The pros and cons of working with my husband

The pros and cons of working with my husband

This won’t take long……………..

With a to do list as long as my arm, I am not really sure I should be doing this, but I couldn’t let an anniversary and a looming Valentine’s Day go by without sharing my thoughts on the pros and cons of going into business with my husband, Charles.

In truth, Charles and I did work together previously, though it was many moons ago. In fact, our first experience of being colleagues was working for Marconi Defence Systems, where we were both sponsored engineering students.

In those days he was striving to be seen as the cool guy with a car and I, a faux ditsy blond with — well actually — the same make of car. Our antics back then are best kept for another publication when I feel brave enough. It would be another 10 years before we became a couple and I finally plucked up the courage to ask him to marry me.

So, when we started working together, initially for the same company and then setting up our own, I didn’t think it odd, and really it isn’t. There are lots of firms where a husband and wife work together, but I understand it isn’t for everyone.

If I were to sum up the pros and cons over the last two years, they would go like this;

The Pros:
1.

We are clearly working with aligned purpose, both for the business and our personal lives.

We discussed this a lot at the beginning, so we really understood what we wanted for the future as individuals as well as business partners

2.
We know we can’t easily walk away because we have so much more at stake than a business relationship, so we are forced to resolve issues.
3.
We know how hard each other is working, so we never feel bad about taking some time out. We can tell when the other is flagging and could do with a bit of extra support.
4.
We get to spend more time together, so when things are really busy we don’t miss out on just being in each other’s company.
5.
We have grown to know each other better than ever, and can really appreciate each other’s achievements leading to increased mutual admiration and love (got it in!).
6.
Got to add the convenience factor, it just makes family life easier to organise around work.
The Cons:
1.
Talking about work in the house can be draining and lead to arguments; it often crops up at times when we are tired or trying to address family needs. Oh and the kids hate it! Yes, we set rules, but as we are both from the ‘rules are made to be broken’ ilk this doesn’t catch all.
2.
It’s a huge financial risk, if the business fails, we both lose our jobs. Better make it a success then I guess?
3.
We have to regularly remind ourselves we are first and foremost a couple. Business issues and discussion can seep into every corner of life leaving no energy left for the romantic relationship.
4.
Just like social media groups we can end up in our own echo chamber when it comes to business or indeed personal issues. I read an interesting description recently of the danger of being a good storyteller: convincing your audience reinforces your belief in your story even if it is nonsense. The vision must be routed in reality, it’s a sense check for what we do. Luckily we have some pretty awesome critics close by that help too
5.
We care deeply about each other and our business and this means the lows can be really low, which can be a bit demoralising. Carrying this mood over into our home life is unhealthy.
6.
Sometimes new contacts are wary, a husband and wife team may feel a bit quirky, but we are both professionals so as conversations develop they see our complimentary experience and skills are a huge advantage.

In reality we have worked together for our whole married life, raising four children and running a home, multiple moves for Charles’s job, some abroad, all takes organisation and collaboration.

If you work with your spouse/partner and have any pros or cons to add please do so.

Happy Valentine’s Day for the 14th and Happy Birthday Contengo, two at the beginning of this month!

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