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Marriage vs. Employment

Courtesy of chaponline.com

If you’re reading this it means you are not trapped in some trans-normal Groundhog Day loop. Congratulations! Welcome to February 3.

 

I have a wonderful marriage. In fact, I would count it as one of my greatest successes. What makes it so successful? I’m no marriage expert, but I have some ideas.

 

Friends

We were friends, really good friends, before I even proposed. We met in college in 1989. She dated my roommate for nearly six months and spent a lot of time at our apartment. She had dinner with us, watched movies with us, played games with us. It was like she belonged there just as much as we did. After school, I went back home (800 miles away) and we wrote letters back and forth. That’s when we began to fall in love. It sounds like some sappy scene from Sleepless in Seattle, but it’s my life. Even now after nearly 22 years of marriage we are still the best of friends. That’s sort of odd because we have very little in common, but we really enjoy doing things together.

 

Failure is not an option

Many couples I see today use divorce as an out. “If things don’t work out, we’ll just get a divorce.” I’ve heard the term “starter wife” used. The first marriage never works out. So, many people plan on having two or more wives in a life time. Divorce, in my case, is not an option. Therefore, we work to work it out. When disagreements arise, we have to discuss it. The “discussions” are not always pleasant, but there is never any question that we love each other. We can disagree and still love.

 

Memories and Traditions

We have spent 22 years building memories and traditions together. Decorating the Christmas trees (we have two in our home), opening the car door for her–every time, family time on Monday evenings, attending our children’s plays, concerts and performances together, going to church together, shopping together. It’s not because we have to; it’s because we want to.

 

So, what? My professional happiness mirrors my marriage. I have friends at work that I care about and that care about me, that I enjoy spending time with (both at and away from work), that I can open up to and share. I can go to work each day knowing that someone cares. It may not be my boss or even the guy in the cubicle next to me, but there is someone. Someone is there that helps to enrich my professional environment.

 

Sometimes we disagree about certain work philosophies, but we know we’re still friends. I know I can raise my voice and be passionate about an issue. He does the same. In the end, we’re still laughing together about the latest Dilbert, shooting Nerf darts back and forth across the hall and joking about ice cream and Hershey’s peppermint Kisses. Being happy at work is not always JUST about enjoying the job; the people make a big difference, too.

 

Traditions at work are important. A friend of mine told me recently that after over 20 years, the supervisor decided not to have a Christmas social because everyone was too busy. Morale plummeted. It was the highlight of the year. Families gathered, wives chit-chatted, good food, games for the kids. Everyone looked forward to the Christmas social every year. Then, at the last minute, it was pulled out from under them. If your boss isn’t providing traditions at work, then make your own. Bring your own chili day; hat day; simple department birthday party once a month. Give yourself and/or your employees something to look forward to, something besides the next project or task.

 

My employment as been a lot like my marriage. My marriage has been hugely successful. I’m not millionaire, but I feel successful at work because of the the friends, emotional security, and traditions.

 

What makes you successful? What traditions have you built, either at home or at work that make it so enjoyable?

 

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  1. 1 March 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Good thinking. I’m curious to think what type of impact this would have globally? Sometimes people get a little upset with global expansion. I’ll check back to see what you have to say.

  2. 3 February 2012 at 8:03 pm

    It’s been 27, almost 28 years for my husband and I, and divorce is not an option. Marriage is something that you have to conciously want to work at. I can’t say that we haven’t gone with difficult times, but we continue to really enjoy each other’s company.

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