Is Your Career Killing Your Marriage?

Is Your Career Killing Your Marriage?

You might do your job out of necessity, or it might be your passion that drives you, either way, have you ever wondered – is your career killing your marriage? There is nothing wrong with your focus being on your career, this is a highly positive thing, and you’re in a fortunate position if you are driven by something that fulfills you and gives you a great sense of achievement. However, should this come at the expense of anything else that is also important to you, in particular, your marriage? What you need to aim for is giving all aspects that make up your life sufficient time and attention; be it work, relationships or health and wellbeing.

Here we give a few pointers on how you can tell – is your career killing your marriage?

Do you have a good work/life balance?
With a busy work schedule, we can often go into autopilot, leaving the house early, not getting back until late, followed by dinner, bath, bed – and then doing it all again. Making time for a marriage or a relationship in the working week can seem difficult, and for some it might even be seen as unnecessary. However, even the healthiest of relationships still need nurturing in order to flourish. Giving time to a marriage on a daily basis can seem unimportant, however in the bigger picture this can lead to neglecting the relationship and taking your partner for granted. Make time in your day for your partner. This could be sitting down and having breakfast together, or dinner, or having some quiet time in the evening where you focus on each other, and not the TV or smartphone. If this is something you would rather avoid, you should be asking yourself why.

Does you partner hate you working?
Having a career we love and are good at can deliver a great sense of achievement, build self esteem, and keep us feeling fulfilled. However, it is not unheard of for a partner to dislike their other half having a career. The only way to overcome this is to communicate, and get to the bottom of the reasons why. Your partner could feel threatened by your success due to their own insecurity issues. Or, they could resent the fact that it takes up so much of your time, especially if work spills over into home life and the things you do together. Be sure to communicate how you both feel, and come up with compromises if need be. Make sure you are putting as much effort into your marriage as you need to, and try and see it from the other side.

Do you snap at your partner for no reason?
Sometimes you can snap at your partner without even really being aware of it. If you are feeling irritable, it could be for many reasons (medical, tiredness, stress) however it can often be related to stress at work. When you feel stressed about work, and do not deal with this stress, it can spill into other areas of your life. Try to be more self aware, and when you catch yourself snapping at your partner, acknowledge it, apologise, and explain the feelings behind it.

Do you feel resentful toward your spouse?
When small things aren’t discussed and dealt with properly, they can fester and grow. If you find yourself feeling moody and resentful toward your partner, take a step back and see if you can figure out why. Is it because you feel you are doing more housework than them, despite working full time, or do you feel they don’t understand you? Whatever the reason, communication is key. As well as communication with your spouse, being able to know yourself and how you really feel about things is vital.

Do you speak up at work?
Not speaking up at work can mean you come home feeling frustrated and unheard, or perhaps undervalued. And as you might expect, if these feelings are not dealt with in the workplace, they are brought home. These feelings of frustration, maybe anger, at work are likely to spill over into your home life, and it is common that these feelings can be projected onto your partner. It could be that you are acting as if you are unhappy at home, when really you are unhappy with issues at work. Try to deal with work issues in the workplace, and you will be less likely to take them home with you.

Take time out for yourself
In addition to having a career, and being a spouse, perhaps a parent, and any other role you may be fulfilling, it is important to take time out for yourself. This doesn’t mean having a cup of tea or a glass of wine and scrolling through your phone. This means, quiet time when you are alone with your thoughts and you can work out what is really going on. If you are stressed, ask yourself how you are feeling, and what might make it better. If you or your partner seems unhappy, ask yourself what can make it better. While it is important to put time and effort into your marriage, it is also vital that you nurture your own self and deal with your own feelings about things too. As they say on planes these days, fit your own oxygen mask before you help others to do the same.

Switching off

Switching off

The inability of all of us to switch off is universal these days and is evident in every sector.

The World Health Organisation states that stress is the ‘Global Health Epidemic of the 21st Century’.  Stress and burnout are on the increase globally due to the increase and intensity of work and it is now the number one cause of sickness here in the UK with 12 million days lost in 2015.

The Sunday Times in 2016 stated that nearly 3/4 of bankers were suffering from insomnia, panic attacks, headaches and depression brought on by work-related stress.

The City of London police reported in Sept ’16 (9 months) a 100% increase in suicides from the previous full year 2105 in the square mile alone.

It’s a major issue.

The average user in the UK checks their Smartphone 150 times a day

70% check their work phones within the first hour of waking

56% check their work phones before going to bed

48% check their work phones over the weekend

Harvard Business School expect email volumes to increase by 16% year on year

51% constantly check their phones during holidays

73% of British workers feel they are expected to always be available, increasing stress levels and the likelihood of them leaving their job.

It’s all a false economy and we’re all colluding in this fallacy.  It’s a massive problem for mental health and productivity.  It’s just not possible to function at your best for long periods of time without breaks and time out.

Our brains cannot continue to process information without out time out – they get full up.  Timeout allows the brain to consolidate information, make meaning, allow connections and creativity to happen and puts down memories. Being on 24/7 is not humanly possible and doesn’t allow for Eureka moments that only happen when our brains are allowed to wander.

As I say we are all colluding. Have you sent emails outside of normal working hours and expected an immediate response? Was it really that urgent? Have you sent emails to people who you know are on holiday?  Have you have copied in people on emails which was not really necessary and adding to their already bulging inbox.

Instead, people need to stop this folly.  We have to allow people to have time out. Within your team agree up front and between you when you will have uninterrupted time to switch off and recharge.  Take it in turns to cover for each other to give people a break.

If you want the biggest competitive advantage of all, carve out your own ‘switch off’ time and stick to it.  You know your competitors won’t dare and you will be so much more effective and clear-headed.

If don’t you could be yet another burn out casualty!