A couple of months ago I wrote about my recent personal experience of divorce from the perspective of a small business owner. (“Divorce and Entrepreneurship“, May 13) It got the most (and most impassioned) comments Making Rain has ever received. Inc. Magazine (June) just came out with a more encyclopedic riff on the same subject that is beautifully researched and written by journalist Jess Bruder. It has already been shared widely on social media, but, since there was such an ardent response to my previous post, I thought the community might enjoy Ms. Bruder’s thoughtful piece. Enjoy. (Click on the picture below)
Archive for the “Divorce” Category
Jul 01 2014
May 13 2014
Well, I’ve tried. Tried being a passionate entrepreneur and a committed family man. I have failed. For me my now failed marriage was about living with two lovers: my company Corporate Rain and my wife of 16 years. Yesterday I signed my divorce agreement ending my marriage.
That said, I know a number of successful business creators who seem to navigate the marital shoals, if not with ease, at least with longevity and balance.
May 21 2012
I think there is a unique strain that goes on in entrepreneurial marriages. It certainly goes on in mine. Of course, entrepreneurs aren’t the only people dealing with marital dissonance, but there is a specificity to entrepreneurial marriage issues that is notable.
The risks entrepreneurs take are not just financial but also very personal and particular Though there are no specific statistics I can find on the subject, I can share anecdotally that achievement in self-generated business can come at the price of marital satisfaction. And I’m not really sure there is any clear answer to this conundrum for the entrepreneur and his/her family.
Meg Cadoux Hirshberg has written about this as an entrepreneurial spouse in her Inc. Magazine column Balancing Acts. She says, “Other professions keep people away from home and preoccupy their thoughts, but they don’t produce the toxic cocktail of resentment and anxiety created by putting the family’s security constantly at risk….More fundamentally, people start companies to do their own things while marriage is about doing things together.” (Inc. Magazine, November, 2010, “Why More Entrepreneurs Are Getting Divorced”)
I experience entrepreneurship as a lonely enterprise. Entrepreneurs are passionate, focused, independent and courageous people. But they have to be comfortable perched on the edge of a high-risk cliff of possible business mortality at all times. Your wife may not be comfortable perched on that abyss with you. For me, my firm, Corporate Rain International, can be a compulsion at times, a sort of chosen maelstrom of highly wrought fervor, fear, and hope. I can be almost like an obsessed addict, who sees all things in terms of his fix. It is not easy to share my inner entrepreneurial demons with my wife because it would cause her needless anxiety about issues she is helpless to solve for me.
My daughter Truitte frequently notes my emotional absence at home. She will yell at me, “Daddy, take off your business face! I’m talking to you.” Sorry, Sweetie.
Here are just a few entrepreneurial irritants to my wife that can elicit serious anger.
The list is legion and can go on and on. So far my marriage is intact, despite my entrepreneurship and other character flaws. But balancing my two lovers–my spouse and my company–ain’t always easy or comfortable.
Nevertheless, as Homer says in The Odyssey, “There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”
Thank you, Homer.