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Do Swinging Singles Have Any Chance At Making Partner in Public Accounting?

Do you, Grunt, take this crappy life to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward until death do you part? That's great and all but maybe you need a little pre-marital counseling. We're not licensed professionals but I think Colin is one of those ordained Internet ministers, hit us up with your quandary and we will speak now or forever hold our peace.

Question:  How do you think ones marital status affects partnership prospects?  I notice that all of the partners I know are either married, or were married when they were admitted.

Do you think that signals more stability?  Perhaps maturity and a willingness to "commit"? I don't see myself marrying in my early to mid-thirties yet I'm wondering about my chances of reaching the upper ranks.  Any insight?

First, can I just say thanks for sending in this question? I know we don't say that often and don't get us wrong, we appreciate every question (except for the stupid ones we don't publish) but this one struck me as especially interesting because it's one of those things we don't necessarily talk about but that we all know is 98% truth.

Just to be sure, I asked Twitter if anyone had come across just one unmarried (not divorced) partner and the overwhelming majority of respondents informed me they had not. Whew, I knew I wasn't crazy.

Think about it. When was the last time you saw an unmarried president in the White House? Go ahead and Wikipedia that if you need to, I can wait.

Here's the deal: perpetual bachelors (or bachelorettes) are not "partner material." Period. Getting wifed (or husbanded) up generally means taking on such grown-up things as a home, children; you know, the stuff that keeps you tied to a location and tethered to a job you might not necessarily love because someone's got to put food on the table. A single person can scrape by on ramen to follow their dreams but add the ball and chain and you can take a vibrant, adventurous individual and mold them into a tax-paying, home-owning robot of the establishment. What firm doesn't want to promote a brainless zombie completely checked out from frivolous concepts like "joy" and "adventure" in life?

Getting married is the "normal" thing to do and that's what firms want to promote: normal, run-of-the-mill shlubs who will check in, do the work and check out. Let's say you make partner by 35, think about your unmarried 35 year-old friends. Maybe my friends that age are the exception but the boys I know in their mid-to-late 30s who've never married generally still play video games and live in tiny, gross studio apartments and the women are – again, generally – hideous hags who scare off anything with a pulse by talking babies at the first date. Neither of these sorts of people are partner material because they are, well, not normal. I'm not saying unmarried 35 year-olds are worthless human beings (I will be one as I swore off marriage forever after the first one), but I am saying that marriage is more than a pretty dress and a legal binding agreement, it's an accepted social norm, your participation in which shows that you're, well, pretty normal. And that's what fims want in their partners, tied down, taxpaying, baby-making normal people.

Now, are you automatically some kind of degenerate because you aren't looking to march down the aisle by 25? Of course not. The times they are a-changin' and attitudes toward marriage aren't what they were in the 50s. It's totally accepted these days for perfectly normal 30 – 35 year olds to opt out of marriage and focus instead on career and whatever relationship(s) they have time for. But the partner track might not be a compatible career goal considering your unconventional attitude toward the sacred bond of marriage.

Are there unmarried partners in public accounting? Sure. But like our unofficial Twitter research revealed, that's definitely the exception and not the rule.

Better start looking around for a 7 you could handle waking up next to for the rest of your life and get this over with now.