Recently my wife Michele and I started a new chapter in our lives by moving to a lovely, somewhat remote island. We also decided to start working together. We thought, what better way to strengthen our marriage than to spend every waking minute of every single day together – eating, playing, sleeping and now working? What could possibly go wrong?
Okay, I know what you’re about to say: What were you thinking? But before you question our wisdom, I should point out that our skill sets are remarkably complementary. On the one hand, my wife is an extremely talented portrait artist. And on the other hand, I am the husband of an extremely talented portrait artist.
My job will be to market my wife’s portrait business. I am an experienced professional marketer. For example, remember the pet rock – a crazy, fun idea from the 1970s that generated millions in sales simply by packaging an ordinary rock in a box with funny instructions about how to care for it? Brilliant marketing. No, that was not actually my idea. But the idea for selling a 25-pound box of litter for your pet rock was mine. Sadly, it never made it to market. Okay, perhaps this isn’t helping make my point about being a marketing guru.
My wife wanted someone to oversee marketing so she could spend more time painting – and shooting down every marketing idea I came up with. (I still think my idea for her to parade the sidewalks of Seattle in a sandwich board handing out coupons for $10 off a portrait would have worked. But alas, we’ll never know because she squashed that idea, too.)
I’m excited about my new career opportunity. Oh sure, the pay is not the best – my salary rivals our cat Dusty’s annual income. But the benefits are great, by which I mean I get to stay in our home, watch The Big Bang Theory over lunch and sleep with the boss (so long as I promise not to file a sexual harassment lawsuit).
You may think my wife just handed me the job, but nothing could be further from the truth. She put me through a grueling interview to make sure I was the right candidate for the position:
My wife: So, tell me, why should I hire you for this position over some other more qualified candidate?
Me: Because I will work for donuts.
My wife: What would you say are some of your greatest strengths?
Me: Did I mention I will work for donuts? Also, I don’t snore in bed, and I won’t ask you for a raise in six months – ok, ever. Besides, I have tons of great marketing ideas. Please don’t hold the sandwich board idea against me. I was having a brain freeze from a cherry burst Slurpee that impaired my thinking.
My wife: What would you say are your biggest weaknesses? Actually, never mind. I can answer that myself. Think I’m going to need another pad of paper, however.
Me: Thank you. Hey, did I mention I write a humor blog?
My wife: I am aware of that, but I won’t hold it against you when considering your qualifications. So where do you see yourself in five years?
Me: Hopefully lying on a hammock on some tropical beach with one of those umbrella drinks…. Oh, you mean, career-wise? Ah, got it. Well, at this stage, it’s hard for me to imagine any respectable business wanting to hire me. And as for my idea about starting a business selling chicken ‘n cheese frozen yogurt, I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. So, probably stuck with – er, I mean, collaborating with you.
My wife: What would be the first thing you would do if I brought you on board as my marketing director?
Me: Other than doing a Krispy Kreme donut run?
My wife: Yes, other than that.
Me: Probably ask for more vacation time.
My wife was a tough interviewer, but I’m pretty sure I aced it because she picked me for the job. I clearly was way more qualified than the other finalist she was considering – our cat Blackie. His cover letter wasn’t even legible.
I started work last week and so far it’s going great. I even have my own office. Technically, it’s a storage closet in the basement, but if I hit my quarterly sales target, the boss has promised to consider possibly letting me have an office with a window – and maybe even a chair.
It’s going to be a fantastic partnership – my wife sitting at her easel painting amazing likenesses of governors, university presidents and captains of industry, and me in my storage closet getting caught up on past episodes of CSI Miami on my cell phone. I have to go. I think I hear my boss coming down the hall. Damn, and just when I was about to break my record score in Candy Crush.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015
I talked over your situation with my pal Don Draper. He suggested the sandwich board was a good idea and that you should use two of your wife’s portraits as the slabs of the board. He shifted the discussion to his protege Peggy to figure out where the information about the portrait service would go if the sandwich boards were filled with portrait. Peggy brought out the scotch and we never did discuss the rest of the details.
My advice to your wife is to hire the team of Dusty & Blackie, who by all the evidence seem far more qualified, have more ambition, and won’t demand donuts.
And that’s how the fight started Officer.
Luckily, Michele’s gorgeous work markets itself, so you can enjoy reruns of “Modern Family.”
Congratulations on life’s changes!