The Rise of Work Wives and Work Husbands

We’re seeing the rise of work wives and work husbands in addition to partners at home. We love who we pay attention to all the time, and the opposite is true: We pay attention to those we love, all the time. Corporate life injects this conflict systemically.

And, out of the dozens of married executives I’ve worked with as peers, I’ve witnessed approximately 50% of them experience divorce. Each case involved infidelity with a colleague with whom they worked daily. We build our family out of those we surround ourselves with. Who else?

Ever witnessed jealousy and envy between an executive assistant and the partner of the one being supposedly assisted? I have. More than once. Why does that happen? Because people make family where they are, and we are spending all of our time at work.

If you aren’t spending at least half of your time communicating and planning with your partner the success plans of your relationship and family, in my experience, your efforts to build a family will almost certainly fail.

To do this, it means spend 6-8 hours *at* work, paying attention to business details, engineering, marketing, physical labor, whatever, but the rest of your waking seconds, every single one, is dedicated to *attention* to family, partner, and overall health and success of them.

And don’t get me started on If Your Partner Hates Your Boss and Your Boss Forces You To Choose Sides as we’ve seen in recent politics. We saw someone abandon their partner for a career. Well, that career isn’t a family. It’s just another job about to be lost.

If one’s partner says: “I’ve watched what’s going on at work with your colleague. I’m uncomfortable with the relationship that has developed, I’d like to see it change or ideally stop so we can focus on repairing any reasons for distrust.” Cease immediately or it’s an affair.

I’ve had employees reveal to me in 1:1s that their partner at home is worried about a specific relationship at work. I sometimes expressed sympathy with their partners due to my own observations. I offered options to move. When I was ignored, their families disintegrated.

Berlin Wall Under Mozilla

The Berlin Wall underneath the site of Mozilla’s office during construction. I just rediscovered this photograph out of an old folder of darkroom discards. Disturbing and powerful thought provoking memory.

I visited after dark.  I would literally run through the city for hours at night.  I’d vent.  I experienced tremendous executive pressure during daily meetings, and I poured myself into exercise and art whenever possible.  All of this produced a wealth of knowledge and exposure to local history and culture.  Multiple visits to the same cities over the years allowed me to witness changes over time.

I watched the gradual resurfacing of the Reichstag’s artillery smashed face into a modern building bearing no mark of its history of totalitarian terror.  This opened my eyes to how we cover up our worst crimes against all of life.  We just paint over the bullet holes.