Since I finished my MBA back in April I have tried to start reading more business related material because I hope it will help me someday, along with the fact that I also just find it incredibly interesting. My brother-in-law has a lot of expertise in this area so while we were staying in Seattle with him and his family I asked for a few suggestions, and he gave me a great one.
The book is called The Goaland it was written by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. This book is highly regarded in the business industry and provides tremendous insight for business professionals, but this is not a business blog so that is not what I wanted to talk about. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the insight it gives on how your family impacts your business life. The book is actually written as a fictional story that provides lessons and insights rather than just a non-fiction textbook full of great ideas, which made it much more enjoyable to read, and also provided a human aspect to this business story.
In the story the main character is trying to save his failing plant while at the same time trying to salvage his failing marriage. Even as he starts to turn his plant around his marriage only gets worse and it really looks like he will lose it all. *Spoiler Alert* However, he starts to repair his marriage by humbly communicating with his wife and trying to explain why he was doing what he was doing, and how he was genuinely trying to keep their marriage together. As his wife sees the effort he is putting forth she opens the door for repairing their relationship and they are able to slowly rebuild it back to a more healthy state.
The part that really struck me is when she asks to be included in his business struggles so that she can support him. This has honestly been something I have struggled with in the past because, like many people, my spouse knows very little about aviation in general, and flying in particular. The vast majority of what she knows is only because she has been married to me for eight years. When she asks me how my day went I often brush her off with simple phrases of, “It was just fine,” or “It was a pain, but it is just flying stuff.” I am generally too lazy to take the time to explain the situation because it will take a little more work then if she had the same level of expertise as me.
After reading this book I have realized how completely selfish that is of me. Crash Aunt wants to be a part of all of my life and not just my life at home. She asks about work because she genuinely cares about who I am and realizes that everything I do contributes to what I do as a father and husband. While I am still far from perfect at it, I have tried to start explaining a little more about what I do so that she will understand the context of my struggles and successes.
As I am writing this I am realizing how much better she has always been at this than me. For about a year after our oldest was born I was the stay at home dad because honestly, she made more money than I did. During that time she would come home and tell me all about what was going on at work. The troubles with work itself, the crazy people she worked with, and the hilarious things that sometimes happened. I didn’t have to be an expert in her field to understand what she was going through, I just had to know enough to support her and maybe more than anything, just be a listening ear.
In the month or so since finishing the book, and with my renewed effort to be more inclusive with what is going on at work, I feel like our relationship has improved some. By no means were we anywhere near the terrible situation that was happening in the book, but I feel like we are getting closer little by little over time, and isn’t that exactly the way that it is supposed to happen?
Little by little we learn more about this person that we were so in love with that we wanted to spend the rest of eternity with them. As we get to know them better we find things we don’t really like, and other things that make us love them even more, but as we travel through this journey called life together, we discover that a happy marriage has nothing to do with what the other person provides to us, but what we provide to them.
If we choose to seclude them from generally the largest part of our life, our career, then we are missing out on the love and support that we will inevitably need. It does take more effort to include them, and there will still be areas that they won’t fully understand, but I am convinced that the extra effort we put in will pay dividends in ways that we never would have expected.