How Will Marriage Impact Beyonce's Career?


Beyonce reportedly "flashed a whopping hunk of a diamond" at her (unconfirmed) husband's concert on April 8. But now that she is, allegedly, married to Jay-Z, is her career doomed to sink like a stone?

That's the question music industry bible Billboard posed this week, and they offered two other recent musical marriages as reason for concern: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, as well as Nas and Kelis. Since both couples exchanged the words “I do,” more music fans have been saying "We don't." As of late all four artists have experienced a decline in album sales. For example, pre-wedding J. Lo sold an average of 2.7 million copies. Her most recent effort moved 154,000. (At least her family snapshots are worth more now that she's married: The first photos of her twins fetched a reported $6 million.)

“For rich or for poor” is a vow many couples exchange, but can getting married actually hurt your career? Or do most couples have an advantage over their single work colleagues? The answer is a little of both. “Marriage works as a two-edge sword,” says Stephen Sweet, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ithaca College. On the plus side, there is often much stability to gain from tying the knot. “Married people are better off than single people based on economic status, social status, and happiness," says Sweet. "The economic gains of marriage can come from aligning yourself with another individual and increasing social capital."

However, marriage vows' economic impact does differ by gender. “Married men make more than their single counterparts,” says Adam Thomas, a research director of the Brookings Project on Responsible Parenthood and Unplanned Pregnancy. At the same time, experts say, a women’s income may decline after marriage, because wives sometimes reduce the amount of hours they work and this could shrink their income.

Are there some jobs where a spouse gets you ahead? It appears paired politicians, male or female, benefit from having a spouse. Of the 16 women senators, only three are unmarried. In 2007, 85% of Congress and 90% of all governors were all married, according to Unmarried America. It may be “an asset to politicians from a public relations standpoint,” says Thomas. “It probably helps from a photo op to have a family.” In addition, there is a “mythological standard for politicians, and [this creates an] imagery that you must be a happily, married, heterosexual individual for public image," says Dr. John Hotard, a psychologist and the former director of M.B.A. careers services at NYU's Stern School of Business. Others jobs where a ring could raise your profile? Judge, clergyman and police officer. A police officer may want to show a stable life and marriage can help that, says S. Alexander Takeuchi, a professor of Sociology at the University of North Alabama.

So, well, why are both J. Lo and Marc experiencing a slump in album sales? “Once you get married, you’re going to spend more time with your spouse and family," and it may effect your job productivity, according to Takeuchi. For individuals in a creative career “the amount of time that you can spend to think and visualize things, and use your imagination” decreases,” says Takeuchi. But as J. Lo has shown, if Beyonce's music career does slow down, she can always start a family: Just imagine what her future baby photos will be worth!

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