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Want to Be a Success? Choose a Partner With This Trait

It's so important to find a partner who understands and appreciates your career goals and supports you throughout the ebbs and flows of the journey. A recent study found that if your significant other possesses this one trait, then your chances of doing well at work are greatly increased. Read on to see if your spouse possesses that special something that may be the key to your career success.

It’s so important to find a partner who understands and appreciates your career goals and supports you throughout the ebbs and flows of the journey. A recent study found that if your significant other possesses this one trait, then your chances of doing well at work are greatly increased. Read on to see if your spouse possesses that special something that may be the key to your career success.

Your Partner Influences Your Career Potential

(Photo Credit: Jo Christian Oterhals/Flickr)

Washington University in St. Louis conducted a five-year study on roughly 5,000 married couples between the ages of 19 and 89 years of age. The research measured responses of the participants for five main personality traits – openness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and conscientiousness – and then tracked these traits to see whether or not they affected on-the-job performance for their spouses over time. The conclusion?

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“[I]t is not only your own personality that influences the experiences that lead to greater occupational success, but that your spouse’s personality matters too,” reports Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences and lead author of the study.

There was one personality trait stuck out as a major influencer in a partner’s career success, more so than the other four traits.

“Workers who scored highest on measures of occupational success tended to have a spouse with a personality that scored high for conscientiousness,” reports Washington University in St. Louis’s publication. Participants with “extremely conscientious spouses […] are 50% more likely to get promoted than those with extremely unconscientious spouses,” reports Harvard Business Review on the study. More specifically, a conscientious partner positively influenced the other’s career potential in the following three ways, according to the study’s findings:

1. Shared responsibilities – More conscientious partners offered more help with day-to-day household responsibilities, thus creating a more balanced lifestyle for both spouses to flourish in and out of the home.

2. Role model – A person with a conscientious spouse is more likely to model his/her partner’s good habits (i.e. diligence and reliability) in the workplace, which can boost career potential and overall well-being. Monkey see, monkey do, if you will.

3. Solid personal life – The conscientious partner is like a rock in the relationship and promotes a smoother, less stressful personal life outside of work. Therefore, more energy and brainpower can confidently be devoted to growing one’s career, rather than worrying about one’s personal life being on the rocks.

Why is this? The study’s co-author, Brittany Solomon, who is also a psychology grad student at Washington University, indicates that, “Conscientious people tend to work hard, follow rules, be orderly and organized, responsible and reliable, and they’re able to control their impulses and delay gratification,” as reported on Yahoo! Health.

There’s no doubt that households with both partners working should fairly divide up chores to allow for both people to flourish in their careers. There are more women in the workforce today than ever before, but they are still doing as much housework as their grandmothers and great-grandmothers – not exactly a time management scheme designed to propel them to the top. Maybe if households become more conscientious and balanced, that will carry over into the workplace and finally end the gender inequality that holds back so many women from realizing their career dreams.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you think you can you become a more conscientious partner? Share your honest opinion with our community on Twitter and join the conversation. 

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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