Benefits outweigh pitfalls of working with your significant other

Rachel Johnson

Francisco Martinez
Francisco Martinez
Rachel Johnson
Rachel Johnson

Francisco Martinez, photographer at The Wichitan and criminal justice junior, and Rachel Johnson, photo editor at The Wichitan and mass communication sophomore, have been in a relationship for nearly a year. They also work together. On top of that, Rachel is Fran’s boss. They discuss how they balance their work relationship with their private relationship.

How do you separate problems in your relationship and at work?

Fran: It’s not that hard because for me, work is work and my time for my girlfriend is completely separate. When you don’t separate the two, boundaries get crossed. When I’m in the office, I see her as my partner over anything else. I’m not a big fan of PDA in general, but especially at work.

Rachel: It’s definitely a lot harder for me than it is for him. All my emotions flow together, but he balances me out and reminds me that we need to address relationship issues privately and not at work. Since I’m his boss, it’s also key that I make sure I don’t give him special treatment. We have to respect each other’s space and title.

What are the cons of working together?

Fran: If we get into an argument at work, we can’t deal with it in that moment, so it sucks to wait to deal with issues at hand. During work I just hold my tongue so we stay professional.  My girlfriend is also my boss, so sometimes I don’t take her seriously and treat her orders as jokes. She’s my girlfriend and she is so tiny and cute. I just don’t see her as an authority figure at times. She has a bigger workload than I do and I feel bad when I finish my work before her.

Rachel: Having to compartmentalize! It’s hard for me to put a fight or conversation on pause because we have to go out and do a photo assignment. It’s also hard for me to tell him what to do as his boss because in the relationship I am the more timid and submissive person.

What are the pros of working together? 

Fran: I get to work with my girlfriend! Whenever we do assignments together we give each other good feedback. It shows we always want to make each other better. It makes our work environment more enjoyable and I never have a boring moment because my best friend is always right there. 

Rachel: I love working together because whenever I have a work problem, I don’t have to spend time explaining office politics because he’s there and knows the details already. Photography is a passion for both of us and we get to bond and get paid for something we love doing. We both have a different photography style so we learn from each other. Plus, after a hard day at work we can finish the evening with ice cream and Netflix.

How do you manage seeing them all day?

Fran: I could see how working with your girlfriend all day could lead to a lull in the relationship, but it’s not an issue for us. We work separately often as well, so we get to swap stories at the end of the day. Working with my girlfriend is more efficient because we can split our work. Because we can tell what the other person is thinking or feeling without saying anything, our communication is more streamlined.

Rachel: I enjoy getting to spend time with him and it’s nice to end the day with the person I started it with. Working together doesn’t get boring because we do a lot of fun things together in our free time.

Do you think it would hurt the relationship if one of you left the job?

Fran: It would suck, but I’m not a mass communication major so the reason I work for the newspaper is because I really enjoy taking photos and seeing my work published. Besides, when we’re at work we aren’t wasting time flirting anyway.

Rachel: No. We have different majors and eventually we will have different careers, but for now we enjoy working together and using each other’s skills to help us get better. If one of us had to leave, our new jobs would be another thing we get to learn about each other.