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You Hired Their Spouse–Revisited

Today is my 23rd wedding anniversary. Of course, on a special day like this, I think of my spouse, and feel like writing about an HR topic involving work-life balance.

On my 20th anniversary, I wrote a sappy blog called “You Hired Their Spouse Too“. In it, I wrote about how it takes two people to go to work these days and how an employer benefits from the extra volunteer labour by hiring an employee with a significant other.

I got a lot of feedback from that blog, and strangely not all positive. Some felt that not all employers get the benefit of additional volunteer labour from a spouse. Some even suggested that a spouse is possibly more of a productivity distraction in an unbalanced relationship. They pointed to the number of e-mails, phone calls, text messages and Facebook posts from a spouse we’ve all come to accept as being part of managing a person’s day.

In thinking of this, one thing comes to mind. It has become impossible to encapsulate “work” into regular work hours. Despite many attempts to “turn off” work at night, there are still those who chase me. During the day, sometimes there are lulls and I fill them with quick mind clearers (let the dog out, make a hair appointment, write a blog). Despite my status as a business owner, I do feel an obligation to my partners to ensure I’ve put in a real day for my pay cheque but I know some days are not entirely balanced.

I think it would be best moving forward if we could all, as a society, get to the point where we are paid based upon outcomes vs. hours. Unfortunately, as long as employment standards legislation exists, we will continue to have to revert to hours, and the guilt associated with less than perfect daytime focus.

In truth, my spouse rarely sends me jokes during the day (but the ones he does send are really funny!) or calls about frivolous news (did you feel the earthquake?). But he is there, on my mind always, and he does interact with me in a happy way that brings me a sense of well-being. If you don’t like the reality of the pros and cons of the spouse in your employee’s life, phooey. You’re missing out on so much benefit a spouse can bring.

As for my spouse, babe, I’m cutting out early today and will be home soon. Looking forward to dinner.



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