A few years ago, I worked as an Human Resources manager for a couple who owned a franchise here in St. Louis. They were married with two children and decided to buy a franchise together and run it has husband, wife, and business partners. She was in charge of the customer service side, he was in charge of the sales side. From the outside looking in, this was a happy marriage of both love and work, but as a manager, I saw the scars working together had left on their marriage. To most of the employees who were on the frontline, they had the dream life. But to myself and others who were privy to the behind-the-scenes drama, it was anything but. Working with your loved ones has it’s pros and cons.
I have never worked professionally with someone I was dating, but I have worked with relatives. I actually hired a few relatives to work for me at various jobs I had in the past. Most of the time this was an easy task—I delegated and they did their work. But when it came to goings on in the office, rumors, and whatnot, it was hard for me NOT to say anything to them because they were my relatives—if there was going to be a major shake-up, a part of me wanted to let them know so they would be prepared. But the professional side of me always won.
Most professionals agree that working with your husband, wife, girlfriend, parent, brother, etc. is not a good thing to do. Many companies now forbid employees from dating or fraternizing after work unless it’s company business. I have seen couples date “offline” in the office, only to have one of them tender their resignation because it was forbidden.
These rules are in place because employers want to keep the office drama free, and we know that relationships, especially those in the dating or marriage realm, can sometimes be filled with drama. Employers want you concentrating on work, not other “offline” activity.
But working with someone you love could have its positives—you have someone there to root for you when you need it. Or if you are having a bad day, they can pull you up and makes you smile. There is a source of support, even if silent. You can carpool together to work and save on gas and help the environment. And since the both of you work in the same company, you can understand when one or the both of you has “a very bad day”.
Of course, the obvious cons are that you are with your loved on all of the time—at work all day and then in the evening. Even if in different departments or areas, there may seem like there is any space, or time to miss one another. Being able to separate and be independent of one another is a strong component of a relationship. And then there’s the loyalty factor. Will you be loyal to your employer or to your loved one? It’s a question most people don’t want to have to choose from.
Know the pros and cons of working with a loved one before you embark on it. And know that it can perhaps change your relationship with one another.
What are your experiences? Have you ever worked with a loved one/spouse/relative?