No one ever said managing a career was easy. Throw a relationship into the mix and you’ve got career suicide, right? Wrong. While we’d all love to forgo a day of work in exchange for a fun-filled day with our significant other, having a strong relationship doesn’t mean your occupational goals have to suffer. It’s quite the opposite!
Extensive research on the subject of relationships and careers shows that people in successful relationships not only make more money, they’re healthier, live longer, and get more promotions than singles do. So how can you juggle your relationship and your career?
We’ve got the five tips that’ll keep your work and love life harmonious — and YOU sane!
1) Prioritize. It’s a fact: Sometimes life forces us to put more weight on one thing than another. Often, this priority shift means forgoing one goal in exchange for another; for example, weakening your professional aspirations in return for relationship growth. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice one aspect of your life for another. After all, what’s the fun of a promotion if you don’t have someone to share it with?
The good news is prioritizing doesn’t mean sacrifice. It means adjustment. And by building a strong foundation for both your romantic and work life, you can prevent disruption when priorities shift.
Step one: Make sure that both your significant other and your coworkers know that they’re a valuable part of your life. When both understand that they are mutually valuable, staying late at the office doesn’t mean that you’d rather be at work, nor does taking a personal day mean you don’t care about your job.
Communicate that both are of high priority and sometimes, as need be, one might take precedence.
2) Compartmentalize. Having a successful career and a loving relationship is the best of both worlds. The best way to keep those two separate worlds happy? Just that — keep them separate! That means when you’re at work, commit fully to your job, the task at hand, and the needs of your coworkers or managers. Don’t let your love life be a distraction. There’s plenty of time to daydream outside the office. Instead, spend your workday being productive and you’ll have more time quality time to spend with your beloved later.
Likewise, when spending quality time with your significant other, don’t let work distract your attention. Put away your BlackBerry, stop talking about your next big proposal, and halt all conversations about your gossipy coworker. Instead, discuss topics you as a couple both enjoy. On the plus side, you’ll find that occasionally disconnecting (fully) from work will make you more productive when you return to the office.
3) Manage Your Time. The number one factor in job loss and relationship breakdown is lack of time and dedication. Successful professionals who are in relationships know this can be avoided with a little forethought and planning. If your career demands that you work long hours at the end of the month, plan a weekend get-away with your guy the week before so you can share time before your required separation. Equally, after a vacation or break from work, come back to the office energized and eager to get back to your job. Show your boss that even though you value your relationship and personal life, you are similarly devoted to your professional success.
4) Stay Connected. Social networking exists for a reason — to reach out and touch people. Spending time at the office is unavoidable, but ruining your relationship because you have a job is 100 percent avoidable. The fix? Take five minutes each day to send a quick private message to your significant other, write on his Facebook wall — heck, even send a quick email to let him know you’re thinking of him. But please, this shouldn’t be a novel, nor should you share in a monumentally long IM chat every hour. Remember, you’re at work … you should be working! Just a quick two-liner about how special he is will do just fine.
5) Know When to Quit. We’ll be the first to admit, quitting gets a bad rap. But knowing when something or someone isn’t good for you and taking yourself out of that situation makes for one great character trait.
The lesson: Be mindful of just how much time you’re investing in your relationship or your career. If your late work hours are preventing you from taking part in the things you love (aka your relationship) it may be time to reevaluate your job and career aspirations. Meeting with your boss to establish a more efficient work schedule might be in order.
Similarly, if you’re significant other is not considerate of your career or life goals and continually gives you grief about not spending enough time with him, it may just be time to quit him.
Just remember, success-minded people know that balance is the spice of life. And no matter how well you manage your time, sometimes your life will be more focused on one area than another. Just be sure to assess your goals from time to time, evaluate where you are and where you want to be, and plan accordingly.
You can have it all! You just have to work it, girl!