During the initial days of our courtship, I was somewhat averse to the idea of marrying somebody who didn’t share the same line of career as me. I was an HR person, soft-skilled, wrote, and read a lot, while my fiancé was an IT geek who loved coding and sports. So one fine day, I sulked and blurted, “How would it work? We don’t share much common interests and our career paths are very diverse.” He smiled and said, “That’s why it would.”
Now being married for over a year, I recall what my husband had told me two years back and swear by it. He was so accurate in his predictions and this is the glue that has stuck our marriage together. Although I am right now in a self-chosen sabbatical mode, I write full-time and am learning a language while he is content with his coding.
It is fun and an eye-opener when you have somebody who shares a separate career track. It brings an element of surprise and a holistic view of affairs around you. It even aids in building up your relationship to a certain extent.
Marrying someone should be for love and respect. Whether a career choice is the same or different doesn’t matter after a certain point, as you learn to iron out the differences and revel in the similarities. Relationships can be glued together with or without same career choices, but they are still more about leaving that extra piece of your favorite pie in the fridge, just because you want your loved one to have it.
Having said that, there are undoubtedly certain professions — like doctors, research scientists and maybe a few more who have odd hours — in which couples in the same career are best compatible. While not taking a dig at couples who are in the same field together, I recapitulated some benefits of marrying someone whose career paths are different.
1. There’s something new to talk about every day.
You often hear about topics that you wouldn’t have considered before or activities that you are going to be a part over the weekend and had never dreamt of. Going to an IT fest, joining a book club, or discussing how HR managers could help IT professionals in organizations are some personal examples. Having new things to talk about helps to battle the dull humdrum of life. This works best when life gets monotonous and a relationship might otherwise become rusty.
2. It increases the “know-how”s of a different field.
My knowledge about IT was restricted just to some programming languages and some gibberish that a few friends spent hours discussing. But when my husband and I started dating, I started looking at business with a more technical perspective. You tend to come out of your bubble and broaden your view. Similarly, you open your eyes to a different world when your spouse discusses his takeaways from the day or his role in his team or organization. It makes you realize the importance of other functions, organizational balance, and definitely perks up your overall know-how.
3. Fewer arguments, more discussions.
When you broach a certain topic or series of events that happened at work that day, usually the other person takes a moment to imagine the scenario initially as he/she is mostly not used to working that way. In fact, it is funny how sometimes you can correlate and laugh at some things just because you have a different perspective on it. Surprisingly, you tend to have fewer arguments when you discuss work, especially because there’s no competition as the other person is from a different field.
4. You wind up having diverse social circles.
One interesting outcome of people sharing different professions is the different type of get-together sessions they have. We have friends who work in IT, friends with HR backgrounds, and are also friends with marketing folks, writers, painters, musicians, and researchers. It is lovely to experience the cultural mix of all these people when we meet owing to our career differences. We often take a leaf out of our respective careers and reach a common stance. Not only that, your professional network grows and you have an extended circle of contacts, which works wonders when you need assistance in different aspects of your career.
5. You get another person’s perspective.
Now that I write a lot, I always have a reader who has a different critical perspective right in my family. Sometimes, owing to a particular career choice or lifestyle, we tend to think in a similar manner. Since I have a feminist point of view in things (being an HR), having a spouse as an IT geek, helps me to see things in a different light or take in accord other groups in the society. It is fun actually to talk and listen to the other person’s take on things, some of which are individualistic and some career driven.
6. Balancing out each other perfectly.
I feel that we have certain career traits in us which we carry in our personalities and our personal lives. Having a partner of a different career makes you balance the odds in your relationship as mostly people are a fragment of their work. A painter who is mostly reflective and introvert may jell well with somebody who is more open and allows him to express himself.
7. Home is your home, and not the office.
Work-related discussions at home are few and a far between. Yes, you do discuss the important goings-on at work and other issues that warrant your significant other’s advice, but that’s about it. The fun behind having different career choices is actually doing something different that you both enjoy doing or discussing, not just work. Thankfully, my home is not made into a mini-version of my office and this adds to the perfect work-life balance.