Saturday, October 21, 2017

How to survive working with your partner

There's a reason why office romances are sometimes more prevalent in some workplaces then others; it entirely depends on the work culture but when you work alongside someone day after day, you can get to know them. Working towards a common goal can bring people together, but it can also be incredibly difficult working alongside your romantic partner, and in some cases tear relationships apart. At the end of the day, that person has your best interests at heart, at home and at work. Hopefully there's a mutual understanding within the relationship that each party has an equal say, but at work that may not necessarily be the case. As with all things in life, keeping communication open is key and it is absolutely essential that you both have respect for one another.

Business partners
If you're in partnership with each other, then understand you have equal say when it comes to major decisions that will effect both parties in the short-term and long-term. It can be difficult to speak up, particularly for women who have chosen to work alongside and support their partner's business but if you've been at it for long enough, your partner should value your contributions and ideas. When you communicate with one another, it is important that you listen and try to understand where the other is coming from, it is not necessarily about making them see things your way.

If you find your partner is ignoring your input when it comes to making major decisions, tell them how this makes you feel or when the numbers are on your side, how this is hurting you financially. However, if this develops into a re-occurring pattern, you may need to seriously consider getting a job with another employer. Helping your partner is one thing, but if you find yourself stressed, frustrated and angry, and unable to enjoy their company at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what really matters the most.

Save for your retirement.
Say it with me, 'a man is not a financial plan'. If you're married, you may already have a joint bank account with your partner, contribute to mortgage repayments and share some other finances. That's fine, but no matter what your line of work I strongly urge every woman out there to make sure your retirement fund or superannuation account is growing, and that the types of investments made align with your social and moral codes. For example, you may not want to back a superannuation account which invests in coal-fired power stations and instead may look to renewable energy. If that's you, follow and support what you think is right but on the flip side, don't stay with a bad superannuation fund. I've worked as a casual in retail in the past and have been devastated to find out that REST sucked every single dollar from my account due to their fees. Needless to say, I will never sign up with REST every again!

I'm now in the unique situation where I work part-time on my partners sheep station, and also do my PhD part-time. Technically, I'm earning a very small amount, which is also why I've been diverting funds from my everyday account to a savings account. I'm only twenty-four, but by the time I'm sixty-five I hope to have enough money to retire. I don't want to rely solely on my super fund to do that, and trying to take matters into my own hands. I feel empowered, albeit a little broke at the moment but the safety and security is worth it! Again, if you share finances with your partner, have some different accounts e.g. a splurge account for disposable income, and a separate savings account in an emergency situation. If something were to happen to your partner, and their death was investigated the banks can and will freeze your accounts, and do little to help you pay your bills and groceries.

Divide and conquer. 
This isn't about breaking up, but rather my way of telling you that you have strengths and weaknesses that may or may not be different to those of your partner. While I could, for example learn how to put brake pads in a car, there really isn't any need for me to do so. I don't have the desire to learn, which isn't working in my favor but my partner knows how to do it. So while he's doing that, I can focus on something else which will ultimately contribute to the household or running the business. It can save a lot of time, headaches and in some cases, heartbreak when we focus on what we're good at, rather than getting hung up over what we don't understand.

It isn't acceptable to yell in the workplace.

Depending on your line or work, whether you're out doing a task or in the process of making a business decision there can be a lot of tension. Living in rural Queensland, I've heard anecdotally from neighbors about a man carrying on and behaving inappropriately at his only support, his wife. In response, she said coolly he could do it on his own if he was going to shout at her and walked out on him, for the afternoon that is. It shouldn't get to this, however studies show that couples typically treat each other with less civility than they would with a stranger. While this might seem counter intuitive, I can understand that within a relationship your standards can lapse and a harsh word can be spoken. I'm incredibly lucky to work with my boyfriend who remains calm and can see the funny side of just about every situation. However, I know stress can turn me into a monster, and often tell him at the start of a workday if I'm feeling anxious, how this might manifest and how to deal with the situation. Thankfully everything hasn't gone pear shape, but there will come a day when the strength of our working relationship will be tested. 

1 comment:

  1. Love it. I'll probably start saving in a couple years too! What are you getting your PhD in?