How my girlfriend and I work together without killing each other

By Josh Bovington

It’s been said time and time again that mixing home life and work life is sure to get you into trouble.

While there’s a lot that can be said to support this, I’d like to offer the other side of the argument. I’ve been working with my girlfriend Gemma for over two years now and I can safely say that whilst it has its downsides, it’s actually been a great experience.

Sure, there are times when we have arguments, or make little digs at each other, but at the end of the day we are usually able to come back home and continue as we normally do.

Hopefully this article can help shed some light on the reasons why working with your partner can be a really great thing.

Gemma and I first started working together at a café.  I had been there already for a few months and when an opening came up for a new worker, I was quick to suggest her.  At first I did have my hesitations.  What if we argue all the time? What if we get sick of each other? What if it destroys our relationship?

Nevertheless, we decided to proceed and sure enough, she got the job.  The first few weeks went well – too well almost.  Gemma took to the job so well that she was doing better than me!

Things were great though, until the café hit peak times in the summer and the light-hearted nature of work disappeared.

The days got longer and busier, and now instead of laughing about the good moments we had at work when we got home, we would end up moaning about the endless bad things that had happened.  It seemed as if there was no escaping from work as it had taken over our lives.  This often led to arguments between us and giving up on working together seemed like an easy option.

It slowly dawned on us, however, that the only reason we felt down was because we were letting work control our lives.  So we decided that instead of complaining to each other about customers, or nagging each other about mistakes we might have made in the day, we would just move on from it and try not to discuss work at all when we got home.

We had to treat work and home life completely separately, keeping the atmosphere in our home a positive one.

Eventually we moved on from the café, and saw the opportunity to start our own business together selling vintage books in London.

Now working together in a café with other people was one thing, but starting our own business, just the two of us, in CENTRAL LONDON, was another thing completely.  Despite being aware of the risk, we decided to go for it, and have been doing so, relatively trouble-free, for nearly a year now.

I’ve been able to see how hard-working Gemma is, and how she deals with problems.  I’ve seen how quickly she can learn new things, and the way she deals with customers and other people always makes me proud.  She knows how to keep a cool head with difficult people, something which I’ve not been so good at!

And when something bad happens at work, we are able to comfort and support each other immediately.

I know a lot of people couldn’t think of anything worse than working with their other half, particularly running a business, but when I think about it, there really is no-one else that I would want to run a business with.

Your partner should be the one person in life you trust more than anyone else, your best friend, and someone to rely on. When you get the balance right, working together might bring you not only success in your career, but success in your relationship which is ultimately what we all want, right?

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