For some workers, their career is more important than anything else in their life — including their family.
A new survey by Spherion Staffing Services finds "both men (72 percent) and women (73 percent) are equally willing to focus less on their careers for the sake of their partner's career and family life."
Some of the ways the survey says people have sacrificed their careers for love include "not taking a new job because it does not offer spousal benefits (46 percent) or taking a back seat with their own job for their spouse's work success. About one-in-10 workers (9 percent) say they have already taken a back seat in their career so their spouse or partner could advance instead, and a quarter (26 percent) of workers are extremely or very willing to do so."
Family Education puts the priorities question this way: "Are you married to your work or to your spouse?"
The article talks about how people sometimes have little energy left over from work for their spouse — or anything else.
"There is an expression to describe such people: They are married to their work," Family Education says. "What does this imply about their marriage to their spouse? Usually it means that their spouse comes second, which is a recipe for disaster. Even though someone might receive a great deal of satisfaction from his or her job, he or she still needs to put the marriage first. Work shouldn't be at the expense of your relationship."
Utah State University has a course online about "The Busy-ness of Work & Marriage" that has a few tips on how to balance work and marriage.
"In approximately 70 percent of all U.S. marriages, both partners work outside the home," the course says. "This may add up to more income, but may also add up to more stress, fatigue, and tension in relationships. Over the past twenty years, both partners working outside the home has become the norm. This busy-ness often gives way to bitterness and arguing unless partners constantly work at balancing their relationship with their work lives."
Some of the tips in the course include making your spouse a priority. Others include not expecting perfection, communicating regularly, being trustworthy and being forgiving.
The Spherion survey found most people saying they had their priorities on the relationship side of the question — even when it comes to having kids. Only 18 percent say they would delay or not have children because of their career. Fifty-five percent say they wouldn't even cancel a vacation for the sake of their career.4 comments on this story
"These findings illustrate that many workers are making their personal lives, their relationships and their families their top priorities, even ahead of their careers in many instances," Sandy Mazur, Spherion's division president, says in a press release. "For most employees, work-life balance is a top priority and their job responsibilities must be able to be integrated into their personal lives for them to define their careers as successful."
But for those who have a spouse that puts work first, Today recommends people signal their needs: "Explain to your partner that marriage is about relying on each other for certain needs. Let them know if their mind is always on work, it leads to creating an emotional vacuum in your relationship."