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A MARRIAGE AT WORK

May 24, 2008 12:05 AM

We just hit the five-month mark since my husband Peter joined me at Women For Hire. Even though he’s been my biggest cheerleader from a distance and he’s knowledgeable about all things related to my work, the company has always been my baby, not his.

We had toyed with the idea for years that he should give up the only career he had ever known—newspaper journalism—so we could work together. The curiosity, challenge and fun in his line of work had dissipated and it was high-time for Act Two. Yet, it’s always scary to pull the trigger and up and quit. Both of us were gun-shy.

But at the end of last year, his employer of nearly 30 years made a one-time offer that he simply couldn’t refuse: A somewhat generous voluntary buyout. They were paying him to leave. Woo hoo!

While our kids knew what was going on, we were scared to tell extended family. The reactions would be predictable: Are you sure this is a good idea? Won’t you hate being together 24/7? How will Peter feel going from being a national columnist at the biggest paper in the country to a nobody at a small shop nobody’s heard of?

We played the cynics’ questions over and over and continued to come to the same conclusion: We were confident this was the right move for us. We weren’t naïve enough to assume this arrangement would be without some challenges, and we’ve taken measures to address them.

Even though we work in an open office with nine other desks, a half wall separates Peter and me. This provides just enough privacy and space. We never fight (or kiss!) in front of colleagues. We hardly “yes” each other either; we’re perfectly willing to reject one another’s harebrained ideas. Each of us has distinct roles and responsibilities that build on our individual strengths and expertise. And perhaps most importantly, we have tremendous respect for one another. This business partnership works because we don’t just love like husband and wife; we really like each other as best friends too.

Copreneurship, which is defined as married and in business together, definitely isn’t for everyone. Plenty of couples cherish their time apart and couldn’t fathom the thought of sharing both personally and professionally. The ability to partner to create a happy home and a thriving business is somewhat magical. Listen to your head and your heart to know if such an arrangement might work for you.

For now, Peter and I have no regrets. Our home is busy and full with three kids—Nick, Jake and Emma. Our lives revolve around those “babies” as well as this one. We’re now living, breathing and growing Women For Hire together.

Comments (3)

Congratulations on this major decision. Your story is very inspiring. I've always found the debate on whether couples should work together interesting. I truely believe it is possible to a successful marriage and a successful business partnership. However, it takes a very unique and magical couple to make it happen.

What a great adventure you have embarked onto! Congrats on making such a big life decision, sounds like it certainly was a positive one! You inspire me because this is what my husband and I hope to do one day. We would love to make my business big enough that he could leave his current job and join mine full time.

I know you guys will do great things together! Keep up the excellent work that you do!

Hey Tory,
First a new office, now a new business partner, I can't wait to see what's next for Women for Hire! I hope all good stuff! Keep up all the great work you do for Women.

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