We spend a lot of time with our partner and on focusing on building our own way to success and finding methods to help improve how much we enjoy and excel in our careers.
However, if you have a partner in your life, then you’re going to soon realize they have ambitions of their own, and the both of you have to share time with each other and those ambitions.
If you want your loved one to succeed as much as you, to progress and grow with you, how do you do it?
Get to know their motivations
The field of work we choose is often related to our interests or our personality types.
It should be no surprise that someone who loves cars would want to be a mechanic or engineer, or that someone kind and nurturing wants a career in medicine or nursing.
But the reasons they chose a career and their motivations for wanting to excel in that career are different.
To really understand your partner and their career, try to find out what their motivation is.
Do they primarily want to provide for themselves and their families? Are they dedicated to the craft itself? Do they want the respect and appreciation that comes with success in their field?
It may feel a little awkward asking a question that mostly gets bandied around at job interviews, but it is important. The better you know their motivations, the better you can understand their career and how you can support it.
Cut the criticism
If there is anything that can ruin even a great relationship, it’s criticism. It can come from either direction and if it’s allowed to become a habit, it’s truly toxic.
There’s a difference between concern or dissenting opinions and criticism. It’s the sheer negativity that makes the latter so toxic.
If you don’t understand the career move your partner is making, don’t reject it, ask them to explain it. If you’re concerned they are working too much, don’t say “you’re working too much.” Let them know why you care, such as if you’re worried they’re endangering their health.
Above all else, regardless of what the disagreement is, let them know you appreciate the work and the effort they put in.
Be their wing-woman or man
If your partner is focusing on becoming a reputable professional, then do what you can to help bolster that image.
If they could use some little style tips to help them nail the professional look, then offer it. Make them look classier with men’s Christian rings. Help them choose the right clothes for the right situations.
If you’re attending a networking event or conference with them outside of work, then make sure you are acting just as professionally and as courteously as they are. Prop them up when they could use it.
Provide practical support
As a professional, it’s safe to assume that you may have some tricks and tips they could benefit from, just as you could.
f your partner is having trouble keeping track of everything, get them a pocket organizer or an office bag. If they want to prepare for an interview or a pitch, then help them practice with flashcards in the lead-up to it.
You can provide a ton of practical support and advice, but it’s also important to make sure that you’re not “giving them the answer.” If they ask for advice or help, then help them see things from another perspective.
If they’re talking about an issue or a challenge at work, don’t just blurt out what you think will save the day. For one, it undermines their own efforts to solve their issues. More worryingly, it communicates that you might not have faith in their ability to succeed on their own.
Make time for one another
You have a career. They have a career. Sometimes, it can be hard to find a moment between the two to actually enjoy the relationship. Rather than finding that time, you have to create it.
Managing a work-life-relationship balance can be tricky. Set dates in advance but be understanding if work comes in the way and you have to reschedule.
Take advantage of what improvised moments of intimacy or relaxation you can but be aware that work might have to interrupt it.
Set boundaries of when work can and cannot follow you home and encourage your partner to do the same as best they can.
Know that the little things count
The grind is real and the grind is every day, so support has to be every day, too. You don’t have to make big gestures or get gifts or provide in-depth feedback every time, however.
You probably don’t have time to. Even simple daily rituals can make a big difference. Give them a little pep talk before work. Ask them how their day went and celebrate even little achievements.
Have breakfast together before work to have a moment to relax and wake up. These little rituals might feel mundane and they might feel unimportant, but they weave a cord of positivity that consistently runs through the relationship.
Make sure it’s reciprocal
Support for a career cannot be a one-way thing. Especially not for a career-minded person like yourself.
If you support your partner’s career goals, they have to support yours and vice versa.
If that isn’t a possibility, you might have to have a serious talk about the future and about where you both want to be in five, ten, or twenty years’ time.
You can work it out, hopefully by bringing them around. If you can’t convince them to support your career, however, you have to ask yourself whether you can accept someone who doesn’t accept some of your greatest aspirations in life.
How we support our partners through their careers will look a little different depending on their career, their motivations, and the relationships we have with them.
However, if they’re as career-oriented as you, then that support is crucial. Without it, there could be major issue lying under the surface of that relationship.
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