04/2/12

5 Rules for Working with your Spouse

This past year I went back to work.  I will admit, it was not by choice but it was the right thing to do.  It’s actually an amazing gig.  I work during “school hours” (I know, I actually work whenever I can fit in a few minutes but these are my “office hours”).  I telecommute from my home office and don’t have to miss my kids’ activities or nurse emergency calls.  I love my job as a Business and Social Media Manager at Rallyverse, Inc.  There is one small drawback; I work for my husband.

Working with your spouse is hard, working FOR your spouse is a recipe for disaster so you need rules.  Rules make things much easier to navigate the minefield that is working for your spouse.

  1. Report to someone else:  My husband is the CEO, this is his rodeo and I am just one of the work hands.  I originally reported directly to my husband.  The lines of marital/work boundaries get blurred in this scenario.   The heated argument regarding the trash earlier in the day can bubble up when you discuss a work product issue.  To avoid daily conflict, I now report to the middleman.  I currently sit under our Senior Vice President in the flowchart.  Joe and I get along much better but I am confident my SVP is pulling his hair out.  I mean who really wants the boss’ wife as a responsibility? Thankfully he’s a great guy and a great boss.
  2. Don’t Work on the Weekends:  Starting a new company is all consuming and can take over our weekends.   We try to be Mom and Dad, not CEO and underling on the weekends unless it’s necessary.  Working on the weekends, after the kids go to bed or while watching a baseball game is sort of part of the deal since we work in Social Media.  This is a hard one but we carve out blocks of time that are work free so we can be a family.
  3. Respect each other: At work my husband is the CEO.  I can be a snarky piece of work some days but I do my best to remember I am now working and can’t be discussing his inability to wipe down a counter after making a sandwich.  This respect goes both ways.  When I am the harried WAHM he doesn’t harp on me about what I need to be doing at work.  He respects my need to be Mom and turn off the other stuff.  As he says, “I may be the boss here but she is the one in charge at home”.  I love this line.
  4. Date Night:  I am not going to lie; we are TERRIBLE at date night.  We suck eggs at date night.  I am not great about going out on a date.  I would rather watch a Game of Thrones marathon on the couch after the kids are in bed sipping a glass of wine and enjoying his company (which actually means I collapse on the couch while he watches bad tv and we call it a date).  We are working on this point.  It’s important to remember that you are spouses first, parents next and then work associates third.  It’s a hard one, hopefully we’ll go out one of these nights soon.  I am very fond of the guy, I just wish I had enough energy to get dressed up and have a date.
  5. Communicate:  Our Company is young.  As a start-up you try different scenarios and see what works best.  The same is true when trying to find your rhythm working together.  When I worked for my husband we didn’t communicate well, we got mad at each other.  The marital relationship can take an innocent comment and make the other person feel attacked.  I finally told my husband I loved him too much to work for him.  He couldn’t separate Kathryn his wife, from Kathryn the Manager.  I couldn’t separate Joe my husband from Joe the boss (it’s hard when your partner is now the boss, very very hard).  We had a lot of honest discussions on how we could make this work.  Communication is the key in any relationship, but it’s vital in this scenario.  I promise you will avoid a lot of growing pains if you can communicate during the process.

Five seemingly simple rules and it’s all better.  Well, not really.  Like I said, you will need to recalibrate as things evolve.  While working for your spouse is hard there is one huge benefit, I can’t get fired for sleeping with the CEO.

Do any of you work with your spouse?  Do you have rules that have worked for you?  Let us know.

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02/20/12

Social Media Monday – To Tweet or Not To Tweet

People get freaked out by Twitter.  Overwhelmed by the thought of writing a Tweet.  Once it’s out there, they get cold sweats because they finally Tweeted or is it Twat (no seriously, people have asked me this question).  People ask me simple questions like “What’s a Hashtag?” (# by the way) “How do I tweet a person” (@twitter name).  Most importantly, “Why should I care about Twitter?”  Here is my simple answer:

You shouldn’t care about Twitter.  You don’t NEED to be on Twitter.  You will not be a social pariah if you decide not to join Twitter.  Personally, I love Twitter.  I joined Twitter as a way to promote my blog.  So about two years ago I started The Chick and set-up a Coastal Chick Facebook fan page and a twitter account.  At first I just used Twitter to push out my blog content.  I dipped my toe into the water, a follow here and tweet there.  The thought of tweeting to an actual person seemed like an overwhelming prospect.

Soon I realized I could follow people from my little town.  I still felt like a fish out of water and thought it might be a nice way to connect with other bloggers in the area.  Traffic jam on the interstate near us?  The folks I followed tweeted about it.  Power outage?  Guess what, Twitter works on my phone and I could follow the progress.  Breaking news?  It’s on Twitter before journalists can spread the news.  Twitter is great for connecting locally, following national news and getting updates from your favorite bloggers or websites.

Twitter can also be used to contact a company.  Last fall we had a horrible experience with the local Ford dealership.  8 days and a dead battery later we were told they never finished the work they had charged us for and needed our car back.  I asked for compensation for time and, at minimum, for the battery that was working when I dropped off the car.  I was told they would do nothing except complete the services for which we had already paid.  I tweeted the Ford Customer Service about my experience.  Three tweets, two DM’s (Direct Messages) and a phone call from corporate customer service later and our routine maintenance was covered for the next four years.  Ford did a great job correcting the situation.  Ford also did a great job controlling bad PR.

Two years and 1,500 followers later I have a nice group of Twitter AND IRL (in real life) friends.  That’s right, a group of us who met online now meet for lunch every few months.  I can honestly say one of my dearest friends I met on Twitter.  A lot of people of a certain age, my age actually, think Social Media is a waste of time. I think that view is absolutely acceptable.  There is only so much time in the day and room in our brains so Twitter might not be your thing.  I actually love Social media. It’s my job (and an awesome one if I say so myself) and a hobby.  Kind of the perfect situation if you think about it.

Many of you are Twitter deficient or phobic.  I’ll cover the basics below.

Twitter Address:  www.Twitter.com

Twitter Handle:  The name you choose for yourself. My handle is @TheCoastalChick.  Remember, every letter counts so keep your twitter handle as simple as possible.  If I were to choose my handle again I would pick my name.

Tweet:  140 characters (letters and spaces) you can write as an update.

Tweet to a person:  @Persons Twitter Handle and then your message.  You can check your feed for @ messages so you can reply even if you miss the tweet when it’s posted.

DM:  Direct Message.  A private message to another Twitter follower.  You must follow the person and they must follow you in order to DM.

Hashtag:  It’s a way to tag a tweet.  It’s also a way to search for a group of tweets.  When I talk about my town I add the #Darien hashtag to the end of my tweet (and yes they count towards your 140 characters).  When I want to know what is happening in town I search for #Darien.

Tweets are put out in real-time.  You can read your stream and see what is happening at that very moment.  If you want to see what you missed click on friends’ profiles and read their stream, do a hashtag search and check your mentions and interactions.  Many people use hootsuite or tweetdeck to keep and eye on twitter and respond to their followers.  I prefer my iPad Twitter app but have used all different programs to read my feed.  It’s a personal preference.

Now for a little ugly about Twitter.  It’s the same as everything on the internet.  You will have people follow you who tweet spam.  You may receive a message from someone you follow saying “Someone is saying terrible things about you” and a link.  That is also spam.  Don’t get freaked out by these folks.  Just block, ignore or report them for Spam and move on.  I think of them as the crappy insert in the Newspaper and just throw it away.

The most important thing about Twitter is to decide how you want to use it.  For your business?  For your blog?  To make connections locally?  To meet people with the same interests as you?  Twitter is whatever you make it.  Now it’s time to decide:  To Tweet or Not To Tweet

 

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02/6/12

Social Media Monday – Darien Social

I am starting another new feature here on the Chick, Social Media Monday.  Many times people ask me “Why on earth do I need Facebook (.. or Twitter… or Pinterest).  The short answer is you don’t, you absolutely do not need it.  The long answer is, Social Media is everywhere and if you own a business, have kids and want to stay up to date in your skills for a job you better at least understand Social Media.  Social Media Monday is here to help you understand why social media can be a good thing.  We’ll start slow… so today I’ll talk about making local connections on Twitter with a side of Food Porn.

I am on twitter all day.  I am the voice behind @Rallyverse, the husband’s Social Media Company.  My job is to read articles we think our customers will find interesting, add our perspective and schedule it for the day.  It’s a great job.  I also have my personal twitter @TheCoastalChick.  Recently many of my friends (in real life and on-line) have been tweeting (talking) about the new restaurant in town, Darien Social.  When a new restaurant opens in this little town it’s a big deal.  This group likes a tasty bite and a great bar.  Darien Social sounds like it could meet the high expectations of the locals.  It opened this past week and from reading the twitter stream I knew I did not want to go at night.  I am not a fan of long lines and a bar so crowded you want to scream “fire” in order to find a seat.  We decided to hit it at lunch and bring along the ultimate test, our kids.

First let me talk about the feel of the place.  Darien Social offers many organic and locally sourced dishes.  This local, in touch with the farmer vibe is evident in the decor.  Distressed old barn feel wood, black and white photos on the walls and light fixtures with natural fiber shades and vintage designed metals.  They pair the weathered feel with sleek leather booths and streamlined bar.  I am a big fan of the feel and aesthetic of Darien Social.

The first week a restaurant is open is always SLOW, there are kinks to work out and things may not be perfect.  Lunch people.  Go at LUNCH. Little to no lines, a more relaxed staff and you don’t feel rushed.  We sat in the back dining room and because we didn’t arrive until after 2pm we were the only diners in this half of the restaurant most of our meal.  With three hungry kids being alone in the dining room was not a terrible thing, in fact we talked my youngest into getting up and dancing as our pre-dinner entertainment.  Which leads me to my next little point of pleasure, these folks have a great playlist.  As many of you know I am all about the music.  A good playlist makes a difference in the feel and these guys nailed it.  So if you like the tunes you hear here on Chick Tunes Tuesdays you’ll enjoy Darien Social.

Now the important stuff, the FOOD.  Here is their menu. On the other side of that bad boy is a page long drink menu. 31 beers on tap, wine, I think I remember brown liquor on there as well and specialty drinks. The husband sampled a couple of their beers on tap and was pleased with the choices. I had the Skinny Margarita. I was so happy I had a Margarita as my dessert. I am pretty sure skinny margaritas add up to fat margaritas when you have THREE but they were so tart and yummy I could not resist.

Here are some of the dishes we had for dinner:

The Social Burger

The Family Jewel

Mac N' Cheese with English Peas

My husband was a huge fan of The Family Jewel, I also think he just wanted to say The Family Jewel as much as possible. The Jewel is a GIANT meatball with yummy sauce. I had The Social Burger. I am not exaggerating when I tell you it was THE BEST burger I have ever had. Beautiful brioche bun, perfectly cooked and amazing black pepper truffle mayonnaise. The kids gave a thumbs up to the Mac N’ Cheese (with peas, now you know how to get your kids to eat their vegetables). My daughter had the onion soup which had a wonderful sweet sherry, almost balsamic taste. The boys shared a New York Strip with this very nice cherry tomato butter, which the adults thought was delicious but the boys were not as impressed.

For dessert they had some nice options. The kids chose chocolate mousse and cookies with cream. The big hit was the cookies with cream, and after sneaking a taste, I can tell you the mousse was delicious.

Chocolate Mousse

Cookies and Cream

Is Darien Social perfect? No, I think they will need to add some more kid friendly options. My kids are rather adventurous and not every kid will like truffle oil or sherry. The Darien Social is a great place with your kids during the lunch hour but I think it is better suited for an adult only outing after 6pm.

Want to keep up to date on Darien Social? Go ‘Like’ their Facebook Page. Want to follow them on Twitter? Sorry, you can’t they don’t have a twitter account. Well, here we are back at the beginning, Social Media. I hope Darien Social adds a Twitter account soon, they are missing a great opportunity to engage with current and potential customers. They have missed a lot of on-line chatter and opportunities to start a conversation about Darien Social. Many folks use Twitter and Facebook to voice not only their great experiences but also their bad. It’s best for a company to have a presence on Twitter to show their customers they are listening. Twitter is a great way for Darien Social to start a relationship with their new community, let’s hope they start tweeting.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Social Media/Food Review. Two things that probably wouldn’t go together, but for a Social Media lover like me they are a perfect pairing.

 

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