Having a partner is quite unusal in the world of work. But it's great. You've always got someone to talk to at parties. You have someone to bounce ideas around with. And as someone without a partner told me yesterday, it stops the voices.
Creative partnerships are vitally important, so I'm going to spread the topic over three weeks - Finding The Right Partner, How To Work Well With Your Partner, and Breaking Up With Your Partner.
For once, this week's subject is one I'm mildly qualified to talk about. Nick and I have been together for ten years. Most of them miserable of course, but nevertheless, it's lasted.
It's often said that a creative partnership is like a marriage. And it is. Except you'll probably see more of your partner than you do of your spouse. And you don't have sex with them. Or you shouldn't, anyway.
So you have to make sure it's the right person.
Here's a checklist to help you choose.
1. Trust your instincts. Don't 'talk yourself into' a partnership. If it doesn't feel right, it isn't.
2. Don't team up with someone just because they're already in a job or a placement, or have more experience than you so they "must be good". Judge the person not their situation because the situation will change, the person won't.
3. Don't leap straight into a partnership. If possible, do a trial run first. Work together for a week or two and see how it goes.
4. Don't be embarrassed to check them out. Google them. Talk to people who know them. Are they a psycho? Avoid them.
5. Look under every stone. If you're looking for a partner, tell everyone you know. Maybe they know someone. Speak to all the headhunters too.
6. You MUST MUST MUST find someone who thinks a bit different to you. No point having two people who think the same way. If that is the case, why have two?
7. On the other hand, you MUST find somebody you have quite a bit in common with. If you are a 36 year-old male from Manchester, and your partner is a 21 year old female from Moscow, then you are going to have big problems. You are going to say "we could art direct it in the style of the Clangers" and she is going to say "what is this Clangers?"
8. It helps if you find them a bit funny. Whether you laugh with them or at them doesn't matter. As long as there's some humour there.
9. Find someone as committed as you are. In other words, if you want to work Christmas Day, find someone else who wants to work Christmas Day. And if you are lazy, find a partner who is equally lazy. A mismatch here and you are in trouble. How did Tom Carty meet Walter Campbell? They were constantly running into each other in their creative department's kitchen, making coffee at 10.30pm. Everyone else had gone home. Including their respective partners.
10. Find someone you find interesting. You are going to have to sit opposite them for upwards of 9 hours a day. You are going to have to take aeroplanes with them, sit in edit suites and soulless conference rooms with them. Pick someone who says something interesting now and again.
Oh, and you've got to rate their work.