From Bartender to Business Partner

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What to expect when you’re expecting a business partnership. Hint: Check your relationship inventory.


When people love what they do, it’s easy to skip the formalities of starting a business. The featured restaurant owner in Episode 6 of How’s Work? with Esther Perel wants to do things differently after 12 years of scout’s honor.

In From Bartender to Business Partner, she’s launching a taqueria business with her barista/manager, and the fuzzy terms she had with past partners are habits to toss. Time to carve out clear terms of responsibility and equity as the employer-employee relationship graduates to an even partnership. With Esther’s probing, we uncover how expectations in the workplace draw on relationships we’ve had before. The personal, the professional and the messy in-between.


What to listen for in this episode of How’s Work? with Esther Perel:

  • Only someone who’s been ditched by unreliable partners could be so ready for work “prenups.” Only someone who feels pressure to prove their commitment would be hazy on the need to be clear.
  • Attentiveness -- a communications skill that can be learned, like a foreign language.
  • Abandonment smarts. Ways to heal: Grow from the freedom and self-determination that come with.
  • Who deserves what when kin become colleagues? Former entitlements die hard.
  • Disagreeing with a partner is tough. Ten times tougher: when that partner is a relative. A hundred times tougher: when that relative reopens earlier family-inflicted wounds.
  • What allows one worker to up stakes and leave, and what compels another to keep a business afloat? How do gender, culture, age, ethnicity or power hierarchies play a role?
  • In a cross-cultural partnership, the intersections of each party’s background impact the complementary relationship, from how roles are divided to how others perceive them.  
  • To be married to a career often means there are only leftovers for home.
  • Work boundaries–even in cultures that protect them, they can get trampled due to caring work relationships.
  • Early abandonment, cultural taboo against bragging, lingering shame--How does our relational legacy affect our ability to recognize a co-worker’s achievements?

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