My husband, who is in sales, recently started working out of our home due to downsizing at his company. We’ve rearranged furniture to create an office space in a corner of the family room. It’s not ideal but is the only viable option for now. Here’s my dilemma: He’s earned lots of trophies, commendations and awards, and he wants to exhibit them all. I understand how they lend credibility when displayed at work, but this is a home office. We’re already squeezing in file cabinets and other office necessities, making the room feel disjointed. These plaques and certificates just create more clutter. I’ve hinted to him that we should store them in a box for safekeeping, but he insists on displaying them. What can I do?
– Non-Trophy Wife
Dear Non-Trophy Wife,
Wow, I can appreciate that having a home office has certainly changed the game for you. If you speak your truth, you might say, “I’m aware these awards and trophies mean a lot to you, as you worked hard to earn them. Given we don’t have a separate room for you to set up, would you be willing to store them elsewhere for now? Visually, I feel the room is already busy-looking and would prefer it be more streamlined. How do you feel about that?”
However, as these items highlight past achievements and successes, they may represent something bigger than you realize. They may be where he gets that motivation to make yet another cold call or implement a new sales-tracking program. Realize, too, that he may need these accolades on display even more so in the home office, as he no longer gets the regular feedback he did at his former office.
Considering he’s a major contributor to your family, I recommend you let him have the space he needs that enables him to be successful at his job. You might think, “Yeah, that’s easy for you to say, Colette. You don’t have to look at it.” I want you to know that I had to live with a rusty pickup truck that didn’t run yet remained in my driveway for over a decade. There were days I wanted to bomb it, pay someone to “steal” it or have it declared a toxic waste site so a haz-mat team could clear it out. But it had belonged to my now ex-husband prior to our marriage, and even though I spoke my truth many times, he had an emotional connection to that truck that required it remain.
Always ask for what you want in life. If that doesn’t work in this circumstance, it’s time for acceptance.