Partners for life (and work)

We hear quite a bit about separating workΒ  and home, work life balance… About keeping not bringing back work and keeping these two parts of our lives as separate as possible.

To be extremely honest, I have never been very successful at that. I used to bring home work and work from home and even discuss work issues with husband(he does the same too). So in reality, we have never been able to separate these two aspects of our life completely. While we used to find this quite routine, I was quite surprised to meet people separate these two aspects very religiously. They do not discuss work with their spouses at all. And some who call their spouses to update them on every thing that happens at work. We were more mid-way. We tend to discuss only at home πŸ™‚

It also makes me wonder in amazement how couples work together in the same organization and some even in the same project/teams. We know several people who work together – and manage it fabulously.Β  For husband and me, that was a total no-no. We used to work in the same organization before we got married – but he moved on and we have never worked together ever since – consciously. Both of us are very sure that we would find it extremely difficult to do so.

One, it would bring all the politics and work issues home and it would be difficult for us to separate it out and view it dispassionately. Knowing the two of us, with all the discussions and dissections of issues that we do at home, we felt it would be too difficult to manage.

Two, working in the same team – is an even bigger no-no. Both our egos would clash and clash big time πŸ™‚ We would surely end up fighting at work as well as at home 😦 So all the fights at home would go to work and vice versa πŸ™‚

My previous company had policies which were quite conducive to spouses working together. Though they had a rule that spouses could not work with each other in direct reposting situations. I always wonder how it feels. I mean, there have been instances where a woman’s progress is sometimes attributed to her husband’s profile in the organisation. While it might be true in some cases, I have seen a mind block among people who assume that women progress because of their husbands – the reverse, however, I have never heard of! I would have hated it, if my success was attributed to my husband’s position in the organization. I worry that my ‘spousal’ identity would come before my work identity.

I knew of someone who actually used his position in the organisation to get his wife’s lead to let her go home at 5 every day! Again -I am quite sure that this is a very,very rare situation.

Of course, there are several couples who manage the work -life balance perfectly while working together. They compliment each other perfectly. Maintaining the professional balance while at work and being able to leave work behind while at home.

Like any other relationship, this is something that people need to work at, to be successful at it. Again, is might not be suitable for all types of personalities, it is something that can be worked at, if the need arises.

Also, I wonder if the objections I have, hold good if we were to start something of our own together. Where both of us would be owning it. I have a feeling that, that might not be as difficult to do.. Or it might just be my ignorance talking πŸ™‚

For me, as of now, partnering with husband at work is just not something I would want to do. What about you? Are you partners at home and work?

54 thoughts on “Partners for life (and work)

  1. actually came by to comment on the previous post and landed first on the new post!! πŸ˜€

    ok, will read both posts now since I have established my position!! :D:D

    πŸ™‚ You funny girl πŸ™‚ Yes, yes establishing your position is the most important πŸ™‚

  2. First, nice post Smithus.

    Me and my husband we have worked together in the same organisation for the last 4 yrs. It’s only when I changed jobs last year, we have consciously made sure that we are in different companies. and now, I prefer it this way since our career paths are different though we both work on the same technology…

    Wow! Thats really cool! We both worked on diff technologies and diff business units.. so working separate not difficult at all πŸ™‚

    We managed quite well actually working in the same organization…

    And we discuss work at home, while making dinner or while eating dinner.
    Technical difficulties are also asked around and answers sought.
    Me asking more questions since he is the geeky sort! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    πŸ™‚ We do it do.. though not technical questions..

    Ego clashes have happened in the past till we learnt to balance. Now, for a very long time, we have balanced things well πŸ™‚

    touchwood! It is amazing to achieve that balance! I really admire you two!

    one thing is for sure, to bring about the right balance, requires some work, but once you actually get there, its smooth sailing! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Yes, absolutely! I am sure it must be πŸ™‚

  3. another loong comment! Whew!! πŸ˜€

    Sol’s place also, I left long long comments!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Long comments are always welcome πŸ™‚ Any comments are always welcome πŸ™‚

  4. I guess a lot of call center couples work in the same organisation.
    And those who don’t, tend to have work wives/husbands.


    Welcome here 25bar

    In a lot of ways, I am glad that husband and I are both in the same field – makes it easier to adjust to/understand the pressures involved, I think.

  5. i agree with u on this smithu!

    it’s a bit unclear on how u can draw that line between office n personal life when u work at the same place..

    Yes, thats how I feel too..

    and it must take so much self control to leave behind professional or personal issues behind when u leave office / home!

    Exactly.. and for some one like me – its practically impossible 😦

    plus i feel some distance n personal space can be a blessing for any relationship… and exciting too! πŸ˜€

    Yes yes yes! Infact that was one of my points – forgot to include it. I like that space away.. I like that distance actually.

    distance, even if it is for few hrs in a day, can make u so much more closer!!! na?


    a venture together sounds cool tho smithu! when u both are th decision makers, and it’s gonna be ur baby, ur venture….if both are passionate, then i think it’s good…

    but, just like u said…me is only saying what i “feel”
    i don;t wanna work in an office all my life, and wanna have somethingof my own! dunno what yet, just want it tho! and bf alwals says we will set up something together, and it sounds good…so far!

    That would be great, I’m sure πŸ™‚ Am sure you will love it !


  6. Thats a nice point smitha..
    I am not married but then one rule from my side is that the guy shouldn’t be in the same company as mine. As you said, it would be difficult to manage the little fights we have at both the places..other than this i cant say anything..

    It might be difficult but a lot of people manage it very well πŸ™‚

    may be if you had posted this 2 3 years after now, i would put some meaningful comment πŸ™‚
    Will ask you after you get married πŸ™‚

  7. Well I am not an expert on this one as we have never worked together in an Office, but whenever we have tried to work together in the organization called Kitchen it was always a disaster. I mean he is a good cook but a lousy dish washer and kitchen mop!!

    He is a good cook? Lucky you πŸ™‚ Mine is a pretty decent dishwasher πŸ™‚ If we lived close by – You could have outsourced the washing and I could have out sourced the cooking πŸ˜‰

    Kitchen mop – mine claims that mopping the kitchen floor is an unnecessary thing – which I do to just increase my work load πŸ™‚

    Anyways now that I am on that notorious H4 visa all I have to do is listen to his office tales once he is back home. Yup he likes to tell me all the whole day’s happenings (the code crashing, coffee machine not working, boss and his bipolar disorder..sigh!)

    πŸ™‚ Yeah, that sounds like my evenings too πŸ™‚

    In India when we both used to work, it was fun telling each other our office details πŸ™‚ but now all I get to tell him is Aioo you know in this blog…blah blah…this blogger…blah blah…I commented on this blog…blah blah.. You read my new post?? to which he says I think I am getting a severe headache and am tired of a busy day in office!!! grrrr…

    ha ha ha !!!! It is so so like my day πŸ™‚ I miss working! and no signs of getting a job either 😦

  8. Pingback: Valuable Internet Information » Partners for life (and work) Β« Any Excuse to Write…

  9. Mine is different, I don’t let J tell his story 1- he talks too slow 2- there is absolutely no juicy gossip in his office stories, they are bland as a raw banana. I tell him EVERYTHING, what Ina Garten did, what my prof said, how the white kids dress, how bad the class was, what I ate for lunch etc etc… oh yes, he listens. How do I know hes listening? I ask him questions after I finish my lecture.

    LOL! SJ, J seems so sweet! He actually listens! My husband does not listen even when I am telling him vital, very important things!

  10. beautiful post, smitha πŸ™‚ loved reading it!

    and i agree with almost every word of what u’ve written. i share ur view on this. altho i may/may not meet my partner at the same organisation, once we r together it is better we work separately.

    Yes, thats how we felt too πŸ™‚
    and yes i believe in being mid-way abt discussing work with partner… he wud be in on the loop… but its not like i wud call him each time something happens.

    Yes, same here:)
    now let’s see … time will prove how much of it will be true πŸ™‚

    Yes, yes, we are waiting to know too πŸ™‚

    i m sure the married ppl in the group can answer this better!

  11. Working in the same company with your spouse is a big NO. Luckily! Our fields and interests are totally different so it doesn’t clash.

    We both work in the same industry – but in different areas – totally different , so it was not difficult to keep it apart πŸ™‚

    I have seen couples working together, walking hand in hand during lunch time (I am sorry but excessive PDAs make me puke-ish) and then husband finishing wife’s deadline. Seriously! These women add to the stereotypes about working women. On top of that later we find out that what the guy did was also wrong. So all in all both fired. Now I hear they are walking hand in hand and ruining some other place.

    Oh hand in hand at lunch time couples! I can’t understand that! Don’t they feel the need for some space of their own? I mean, I would feel claustrophobic!

    And couples who do not know how to remain professional and keep their personal lives separate – well, you are right, they do add to the stereotyping of women..

    It is not entirely possible to separate personal and professional lives. More so if the people reporting to you are the ones you see outside office too (here I am talking about friends). Even if you don’t want to, it somehow affects relationships.
    Yes, absolutely! Thats how we felt too.. So we very consciously stayed in different organisations..

    As for working together, my husband and I always believe that one should have good friends in professional life too and somehow when both work in same company that becomes a hindrance. This is strictly our opinion.

    Yes, agree totally with you.

  12. Smitha, this is one of the best topics. We too met each other at work place but I changed my job, just a few months before marriage! And quit my job when my son was 8 months old!

    You met your husband at work too πŸ™‚

    All the points you mentioned are true. As you said, I too have seen couple working together in harmony in the same company. For us, I agree with this with you:

    ‘Two, working in the same team – is an even bigger no-no. Both our egos would clash and clash big time πŸ™‚ We would surely end up fighting at work as well as at home 😦 So all the fights at home would go to work and vice versa πŸ™‚

    And I WAS the softer natured person!

    πŸ™‚ Yes, I guess it is not easy working together – needs a lot of hard work to get that in place πŸ™‚

    I have got this habit of giving information about everything that happened from morning to evening, like, what the servant maid said about something to what my brother or sister said, to him, when he is back from Office.

    I know πŸ™‚ Me too πŸ™‚ My husband grunts and I can be sure that he must not have heard half of what I said to him πŸ™‚

    We were in Chennai, when we got married and my husband’s office opened a new branch in Bangalore – like Residential Representative for a year, then shifted to a separate office. I was working for him at home…but I never got my salary in my hand!

    Oh dear πŸ™‚
    My husband never discusses about his workplace, at home! I get information from our business partner’s wife now! He is talkative!

    Really πŸ™‚ Husband discusses work with me.. I enjoy it a lot to be honest – and I also miss work when I hear all that.

    While working together in the same organization or in business, the couple should not have much ego and they must be very close with each other and should not let a third person’s opinion creep, in between them.

    True.. It is a tough one..

    Huh, I will stop now! I might repeat what you have written, Smitha. You have covered a lot of important points, already. A good read.
    Thank you πŸ™‚

  13. Interesting Smitha. πŸ™‚

    I personnally don’t have a partner BUT I understand what you are saying. 😐 I mean with my parents, dad discusses what happened at work at home and mum doesn’t work but I would imagine she would do the same. πŸ™‚

    I guess even more so – we women talk a lot more, don’t we:)

    BUT in a corprate world, my parents would find it EXSTREMLY difficult not to bring their work life home. Espeically if one is the others senior. 😦

    I know..

    And I personnally wouldn’t be comfortable working in the same company as my partner let alone in the same department and on the same project. 😦

    Same here.. I need my space.

  14. interesting post πŸ˜› but I would not know yet πŸ˜‰

    Yes, I would assume not – unless your Ms Z actually exists and she works in the same place as you do πŸ™‚

    hehehehehehehe πŸ˜›
    my close frds in my company work for the same client, for the same project in LA…… they have absolutely no issues πŸ˜› that is all I have seen of this phenomenon πŸ˜›

    I have come across a lot of couples working in the same org – esp as my company used to have some friendly policies.. Some of them managed beautifully, while others were perfect examples of why I don’t want to even try it πŸ™‚

  15. Yeah, even I would not want to work with my spouse in the same office (if and when I have a spouse).

    It was uncomfortable enough working with my father in the same office!

    I can so totally imagine!

  16. I’ve never understood how couples work together – I could never work with my husband! Thank god we are in different fields, he is an economist and I a housewife !!! On a serious note even when I was working both of us never discussed work at home unless of course something major happened…Now since our home is my domain, I hate it when he changes things or gives his opinion…Our daughter is like us – she doesn’t like discussing school with us unless someone was mean to her…

    ‘Now since our home is my domain, I hate it when he changes things or gives his opinion..’ – That happens with me too πŸ™‚
    We did discuss work , quite a bit, actually, but cannot work together.

    Your daughter does not discuss school either πŸ™‚

  17. This is an important question you have raised and there is no “correct” answer to it. Some couple are fine at home but cannot work together. Some can work together but need more “space”and therefore work seperately. Some enjoy working together.

    The only thing that is pretty evident is that those who do not have great compatibility at home cannot work together. That is the surest way to, at the extreme, irretrievably destroy a relationship.

    So each couple has to take an honest call based on their relationship and the comfort zone that they seek.

  18. Interesting post smi. Luckily i wont face this problem coz me and my wife have totally different career paths. She’s a doctor and me an engg cum mba. But even if we had an option to work together, we’d avoid it. Coz there will always be questions on each other’s credibility by other team members. I have seen guys get promoted for all kinds of reasons. And i would hate it if someone questions my work and gives credit to my spouce for the same. Work is work and personal life should be seperate. I am also a big no no for bringing work home. We have 9 hrs to get stuff done and the family deserves undivided attention for the few hrs that we are at home before its bed time.

  19. I have hardly ever worked, but whenever I have done anything -even voluntary I have brought a lot of it home πŸ™‚ I discuss everything I do at home or even on my blog with my husband and children, they do the same… but there is nothing common in what we do! πŸ˜‰

    I realise I am not really qualified to give any opinions here, but we often think of starting a family business and have jokes about what each of us could contribute to it πŸ˜‰

    Interesting post as usual Smitha πŸ™‚

  20. A lot of people I know do work together and there seems to be a lot of chemistry between them πŸ™‚ I am however, quite an anti-social person..a non-team player (though my resume states quite the opposite) and hate working together with anyone I know !! I could definitely not work with the hubby. I don’t know how others do it !

  21. Oh no! As if the torture at home isnt enough !!! I wouldnt want me and my wife to work for the same company!!! I need some escape from her and where else other than office !!! Ever wondered why your hubby moved on after wedding πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Never wondered – knew for sure – we both needed peace and quiet – away from each other πŸ˜‰

  22. hey smithu!

    one of those moments hit! the no-reason hugs wala moment!

    been missing you!

    {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{super tight hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}



      • awww! am so glad i gave them then!!!

        so telepathy working between us smithu???? yippeee!

        {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{neverending hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

        take regular doses okie? be happy always, my sweet smithu!


  23. Hey Smitha-this is such a thought provoking one! In my case, I guess it would work only if I was the boss at work.

    Seriously speaking it depends completely on the individuals. Some partnerships work because the two people are so similar, some work because of the differences.

    In our case it would not work, there would be nothing new to talk about, office and home would mingle into one. I like my space and my identity at work, and when I am not at work, I like to switch off completely, wud be so difficult if u have to wake up to person u have to report to….how wud u crib about work…how would u take an explained off….

  24. Oh God! Smitha working as partners on the home front alone asks for so much discipline…tempers and tongues can fly and egos are tempted to break into a war dance…can’t even think of doing it at work place too.

  25. before marriage i would get hetal a job in the company i would work… coz meeting in bharuch was difficult a small town and all would know you… !!

    πŸ™‚ So a job so that you could meet πŸ˜‰ Nice nice πŸ™‚

    but once married we never worked in the same company… she didnt like to work but I insisted that she keep herself busy for a few hours atleast… so she took up a school job teaching kids of 1st standard and that also gave her a lot of friends who were teachers with her in school.

    That makes sense. I think it is good to be busy.. and working is one of the easiest way of meeting new people too πŸ™‚

    We rarely discuss work.. I hate work and the less I talk about it the better… but she did have a general idea of what we were doing and how our business was shaping… !! we do discuss finances… that was better rather than discussing business strategies… in hindsight i think i should have discussed with her… my strategies in business didnt work and eventually i sold it and joined this job.. !! lol…

    So lesson learnt – next time,consult Hetal πŸ™‚ The business will be a success for sure πŸ™‚

  26. Actually I always wondered how not to discuss work with my husband or vice versa. When you are close to someone you tend to bare all, be completely open, and work is a part of oneself. Why, there are days when my husband and me only talk about work! I guess that is why for a couple who is extremely intimate, and they are best friends who discuss everything on their minds, its best not to work together. That would certainly create tensions in their friendship. I know very close friends (not husband and wife, but friends of the same sex) whose friendship soured once they worked in the same department.

  27. I always used to discuss work with hubby,and nicely he used to listen to me and at the end he used to say i didn’t follow a bit.But i never stopped telling him what happened in the office.We always say to each other that we should not discuss office at home but end up doing that.

    Now that i am at home,he rarely talks about his office and answers to me whether they achieved the sales target or not thats all.

  28. a nice post Smitha..

    I think it would be better if both worked in different organizations.. every couple needs a breathing space..

  29. Nice post. In our opinion, couples working for the same organization is a no no. It will bring lot of troubles at work as well as home. It is too close for any comfort.

    I agree πŸ™‚ But some people manage it all so well too πŸ™‚

  30. Smithu me bk n missed u all so much 😦

    N very very bad, any weekend that I am free, none of u do a post 😦 I keep refreshing google reader n see no new posts 😦

    N when I ws away on vacation, u all do it n that too such thought provoking ones !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *sniff* *wail*

    I hv never worked in the same company as hubby’s n nw we r in domains which r nt even related to each other πŸ˜‰ . So, I may never get a chance to eat his head @ workplace too πŸ˜›

    Will write a logical comment later! Right nw, I c tea plantations everywhere n can’t think much. Wanted to leave a comment πŸ™‚ Luv u Smithu πŸ™‚

    • Missed you too, Swaram! Glad to see you are back πŸ™‚

      I did not post over the weekend – I posted on Friday πŸ™‚ So how was your weekend? Did you have a good time! Waiting to hear more !!!!

      And will wait for your ‘logical comment’ πŸ™‚

  31. same here,Smitha.I would never have been comfortable partenering with R at work.maybe because our fields are totally different,so we have never had to.but there was an opportunity a couple of years back in R’s company and we opted against it solely ecause we sure the scenario will clash in domestic life.

    but having said that,when I was working I used to share whatever happened at work with him,else I felt something amiss πŸ˜€ R too shares his worklife with me.
    I guess thats the charm in being in separate professions-there is a certain level of disengagement yet a feeling of involvement when you discuss work at home with your spouses.

    Yes,there are families wherein couples working for the same organizations,manage their homes equally well.thats really amazing.

  32. Nope we are not and our fields are so different that we never would be. But I have frenz who are working in same company and same dept but they manage it so well. In fact they even keeping pulling eachothers leg by using the age old argument of Field & HO differences.

    I feel that at the end of the day it is up to a couple as to how to handle this proximity!!!

  33. ohh thankfully The G and I have completely different fields. I dont think we would have managed for long at the same job πŸ™‚ and the reason is simple. We tend to have ego clashes often enough as it is! In fact, is this something to do with how a female brain works, I wonder..because its not The G so much, as it is me who tends to get a little “egoistic” in almost every issue in life..
    I love the way things are now. We can both discuss our work lives with each other without feeling the need to claw each other`s eyes out! πŸ™‚

  34. AH-A a very novel idea for a post:-D

    I really wdnt like to work in the same organisation as my better-half even if I got a chance πŸ˜€ …..mainly because I’m sure he’ll be after my life to behave business-like & such things which I can never do 😦

    And now tht I’m home full-time we rarely discuss his work simply bcoz he likes to leave it there. But if there is decision to be made or presentation he has to give then he talks to me abt the human aspect of it πŸ™‚

    P.s:By now topics on blogs are usually abt the same subjects just twisted this way or tht….a pleasure to see a new one πŸ™‚

  35. nicely written post , you have said all I wanted in a more straightforward manner ..and my take on know that already πŸ™‚

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