One of the most common questions we have gotten since starting up The Hot Wire is firstly, “Do you guys own this place?” Secondly, “Wow that’s awesome, you’re married then?” And finally, “Holy man don’t you guys drive each other nuts working together?” This last question is usually followed up by a, “I’d never be able to work with my wife/husband I’d kill them!”
We laugh, nod understandingly and play along telling them that, “Oh boy it’s come close to that before!” And then we all chuckle in good humour and continue on with our trade.
The truth is, of course it’s not easy working with your spouse. It’s also not easy working with a complete stranger or your best friend or a sibling either. The real damn truth of the matter is that it’s not easy working with anyone because all human beings have their own distinct ways of doing things. Isn’t that the purpose of kindergarten? To learn how to play well with others?
Jamie and I met while working together. It was in a little chicken factory…you may have heard of it – KFC? We worked together for a few years but then went on to pursue separate things in life. Maybe that’s what primed us for our later years of co-workery (cool new word ‘eh?).
When we first began setting up the shop I worried about so many things when it came to working with Jamie. Mostly though, would there be a power struggle? Well, not really because he knew everything about the industry and I knew literally nothing. That basically determined our roles in the company pretty darn quick. Although most of the time I will still pretend to be the boss and he just plays along because he is a gawd-damn saint I tell you. A knight in shining armour! He often calls me “Boss” and I roll my eyes but quietly tuck away a smile because I know he does it just to make me feel good about myself and my place at The Hot Wire.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not all cutesy name calling and flirty ass-grabbing when it comes to spouses working together. There are days when we’ve had enough of each other. When one of us has said or done something to royally piss off the other one and we avoid each other like the plague.
There we’ll be, Jamie sitting on one side of the restaurant, me on the other, drinking our coffee and not acknowledging the others presence. And that’s okay too. I’ll be the first to admit it. We fight. Sometimes we are in the midst of a big ‘ol snap fest when a customer approaches the door and we turn it off like a magic button has been switched in the aggressive part of our brains and say in our most cheery voice, “Hi there! How’s it going today?” and the person walking in knows none the wiser because that’s just what the customer service industry is all about.
The business doesn’t wait for your spat to be through. The business doesn’t care about your hurt feelings or disagreements. The business only knows good service. Relationships and personal tribulations become secondary to that during regular business hours. This is the entrepreneur’s motto.
There has been too many times to count that I will be angry at Jamie and sulking when I realise I need to talk to him about something business related. Maybe it’s our next sandwich special or something to do with The Hot Wire’s bank account.
99.9% of me wants to ignore the issue and continue giving him the silent treatment but I know that is not an option when it comes to the business. So I deflate my ego a tad and continue on with professional matters. Pretty soon the topic of business will somehow shift our stuffiness towards each other and we will begin to work out all of the things that need working out. Eventually we find ourselves back to him calling me, “Boss” and me laughing at his corny jokes and wondering why we were so angry in the first place.
Perhaps both of us subconsciously know that things just go smoother when we aren’t in a huff with each other. Over the last year it seems to me that, although we certainly do not argue less, we do seem to resolve our disagreements on a much more congenial and timely basis.
Jamie and I were friends before we dated and have been lucky enough to only become better friends since then. We disagree on almost everything, we argue over small details, we drive each other crazy most of the time with our vastly differing opinions but we have the utmost respect for those opinions regardless of everything.
You could say we are friends with benefits. However our “benefits” far exceed the sexual favours that in which the popular saying suggests (although that’s nothing to shake a stick at either). My husband and I are lucky enough to have the benefit of choosing our own path. We make our decisions regarding money, business, family, children and life together. We hold each other up in times of stress and we celebrate as one in times of victory.
Working together does have its trials, but the trails seem minuscule when compared to the triumphs we get to revel in together. These are the days we are building up babes and a business simultaneously and some days if feels as though it is too much, sometimes we worry we have taken on more than we can chew. But we move through those rough patches together and just keep on growing.
I look to my side to find my husband and think about how proud I am of us to have built such an amazing team together. And I know that there has never been a better co-worker for me in all of history.