Partner support

imagesI have always worked hard.  God knows why but in my first job out of college I actually took pride in the ridiculous hours that I put in.  I’d easily knock out 80+ hours on the weeks when there was a One-Day-Sale.  On the regular weeks it was always over 60 hours.  If I got paid by the hour it would have been a different story.  I was on salary and if I ever broke down my hours vs my salary I am quite confident that I was being paid less than minimum wage.

Fred was ridiculously supportive.  His job was 9-5.  I’d walk in at the end of the day fired up from the days events raring to go out or either crawl into bed.  He understood that my work ethic was about my desire to make a name for myself and move forward in my career.  I was always looking towards the future.  I rarely just smelled the roses and enjoyed the moment.  Perhaps DNA because I definitely take time out to smell the roses now but I still work like a dog.

Many women (and a few men) have written about the importance of having a supportive partner/spouse.  I was talking to my brother this past week about the earlier years when our kids were young.  It was Fred’s time to shine.  He was taking the 5am train out of the suburbs to go to work returning at 7 just as I was putting dinner on the table for the family.  It was planned perfectly so he could eat with the kids, put them to bed (already bathed and ready before dinner) and then read the a book before returning to his briefcase.  I was carrying the load of raising the family while he was carrying the load of making his mark in the world.  Our roles had changed.  There were plenty of times when I was pissed that he missed the train or that he was so absorbed in his own life that he really wasn’t present but for the most part I was supportive on many levels.

I am starting to see many of the founders that I am invested with, particularly ones older than 30, start to have families.  Some of their partners/spouses are supportive but many don’t really get the life of an entrepreneur.  I think it is particularly difficult for women whose kids are in school full time and they have finally embarked on their start-up only to find that there are so few hours in the day to focus on life at home too.  No doubt it is hard, no doubt it is a balance but more than anything it is about having someone support and applaud your efforts to build something.  Building something is hard enough.

When you build something from scratch it is a 24/7 world.  That business or project (whatever it is) takes over your brain.  Having your other half give you shit about that phone call you have to take, that disaster you have to deal with, the bridge you have to close or that deadline that you have to reach even if you are on vacation just sucks.

The importance of finding the right side-kick in life is key.  If you are a carnivore then hanging out with a vegan for life might prove difficult.  If you love the outdoors and your side kick really just loves the smell of concrete and yesterdays garbage that could be problematic.  If you take work as seriously as play and your partner likes to get up late and just put in enough hours to cover the rent that could be a red flag for the future.  I could go on and on but the point is find someone who supports your dreams as much as you support theirs…or more than likely everything will go up in flames.