Tough Love Tuesday: Don’t Tell Your Partner to Get a Job

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Last week we talked about how easy it is to talk yourself out of doing something new in your business. When you work for yourself, you are constantly in your head wondering what is the next move to make, how to attract new clients, and how to keep the ones you have happy. You’re the CEO, administrative assistant, accountant, PR, and more of your one-person show. Keeping morale high is important to keep this production moving. More often than not your ego will show up as that quiet little voice in your ear telling us to quit, that we’re not good enough, and to just go get a 9 to 5 but we ignore that voice and keep pushing on because we know in our heart that this is what we are meant to do. But what happens when it’s not your ego talking to you, but it’s your partner? You can replace partner with family or friends, but I’m going to focus on partners for this post.

You probably got a range of reactions when you told your loved ones you’re starting your own business. Maybe some were happy for you, some were surprised, but some probably were reluctant. Maybe even told you it’s not a good idea. That’s their way of protecting you. It’s their ego talking to them. They don’t want to see you struggle but you tell them everything will be fine and you move on. They may ask you how the business is going and you may leave out some of the parts about how last month was slow or you’re working more hours than you did when you worked for someone else. It’s easy to keep up the glamorous facade of self-employment with a cute Instagram post of your laptop and coffee at the cafe.

It is way harder to hide that from your partner. The person who probably knows you the best. The person you wake up next to every day. They’re your support system. You can vent to them about how hard it is to work for yourself and that some days (or weeks or months) there are crickets. No new work coming in. You know that it won’t always be like this but you just need to get it all off your chest and then your partner says the words that make you feel sick – “Why don’t you get a job?” 

First things first, there is absolutely no shame to feel like you need to get a part-time or full-time job to help pay the bills. Please, don’t let yourself or anyone else feel like that is something you should be ashamed of. But if you left a job to work for yourself, you did that for a reason. You knew that you could make a deeper impact in the world by creating your own career. You also know that some months are amazing and others are dry. It’s just the nature of the beast sometimes. But hearing from your person that you should get a job triggers that voice in your head, your ego, and co-signs on all those limiting beliefs you have about yourself. 

Now if the person reading this happens to be the partner who has told someone to get a job, think of it this way. That thought pops in your partner’s mind more often they would like. They are working so incredibly hard to make their dream business a reality and all they need is your support. So to hear those words come out of your mouth makes them feel like you don’t believe in them and you think they can’t cut it. You may not think that at all, you may just be worried about the rent being paid on time. Instead, your honest concern about finances turned into an attack on their career and all of their life choices. Add in having children to support and those feelings are heightened three times.

Storytime: November last year was a very tough month for me. I didn’t have many jobs coming in and I was starting to freak out. I was also a few months into a new relationship that just got serious. I told him earlier in the month that I was late on paying rent and I’ll never forget the look he gave me. Even typing this out made me feel that anxiety again. I didn’t want him to think that it’s always like this and sometimes it comes in waves but I was working on getting it back to being consistent. There were a lot of tears but I gave my boyfriend the rundown on my career and all its twists and turns. He understood and told me that he supported me and that it will get better. And it sure did. That next month I made more money than I did for months prior. Now when the emails are slow and I start to worry, he will remind me that it comes in waves and that it is coming.

Don’t let anyone disempower you and partners, don’t disempower that entrepreneur you’re in love with. They need your support more than most. Instead of jumping to getting a job, sit down with them as their trusted “advisor”. Maybe you both can figure out new ways of them adding in new services or products. Or you could just let them vent. Trust that they know what they are doing and are just experiencing a momentary roadblock. You may still be freaking out about the bills getting paid but your patience and support will allow your entrepreneur to get back in that mindset of prosperity and opportunities and the work will come rolling in. Also, if they decide they want to get a job after all, they will let you know.