Want to Make $4,000 More per Year? Marry Someone With This Personality Trait

job performance
Katie Salerno under Creative Commons

True or false?

  • Your level of success in the workplace is entirely in your own hands.
  • When you walk into your workplace, you leave your personal life at the door.
  • You’re in control of how hard you work, and hard work leads to success in the majority of cases.

As it turns out, these issues are a little grayer than you might expect.

Your Partner’s Personality Affects Your Performance

In fact, the personality of one person in particular — someone who doesn’t even share your workspace — might affect your success and earning potential: your spouse.

In the psychological study “The Long Reach of One’s Spouse,” Brittany Solomon and Joshua Jackson demonstrate that one spousal characteristic has a measurable correlation with achievement and compensation in the workplace: conscientiousness.

In English: If you’re married to a nice guy (or girl), you’re more likely to do well at work. It’s science!

What is Conscientiousness and How Much Does it Matter?

While the abstract of the article doesn’t define conscientiousness and the full text is behind a paywall, the available text does mention the functional definition of the trait.

A conscientious partner, according to Solomon and Jackson, will “perform more household tasks, exhibit more pragmatic behaviors that their spouses are likely to emulate, and promote a more satisfying home life, enabling their spouses to focus more on work.”

In short, a conscientious partner… is probably the kind of partner you want to have.

They’re responsible and reliable, and having that kind of presence in your life allows you to be a better version of yourself.

“When you can depend on someone, it takes pressure off you,” Solomon told Harvard Business Review’s Andrew O’Connell.

And depending on someone apparently makes you a better — and significantly more valuable — worker. The study found that “with every 1-standard deviation increase in a spouse’s conscientiousness, an individual is likely to earn approximately $4,000 more per year.”

That’s a pretty hefty sum!

So whether you’re in a relationship or playing the dating field, make sure you’re pursuing a nice person. Not only will it make your relationship better… it might increase your paycheck, too!

Your Turn: Is your partner conscientious?

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes other stuff, like wine reviews and poems.

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