Could you work professionally (and intimately) with your partner?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 16, 2007 8:51 AM GMT
    Last week I signed a new contract with our primary insurer.

    The contract requires that I and a few of other people in my company hire assistants to deal with certain aspects of our business. The assistants will have to have almost unrestricted access to us 24/7 in order to do their job properly. On certain things I would have to work closely with them.

    As you can imagine, that could become very invasive. I am not good at having other people tell me what to do - I have authority problems - I ask 'why?' too much. It would also mean letting someone into just about every asspect of my life.

    It is a job my partner could do easily. I wouldn't argue with him the way I might with a stranger. It would also allow me more personal privacy. I haven't even told him of the new position yet so I haven't discussed it with him, but I am considering asking him if he would like the job.

    However it obviously might cause problems as would any kind of workplace fraternization; worse, we as a company have a very strict policy about workplace fraternization and if I as the boss break it, how can I expect others to follow it faithfully. Then there are the possible claims of favoritism, conflict of interest, moral issues, possible creation of a hostile work environment and loss of productivity, etc..

    I always hear horror stories about couples who work together. I have always told people not to get involved with people in their office, especially for fear of sexual harassment claims.

    The position would not be anywhere in the 'chain of command' or anyone else's career path, so I think there would be minimum hostility (at least to those worried about preferential advancement) from bringing in my partner; but there would almost certainly be an enormous amount of gossip.

    My partner never reads these boards - he finds it all very boring - so he absolutely will never see this.

    So - what do you think? Could you bring your partner into your business to work with you?

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16308

    Dec 16, 2007 9:04 AM GMT
    Well I see two issues:

    The first would be your violation of "Rules of the workplace" as stated by you regarding your company.
    If we (the gay community) expect our personal partnerships and relationships to be adjudged the same as a heterosexual couple... you would not be following proper procedure. I think is highly important both from the viewpoint of how you see your firm and how others potentially see you (provided they know of your partner).

    The second of course being your relationship with your partner. That may not be an issue for you. It would be for me (just because my partner can be remarkably strong willed, more so than even I). It would be very easy for you both to take workplace issues into your personal time. If you can handle that (or if it wouldn't happen based on your relationship) then this might not be a problem for you at all.

    I would say "no" based on #1 above. If the rules stipulate that "no fraternization" should exist.. respect it. Period. It will bite you if you don't.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Dec 16, 2007 3:28 PM GMT
    I couldn't work with him professionally. Things frustrating on domestic projects that are too complex when we work together on them as it is.
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    Dec 16, 2007 4:47 PM GMT
    I get along fantastically with my boyfriend. We have lived together for three years and in that time have only spent two days apart. So, we spend a lot of time together. But if I also had to work with him it would end in double homicide (one more for good measure).

    Personally for me I think separating professional and personal lives is smart. It gives you time at work to decompress from home life, and at home you have time to decompress from work. Then, on top of it all you add the workplace gossip you are sire will go around, not setting an example on fraternization, and people possibly complaining about nepotism this sounds like a horrible, horrible idea.

    hope it turns out well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 16, 2007 5:00 PM GMT
    what the hell kind of insurance requirements are you talking about here that are so invasive?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 16, 2007 6:56 PM GMT
    It's frowned upon in the corporate world, and certainly can lead to complications, but that's mostly due to the gray stifling effect of HR bureaucracies.
    Spouses working together is pretty common in the sciences. Probably because the only possible way for a lab nerd to reproduce is with a coworker or assistant, since they spend their entire lives in the lab.
    And of course by definition, most family farms and family businesses are operated by couples, and have been through all of history. The ag extension service has workshops in which some sort of expert is supposed to give pointers in helping to resolve business/family conflicts. I don't know if they're actually useful.
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    Dec 16, 2007 8:22 PM GMT
    Caslonwhat the hell kind of insurance requirements are you talking about here that are so invasive?

    I don't know what the situation is here, but my understanding is that some insurance companies that provide company insurance for a person in some critical operation of the company (e.g. management, research, development, marketing, etc.) will require that the company train someone to replace the insured in the event of his/her death or pertinent disability.