How Getting 'Wifed Up' Can Affect Your Career

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Rank: Senior Monkey | 72

I thought of this post when I was out with a colleague the other night, and was a few beers deep. We are both at the age when getting "wifed up" is a definite possibility. Turns out that a few weeks back, he overheard some of the senior partners talking about "Analyst X is going to be getting married, so they probably won't be willing to work the long hours anymore".

I get the issue if it were a female employee because mat leave is probably right around the corner, but from my perspective with male employees, having them get tied down is beneficial from a corporate perspective. It provides some stability to their personal lives (reflected at work) and increases the need for income, which should drive them to do what is necessary for work.

So is getting wifed up and starting a family career suicide, or were these two partners just full of shit?

Mod Note (Andy), to play devil's advocate - who agrees with what Alec Baldwin says in The Departed:

Comments (49)

Nov 18, 2013

Disclaimer: nearing the end of UG but in a long-term relationship (read: don't actually have any experience being wifed up).

If you've been in a relationship for some time, presumably your significant other is used to the hours that you work. In that scenario, I don't see why someone would be willing to work fewer hours etc. I agree with you. However, I can see how this would change when kids etc become a possibility/reality.

Nov 18, 2013

Alec Baldwin always offers great insight.

Nov 18, 2013

The partners are full of it. All you have to do is work hard and nobody will care whether you're married to 20 women or nobody at all. I personally believe that having a wife (the right kind of wife, anyway, which is 99% due diligence in dating) is one of the best moves anyone can make for a lot of reasons.

(Source: Married)

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Nov 18, 2013

I read that married men earn more than single men on average.

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Nov 18, 2013
FranchiseTag:

I read that married men earn more than single men on average.

lol I see what you did there. Objection! Correlation =/= causality.

Nov 18, 2013

when she leave your ass she gonna leave with half. 18 years, 18 years.

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Nov 18, 2013

Maybe for analysts and associates. But in a client business the social red flag eventually starts to outweigh whatever extra time you have to devote to work. Married analysts exist. Associate 1s with babies exist. Most of them figure it out.

Nov 19, 2013

One night after a closing dinner we were crushing scotch and one of our bankers on the deal (an MD 3x married) offered the following advice (or something along the lines):

1) Get married early before you make a lot of money so that a) you know she isn't with you for your money and b) you have enough time to determine if you enjoy being married to that person and would be willing to split 50%+

or

2) Get married much later (40's?) after you are well established and make sure you have an airtight pre-nup. Also, marry a woman at least 5 years younger than you preferably 10.

Seems like a fairly cynical albeit typical view of marriage in NYC. My takeaway is that choosing the person you marry and at what point in your own personal development is by far one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make.

Nov 19, 2013

I'd say that has more to do with the person (i.e., analyst in question). There are married people who are 150% committed to their careers and won't think twice to bail on their significant other for the stupidest shit... and there are single dudes who are bouncing out of the office at 8PM to go to dinner with friends or whatever.

I'd say your boss will view something like marriage through the lens of his already determined opinion of you. I remember a colleague who's wife had twins and he was in the office few hours after the babies were born. People see that level of 'dedication'. They certainly don't respect it, but if you're game to be a buffoon no one is going to ask you if you're sure. That guy who was in the office a few hours after his wife gave birth... people already have an opinion of him... and when there is some new element introduced into the equation, like marriage or kids or whatever, they'll draw their conclusions based on what they've already seen.

Keep in mind, I'm by no means saying that unless you're the type to be in the office on a Sunday while your wife is in labor, that people will look unfavorably on you being married.

Best Response
Nov 19, 2013

Personally, I would say that my career has taken off since I married my wife.

At the end of the day, we are family and we operate as a highly functional team. She handles most of the mundane, but necessary, chores and errands (e.g., bills, laundry, food, keeping up with the family etc.) that I would have otherwise had to personally devote time and resources to. She also provides moral support and encourages me to engage in activities that allow my mind to drift away from the stressful nature of street work.

Now, not all couples can manage the challenges that having a significant other in banking present... but, if you're practical, have objectives, communicate, provide clarity for who is responsible for what, and are fair to one another, then having a wife/husband who is a true life partner can do wonders for all facets of your life (including your career). I feel we have done a great job at managing expectations and finding time for us (and our daughter). If (or when) that changes, then I will leave the industry without hesitation. Sorry, but we only live once... and the prestige of banking and landing mandates on big deals isn't worth losing out on family.

As you progress in your career, you will have less patience for BS and will feel more compelled to give 70% to a long-shot pitch to spend 3 hours with your friends and family. The extra 30% often times isn't even attainable and won't even have a material affect on the outcome. It's about quality over quantity. That goes for work and that goes for time with family. You learn to be more efficient with your time when you have less of it. Besides, the nature of analyst and associate level work is far different from that of a senior banker's responsibilities.

What I wrote above might seem foreign to many junior bankers, but you will likely gravitate toward the way I view a partnership and how you spend your time. What feels like a huge deal today won't feel like a huge deal tomorrow. Don't avoid relationships or settling down due to the fear of how it will be perceived by senior bankers. Over the years, I have emphasized (to green analysts) the importance of having a life and being human. It makes you interesting and I will feel more inclined to get to know you. If all you care about is work, then I will likely find you to be quite boring and won't devote as much of time getting to know you.

just my .02.

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Nov 19, 2013

I have no place to say this is good advice, as I'm not married and not even out of Uni..

But it is apparent on here that everyone is so career focused that things like relationships/families get put to one side when really they tend to enrich your life more so then you're job/paycheck ever will.

Nov 19, 2013

While you are still in Uni... please learn to use 'than' for comparison rather THAN 'then'. Cannot stand reading those kinds of mistakes.

Also, it would appear to me on this site that there are far more family/life oriented workers than the banking-owns-all-of-me workers. I think anyone that seriously wants to take time for their marriage and friends will find that time somewhere. Even in a 90 hour week there's a few hours for the outside world, and if you plan it right and explain it properly to those around you, these little windows will be all you need.

I think it's as simple as this: If you want to be a happily married man, you just have to do it. People that bitch and say it (marriage) cannot be done are the sames ones bragging about how many hours they work.

The Alec Baldwin stuff is spot on. Cannot tell you how much it helps when team members see that I can throw back with them but still managed to snag a good, hot wife. She takes her fair cut of the royalties though, haha.

Nov 19, 2013
devoutCapitalist:

Personally, I would say that my career has taken off since I married my wife.

At the end of the day, we are family and we operate as a highly functional team.

This: http://tinyurl.com/nwjb294

Nov 20, 2013

SB for you my friend.

You can't bank time.

Nov 20, 2013

I've been married since my second year in UG and I have kid(s) plural, even though I'm still pretty young.

I can say that practicality, managing expectations, and being on the same page with career goals is huge, and if you have it, being married to the right girl (guy) can definitely help your career flourish. In the absence of this type of communication or if married to the wrong person, I can definitely see marriage being a hindrance.

However, this type of marriage is simply a function of hard work, respect, love (yeah, love), and due diligence before marriage. In other words, it's up to you and your spouse.

+1 SB

Nov 20, 2013

Sorry, but someone's gotta say it. That Alec Baldwin scene in The Departed is almost a word for word copy of the original (Infernal Affairs). It's repugnant. Scorsese deserved his Oscar but not for that.

And to answer the question: yeah, married guys are seen as more stable. But it's not until they have kids that they're seen as really dependable. You'll notice this come promotion time.

Nov 20, 2013

ALL of my closest friends are married. I was in a frat so that list of friends includes a ton of guys currently working in Finance. I'd say that the number of happy vs. unhappy is roughly half and half. That signals to me that marriage is as pure a crapshoot as any other major steps in life (join the military, start new career, travel someplace random, start a new relationship, etc-you'll either like it, be lukewarm about it, or hate it outright.)

Another point: everything in life comes with fine print. Some people neglect to read it, some focus exclusively on it, some say "F" it and proceed, and some include it in their cost-benefit analysis and move on from there. I'd say marriage is something in which few people really consider what they're doing and its implications, and just sort of dive in off emotion. Obviously, making these types of decisions can go either way, especially when you toss in the wild card of another human being. My view is that marriage can be great if and only if you find not merely a suitable or adequate partner, but one who truly has your back. Pretty much your best friend. Tread lightly, though, because the traits that annoy you in a partner get magnified once you're stuck with them. You really need to know yourself and your tolerances.

In terms of career, you're kidding yourself if you don't think you'll reach a point where the wife puts her foot down about how you divide your time, particularly when kids are involved. Each one of my married bros with kids is now under some pressure to divide his time more equitably between family and work-and not just the bankers either, but the corp lawyers, PWMs, mid-level guys, etc...it def. causes conflict: they complain about it during any of our impromptu meet ups. Best thing to do is find a wife AS INVESTED IN YOUR CAREER AS YOUR ARE (think political wives). They will not complain so long as you can bring home the bacon and spend the $$$ on your kids' education, activities, and personal interests. Next best thing is to find a wife who's job is just as demanding as yours. I see fewer complaints from that group, though so far I've noticed it's been the women who eventually quit their jobs down the line (presumably to work on family planning).

They've also told me that so long as you don't hate the wife, she's a net benefit if she supports you. There will be events that require her presence: awards ceremonies, weddings, events, parties, funerals, dinners, etc...the better she fits in, the better that reflects on you. Most of your seniors will be married and so it's just another commonality that will help with how you're perceived. So my personal takeaways are: marry the right woman, prepare to make adjustments once kids enter the picture, and make sure you guys are on the same page going in. Easier said than done, though.

Nov 20, 2013

Can I just say that I find it mystifying that Gen Y / Millennials still think that marriage is a good idea. Have you been alive for the last two decades? Does that really seem like an institution for which you should be clamoring to sign up?

I'm by no means advocating prioritizing some silly job over your personal life; on the contrary, I beseech you to put your own personal happiness ahead of the desire to conform into a hopelessly antiquated civil / religious institution that has been doling out bouts of depression faster than anything else in recent memory. You can be with a girl / guy forever without ascribing to some arbitrary, legally binding relationship arrangement. What could possibly be the upside??

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Nov 20, 2013

FINALLY, someone said it. Thanks, I was losing hope in the WSOers.

There's more to life than work but there's much more to life than this outdated institution too. And what sort of old WASPY companies do you people work for that you are daydreaming about toting your wife around while you hobnob with the C level? That's some 1950s shit right there. Or maybe I'm just biased because I work in tech and being young and single is something they prize.

Nov 20, 2013

Here comes another believe in God debate. @"DCDepository" where are you?

Nov 20, 2013
TwoThrones:

Here comes another believe in God debate. @DCDepository where are you?

Well, if a thread is entitled "Do you believe in God" then I don't think it's out of line to chime in about believing in God.

Nov 20, 2013
TwoThrones:

Here comes another believe in God debate. @DCDepository where are you?

This has absolutely nothing to do with believing in god. If your rationale for getting married is purely religious, more power to you. But, in my experience, the overwhelming majority of people make the marriage decision independent of their religious beliefs. And that Gen Y / Millennials still get married violates any semblance of rationality.

Nov 20, 2013

Look at it like this bro. Once you are married the only thing in life you will have to live for is going to work to be free for as many hours as you can hang around your desk.

Gotta love some of these questions. People get married. No one gives a fuck. I have zero idea why anyone would get married at 22, but who gives a shit. No one really cares much about what people do in their personal life at work. Just do your job and don't use your wife/child/whatever as an excuse to avoid staying late and working.

Nov 20, 2013

PS i'm stupid and quoted your wrong quote, pretend i quoted the right one, that is all...

Nov 20, 2013

@Northsider - I am in complete agreement with you bro. Preach on.

Nov 20, 2013

"I'm glad to hear that" your cock is working overtime.

Oh Alec Baldwin.

Nov 20, 2013

^ As always, popular opinions get SBs and unpopular opinions get MSs. Should have known better!

Incidentally, the quote in my signature is informative here:

When important issues affecting the life of an individual are decided by somebody else, it makes no difference whether that somebody else is a king, a dictator, or society at large.

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Nov 20, 2013

NorthSider's comments on this thread are the best articulated and reasoned posts I've seen on this site. Would SB if I could.

Nov 20, 2013

What I can't stomach is pissing away so much money on a diamond. That and the whole wedding ordeal. Nothing like pissing away so much money on one day. If I want to really celebrate something I will get a nice steak and go to the strip club.

Nov 21, 2013

Funny thing is that you'd have to rent the strip club for a solid week and eat 16 oz dry-aged wagyu ribeyes 3 meals a day for a month to come even CLOSE to the amount you drop on a ring and a wedding. And honestly, you're still not getting close. Modest wedding + ring can be $20k + easy.

Nov 21, 2013
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Nov 21, 2013