A Supportive and Supported Wife: The Most Important Career Choice He'll Make

A Supportive and Supported Wife: The Most Important Career Choice He'll Make

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, once famously advised women that “[t]he most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry. I have an awesome husband, and we’re 50/50.” She has passionately argued that having a supportive spouse is important to a woman's professional success. And judging from her and my personal and professional lives, this surely is good advice.

Of course, men too have long recognized and embraced the importance of a supportive wife.  Behind every great man, there is often a great woman. Hillary and Bill, Nancy and Ron, Josephine and Napoleon, and Melinda and Bill are just some examples of this phenomenon.   

Other ways in which women have historically supported men are less glamorous. All one has to do is to think of an educated (sometimes Ivy League educated) woman who chooses to stay home once the kids are born to provide much needed support and stability in her husband’s personal life. There are, of course, numerous other examples though this one is the most relatable, easiest to imagine, and perhaps the most devastating to a woman’s career.

My favorite, more modern and recent example of a woman supporting her husband’s career is Sandberg announcing that she will be taking a seat on the board of SurveyMonkey, the online polling company where her late husband, Dave Goldberg, served as a CEO. What better way to support a husband than to continue his professional legacy?! Another leadership position for Sandberg is just icing on the cake.

Sandberg is living and breathing her now ubiquitous “lean in” message, despite the tragic, and unfortunate loss of her spouse. Her latest example is encouraging and inspiring. After all, as Sandberg once pointed out, the person leaning in “will one day be your boss.” And, it increasingly looks like that the “boss” will be a woman

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