To Have and To Hold in the Channel

Originally published via LinkedIn March 10, 2016

Being married to someone who also works in the channel can be awesome. Except when you re-introduce your husband to someone at an event and he says, “Oh yes, I remember. You hit on my wife last week.” That was less awesome.

Anywho, the pros and cons of working together are something many couples deal with. Here are just a few.

Travel is the absolute worst.

There is literally nothing more heartburn-inducing than conflicting travel schedules and trying to secure child care.  I’d rather listen to Michael McDonald singing “Yah Mo Be There” on repeat for a month straight than struggle to arrange a sitter while both my husband and I are on the road.

On the other hand, time away certainly gives each partner more 1:1 time with the kids or the dog or the plant or whatever needy thing lives in your house. Our travel schedules have helped my husband and I have more respect for all the other does to contribute. For example, he is now able to locate our dishwasher and laundry room, and he has experienced more of those tender moments with our boys like wiping snot from their faces repeatedly or explaining where babies come from. I’ve learned how to start a go cart, dispose of a dead rabbit, and be a stand in Cub Scout leader and soccer coach.

Beer + Our Back Porch = Best Ideas Ever

Friday nights are pretty wild at the Irby compound these days. By ‘wild’ I mean we sit on our back porch, have some beers, and talk about our week. A few Yuenglings in and my husband and I are practically shouting, “And then I just repeated what the engineer said but REALLY SLOWLY!”  We even have a notebook where we jot down some of our better ideas. (Yes, we are huge nerds.) A true reflection of the night is how well I can read our writing the next day.  Probably some killer ideas will never see the light of day because we can’t read what we wrote. His sales perspective shapes the way I approach marketing and I am willing to bet he has pitched one of my ideas to his team who now thinks he is some kind of a marketing genius. These nights help strengthen our relationship and make us better at our jobs. Everyone wins.

We’re true partners….a disproportionate amount of the time.

When either of us is traveling all the housework, the Cub Scout meetings, the soccer practices, the lunch-making, the car circle scramble, is placed on the other’s shoulders. Bearing the same burden can be a catalyst for those Kumbaya moments that seal a relationship like Gorilla Glue. It’s the same reason everyone likes the song The Weightby The Band and quotes Psalms 55:22. No one wants to carry a burden alone.

The issue is we’re true partners a disproportionate amount of the time. The closest my husband and I have come to getting a divorce was the time we installed a new dishwasher together in our circa 1970 custom-built kitchen with old school plumbing. The second closest time was after I returned home from a 10-day travel stint that also included a girls’ weekend. When I walked in the door, he handed me a child and said, “Hope you enjoyed your vacation. I’m out.” And he didn’t come back until the wee hours of the next morning.  But he did come back, ya’ll, and that’s what really matters!

 Talking

Basically our entire job is to talk. Talk about the product, talk about marketing, talk about our companies, talk about our alliance partners, talk about our partner programs, talk, talk, talk. Sometimes I’ve repeated Availability for the Modern Data Center so many times I start to hear it in my sleep. It is a great comfort to have someone soothe me when I wake up yelling, “No, we don’t do physical!” and not think I’m a complete weirdo.

The downside is we sometimes find ourselves communicating solely through head nods and hand gestures because we can’t stand the sound of our own voices. Of course, if we’re being honest, my husband sees this as a pro rather than a con since he thinks I talk too much anyway.

Understanding the Lingo

If you work in the IT field, you know that you could have a 30-minute conversation with someone composed entirely of acronyms and marketing jargon. Understanding it all helps you to confidently nod and say things like, “Excellent strategy, Bill.”, “That’s exactly the right call, Pam.” and “Yes, that is correct.” When someone asks if WAFL operations act at the 4 KB-level of granularity, and provide the ability to thin-provision and de-duplicate as an efficiency benefit for an SMB leveraging NetApp Storage with Veeam.

But it’s easy to fade when someone is speaking in acronyms and marketing jargon. You probably stopped reading at “WAFL operations” in the above sentence because OMG, what?? Therefore uses of these items are banned from our house. Unless we’re on the porch with a beer in hand having way too much fun retelling the sometimes ridiculous moments of our week.

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