Your Job May Increase Your Chance of Divorce

by Attorney David Centeno on August 3, 2011

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NEW YORK, August 3, 2011 (NYDN) – New data suggests that the responsibilities that come with having a successful career—whether your dream job or just one to stay afloat in today’s economy—can create stress that bleeds into your relationship.

One study by The New Zealand news source IOL Lifestyle has discovered interesting correlations between a person’s profession and the likelihood of divorce that holds relevance for Americans.

According to Anna Leask of IOL, “People wholive to work are less likely to stay married than those who work to live.”  Those with long, tiresome hours and tension-filled jobs find themselves more likely to divorce than others.

Married nurses, psychiatrists, dancers, choreographers, massage therapists and bartenders are more prone to divorce than dentists, clergymen and optometrists.  The latter group works within a capped daily schedule, whereas nurses must be on-call at unusual hours, like bartenders who work late into the night.  As for psychiatrists and massage therapists, they must be available for patients at unpredictable times.

According to Statistics New Zealand figures, sales assistants divorce in the highest quantities, followed by clerks, personal care assistants, truck drivers, cleaners, chief executives and managing directors.

In addition, the occupation in which half of the workers sought divorce was telecommunication network planning.  A third of all orthopedic surgeons divorced.  High percentages of police officers divorced as well.

Not only is having an intense, fast-paced job stressful, but working New Yorkers feel more pressure with today’s economic climate. Though New York State gained 13,600 private sector jobs in June 2011 according to the State Labor Department, the unemployment rate is still at a high 8.0%. Now working New Yorkers have the additional strain of not just having to do their jobs well, but to perform even better just to stay in their current position. This can lead to more worrying both on and off the job.

New Zealand Psychologist Nathan Gaunt attributes higher rates of divorce by profession to the level of “compassion fatigue” experienced.  He claims that caregivers and service providers suffer from an overexertion of compassion in the workplace, translating in less compassion at home.

“What people don’t realize is that compassion is a finite emotion, a finite resource. When your bucket of compassion is empty you don’t have any more,” remarks Gaunt.  “With jobs that require you to give out compassion, emotion and empathy – people can run out.”

Those in business, education, medicine, and public safety work high-stress jobs and are more susceptible to divorce.

According to clinical psychologist Nic Beets, medical professions were at the highest risk of divorcing, as well as flight crew and shift workers in a close second.  Because they work long hours that often involve high amounts of travel, they are physically and sometimes emotionally unavailable for their partners.

“Any jobs that make people physically or emotionally unavailable are the ones that will make your relationships unstable,” explains Beets.

“People starting a business and a family at the same time – that’s a real relationship killer,” adds Beets.

In fact, a new study by a New York-based think tank called the Center for Work-Life Policy revealed that one’s dedication to their career can mean a desire for freedom in other aspects of their life. The study concentrated on New York college-educated women, who in higher numbers are putting off marriage and children to develop their career. “People here are more on the go. There are a lot of movers and shakers,” said Kambri Crews, a New York author of the memoir “Burn Down the Ground.”

For those with occupations that fall into the high-risk categories, do not fret just yet at the potential marriage failure.  Gaunt advises people with high-stress job that require long and unpredictable hours to always remember to prioritize.

“Work is becoming more invasive in our lives. People can feel lonely, ignored, isolated because their partner is working too hard or bringing stress home,” he observes. “People should decide what aspects of the job can be handed back, handled or managed more effectively. Everything should be balanced.”

People fearing divorce should always maintain balance between family and work, and decide whether their job will define their lives or chose working to live.

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