Pros and Cons of Working With Your Spouse
By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
Considering the immense amount of time we spend at work, it seems somewhat inevitable that we end up marrying someone with whom we share an office. Case in point: my wife and I, much like the Obamas, met at work and were married within a few short years. And ours is not an unusual story.
A 2012 study from Workplace Options revealed that 84% of Millennials say that they are open to the possibility of engaging in an inter-office relationship, compared to just 36% of Gen X workers and 29% of Baby Boomers. These numbers strongly suggest that modern attitudes towards workplace romances are shifting. Of these Millennial romantics, 71% believe that there are positive repercussions of engaging in these extra-curricular activities. So, if workplace romance is on the climb, it stands to reason that more and more people will one day end up working with their spouse. And I'm here to share with you the good and the bad.
Pro: Couples that have shared experiences often feel a greater sense of connection to one another. To wit, couples that work for the same organization are able to share details about their work lives in a more intimate and understanding way.
Con: You may develop the feeling of never being able to escape work. Talk at the dinner table will simply be a continuation of your day job and you may feel that your romantic life becomes less multi-dimensional over time.
Pro: Your spouse will have a very strong contextual understanding of your work life and will be in an excellent position to provide support and advice. If you are struggling to get along with your boss, for example, your spouse is a great resource to provide meaningful help.
Con: Your spouse may not be able to provide objective support as they may have strong personal feelings about the personalities involved. Additionally, your spouse may actually oppose your actions at work, which can lead to feelings of alienation and frustration. In extreme cases, you may directly enter into a conflict with your spouse professionally, which can be very difficult to deal with.
Pro: You get to spend a very large amount of time with the person you love the most. Many couples are not afforded enough time to spend with one another so working together allows couples to be much more present in each other's lives. A daily commute is much more palatable when you have good company.
Con: You do not have the ability to miss your partner. Physical distance between spouses is incredibly important and frustration can build if you are not afforded the time to be alone or separate.
Pro: You are both on the same pay schedule and work within the same industry. This provides a great deal of financial predictability. Also, if your employer provides supplemental benefits (such as extended health coverage), you are both able to take similar advantage. This can provide a good sense of balance and equity sharing within the relationship.
Con: Working for the same company can be risky as any turbulence within the company or industry can lead to both of you being jobless at the same time. Furthermore, a weak compensation plan or low cost of living increases affect you both equally.
Pro: When you are involved in a meaningful romantic relationship, your productivity at work is likely to increase: we all tend to work harder when we are happy. Additionally, if you are involved in a workplace relationship, your productivity is likely to increase even further as work becomes a unifying bond between you and your partner
Con: If things are not going well in your personal life, it can be difficult leaving them at home. Many people take refuge in their work when their personal lives hit some turbulence but that is simply not possible if your spouse is a few desks away. Many employers feel that this risk is high and formally ban romantic relationships among employees.
What do you think? Have you experienced this situation at work? If so, tell us your story!