Nora Ephron was Right

“Never Marry Someone You Wouldn’t Want to Be Divorced From.”

Nora Ephron was right. Damn right. The screenwriter of enormous hit films like You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally, you know a Nora Ephron film when you’re watching it. No other writer can emulate Ephron’s disarming, warm, and relatable exploration of modern day relationships through dry humor and sharp wit. Who can forget Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby arguing about the wagon wheel coffee table and Billy Crystal’s uncanny explanation about how the table is just a metaphor for the underlying issues in the land of coupledom?

A few years ago, I read Ephron’s book I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. It is filled with insights and reflections on the trials and tribulations facing midlife women in modern day America (#thestruggleisreal) There are many ah-ha moments in this book; too many to mention. However, there was one observation that hit me over the head when I read it – sage advice I have dispensed frequently since:

“Never Marry Someone You Wouldn’t Want to Be Divorced From.”

Having experienced divorce, and now happily remarried (#blessed) no words ever rang truer to me. But what does it mean? Well, to me it means appreciate the good times, but pay attention to the difficult times. If there’s no quibbling about whose fault it was, no arguing about where the problem lied, no squabbling about who should fix it and the only question is “how I can help?”, then it’s likely you won’t be preparing interrogatories for court anytime soon. And if in the unfortunate event that you are, full-on warfare will likely be avoided.

Recently, during a weekly RTA Leaders Meeting, where our managers discuss what’s going on in each other’s departments, the head of customer support raised an issue that a Control Engineer was having with the gateway “locking up.” A couple of troubleshooting conference calls later, he and our Lead Engineer concluded that the issue was with the client’s software stack and not our gateway. Still, the client was exhausted and exasperated. With his factory line down, he needed help and needed it fast!

When learning of the situation, our COO said: “we do right by our customers, and a customer needs help. Figure out how soon you can get there.” The next morning, RTA’s Customer Support manager and two RTA engineers got in the car at 5 am and drove down to the client’s location 3 hours away to be there at 8 am when the Control Engineer arrived for work that day.

Nora’s quote popped into my head.

A business partnership is a lot like a marriage when you think about it. You examine the product (online dating), do Nor your due diligence (relationship), place the order (engagement), install the product (marriage), and pray. When (not if) problems arise, wouldn’t you rather be supported by your committed partner; working together to figure out a solution, a compromise, a plan…rather than quibbling, arguing, and squabbling?

Everyone goes into a partnership hoping for the best, but few prepare for the worst. I am new to RTA, but not new to the workforce; and I can tell you in my 25+ year career I’ve never seen a team spring into action that fast. That’s the partner you want on your side – one that loves the good times and is fully prepared and capable in the challenging times. That’s just the RTA way.