a Job is Similar to Picking a Partner

If you’ll excuse me, I’ll write about a topic that I’ve been encountering a lot these days, and that hopefully entertain you. What is the relationship between making career choices and choices of choosing a partner?

I ran into an article a couple of days ago. They listed more than 20 points for a “good life”. One of them made me think and laugh at the same time.

It says: “One of the most important career choices you’ll make is to choose your partner right.”

It’s an interesting sentence because it’s possible to interpret it in a couple of ways. It first made me think; why would choosing a partner be a career decision? Then I thought if choosing a partner is so important that it affects all paths of life including your career success, even though it’s not related to careers directly.

Or is it the opposite: Does it imply that what we call career is a notion encompassing all life’s paths? Is life something that is to be lived by enlarging your goals every year as in careers, and not something to live calmly?

If this is the case, I get the sense that we’re talking about something bad and dark instead of something good. Isn’t life much more than careers? Should it not be? Or did we get used to using the word career in a very narrow way? Should we think of career as the whole path that a person draws for himself in life?

Let’s not yet give a definite answer to these questions. Keep on thinking on these for a while…

Corporate Family and the Story of Choosing a Partner

As parts of the corporate life, a metaphor we’ve become used to is the “corporate family”. The metaphor relating partner and career choices might seem absurd at first. But think about how many common points and similarities they share.

Let’s look at the similarities

Status: In both areas (career choices and partner choice), there is a need for harmony on a status level. University graduates looking for a partner and a job on the one side, and high school graduates on the other side…

Materiality: Materiality is an important distinction for both sides. This finds embodiment in “getting a foot” in a job for some, and in “gold digging” with a rich partner for others.

Union of Values, Goals and Ideals: The values, goals and ideals of individuals need to be similar for both the company-employee and the marriage relationships to work.

The relationship doesn’t work if one side is living with the obsession of getting richer and growing and the other side is after social entrepreneurships and voluntary work.

The relationship doesn’t work if one side values being in harmony with the nature while the other values power.

The relationship doesn’t work if one side talks about “being a citizen of the world” while the other believes his/her nation is the best at everything.

Division of labour and an understanding of competition are important. Someone who prioritizes collaboration might have a hard time in a very competitive business environment. In a business environment that values collaboration and harmony, someone who is highly competitive might seem “too ambitious” or “sticking out”. In relationships, if one side thinks that chores should be divided equally while the other sees them as “woman’s work”, the relationship is bound to be short.

Where is the Real Distinction?

Taking all these into consideration, is it more difficult to make partner or career choices? Which one is more important? I guess there’s no one single answer. But look at the people around you, you can answer these questions on your own. Who doesn’t have around them people over 45 who are said to me married to their job?

Everyone should ask this question to themselves at some point of their lives; the answers can affect one’s life deeply.

There’s one think that is very different between the partner and career choices, despite many similarities. The numbers.

There are some very interesting findings of an amateur research done under the name of The Rosie Project.

For example; before finding “the one”, men go through 8, women go through 7 relationships on average.

On average they go thought 4 terrible dates, get ditched on a date at least once, live together with one person, go through serious heartache twice, get cheated on at least once, and cheat at least once. Before a serious relationship, men have 6 one-night-stands while women have 4 on average.

What would the picture be if we compare these stories with the career world?

Let’s look at the career world for a while.

According to the research data of Canada-based Workopolis, an average Canadian works at 15 different jobs throughout her career. The younger the person, the higher this number. So it seems that this number will be much higher for the Y generations who are working now. Gen-X works at a company for approximately 3.2 years while this number is 2.7 for the Gen-Y.

According to the statistics corporation BLS, in the USA an adult works at 12-15 different jobs in her life.

We can make this comment.

An adult makes at least 10 important career decisions throughout her life.

What are the implications of this for career choices?

It is an empty dream to get married after a couple of relationships after graduating from, and settling down in a long-term marriage life after changing a couple of jobs. Don’t fall into this trap, so that you don’t have to feel guilty for reasons of which you are not guilty. Our lives are now more chaotic in every aspect. We have to accept this.

No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to have a life where you’ll choose the right job after a couple of trials and put the rest of your life on track. That life is now in our dreams. It’s a high chance that we will be blown from one roof to another in the storm, no matter what we do.

Don’t stand still if you’re looking for the one job and the one love. You first need to meet enough people, fail, have your heart broken and fall in love a couple of times only to get sad. Don’t be mad at me, this is what the statistics say J

Most importantly; if you’re having problems deciding whether to prioritize your choice of job or partner, choose happiness at home. Why? Because life will surprise you anyway with all the factors out of your control, even if you try to make the best choices.

Moreover; a good home life can make you more successful at work. An unhappy emotional world can decrease your work success. It’s not possible to tell the same for the opposite. Having a good career will not provide you with someone who you’ll have a better and peaceful relationship.

career choicescareer planningcorporate lifelife choicesprivate life
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