By Elizabeth Berry, American Tax Service Friends, family and clients usually think we are nuts. They comment that they would never, ever work with their spouse; then they sigh loudly and even say words like “kill,” “insane,” or “ulcer.” Well, I admit it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but it is absolutely one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. After working together for more than five years, my husband and I still love (and even like) each other.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Take the sex out of the office. I mean this literally, of course, but am also referring to gender labels and couple-like emotions. At our place of business, it is essential that we are ALL business when we are working. We are owners, we are employees, we are employers, and we are advisors. It is simply being professional. Don’t misunderstand, we have fun and have a great team of people who work with us. We just know what the boundaries are.
I always offer coffee to our clients because my office is situated near the front desk. It’s not because my husband-boss demands I do so or because I am the girl…It’s because it’s is a NICE gesture towards our client. (He offers folks coffee, too.) I have learned that you have to let go of perceived gender roles, keep your emotions in-check, and just do the job you accepted without excuses.
Clarify roles within the company. My husband and I have very different roles within the company, and we accepted these roles from the start. He is “THE” one, an Owner, Shareholder, CEO, CFO, the lead producer. I am the Office Manager, the Administrator, the In-Charge, the human fire extinguisher and his Pepper Potts (Iron Man reference for our super hero friends).
If I give him work to review and ask him to return a file to me by 4 p.m. Guess what? He has it back on my desk at 4 p.m. 95 percent of the time. You know why? Because I am his partner, and he listens, trusts and respects me. Oh, and that is his job. Write up your job descriptions. Clearly defined roles are a must.
Be on the same page. Be on the same page about business operations. Without buy-in from both of you on money, your general work ethic, and the future, your struggle will be fierce and success will eventually be out of reach.
Separate home and work. When we go home, we might spend about 10 minutes on business, but that’s it. That’s our silent promise to each other. Work is a different part of our day. It’s a different facet of who we are. We have decided to accept our “double-lives” and are prepared to keep working on our life and careers together.
Accept your strengths and weaknesses, and go all-in. Take full responsibility for who you are and what your purpose truly is. You will learn from each other and you might just become an unstoppable dynamic duo.
Beth, our Office Manager, joined our firm in 2010 to oversee the general workflow of the office year round. She is responsible for Human Resources, Marketing, Hiring, Training, Accounts Receivable and Client Services.
Certifications: Licensed Health & Life Insurance Agent Education: BGS in Speech/Language/Hearing, University of Kansas