My Boyfriend Is Also My Boss

My Boyfriend
is Also My Boss.

This blog is a part of a series presented to you by the MGMT staff. Since we spend so much of our time working and wearing our business hats, we thought it’d be fun to open up a bit and get personal.

Zach, CEO/Founder of MGMT Digital, is my boyfriend and boss. We live together, and now due to COVID-19, we’re working from home together. Barf, we’re one of those couples. I do have to admit I don’t mind being at home right now. I get to take breaks throughout the day to take our dogs outside and get some sun on my face. I’m healthy and everyone I know is currently healthy, so I’m not complaining.

Now that we’re home every day, Zach and I usually work in different parts of the house, mainly because we have different working styles. I like to listen to music while I work and he spends most of the day on the phone. Although I was a bit apprehensive working for Zach, it’s going great so far. I’d love to share with you all how we’ve managed to not completely get under each other’s skin.. yet.

How I Got Here

Late August 2019, I moved from New York City to Los Angeles so Zach and I could be in the same time zone. So brave of me, I know. All jokes aside, moving meant leaving behind my family, friends I consider to be family, a job I really liked, and amazing food. Dining out and trying new food is a big part of who I am so leaving New York wasn’t the easiest decision. Sure Los Angeles has great food but it requires getting in a car to get there and sitting in traffic (I’m a ride or die subway girl … you cannot beat the convenience!). Am I still in denial that I can’t hop on a train and eat Xi’an’s Famous Foods hand-ripped noodles every day? Yes, yes I am. I digress…  

Right before I moved to Los Angeles, I approached Zach about the idea of me working at MGMT. After discussing, we both agreed that it would probably be better for me to stay in the tech space and meet new people. I ended up doing this for a little, and it was great while it lasted but, ultimately the job wasn’t for me. Luckily, me leaving my job coincided with MGMT needing to bring on a new staff member to help manage content. After an extremely lengthy interview process and two rounds of salary negotiations, I landed the job! Kidding. I did sign an offer letter though and had an official introduction to the company, which brings me to my first point on how to make a romantic/professional relationship work.

Be Professional.

I think one of the biggest reasons I’m able to work for Zach is because I take the job seriously. I signed all the paperwork everyone else signed upon being hired. I’m genuinely interested in what MGMT does and am proud to be a part of the team. I’m not doing this job because it’s an easy way to make money.

If I have to make an appointment that falls during work hours, I run it by Zach first before booking it. If I’m running late to the office (before COVID-19 we did not carpool to the office), I will give him as much notice as possible. I also refer to him as Zach and not “babe” or any other pet name. Let’s be real, “babe” is not cute and doesn’t belong in the workplace. We’re all adults here and perfectly capable of referring to each other by our wonderful birth names.

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Be a Team Player.

One of the cool things about MGMT Digital is that it’s a small company, which means we all wear many hats. Although I was hired to do one thing, Zach encourages everyone to come up with ideas on how the company can improve, and I fully participate in that. I’m sure I could just get by doing the bare minimum because you know, I have an in with the boss, but that would probably make me feel terrible about myself. Self-esteem in the workplace is important. 

If I see something that can be better, I let everyone know, respectfully of course. I find that when everyone works together towards a common goal (for us it’s being the best digital marketing agency), going to work is fun. I think the most important part of this is that I care about the company the way Zach does, which strengthens our bond. Let’s hope he doesn’t get mad at me for getting emotional here. 

Have Respect.

Last but not least, I respect Zach and the MGMT Digital crew. It can be easy to get caught up during the workday and want to pick a fight with Zach because I am a woman and we’re always right, but I don’t do this. The respect I have for the job gives me the ability to think before I speak and not bring personal issues to the workplace. Alright, I may have done this once but I haven’t done it since said incident! I’m only human, eh. 

Overall, would I recommend to a friend to work with or for their significant other? Hell yeah! It’s fun. If you like them enough to date them, then you probably like them enough to collaborate with. 

Zach’s Story Part 1: What Was It Like Getting Sober?

Zach's Story Part 1:
What Was It Like Getting Sober?

This blog is a part of a series presented to you by the MGMT staff. Since we spend so much of our time working and wearing our business hats, we thought it’d be fun to open up a bit and get personal.

I feel it’s important to tell my story about getting sober because nothing good in my life would exist without sobriety. My family, my relationships, and my company – I wouldn’t have any of it if I wasn’t sober. Today, my life is drastically different than it was years ago. It’s big and full and I’m simply grateful for it. 

But like I said, my life wasn’t always like this, and I still relate to the pain, anxiety, and shame that I experienced on a daily basis prior to my sobriety. Although our stories may be different, I believe what we can relate to are the feelings we experience during active addiction and struggle with mental health. I relate to despair, hopelessness, and fear. I also relate to the recklessness and the damage caused by drug addiction.

In early 2016, during the scariest part of my life, I made the decision to get some help. Pausing life for the time being seemed like the appropriate response, as the madness and chaos swirled inside me, and outside of me. The messes that I created, fueled by my desire to just feel ok constantly piled up. Aside from already feeling isolated in the world, I continued to hurt anyone that loved and cared for me. 

Did I necessarily want to get sober? The short answer is no. Looking at sobriety from the outside in seemed like a bleak and nonsensical way anyone can choose to live. While I was addicted to the substances I was ingesting, I also was addicted to the way I lived. My lifestyle was always fast and the drugs that I abused along the way were simply a solution to the feelings I described before. Of course, I didn’t want to give up that lifestyle, and more importantly, I didn’t know how. 

In April 2016, I found myself in the foreign land of Malibu, California. In hindsight, not a bad place to be lost in. I checked myself into Alo House Recovery Center, a dual diagnosis treatment facility that was recommended by a friend who got sober there. Not knowing anything about the world of treatment and in the broken state I was in, I said yes to what was offered. Now I’m not exactly sure why I said yes on that day at that time, but I did. Some would say I finally hit ‘rock bottom’ and others may say I was ‘struck by ‘God’s grace’. Either one of those are fine. I don’t question it too much.

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At Alo House I was greeted by Chris, who appeared slightly older than me, wearing a t-shirt with tattoos covering his arms, introducing himself to me as my new therapist. While I was also wearing a t-shirt with tattoos on my arms, the difference between Chris and I was that he undeniably had his shit together. We sat and we talked for a while upon my arrival. I remember our first conversation, which I assume was business as usual for him. I’m not sure why it was comforting that Chris wasn’t some suit and tie kind of guy, but he was easy to talk to. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I can’t imagine not having a glass of champagne on my wedding day.

Chris: Oh, you’re getting married?

Me: No, I’m not getting married, I’m just…

Chris: (Quickly cutting me off) Oh, you have a fiance?

Me: No, no I don’t.

Chris: Oh, you have a girlfriend?

Me: Well, no.

Chris: (Long pause, allowing me to look at my delusional thinking) Right. 

To this day that was one of the most impactful conversations I’ve had with anyone. 

What started off as a casual conversation, turned personal real quick. For the first time in my life I began cracking in the best way possible. I started opening up and connecting. I started building relationships, participating, and strangely enjoying life. I felt a lot. I vividly remember watching movies or listening to music, and whenever a tiny emotional nerve was struck, every hair on my body stood up simultaneously. I would step outside and remember what the world smelt like. Everything was coming back, quickly. 

As time went on, I began to build my life up. Although a lot of work had to be done since that first conversation with Chris, I started the journey of freeing myself from myself. I’ve experienced some incredible moments along the way. I’ve traveled the world, I built a company with some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met, I finally got that girlfriend that Chris was asking about (the same girl I lost prior to getting sober), I became close with my family, and made a group of friends that truly care about me. Was this more than I thought that I could possibly attain? Definitely. 

For anyone that’s thinking about making the hardest decision in their life- is it worth it? Absolutely. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 to see where my life is at now.