I am often finding myself coaching people on a few consistent topics; work, relationships, or both. This leaves me wondering: How are our careers like our relationships?
Relationships are work. Work is work. Dating is like prospecting. You need to spend money to make money. And well, no matter what we do for work we are always selling, and in life we are always selling ourselves on some level.
When you look at your work resume and you reflect back on your relationships do you see any similar patterns? Have you been in the same job for a long time and the same relationship for a long time? Have you had multiple jobs and multiple relationships? Have you had long stints at the one job while being a serial monogamist? If you see similar patterns does that mean anything? It might. I decided to take a look at my career resume and compare it with my relationship resume. I found some interesting patterns.
When I had a stable 10-year career at one company I was coincidentally with the same person for about 7 of those years. When I had 8 years of job-hopping with in one industry my relationships seemed to hop as well. It appears the crazier my work life was, the crazier my relationship life was. When I traveled extensively, I dated. When I felt stable in a job I sought out a stable relationship. So what does this tell me? What comes first the stable career or stable relationship? At first glance it would seem obvious. My relationships are a reflection of how stable I feel in my career. Or is it?
Did I stay in one place for 10 years because I was happy with my career or because I was in a stable relationship? Did I job hop because I only had to worry about myself; therefore, I could try new things. I could accept a job that had me on the road more than 80% of the time because I did not have to consider anyone else. I simultaneously launched a new business and got married, so far, both are doing well. Does my career enhance my relationships or is it the other way around? Was I a better employee as a singleton or when I was with a partner? These were interesting questions to ponder with my resumes side by side.
What is the point? First, it is a provocative topic to explore and a really fun exercise to do with a group of people. Secondly, in this day and age of technology and social media where I can instantaneously tell hundreds of people what I ate for breakfast, (a raisin cinnamon english muffin); our work/life boundaries are becoming thinner by the second. It is getting more and more difficult to keep the two separate. You may find some interesting or even surprising patterns. It may give you some insight as to next steps to take as far finding the relationship you want, the career you want, or living the life you want.
Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC, Life Coach