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3 Ways Your Husband Could Be Holding You Back Professionally

If you're in a happy, committed relationship, the last thing you want to hear is that your wonderful partner might be negatively affecting your career. For working women who are married to men, however, it's important to recognize the ways in which the marriage penalty can crop up, even for childless couples -- through no fault of your husband's.

If you’re in a happy, committed relationship, the last thing you want to hear is that your wonderful partner might be negatively affecting your career. For working women who are married to men, however, it’s important to recognize the ways in which the marriage penalty can crop up, even for childless couples — through no fault of your husband’s.

couple holding hands

(Photo Credit: michaelnpatterson/Flickr)

Here are some common problems:

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1. You assumed his career would take precedent over yours — and so did he.

Jessica Grose of Slate recently wrote an article reviewing a new study of 25,000 Harvard Business School graduates, conducted by Robin Ely, Coleen Ammerman, and Pamela Stone. Grose noted that more than half of male subjects said that when they graduated, they expected their career would take precedence over their partners’. Only 7 percent of Gen X women and 3 percent of Baby Boomer women said the same. This expectation certainly impacts women’s careers down the road.

2. Women often tend to take on more responsibilities at home than men.

Another takeaway from the HBS study was that both men and women strongly value “the quality of personal and family relationships.” Nearly 100 percent of those surveyed, regardless of gender, ranked this item as “very” or “extremely” important when interviewed.

However, in many cases, it seems that women continue to hold on to the majority of the responsibilities on the home front, even when both spouses are working full-time. Women often take on a managerial role when it comes to the household and the children. Moms stay home when kids are sick, and back-burner their professional responsibilities for the family more often than dads. Naturally, this impacts their careers.

3. He doesn’t understand what you’re up against.

Despite all the progress that has been made with the gender pay gap and other issues of gender equality in the workplace, women still are not receiving equal treatment in the workplace. Women are often underappreciated in the tech industry, for example. However, if you’re a man, you likely don’t have to deal with this form of bias on a daily basis. It’s easy to assume, then, that things have improved to the point where men and women are equal at work. For men who are partnered with women, the challenge is to see the world through their eyes, and offer support.

Tell Us What You Think

How can husbands do a better job of supporting their wives professionally? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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6 Comments on "3 Ways Your Husband Could Be Holding You Back Professionally"

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Ria
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Paul Have you tried to feed a baby ever? If yes, you will realise how much work it actually is and the drain on strength when you do it 4 times a day and 7 days a week. Mind you, housewives or working mums dont get a day off. Before you go off, i work 5 days a week, 9.5 hours a day and am a working mum. I should know what i am talking about. Lucky for me, my spouse appreciates and helps as possible as he has even longer working hours. I work in tech and see some… Read more »
Priscilla
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This is an important work and family topic, but I think the title of the article is a bit provocative. Surely nobody is suggesting that a divorce would enhance your career. This is surely a good article for professional singles to ponder prior to marrying.

Paul
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And yes. Divorce sooner I agree. You want your cake and eat it don’t you. First it is about us. As a couple. Build the nest, find Mister Right. Then Get married. Then send him to work, men feel they must step up, as “we need money”. Then have kids (money is here, great job) Then blame him for not taking interest in the family / children ‘s world. Then develop resentment (on both side) Then refocus on your career and blame him for “having only done that) Make him feel guilty about it. Bad person, bad dad ! Divorce… Read more »
Paul
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And I work in Tech btw !

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Paul
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Well as a dad I have a very different opinion. I am fed up by all this pair-equality battles going on. We men are asked to provide and we work hard to bring twice the salary in the household. I do agree that we are paid more in general and that is not fair but hear me out. We do not multi-task well, well multi-tasking at work ends up with 80/20 law (Paretto principle). You want me to believe that women can multi-task AND bring quality. Sorry but that is BS and I have seen the proof a lot before.… Read more »
margaret
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Not to leave out the jealous husband who does not want to see the wife advance while his career stagnated; ‘lost’ phone messages, confusion and inability to handle even the most minor of child care responsibilities, suddenly unavailable to accept his share of daycare drop off/pick up when it’s crunch time for the wife’s office, acting like a rude bore at the spouses-included office-related social functions… Then there is the covert “I know how much better I am than her – so I will apply for the exact same job as she does even though I’m not qualified and that… Read more »
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