In a previous blog post, I talked about how I made a career change, which led to the launch of Kids&Us. What I have kept quiet about until now is that my partner, Quim, is accompanying me on this exciting adventure.
Like all relationships, ours is the sum of various stages: three years as boyfriend-girlfriend, twenty as a married couple and eighteen as parents. Up to this point, everything fits a standard pattern. However, for us there is an additional stage, as we have spent ten years as work colleagues at Kids&Us. Ten years! It's quite a feat, isn't it?
I have to admit that at the beginning it was challenging. Quim had worked in large companies, whereas the largest company I had ever worked in was my own English school. We came from two different worlds. Quim was aghast to see how I managed my business, and it made me fume when he told me how I had to do things. Except for a few years as an employee, I had always been my own boss, making my own decisions - some good, others not so- and learning by myself as I went along. For this reason, it was impossible for Quim and me to gel as work colleagues and business partners until we had firmly established what each of us would do. Defining our realms of influence was, and continues to be, crucial; it is impossible to build something sturdy on solid foundations if someone else is interfering in your work. Once we had overcome this initial phase, we realised that we were totally compatible, as Quim knew how to manage a business and had a strong commercial orientation, while I was able to devote my time and energy to what I liked most: developing educational materials.
On occasions, it has been difficult to separate the professional from the personal. I admire couples who have been able to keep their personal life completely separate from their professional life. We have not been able, or known how, to do it. When you share a professional venture that becomes a lifelong project, it is difficult to keep professional aspects out of family life. That said, I have no regrets. Quite the opposite in fact. We have always wanted our children to be involved in the Kids&Us project, and I think it is only fair they should understand what we are doing and where our concerns lie. To go one step further, I would like them to internalise the idea that, despite experiencing difficulties, their parents have pursued a dream to make it become a reality.
It is a question of focusing on experiences, abilities and personal growth, rather than the number of years. I am no expert, but I can tell you what we do to make our day-to-day experience a positive one after all these years. In fact, I can sum up our tactic in just two words, both of which can be applied to any type of relationship, whether it be a marriage, a working relationship or a friendship: communication and respect.
It also goes without saying that when you find a person who is completely supportive of you both as a life partner and as a work colleague, everything is much easier.
What about you? Do you work with your partner? How do you do it?