I recently saw an article in HBR that talked about the important role supportive spouses play on your career (amongst four other key factors). This echoed Sheryl Sandberg’s quote that the most important career decision you will make is who you marry. Or more specifically that “a supportive spouse — a real partner — will play a huge part in your success.”
No doubt someone who doesn’t support both who you are and who you want to become will not be a career asset. If you are in love with a narcissistic guy who makes you feel “less than”….then by all means don’t marry him.
But don’t mistake what HBR and Sheryl Sandberg are saying with the notion that you need a partner to succeed. When I hear this kind of advice I can just imagine an ambitious 20-something thinking …”Shit, another thing I need to worry about and add to my to-do list”. After all, Millennials are the most achievement-oriented generation. Give them a goal and they can’t actively work towards and hello quarterlife crisis. Many of the 20-something women I talk to can barely find a guy who they want to date, much less that steps up to the plate to ask for a date.
I agree that a supportive partner is far better than a non-supportive partner. There are a whole host of benefits to being mated. But please don’t think that happiness or success are the domain of the “twos”. Be open to a relationship…but don’t force it. There are always two sides to every coin.
“It doesn’t matter if the whole world is questioning that you are doing as long as you have at least one member of what I call your tribe. It doesn’t matter who…it can be a relative, a friend, anybody who supports you through thick and thin. Then you have a foundation for your dream.”- Arianna Huffington
Arianna’s was her mom. Your “tribe” could be your go to girl-friend, a guy pal, a mentor turned friend, sister or brother, your dad. Don’t feel stunted from career success by your relationship status. Find your champion and go.
* This in no way criticizes either the article or Lean In…advice well worth taking. Highly recommend reading both.