I love my husband. But I’m fairly certain that working with him would not be a good choice. However, there are some couples that seem to thrive when they work together, finding balance in their professional and personal lives alike.
As you decide whether or not to work with your significant other, it helps to go through the pros and cons of such an arrangement, and recognize some of the realities that come with being at the same employer.
Is There Professional Jealousy?
First of all, you have to determine whether or not there is professional jealousy involved. If you work for the same employer, one of you might get promoted, while the other does not. Even worse can be when one of you is promoted over the other.
Even if you don’t have professional jealousy between the two of you, there might be concerns about how the situation is perceived by your co-workers. This can be a very real challenge to working together.
If you are starting a business, the issues can also be thorny. Which of you will be CEO? Are you constantly stepping on each other’s toes? Sometimes starting a business together is even worse than being employed by the same company.
How Do You Divide Up Household Responsibilities?
It’s hard enough trying to decide which of you should stay home if you decide that someone has to. If you are both working for the same company, things can get even trickier. If you own a business together, how do you decide who goes to close the deal, and who stays home with the kids? It’s the same when it comes to conferences, work retreats, and other obligations.
Sometimes, it seems that the dilemma faced by many two-income households increases exponentially when you are working together. At least when you work for different firms, it’s easier to stagger things a little bit.
Can You Leave Work Behind?
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Sometimes, in order to have a good personal relationship, you need to leave work behind and focus on the two of you. This can be hard enough if you are both employed by the same company, but if you are running a business together, it can be almost impossible to leave the business behind. If you’re always working, it’s hard to build your personal relationship.
Before you decide to work with your significant other, you need to consider these items, and decide whether or not the arrangement is really going to work out to your mutual benefit — and the benefit of your family.
Tips for Working with Your Significant Other
If you think that you can get along with your significant other at work, or when starting a business, it helps to have some ground rules about how you will interact with each other. Here are some tips:
- Divide and conquer: One of the best things you can do is outline responsibilities. Look at your strengths and weaknesses, and then assign tasks accordingly. This is a must of you run a business together. If you work at the same company, consider working in different departments.
- Remember respect: It’s important to respect your partner in life. Make sure to always treat each other with respect in your personal lives as well as your work lives. This is especially important at a more traditional job. However, you also need this respect when you are in business together.
- Give each other space: Remember that even the closest couples need space once in a while. Create separate working environments so that you have a little “office” room. If you run a home business, you should each have your own little corner that you can use as your “offices.”
- Work on your marriage first: Remember why you fell in love in the first place, and make sure to work on your marriage first. Take time to enjoy each other’s company without being at work, or without talking business. Also, if you find that working together isn’t practical after all, look for a way to make a change.
Couples can work together, and even start successful businesses together. But it takes a special kind of couple to work together, and make sure that the business doesn’t get in the way of the personal relationship.
What do you think? Could you work with your significant other?
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.