Being married provides a lot of benefits-committed love, constant companionship, and a helping hand, for starters. But have you ever stopped to think about how marriage actually makes you more employable?
On February 18, 2011, careerealism.com writer Heather Huhman reported on the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2011 survey, naming the top five skills and qualities that employers are looking for this year. While you could certainly sharpen these skills through classes and job experience, I submit that you might unconsciously be doing the same through your marriage! After all, marriage is a full-time job.
Stop to take an inventory of how well you’ve built these skills with your husband, and perhaps you’ll get some ideas of where you might need to improve.
1. Verbal Communication: Huhman says employers are looking for people who are “able to clearly and concisely communicate with co-workers, clients, and supervisors,” from meetings to sales pitches. The inability to communicate well can result in critical mistakes, misunderstandings, disorganization, and lost business.
In the same way, to make a marriage work, a couple has to be in frequent communication to coordinate schedules, organize meals, make weekend plans, hash out details of housework and home projects, and (hopefully) just to pick each other’s brains and hear about one another’s day. But it’s not enough just to talk at each other. Spouses have to learn how to listen respectfully, constructively criticize, present ideas, and verbalize problems.
2. Strong Work Ethic: According to Huhman, “You need to show that you can work independently, arrive on time and fulfill your commitments in order to be perceived as having a strong work ethic.” Employers are not going to hire a lazy, unreliable procrastinator.
I can tell you right now, without a strong work ethic, my marriage would suffer because I couldn’t balance the many aspects of our life. In a marriage, each spouse needs to be willing to put in a full effort so that the other doesn’t feel overwhelmed or alone. Each has to be reliable so that they can be trusted and counted on by the other with their most priceless possessions – house, kids, car, and life itself!
3. Teamwork Skills: Huhman writes, “It’s likely that, at some point, you’ll need to work with others in order to get a project done.” Few of us work in a vacuum without needing to partner with others in some way.
It may be likely to team up with others at work, but in a marriage, it is virtually unavoidable. Marriage means “two become one.” Two people have to agree on house décor, how to spend free time, managing finances, child rearing, and every other aspect of their life together. Marriage is the ultimate example of teamwork!
4. Analytical Skills: In the workplace, Huhman says employees “should possess the ability to visualize, articulate, and solve complex problems and concepts.” Most jobs don’t require people to do rote activities that never involve any change or necessitate adaptation.
In the same way, you are not likely to get married and maintain the same exact life from your wedding day through your dying day. So many things get thrown into the equation-caring for kids, for example-not to mention unexpected emergencies, such as a job loss, an illness, or a major home repair. Married couples need to be able to react to problems by planning and executing solutions, and in some cases, thinking forward to prevent such problems from happening again.
5. Initiative: Huhman defines initiative as “readiness and ability to take action.” I always think of initiative as coming up with new ways to improve the staus quo. Either way, no one wants to hire a person who does the bare minimum and doesn’t jump at the chance to help out or improve.
The same goes for a marriage. If your husband hems and haws when something goes wrong, and waits for you to take care of problems, you’re probably going to feel as if you’re pulling more than your fair share of the weight. If neither of you ever thought of ways to run your home more efficiently and live your marriage vows more effectively, you would probably get stuck in a very unhappy rut.
So if you’re looking for a way to sharpen skills that are crucial to success in the workplace, often in high-stakes ways that make you think on your feet, look no further than your own marriage. And if you feel like you’re not so hot in some of these areas, your marriage also provides you the opportunity to continue to grow into a more well-rounded person with the support of a built-in partner. Now if only you could tell stories about married life in job interviews…
Huhman, Heather. “5 Job Skills in Demand in 2011.” Careerealism.com
More wisdom about married life:
A Survival Guide for the Lonely Wife
Saving at the Supermarket
Little White Lies: When Dishonesty Might Be the Best Policy