In honour of my 10 year wedding anniversary today to my lovely husband, Garth Almendro, I thought I would collate my thoughts on marriage and careers because surprisingly, there is a strong synergy between choosing a life partner, and choosing a career. Here is what I have learned in my professional and personal life.
#1 Take your time in finding the right fit
As with a life-time partner, the time invested to really get to know the person is worth it. Garth and I dated for four years before we got engaged, and took a year to plan our wedding. In those first initial 5 years, we had our good times and our bad – and it was totally worth it to test our compatibility.
The same goes with your career. The fact that so many young individuals choose a course without knowing the first thing about what the career is all about is crazy! It is possibly why the vast majority of graduates end up working in a completely different field, or worst yet, drop out of their course prematurely.
It’s absolutely worth it to invest in a career assessment, and engage with a career coach on your career map.
Other tactics that are free (all you need is a phone and Wi-Fi) include Googling that career. On YouTube, search “A day in the life of a (insert profession here)”.
Use LinkedIn and find professionals who are in your career field of interest. Ask them questions.
Utilise your own network of friends and family – there is bound to be someone who knows someone who is working in the industry you have your eye on. Have a candid conversation and ask them the best and worst parts about their jobs.
This initial research is a worthwhile investment – and it does not have to cost you a cent!
#2 Be Mindful
Marriage is not a destination. Many people get completely caught up in the excitement and preparation for their wedding day. Afterwards they think “Now what?”
Your career is not a destination either. Like your relationship, it is a journey. There will be good times, and there will be terrible times! Although important to have goals and objectives to plan towards (perhaps in your marriage, it is starting a family, or buying your first home together), take a moment to just be.
Regularly introspect and soak into the moment. Your job is not always going to excite and enthral you, but at the very least, it should actively engage and stimulate you. You should look forward to Monday’s – not dread them.
As nuts as this sounds, you are never ever going to know every intimate detail about your partner. After 10 years, I would say Garth and I know each other really well – but there are times that we learn new things about one another! Have the appetite to learn their likes, their dislikes, their value paradigms, their dreams, and ambitions. The goal is not to adopt their approach to life, but to respect it (even if some of your opinions clash).
In your career, your approach to your job role is not the same as your peer. No two psychologists, lawyers or accountants are the same. There is rich value in learning about the way in which your peers do things. It is not to make yourself fit into their approach, but exposing yourself to different styles, techniques and tactics will only be beneficial toward you.
The hardcore truth is that the person you marry will not be the same person in the next 5, 10, 20 or 50 years! Saying this, neither will you. You have got to allow yourself to flow with the evolution of your partner, and the growth in your own personality, character, likes, dislikes, beliefs, and values.
In terms of your career, your chosen vocation may not even exist in 10 years’ time! And that is okay! Like with your life partner, learn to evolve with the process. Upskill yourself. Keep abreast of your industry. Do not expect your learnings to end at school, college, or university. Continuously challenge yourself to look at ways to evolve, and transfer your skills.
The success to any marriage (or partnership) is making the conscious effort to engage the other. Open communication, understanding, empathy, compassion, support, patience, and kindness are critical to ensure a partnership weathers inevitable hardship.
With regards to any career, there will always be the need to engage others. These may be colleagues, superiors, clients, and stakeholders. Even if one works in a role that is primarily devoid of human contact, business exists because there is a consumer who has a problem which needs to be solved. Thus, the fundamentals which ensure a marriage works, are also necessary in virtually any career. If you grow your interpersonal skills and EQ, you are sure to experience substantial success in your vocation.
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