Love, Marriage and Career… why they take work

Posted June 8, 2009 in Latest News & Insights

So, for all the blissfully, happily married people out there who claim that “marriage isn’t work” and “if it’s true love, you don’t have to ever work at it”… this post isn’t for you.

For the 99.9% of the remaining population who are married (or in a long term commited relationship), and think that marriage (although definitely wonderful) requires effort and “work”, read on.

I’ve been thinking lately that careers are a lot like long-term marriages (which these days seems to mean lasting more than 5 years!).  Like most long-term marriages, long-term careers require effort and energy.  AKA you need to WORK at staying “in love” with your work. 

The late  and wonderful June Callwood speaks of having at least 7 marriages over the course of her 63 year marriage in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos of the Hour.  She asserts that many people walk away possibly too easily from their  marriages and never enjoy the rewards of being able to spend the end of your life with someone who knows you better than anyone else.

Couldn’t the same could be true for our careers?  How many times do we run from one workplace or career path to the next when the going gets a little bumpy? How much conscious effort are we putting in each day to stay engaged and passionate about what we’re doing?  Or, are we jumping to the greener pasture hoping that things will be different on the other side and not recognizing the natural highs and lows of our career relationship?

As my colleague Nina Spencer so aptly asserts in her wonderful book “Getting Passion Out of Your Profession”, staying passionate and engaged in our work requires constant effort and is a choice that we make each and every day.

Some of the best selling business books recently (eg: Outliers by Gladwell, Talent is Overrated by Colvin) have been related to how to become the best at what you do.  The net advice is:  rack up years of expertise and practice, practice, practice.  If this is the case, then the majority of us probably need to think a little more about the longer term view of our careers.  If we want to enjoy the sweet reward of later career success and the big bucks that come from being an “expert” in your field, perhaps seeking more ways to engage during the “relationship” lows of our existing career journey’s is something we need to take a closer look at.  What do you think?

Happy leading!


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