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Is Getting Married or Staying Single More Advantageous to Career Success?

It’s a question we all face, so what’s the right answer?

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BY John Eades - 11 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

One of the biggest influencers on the lowering birth rates in the United States is people waiting to settle down and start a family. For the current generation, a huge importance is placed on taking the time to prioritize oneself and career.

Being married with children, I work every day to balance my family with furthering my business in today's ultra-competitive marketplace. My situation led me to consider these lifestyle choices. Are there built-in advantages to delaying such major life changes? Is abstaining from having a family an inevitable career booster?

The advantages of a single lifestyle are real

Getting married and having kids requires a great deal of commitment both financially and time wise. When you take away these commitments, a person is allowed to focus solely on what is in their best interest. The choice to take additional risks are typically easier because they must only consider the well being of themselves.

Ryan Estes, speaker and business owner, has never married. He believes there are positives and negatives with this choice, but highlights one example as advantageous, "I have more discretionary time to spend on my business and it can be a real advantage during moments of time, like 2009. I could take big risks and go head first into the great recession. Having said that, at the end of the day life is all about relationships so there are positives and negatives."

An unmarried professional without children can dedicate as many hours as they are physically and mentally able to their career growth. Focusing all of their energy on one component of life will likely lead to a bigger success, but certainly doesn't guarantee it.

The advantages of being married with kids are real

It is difficult to describe to someone who is not married and/or does not have children the joy and happiness that accompany it. Knowing you have a spouse on your team for richer or poorer and will always be in your corner is something you can't but a pricetag on. Then if you are fortunate to have children, the feeling of coming home to them is an inexplicable feeling. It provides such a deep purpose and incredible reason for existence.

Logan Stout, CEO of ID Life, has a great perspective on family life. "When I was single, I certainly traveled a lot more and work was my bride. For me, I learned to connect with people a lot better now that I am married with children. I now can relate to a broader demographic. The family life has helped me keep things in perspective and not stress as much. I'm a lot more patient now and have more empathy and compassion for those going through various life stages and events that I never understood before. No matter what business one is in, we are all in the people business. The better we are with people, the better our results."

Above all else, being a spouse and parent provides a purpose and drive to achieve that cannot be had in any other phase of life.

Do the advantages vary by gender?

Whitney Johnson, author and speaker, has some brilliant insight on the topic on a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast. She believes being single vs married offer differing consequences for men and women. "For men it's an advantage because it grounds men, gives a sense of purpose, and provides credibility in the workplace. Napolean Hill researched 100 of the most successful people in the country years ago and at the time they were all men. Every single one had a woman who loved them and supported them."

She went on to say, "For women it's mixed. The burden of parenting tends to fall to women. There is a juggling that has to take place that makes it less attractive to an employer and makes it harder for women to focus on the short term."

Regardless if you are a male or female, a compelling argument can be made that if you can have a successful marriage with a spouse and do a great job parenting, those skills will without question help you at work.

Depending on where you are in life and the career you are pursuing, positive and negative arguments can be made for both sides.

There is one thing I am sure of: When your career is over, you cannot take your money, reputation, houses or social media following with you. More than likely you will be saying, "I wish I spent more time with the people I loved the most."

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