So back in June, I found myself a job - it's not technically full-time, permanent employment, and it's not really lawyer work, but it's a job and I like it and things have been much better with both of us working, for about a million reasons. But there is one thing that is kind of frustrating about working, which is that things happen. They happen at the end of the day when we are desperately trying to get something in the mail, or ready to be filed, or signed, or faxed.
For the past four years, my husband has been working at a job at which things frequently happen that keep him after work. He gets home anytime between 5pm and 2:30am. (That only happened the once though.) I used to get really annoyed when I would have dinner ready at 6pm and he wouldn't get home for another half hour, or when I asked him when he was coming home and he said, "eventually." But, sometime in the past four years, I realized that I really shouldn't give him a hard time about coming home late, because usually he can't help it, and unless we have something we are trying to go to, it doesn't really cause that much disruption in our lives. (I did start a rule that if he wasn't home by 6, I was allowed to eat without him, since I liked to eat and then do homework. Since I'm not in school anymore, I no longer have this rule.)
When I started working, I got the same treatment. Mark is generally understanding that sometimes I get caught at work, with the only exceptions being when we have some place we need to go, like a flight to catch or a dinner party or something, which we have previously discussed and previously agreed to be home by a certain time for. I strive to do the same, although I think we can both admit it's a little frustrating when the inevitable happens and the other person gets stuck at work, even though we discussed this.
This has also fostered a general attitude of "rolling with the punches" when it comes to job stuff. When my husband tells me he has to go out of town, I roll with it, even if it means cancelling plans we already had. When I have a work event or networking function come up at the last minute, he makes dinner and doesn't complain. I feel like this general approach creates a supportive environment for us when it comes to our careers, which is nice, and it fosters a general spirit of reciprocity which we are trying to apply to other aspects of our relationship as well.
How do you and your spouse navigate working late? Do you work generally the same hours, or does one of you usually work later than the other? Do you have things where even though they sorta bug you, you just let them go and your spouse does the same?