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4 Ways to Spot a Career-Supportive Partner

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I have a some news, which may shock you: Your Friday night plans may be just as critical to your career as your five-year plan and elevator pitch.

One of the most crucial factors to your professional growth will be your significant other. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg credits her spouse selection as the top decision in her ability to become the most powerful woman in Silicon Valley, while also being a mother and wife. No matter which way you lean, these are great tips for finding a career-supportive partner.

1. He Sees a Goal Not Gender

For the first time, Barbie is offering a blocks building set. The product isn’t from a focus group of five-year-olds, but a response to the push for girls to gain math skills early, not to mention the growing number of fathers who are doing toy shopping for the family and spending more time with their kids. Today, there is increased sharing of household duties for marriages and nearly two-thirds of American homes have women who earn more money.

When dating a guy, listen closely as he talks about the type of family and marriage he wants. Does he see washing dishes or going to a PTA meeting as “women’s work”? Easily jump start the conversation by asking, “Have you ever changed a diaper?” You may be surprised by the answer.

2. His Identity Isn’t A Title

We all know those people who introduce themselves as “Jill from Jones Legal,” or speak in plural when discussing their job (“We just bought a jet.”). It’s important to choose a guy who sees himself as an individual and not a walking resume. People who are secure with themselves are able to be supportive of others because they don’t see you as competition. When you mention your latest accomplishment at work, make sure your guy is able to be happy for you without needing to mention his own similar success.

3. He’s Far-Sighted

The most successful professionals understand delayed gratification. In choosing a partner, you want someone who will understand you may have to work late for a year to position yourself for a promotion that will give you more flexibility and increases your salary. While dating, take note if your guy is willing to deny immediate pleasures for a bigger goal. Is he eating less takeout to save toward a new car? Is he working over a three-day weekend to enjoy two weeks in China with his college friends? Someone who has experienced sacrifice will understand when your family needs to make tough short-term decisions to position yourself for a stronger future.

4. He Knows the Cast

The fact that you are reading this confirms you are passionate about your career. That also means you regularly talk about the highs and lows of your current position to your social circle, including the man in your life. When seeing if a guy has long-term qualities, pay attention to how he engages with you when it comes to your career. Does he just ask about your day, or does he check-in on how your presentation went? Does he remember the back story and your boss’s name when you share the latest tale? You want a partner who pays attention to where you are and supports where you are going.

How do you spot career-supportive spouses? Tell us in the comments!


Relationships Lifestyle
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Carly Heitlinger
Carly Heitlinger

This is definitely the #1 thing I think about/look for in a guy :)


Strange as it may sound, 2/2 of my past relationships ended because I thought we had incompatible career goals. Both are very successful guys, but neither fulfilled "seeing a goal not gender"!

If I may chime in, this sounds about right. The "career-supportive" guys will appreciate a woman who sets her sights high. Trust me, we're out there.

Harmeet GS
Harmeet GS

Love this topic! It's something that I knew was always important to me in a man but I never had seen something so clearly addressing how to find that in a partner.

Ultimately it comes down to what I believe is essential to a healthy long term relationship between two adults: a real friendship and foundation of care and support.

Marloes Noppen
Marloes Noppen

Isn't it a little presumptuous to assume a partner has to be a guy?

love this article by the lovely Charreah - and point taken to the person re: partner being a guy, we changed it to partner! thanks for keeping us honest :)

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