Does your spouse’s personality affect your career success? This question was addressed in a study by Joshua Jackson of Washington University in which he found that yes your spouse’s personality can affect your career.
According to Jackson, “the experiences responsible for this association are not likely isolated events where the spouse convinces you to ask for a raise or promotion. Instead, a spouse’s personality influences many daily factors that sum up and accumulate across time to afford one the many actions necessary to receive a promotion or a raise.” Source.
Jackson’s study examined the personalities of 4,500 workers and their spouses and each was scored according to the big five personality traits of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Read more about the five big personality traits here: OCEAN – The Five Big Personality Traits (has a link to a personality test). The research found that “workers who scored highest on measures of occupational success tended to have a spouse with a personality that scored high for conscientiousness, and this was true whether or not both spouses worked and regardless of whether the working spouse was male or female.” Source.
People who are conscientious tend to have better impulse control and behave in more socially acceptable ways. They have a strong sense of duty, are dependable, and focus on achievement. They are hard-working and plan ahead. Those low on this trait are typically spontaneous, impulsive careless, and prone to procrastination. Having a spouse high on conscientiousness creates conditions that allow the other spouse to work more effectively. Specifically, having a spouse who is conscientious likely helps one’s career for three reasons according to the study:
- Outsourcing: the working spouse may come to rely on his or her partner to handle more of the day-to-day household chores, such as paying bills, buying groceries, and raising children.
- Emulation: Workers also may be likely to emulate some of the good habits of their conscientious spouses, bringing traits such as diligence and reliability to bear on their own workplace challenges.
- Stress Reduction: having a spouse that keeps your personal life running smoothly may simply reduce stress and make it easier to maintain a productive work-life balance.
Final thought: my wife, Tammy, is highly conscientious and no doubt has made my life easier and conditions ideal for my career. Thanks!