Successful at Work? Thank Your Partner

Researchers find that conscientious spouses do wonders for one's career
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2015 1:05 PM CST
Successful at Work? Thank Your Partner
Bill and Hillary Clinton, center, greet people as they exit the funeral for Mario Cuomo at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – Who wouldn't love a partner willing to take on extra chores and errands? It turns out that a conscientious spouse isn't just good for household management and harmony, but for one's success at work, too, according to research out of Washington University. While one's own personality obviously plays a major role—high earners tend to be extroverted, self-confident, and ambitious—one's spouse's personality also factors in significantly, especially if that spouse is conscientious, reports Scientific American. Subjects with more conscientious spouses tended to be more satisfied with their job, to earn more, and to be promoted more often—possibly, researchers hypothesize, because conscientious spouses do more housework and errands, so their spouses can put more of their effort toward work.

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The researchers looked at 4,544 married heterosexual people, 75% of whom came from dual-income households, to measure extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. They also tracked wages, promotions, and job satisfaction over a 5-year period, and surveyed the participants about lifestyle decisions and marital satisfaction. Sure enough, the conscientious spouse tended to have the most impact when it comes to helping a person's career, and it's true regardless of whether that spouse also works. UPI reports that one researcher says: "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." (Other research: Marriage is a super friendship.)

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