Written by Katherine Squires, Director of Operations
Have you been thinking about starting a business or working with a friend? Take my advice…
Flashback to the early 80’s. Spring time. I was 9ish. I was raised that everyone helped on the farm. At that age, I was pulling weeds, mothering the spring kittens, and running food to my dad in the field when he was planting.
This particular year, my father was very busy with work and needed help. He had hired a local guy to help with the planting and it was my job to take him his lunch. It was probably a sandwich, fruit, chips and water. Nothing fancy, but ever so important to keep him going throughout the day. I took off with the basket and headed toward the sound of the tractor. As I approached, he slowed the tractor and gave me a wave. I stopped and waited for him to turn off the tractor. Now, I need to say, that I was always tall for my age, but as this man stood up and stepped off the tractor, I thought I had just met the Jolly Green Giant! He towered over me and had the biggest smile. My eyes must have been popping out of my head. I gave him his lunch and turned to go back to the house. I’m not sure exactly what he said, but it was something to the effect that he had a daughter just about my age. We talked for a bit while he ate and I returned to the house once he started the tractor up again.
That little girl has been a friend of mine ever since. This has been a friendship that has withstood the test of time. Middle school and high school, drifting apart in college, coming back together in our mid-20’s. Through the years, it would continue this way. We’d be in touch and then drift apart. No real reason except that we were both busy with our own lives. Random chance would always bring us back together. Making our friendship stronger each and every time.
A few years ago, she had texted me. It was one of those “We should get together” texts. I saw it and got busy doing something else. A few weeks later, it hit me that I hadn’t responded. I grabbed my phone and responded that I was terribly sorry and that yes, we need to get together. Her reply “Can’t right now. Work is crazy. Need to hire 2 ppl”. Well, I was in the market for a new job, knew that she worked in the financial field and also knew that there was absolutely nothing I could offer except a little bit of humor. “I’m looking” was all I said. I’m not even sure she was able to read the entire text before she replied “Dinner tomorrow night? You can work here!” Now, I paused. Had she finally lost her mind? What would someone that has spent 25 years in retail have to offer an advisors office? Reluctantly, I agreed. We met and she showed me the job that she knew I would be perfect for. I found myself getting excited. We talked well into the night. About how it would be to work together, family, friends, memories. Just like in the past. Picking up right where we left off. At the end of the night, she asked if I’d want to meet with the owner. Scott and I met later that week and I was offered the job shortly after.
Kate was that little girl all those years ago. Our parents were friends. We played together. We grew together. Shared names together (Katie, Kate and Kiddo mostly). Played in the band together. I even climbed into her mom’s car one night after band because our mothers drove the same model car (same color too).
We’ve had our bumps along the way, but all in all, we know each other’s history. We celebrate each other’s victories and are there for the other in times of defeat. We can look at each other in a meeting and know that we are probably thinking the same thing. Having that history helps each of us in understanding the others thoughts and ideas. We have healthy conversation that have our core values at the root. We’ve taught each other (mainly her teaching me, but I like to think that I’ve taught her a thing or 2). We have managed to take this lifelong friendship and make it work in the office. Sure, we laugh and chat about personal stuff, but that’s healthy in any office. Our personal stuff just spans 35ish years. We work well together.
We were trying to remember the other day when we first met. Honestly, I don’t recall the exact day. I just know that she’s made appearances in most of the chapters in my life. Leaving work one night last week, she said “We’re in this together.” Yes, we are. We’re part of a great team that has a great vision.
Are you still thinking of working with a friend? Do it! If you’re smart and set some ground rules, you’ll be glad you did! Reflect back on those that have always been there for you. They may just turn out to be one of the best co-workers/business partners you’ve ever had.
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