Talk.. Anything Else to Me

Tracy Roesler bio photo By Tracy Roesler Comment

Get "hand"-delivered posts.

Has this ever happened to you?

Your significant other comes home and wants to talk to you about his/her day. (Wait, wait, there’s more…)

Good news: Your significant other also works in the same field as you. Most days this is great, because you can discuss what is going on in detail and they understand and can often provide advice. I’m sure everybody has had Friday night conversations about Django models and why django’s template formatting for date/time is 1) based on php and 2) so different from the strftime library in python. (seriously… why?!?!)

Bad News: your significant other also works in the same field as you. Some days, the last thing I want to talk about after I leave work is Angular, or database optimization, or releases where the git pull request contained part of the code for the next release…

Side Note: My husband is really very talented, and has his own blog if you ARE interested in database optimization, or django, or beer. Please feel free to read it here, or find him on Medium.

Some days after I leave work all I want to do is watch cat videos. Like this one:

The difficult thing is figuring out how to stop the conversation before it gets too far. Fortune, who published an article in 2011 about spouses who work for the same company, suggest setting “clear boundaries on work discussions during personal hours, whether that’s not having any such talks on evenings and weekends, or abiding by a 20-minute limit” (cf. When Your Spouse is Also Your Coworker).

In some ways though, I feel it’s almost easier if you work at the same company. You can set more definitive lines around what’s appropriate and what’s not. Also, by the time you get home, there’s often not much to talk about. So how do you shut down the tech talk without seeming rude?

I think it’s appropriate to set aside at least one evening a week, or a certain number of hours per evening designated as non-work conversation. We don’t have kids, so there’s no “children” discussion that comes to the forefront, making it easier to slip into work. We also both work a lot. Often we are sitting side by side at 9pm, coding or debugging some problem. That’s also not really healthy.

We need to be able to set work down.

I also think it’s useful to have some sort of code phrase (or perhaps just regular phrase) to say to your partner – something like “I really care about your day, but maybe we can stay at 10,000 feet” or “My brain is not functioning enough to understand your Ember problems” or “Safe word! Safe word!” or perhaps maybe just “Squirrel!”

When we first moved to Utah we said we would set aside one Sunday a month aside for a “no technology day.” I don’t think we have done it once, but perhaps we should. Between slack and email, I think our smartphones have become additional appendages.

The key here is to understand the balance between the two, and to have effective and regular communication. We’re still working on the first one. In the meantime, every time tech comes up that I don’t want to talk about, I’ll just send him exasperated giphys until he stops talking.

Maybe.

What are your recommendations for when your significant other is talking Tech and you just don’t care?

comments powered by Disqus