should I cut my new business partner loose?

A reader writes:

I (F40s) recently added a business partner, Ivy (F30s), to my consulting business (I remain majority owner). I’m in a niche technical field and I was recently offered a role researching aspects of my field with an academic institution. The post is overseas up to 70% of my time, but private consulting work isn’t a conflict of interest. I invited a partner on board to share the load and keep the business going. Ivy’s background is general studies for the field, but she seemed eager to learn.

It’s not going great. She’s passive and acts like an employee, and not a great one, either. I’m not sure she understood the expectations for a full partner. Examples:

1. Ivy needs to learn specialized software but didn’t schedule training with me or seek training elsewhere (much of it free, online). She can’t run any data analysis. This primarily what we do. She knew this coming in.

2) I handed off readings on the field. She hasn’t read any of it. This means that she can’t interpret data analyses, either.

3) I’m still project managing everything. Work comes in but she does nothing with client materials unless I direct her to it very specifically.

4) She does not make contact until late in the day (think, after lunch) in her time zone. She’s not responding to client emails in a timely manner and I have to handle them as best I can. Clients are noticing. Not in a good way.

5) I’ve had her edit reports to give her billable hours. She’s overbilling those hours, by at least double the standard.

Now, she’s now dropped the ball on two projects in a row. I’ve had to spend entire weekends managing reporting and task delegation because Ivy just … disappeared. After the first project went sideways, I calmly pointed out the problems and asked her for solutions. I also hired someone part time to cover gaps in technical work, though she seems to resent this despite having taken no initiative on training.

When the second project came in, I sent exactly what she requested for assistance. She still did not hand off deliverables to the client on time, pretended in an email conversation that she sent them despite not having done so, then tried to blame our part timer (who tackled everything they were supposed to handle) when I called it out. That raised a major red flag to me.

I sent Ivy a kind email outlining my concerns and asking again for solutions. I also sent a training package I wrote for the software and assembled some additional time management tools for her. She responded only to say she did the training. She didn’t respond when I asked her how it went and she’s gone radio silent. Her behavior is consistent with shame-spiral, and while I hate it for her, I’m not a therapist.

I’m out of ideas and tearing my hair out. Every time something has gone poorly, I’ve spoken up. I’ve also confirmed with a trusted colleague that my communications are kind and productive. Should I cut my losses? Am I missing something here? I’m talking with my attorney but I’d love some feedback.

I think you need to cut her loose, I’m sorry.

Ivy might thrive in a job where she had a lot of support, but you’ve hired her to be your partner, not a trainee or a junior. She’s not taking any initiative to get up to speed, even after clear directions on what she should be reading/practicing, she needs a huge amount of guidance and oversight (and doesn’t function at a high level even when she gets it), she’s inaccessible and unresponsive to you and to clients, and she lied about doing something for a client that she hadn’t done. Any of those on their own would be a major concern; taken together, they’re incredibly damning. I don’t see how you can keep her on.

The one thing you could try, if you haven’t already, is to have a very clear and honest conversation where you lay out the problems you see and exactly what you’d need to see differently from Ivy in order to make this work. If you’ve previously softened the message at all, it could be worth one final, very clear attempt … but frankly, with everything you’ve described, it’s really unlikely to produce the kinds of sustained changes you need. Small improvements aren’t going to be enough here — you’d need her to completely overhaul everything about how she works. That’s probably not realistic. (It also doesn’t sound like she’s open to having that conversation, so it might not be possible even if you were willing to try it.)

This almost certainly just isn’t the right role for her right now.

I do find myself curious about how you came to hire Ivy — how thoroughly you vetted her and how rigorously you probed into her skills and work habits and past achievements, and whether you relied on things like conversational chemistry or liking her personally rather than on a more intensive investigation of her work. It’s really common for entrepreneurs who are used to working on their own to hire people who don’t have the right skills yet but who seem eager to learn (often because that reminds them of themselves when they were starting out, and that combination worked for them) … and sometimes that model works, but a lot of the time it doesn’t. If you’re going to try this again, I’d look at people who already have the skills and knowledge you need — and a track record you can look at, too.

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{ 116 comments… read them below }

  1. Dust Bunny*

    Yeah, cut her loose. Shame spiral or not, she’s not doing any of the things she needs to do to actually participate in this endeavor, never mind co-lead it.

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      I agree. The LW really says nothing good about Ivy’s performance. Ivy is hurting the consulting business’s reputation already.

      Some of us are just employees happy to be in middle magement because it suits us. It’s unfortunate Ivy didn’t recognize this before accecpting the job. I would make it very clear when you look for a new partner that they need to be able to work idependently, unsupervised, and manage themselves and their work. And if the person you are considering doesn’t have the niche experience vet them really well that they will be able to learn and work independently.

      1. Dances with Light*

        It sounds as if the LW will need to ensure that their future partner already has at least 90% of the skills that are essential to that job – skills that Ivy doesn’t have and isn’t even trying to learn. Ivy was in way over her head before she started – in fact, the LW doesn’t list ANY skills that Ivy DOES have that are necessary for her role! This was on both the LW and on Ivy: the LW should have made the job requirements very clear and Ivy should have recognized that she didn’t meet those qualifications and been honest with both herself and with the LW.

        At this point, Ivy is a “net negative” for the LW: she’s literally causing more work for others and more problems for everyone than she’s worth to the company. And she clearly isn’t happy, either – you don’t go into a shame spiral because you’re doing so well! Cutting Ivy loose would be the best thing that the LW could do for both her own company and for Ivy herself.

        1. Addison DeWitt*

          “At this point, Ivy is a “net negative” for the LW”

          Exactly. A parent should be a 1+1=3 situation– they should be bringing something more than just labor to the partnership, something the LW alone could not achieve. Ivy doesn’t even seem to be contributing on a 1+1=2 level, since LW has to bail her out when she drops the ball.

          It’s not working out. Call it a day.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            Yes. The goal here was for you to have a partner. Ivy is clearly not a partner. Neither of you anticipated it going into this, but it’s become clear that this is the case. You need to sit her down, thank her for trying, and say that she’s not in a position to help you and you need to let her go. Hopefully in 10 years she’ll be telling the story of a time she took a job where she realized she was in WAY over her head but was too ashamed to say anything, and the owner kindly but firmly told her that and fired her.

      2. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. This is not the kind of job that suits her and she’s a detriment to the company. I also agree with the thought that LW needs someone more on their own level vs someone to train up. Time to move on before Ivy completely tanks the company.

    2. Always a Corncob*

      Agreed. She’s circling the drain on this job, and she’s taking LW’s business (and reputation) with her. Cut her loose before she does any more damage!

    3. Dust Bunny*

      And I have a lot of personal experience with shame spirals, trust me, but the LW isn’t a therapist and this isn’t the situation in which to address it, and it sounds like it’s spiraling *everything*, not just some of the aspects of the job. Like, Ivy is completely avoiding anything that has to do with the work. If the LW doesn’t let her go the whole thing will go down.

  2. Capt. Liam Shaw*

    Is Ivy being paid every two weeks or once a month or etc? Or is she getting paid after a job is completed? My first thought is, could Ivy be working a second job and treating your partnership as a side hustle/second job?

    I definitely agree with you LW that Ivy is thinking like an employee vs a partner. I think you need to cut her loose too.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I think that’s entirely likely, but it’s not a reason/excuse to neglect the work entirely, which pretty much guarantees it will never get off the ground.

      1. Meep*

        100% agree, but it is interesting OP expects Ivy to do 70% of the work and has less than 50% of the stake. Ivy is definitely a mismatch, but OP is also being unreasonable in their expectations in a different way.

        1. Two Dog Night*

          I’m not sure we can assume that OP expects Ivy to do 70% of the work. Just because OP is overseas 70% of the time doesn’t mean she’s not doing her share. And it sounds like she’s still doing pretty much 100% regardless.

        2. Hannah Lee*

          Not necessarily.

          A businesses majority owner may bear more responsibility for LT strategy, building the businesses brand, overseeing major clients. They may also have contributed capital at start up.

          They could have hired Ivy for a certain salary to do the exact same thing and offered zero stake in the business and Ivy would still would not be a good fit for the role because.

          And it doesn’t seem any of Ivy’s performance issues are related to her perceiving that she’s not receiving the agreed to compensation or fair compensation for what she’s doing.

        3. Cmdrshpard*

          I don’t know if that is actually the case. Not all work is worth the same, even assuming Ivy was great and doing what they were supposed to be doing. The 70% of the work Ivy was doing could important but lower level. It seemed like Ivy was inexperienced and did not bring 50% of value to the business the way a 50/50 partner should/would. Did Ivy bring in any clients with them?

          The 30% work OP was doing could be higher level, bringing in clients (rain maker), negotiating contracts etc…. The business was built on OP’s reputation, OP put processes in place, Ivy has done none of that so expecting a 50/50 split would be unreasonable. I also wonder if Ivy bought into the business at all, or was given an equity stake just for joining.

          We know OP is majority owner but don’t know the actual split, so it could be 80/20, 70/30, or 51/49.

        4. Nela*

          OP spending 70% of her time in a different engagement doesn’t mean Ivy is expected to do 70% of work in the business. OP is more capable and efficient, so even in her leftover time in the business, she’s still running circles around Ivy.

        5. Dust Bunny*

          Well, no-it sounds like a lot of this could be done remotely. And even if the 70/50 is the case, perhaps Ivy’s pay relative to the OP’s reflects that.

        6. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          This idea goes wrong in a couple ways. First, people should be compensated for their work in money, not in ownership. LW is the reason the work is coming in at all. Second, data analysis is not all of the work that is needed to be done–there is marketing, managing, accounting, invoicing, rainmaking, etc. Also, LW mentions the time she spends on the other thing, but Ivy works much more slowly than she does.

        7. Saberise*

          She didn’t say that at all. She said she’s overseas 70% of the time. It’s not a bakery where that means that the person left behind has to pick up the slack on physical work. It sounds like the majority of the work is behind a desk. As we have learned over the last 3 years that can be done from anywhere.

        8. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          She hired the other person (presumably as an employee) to care of technical stuff too. And she’s been picking up a lot of slack for two projects where Ivy dropped the ball, so I’m not sure about how much she is contributing, but it’s more than Ivy from the sound of it.

          OP, this is why you don’t just get someone and make them your partner. You start them off as an employee and if they turn out to be stellar you make them a partner when it’s just not feasible to keep on giving pay rises.

          This is what happened with my life partner: he was hired as a freelancer to do some tech stuff for a company. They liked him a lot and offered him a job. The tech stuff wouldn’t keep him busy full time so they said they’d give him other duties too. He knew nothing of their line of business, so it was a steep learning curve, but he stuck it out and picked it all up and a couple of years later he was made a junior partner.

  3. TootsNYC*

    Ivy’s background is general studies for the field, but she seemed eager to learn.

    This was clearly the mistake. When you are recruiting a partner, you need someone who doesn’t need to learn. Expand, perhaps. But not someone who needs to learn.

    And especially when the reason you’re expanding into a partnership is that you are going to be very busy and need someone to completely take over certain tasks.

    Recruiting a partner who does not yet have the training in the software you need is deeply unwise. People can learn software, but for a partner who needs to act independently, it seems basic that they should be comfortable in the basic tools you use to do the job.

    This sounds like Ivy’s first job, from that description.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Agreed. A lot of people are “eager to learn” in order to get the job, but once they realize what the job entails and find out it’s not for them, that learning just doesn’t happen. And as a result, the work doesn’t happen either.

      It would be different if Ivy had had at least some of the skills and knowledge required, but it sounds like she didn’t have enough to get started.

      Cutting her loose will probably be a relief for both of them.

      1. My Useless 2 Cents*

        Also, a lot of people are “eager to learn” but don’t have experience with the self-directed learning experience OP was expecting. It’s not that the job isn’t for them but that they don’t know what questions to ask or what to concentrate on first.

        I work with a couple of people who are incredibly smart and knowledgeable but are horrible at training. They’ve been doing the work for so long that they just don’t remember that not everyone knows that very simple “basic” info that seems like second nature. When 90% of the population realistically don’t know that “basic” info. (Ex for long time AAM readers: How do you not know what “Cheap ass rolls” mean?)

    2. Former academic*

      Agreed. I’m a research scientist and the idea of hiring someone who can’t do the analysis or interpret the analysis for a senior-level job involving analysis and interpretation seemed…. surprising. There are a LOT of academics looking for industry roles right now, I am confident that if you posted to a professional society job board you’d have a number of highly qualified applicants!

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Definitely go with an experienced person!

        With our manager’s approval, I tried to take on a coworker on a part time assignment since they expressed interest in my field. Coworker had some relevant course work, claimed to have done research before, and was the definition of “eager to learn” so I gave them a softball assignment that wasn’t critical but would help me out. I held weekly meetings and gave them pretty explicit coaching on how to do the assignment, and they always seemed like they got it. But, after four months they had only done the bare minimum (the step I described in week 1) and their results were unusable. They could not recognize this at all, so I called off the assignment and we all moved on.

        To put it in perspective, someone with experience in the field could have knocked out the same assignment in 10-12 hours (and the week 1 step in an hour or two), and provided me with actually useful output.

      2. Dessert First*

        Yeah, these aren’t things that are typically self-taught in a short amount of time.

        If the person in this role needs to be working independently, she absolutely needs to come in with a lot of experience.

    3. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I agree. OP if you search for another partner, try to find someone who is more developed. Ideally, look for someone who has complimentary skills to your own so they can strengthen your practice over time.

    4. Sandi*

      I think it depends on the person’s background for some of this. I often need to learn new software, but I also have a track record of doing a lot of data analysis and learning new software so it wouldn’t bother me that I had no experience in one particular type. I think people can act independently if they don’t know the software provided they are comfortable with data analysis and learning quickly.

      It bothers me a lot more that Ivy is expected to do data analysis and doesn’t seem to have any enthusiasm for any part of it. Doesn’t want to do any reading and doesn’t want to learn the software. If she doesn’t have any interest in the biggest part of her job then she is causing more work than she’s helping with. If she is taking double the time to do the work that she’s willing to do then it sounds like she’s not good at the parts she’s tried.

      But these pale in comparison to the lies! I don’t think this is redeemable at all.

      I think OP would be doing Ivy a favor by cutting her loose. I can’t imagine that she’s happy with any of this either. Don’t drag it out by trying to fix it.

    5. High Score!*

      I’ve entered several jobs with just the basics. I’m a fast learner. BUT, is you’re hiring someone “eager to learn”, they need the basics, they actually need to learn (contact to hire positions are best for this), and don’t hire an eager to learn employee if you are looking for a discount. It always takes longer to learn than you think and it’s a long term investment not a cheaper way to get the same tasks accomplished.

    6. ferrina*

      Agree. Why did OP take Ivy as a partner, instead of as a contractor or employee? What is it that Ivy brought to the table? Cuz it sounds like she was untrained and hasn’t demonstrated any particular skill in this field

      1. Nela*

        Sounds to me like perhaps OP wanted to avoid the cost of paying someone a salary, so she offered equity + profit sharing instead?
        I can’t imagine offering a partnership in my own consulting business to someone I haven’t worked closely in the past. I’d have to know for sure they’re a perfect match for the job. You can’t risk your reputation (and equity) like that.
        A contractor position with payment based on projects/milestones is a good way to test the waters. This is messy.

        1. Claire*

          I also own my own consulting practice, and was really gobsmacked reading this letter. I actually am about to go into partnership, but we’ve been closely collaborating for several years now. Really can’t imagine even considering taking on a partner who I haven’t worked with closely. I’m super curious to know the OP’s train of thought!

        2. TootsNYC*

          yeah, that didn’t sound like a partnership situation.

          I’m not a contractor, but I’ve contemplated the idea, and there’s a real difference in experience needed in a partner.

    7. My Useless 2 Cents*

      I’m going to take a rosy view of Ivy here and wonder if Ivy took the job expecting a training & mentoring period but instead she was thrown into the ocean and told to swim to shore. It doesn’t excuse the poor communication but could explain the “acts like an employee”.

      I agree that when looking for a partner, you want someone who knows the job and not someone “willing to learn”.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        . . . but then why is she avoiding all the training material? The LW hasn’t asked her to know everything up front–Ivy has been offered assistance, but she hasn’t done it and also hasn’t apparently come to the OP with requests or suggestions for anything that would work better. At some point if you keep failing to advocate for yourself, you lose the privilege of saying you were thrown in the deep end.

        1. My Useless 2 Cents*

          But sometimes you don’t know enough to know what questions to ask. We don’t know that Ivy is avoiding the training material or just overwhelmed by it. Self-directed learning is a skill in itself that a lot of people don’t possess. Even a lot of college educated people.

          (Again, I’m trying to take a very rosy view of Ivy and assuming the very best of intentions.)

          1. AngryOctopus*

            It does sound like this. Ivy seems to have been thrown into the deep end, she’s been trying to use the material as a source to buoy herself up, but she just can’t pick it all up in time.
            My grad school mentor (using that term loosely) wanted me to do my own data analysis on the output from an RNA chip (at the time cutting edge: output is rows and rows of numbers related back to a gene, you can compare changes in treatment/control groups, etc). I had no real interest in learning the bioinformatics background necessary to do a good job with this (which is why people actually major in it, it’s a lot), but I didn’t have a choice. What came out of this was me presenting my data as if I had 8 genes that changed with treatment from non-treatment (spoiler: it’s never just 8 genes. Science would be so much easier if it were), because I had no idea how to sort out the data on my own, I was trying, and I got zero support (not saying OP isn’t giving support in this case, but that Ivy may not understand what support she needs, and she needs more than what she’s got but doesn’t know what else she needs because she doesn’t know what questions to ask). I ended up dropping out of that program. I realized later that my mentor just didn’t want two more authors on any paper that came out of this, and because she had a prior (actual) bioinformatics student, she just thought I should be able to do it. All this to say, LW there is a clear mismatch between what you and Ivy THINK Ivy can do, and what Ivy actually can do. It happens, she may be 100% overwhelmed and lost, and it would actually be really kind of you to sit her down and let her go (she may not necessarily see it as kind now, but she probably will later).

            1. bamcheeks*

              Some people just feel better about a situation if they can see it from the other person’s point of view rather than assuming ill will! And understanding where someone else is coming from and the story they are telling themselves can help figure out how to motivate them to change. In this case, however, it doesn’t change the fact that Ivy is a terrible fit for LW’s needs and isn’t adding anything to the business.

      2. Always a Corncob*

        She blamed a freelancer for her failure to deliver work to a client. I think Ivy has lost the benefit of the doubt. And regardless, the advice to LW is the same — Ivy is not up to the task and LW should go into her next hire/partnership more carefully.

    8. Butterfly Counter*


      OP keeps saying things like, “I needed a partner who could do X, interpret Y, and be up-to-date on Z. Ivy does A and I thought that would be enough…”

      Hire someone who can do the work you want them to do!

    9. The Other Katie*

      I’d go further and state that a micro enterprise is not a good place to hire employees who ‘want to learn’ basic parts of their job. Even a motivated employee will take time to get up to speed, so hiring someone who’s missing big chunks of knowledge they need to do the job is likely to be an expensive mistake.

      1. Lizbot*

        This is exactly right. And especially if you are not only not in the same office but not even in the same country with them.

  4. emailman*

    I think new staff who descend to the blame game or aren’t completely honest about their work outcomes are two deadly sins of new staff onboarding — doubly so if the role is supervisorial.

    I hired someone similar to Ivy here to an explicitly management role. I could handle getting them up to speed on technical skill gaps, but when they started blurring the lines about the work they were doing and *blaming* junior staff (who, in theory, this person should be responsible for) that was the final straw.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Really good point. If you’re managing junior staff, you’ve lost the ’right’ to blame them like you can blame a coworker.

      You are responsible for getting your staff up to speed (training, growing, talent managing) or progressively disciplining them if they can’t get there, so if they’re failing it’s your ‘fault’ (and on the occasions it’s not your fault, it’s still definitely your responsibility).

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        Thank you for confirming some of my thoughts. In my very part time position, I had accepted a higher role for the last time I was needed. It turned out that some of the workers, whom I had thought had been trained, were not as up to speed as I would have hoped, so I spent more time counting their items rather than on this other close down (which the manager had under full, competent control.) I was told that I shouldn’t have been doing that, but since I had to deliver both sets accurately that night, I made sure that everything balanced.

        Will there be a next time? I don’t know, but I have requested that I not work under the same manager next time. Will I do things differently next time, yes, knowing also that next time, some of the potential issues won’t be there.

    2. Mockingjay*

      As soon as I read that Ivy lied to the client about deliverables, I was: Nope, she should have been gone yesterday. OP, that’s a serious dealbreaker.

  5. Bagpuss*

    Yes, I think she needs to be cut loose – I presume that as 75% owner OP is able to do that relatively easily. OP, would taking someone on as a salaried partner be an option? It lets them have the status of a partner while remaining an employee, and you can then transition them to full partnership once you have worked together for a while and are satisfied that they are suitable, and they of course also get the change to see if they are comfortable becoming a full partner.

    (I’m a partner in a small business run as a partnership, and this is how we do it, although mostly, our salaried partners are recruited from existing employees so we generally know their strengths and weaknesses in that context, and salaried partnership helps us, and them, to see whether they are a good fit as partners. )

  6. CityMouse*

    I guess I’m wondering why LW even feels the need to write to Alison about this. Of course you should cut her loose. You brought her in to lessen your load and she’s doing the opposite of that, hurting your business and refusing to do anything to change that. You’re going to need to be firmer and protect your consulting business more firmly of you want it to survive.

    1. Clara*

      Firing / cutting someone out of your business is a big deal, I think it’s a good thing OP isn’t taking it lightly! But yeah, Ivy really doesn’t sound like she’s up for the job.

    2. The New Wanderer*

      I think it’s more about the OP looking for any reasons to keep Ivy despite all the evidence that Ivy is a terrible employee. If OP has already made big assumptions like “shame-spiral behavior,” it’s a way to excuse Ivy’s performance and shield them both from dealing with a tough situation.

      However, if OP wants to be a successful business owner, they need to be able to deal with the facts appropriately. Ivy is failing big-time and it doesn’t matter why, this is not the right role for her and she needs to go.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        This. At a certain point, you have to admit that the person isn’t right for the job you currently need someone for, and they have to go. It sucks to reflect on how you came to hire someone so wrong for the job, but nobody’s perfect, mistakes happen, and LW you and Ivy are both going to feel a lot better about this after you let her go.

    3. Cthulhu's Librarian*

      Based on some of the wording, I’m guessing the OP stands to take a pretty significant financial hit when they cut Ivy loose. Ivy owns part of the business, and usually getting rid of a partner means you need to by their ownership stake out. Depending on the terms of the partnership, how long Ivy has been in the role, and the OPs personal liquidity, as well as the businesses current conditions, they may need to borrow funds and/or put together financing to do it – which can be hard to impossible to do in the best of times, let alone from overseas. Based on the OP bringing in a functional novice they’d never worked with as an owning partner, I’m assuming these may not be the best of circumstances – that’s a move that suggests there was a pressing need for capital when it was undertaken.

      And that’s assuming the partnership agreement is drafted well – if it’s poorly drafted, there are potential legal costs and headaches.

      None of which changes the advice – Ivy has to be cut out, because she compromises the health of the business.

      1. CityMouse*

        Why on earth did LW offer an ownership stake to someone with no relevant experience? if they did, that was their first HUGE mistake here.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Yes, it’s so obvious: you offer the possibility of a partnership as a carrot to your new hire, who will either go all out above and beyond to become a partner, or won’t. You don’t just make an unknown entity your partner and hope for the best, especially if this person doesn’t have any solid experience and knowledge of the field.

    4. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

      This was my question as well. LW seems new to management (as well as to understanding the role of a partner vs an employee), and might do well to get some general training on management and partnership.

    5. bamcheeks*

      I think this is the difference between partner and employee. This is a pretty clear cut case for firing. But you can’t fire a partner. LW presumably had a contract with Ivy, and whilst there is hopefully a clause which allows them to break the contract, there may well be a financial penalty or other reasons why you can’t make that decisions lightly. So LW is looking to see if there are any other possibilities that they’ve not thought of.

  7. Delta Delta*

    I wonder what Ivy brings to the table? And also, if she’s a partial partner, this suggests to me you can’t just “cut her loose” without buying out her equity share. That might be as easy as refunding whatever she paid in, but it also might not, depending on your partnership documents. Just out of curiosity, is this a situation where you needed Ivy because you needed her capital investment? If it’s about money, maybe there’s a way to either pay her back and say goodbye, or keep her on as an investor but not a partner in the sense that she works at/runs the business.

    1. Lynn Whitehat*

      Right. I am really confused why this is being discussed like a normal hire/fire situation. Getting rid of a partner is typically much more involved than that.

  8. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    I’m not sure what has you hung up, OP, but I think it would be useful for you to look into it. She sounds like a terrible partner (and a terrible employee if she was one). This is nothing personal; she just hasn’t demonstrated that she can perform at even the lowest level, or that she’s willing to try to learn. This isn’t someone suited for this role. You’ve hired her an assistant and you’re presumably paying her and then having to fix everything she has (or hasn’t) done and play clean up and damage control. It would be easier to be by yourself.

    Any reasons for this lack of performance stop being relevant after a certain point and I would say you’re well past that point. Plus, whatever the reasons may be, she’s handling dealing with them exceptionally poorly. For example, if it was a medical or family issue, she should tell you and find ways to mitigate it. She’s just not doing things and then lying about them instead.

    I can really empathize with mental health issues or with shame spirals. But like you said, you’re not her therapist, and there’s nothing that says you need to put your business on hold and tank your reputation to help her with her issues (and honestly you would not be actually helping, just enabling). The old adage comes to mind about not setting yourself on fire to keep others warm.

    It isn’t being kind to her to allow her to continue acting this way. It isn’t good for your business. It isn’t good for your clients. It isn’t good for your part timer to see her be able to just get away with this. And it isn’t good for you!

  9. Looper*

    I feel like Ivy is a great example of “I know my resume only includes about 15% of what you’re looking for but if you just give me a chance to interview, you’ll see how motivated I am!” If someone is motivated to break into an industry, they will have already sought out and completed all the free training resources out there before applying to a role like this.

    1. Melissa*

      Boy, that is a good point. “I’m eager to learn but I have made no attempt to do so.” In a situation like this, in which you took a risk on someone and brought them in as a partner, I would expect her to be REALLY trying to get up to speed quickly (as in, even before the start date; watching youtube videos or whatever to try to understand the work).

  10. Cat Tree*

    This is really timely, because I just recently fired an “Ivy”, although his role was much lower stakes. He did very little work and needed so much hand-holding even for simple things. He also lied and tried two other coworkers (both very high performers) under the bus. That’s when I stopped feeling guilty about it.

    Ivy has been bad enough at her job to warrant firing. But of course that isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an easy decision even when the answer is clear. But the lying is a different ballpark and should remove any doubt you have.

  11. learnedthehardway*

    Exiting Ivy is the only solution. I would have a conversation with your clients as well to let them know your decision and to apologize – you’re going to have to do some rebuilding of those relationships.

    Definitely keep your employee – the junior person who is helpful. That person sounds like a treasure.

    I would do a real search for someone qualified. Figure out what it is you need this person to do, and find someone who has all of the requirements. Don’t bring them on as a partner, but as an employee. If you can’t afford a full time employee or don’t know if you’ll have the volume of business to sustain a full time person, look for someone who works freelance and who can do work project by project. That’s a good option for you.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      And if you need a partner, maybe have a work period of “just employee” first to make sure you’re both on the same page. If you want to have the person as a partner as a retention tactic, same thing, you can contract them as an employee for a period of time to make sure it’s going to work for both of you. It’s much easier to say “I’m looking to bring on a partner so let’s have a trial period of X, and at the end we can both evaluate what we want and make sure we’re on the same page”.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Yes, I thought this was a pretty standard way of going about it. It was how my life partner got into his business partnership. The possibility of becoming a partner was the motivation to go above and beyond, and the partnership is offered when giving a pay rise would no longer be feasible.

  12. Hiring Mgr*

    I think besides getting rid of Ivy you need to look at what you will need from a potential partner.

    If you’re going to be spending 70% of your time on a different full time job in another country, you really need someone who knows what they’re doing and can work independently.

    “Eager to learn” is a great trait, but the wrong one to focus on here – it sounds like you’ll need someone with experience in the major aspects of your business

  13. Echo*

    “5) I’ve had her edit reports to give her billable hours. She’s overbilling those hours, by at least double the standard.”

    Another way of phrasing this is “Ivy knowingly falsified reports to embezzle from the company”. I think if you look at it this way it’s easier to understand why you need to let her go.

    1. Claire*

      It sounds like she is actually doing is over-charging clients, not embezzling from the company.

    2. Cmdrshpard*

      Maybe but not necessarily, there are tasks that I can do now (with several years of experience) that used to take me a lot longer, for some tasks double the time may be reasonable time frame.
      Editing certain reports might take OP 1 hour, but for Ivy who is new 2 hours is understandable if she is learning. Editing for certain things like say proper citations can take more time if you have to look up the proper cite method, versus if you have done them so much that you know it off the top of your head and can fix it without looking anything up.

      1. Echo*

        Ahh, I read “edit reports” as Ivy editing the reports OF how many hours she worked and at what rate. OP – if you’re here, can you clarify what you meant?

        1. OP/LW*

          Absolutely. She was billing hours for editing technical reports. The sections she was editing were components that needed checking for typos and some project details. I wouldn’t say the hours she billed were absurdly high, but they’re more than the norm even for entry level for what we do.

          To be 100% clear, I did not argue with her about it and she was paid for what she billed, because I don’t have the capability to know 100% what was going on there. It did raise a flag for me, though.

    3. Antilles*

      I don’t read that as embezzlement but just sheer inexperience/incompetence. As someone in a billable-hour industry, it sounds more like this:
      1.) The standard for editing a Teapot Design report is around 10 hours.
      2.) Ivy has never edited a full Teapot Design report before, so it takes her at least 20+ hours to muddle through – way more than expected.
      3.) OP checks the budget at the end of the week/month and recognizes that it took way longer than expected. Uh oh, now what?

      This happens occasionally in billable hour industries. If you’re very lucky, there’s float room in the budget already to cover such contingencies. If you’re unlucky, you either have to beg the client for more money or the company just eats the overage cost.

    4. Hiring Mgr*

      Maybe…I thought it meant Ivy was so slow at doing the work that it took her twice the normal time

  14. kiki*

    I think it can be hard to fire somebody because it seems like a judgment on their character or their overall abilities as a worker. Ivy might be a decent employee somewhere else. There are a lot of jobs that expect and plan to give extensive training and support, but, LW, you need a proactive partner, not an employee. Ivy isn’t giving you that. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding, and maybe Ivy could eventually grow into this sort of role, but it seems like she’s not able to do that right now.

    Ivy doesn’t have to be a bad person or even a terrible worker for her not to work out in this role. She will probably go forth and find success in her next role, if it’s more of an employee position.

  15. Myrin*

    I know very little about the consulting business but looking at OP’s list of what Ivy doesn’t do, I immediazely started to wonder what she does do. Is there even anything big left she could conceivably contribute?

  16. ChrisZ*

    You might need to look a little deeper into just why you hired Ivy, OP. I mean this in the kindest way… this business is your baby; did you see Ivy as someone you could mold into another You, who could be trained to do exactly what you would do in whatever situation, rather than take on a more knowledgeable partner who might have a different approach or method that you would have to take seriously because this person is a partner? In other words, are you sure you want a partner rather than an employee?

    1. Sara without an H*

      This. OP, you spent a lot of time confirming that your communications with Ivy were “kind and professional.” You’ve also expressed concern that she was in a “shame spiral.” You are being very, very kind, but not in a constructive way.

      I hope Alison and the commentariat have convinced you that you and Ivy have nothing good to offer each other at this point. Once you and your attorney have unwound the partnership, I recommend you sit down and do some careful, introspective thinking. You didn’t hire Ivy, you took her on as a partner in a business you’d carefully built. Why did you think you had to offer a partnership? From your description, it sounds as though what you need is a senior employee, who can work with minimal supervision. Try writing up a job description with that in mind and be very explicit about “must have” skills and credentials. You really, really don’t have time to train a novice, no matter how “eager to learn” they claim to be.

      Somebody upstream mentioned that there are a lot of academics looking to jump ship for an industry position. This is an excellent idea. Lots of academics have skills in data analysis, are used to working independently, and would probably be thrilled with the prospect of a position that was mostly remote.

      1. Raida*

        I wonder if the opportunity LW is working on, overseas, just seemed to be so good they had to do it, and expanded the business poorly to support that?

        I’ve seen mates do this, and the need for 99% of their attention to be elsewhere really leaves the newbies to flounder, when it would be more effective to have an assistant brought on, everything documented, then new staff, then expand. But can you afford the staffing before the expansion, and around and around it goes without an investor…

  17. e.y.w.*

    I think this is a great demonstration of why it can be kinder to cut her loose than keep her on. Ivy is clearly not thriving, and it sounds like she knows that she’s a bad fit. That’s not a fun situation for either of you. By helping her see the issues clearly, and then removing her from the firm, you’re giving her a chance to find a role where she *does* thrive. No one wants to suck at their job every day. If you’re inclined to help her move on, maybe give her some ideas for roles where she’d do well, give her tips on what to look for, and help her understand what she can do differently in her next role. That will do much more for her than keeping her in a place where she’s obviously floundering.

  18. Beth*

    While I agree this isn’t working out, one thing I’m not sure I saw in the comments was anything other than email/written comms with Ivy. Has the LW actually tried talking live with her? With a brand new person being onboarded sometimes the personal touch of live communication is key initially for a while. I think not only selection approach of a partner but also onboarding approach needs to be reconsidered for the future.

    1. OP/LW*

      Great question – and yes, I’ve done emails, texts, and voice calls. We spent a week doing intensive in person on-boarding before I left for overseas when she first came on board, and had voice calls at least once a week after. But to be honest, once things started to go sideways, I switched more to email so she’d have written lists and whatnot in front of her. And yes, a paper trail, also, but I was more concerned that the lack of written workflows was a problem for her.

  19. OP/LW*

    LW here.

    First, thank you to the entire readership here – the input is incredibly useful. I appreciate all the takes here! I’ll update in a moment but I want to respond to some of the questions raised – they’re all good ones.

    I’m really taking to heart the advice to vet carefully in the future. I hired her as a sub-contractor on several jobs last year during which she did great work, but in all candor the stakes were much lower and the work did not require self-direction like this role. I won’t conflate those things again.

    She does have (self-attested) training on Software X we use, and limited experience in Software Y and Z, which was where her learning curve lay for this role. Her academic training did not suggest any glaring gaps, either. I expected she’d be able to springboard off that, but commenters who’ve noted that this doesn’t always work are spot on. Again, I will ask more detailed questions about this sort of thing if there’s a Next Time. I paid for her to obtain additional training for a niche skill a few months back that she will be able to take with her, also, so I didn’t just hand her a bunch of PDFs and tell her good luck.

    Unfortunately, our field is so niche that there’s not a deep bench for hiring. Going forward, I’ll remain the sole owner and very selectively hire employees as work accelerates. I do have a good network of professionals in our field, so I can find people who have a stronger technical background and more experience on executive level work. The best news is that my part timer is already doing a bang-up job of putting out fires and mastering the work. Her training overlaps much, much better with mine and she’s much more self-motivated.

    There was some curiosity about how the ownership was to be split. I retained just over 50%, not 70% – just enough to remain majority partner, and that’s all. The work was to be split to reflect this. Data analysis is a critical component but report writing, client engagement, legal compliance, and other stakeholder interactions get as many billable hours. One partner can take on non-technical tasks while the other focuses on the analytical side, with it remaining a pretty even split in terms of billable work.

    Ivy attested to the non-technical skills with partial technical training and her CV showed sufficient line items indicating, at least on paper, that she could already carry out the non-technical tasks sufficiently to get enough billable hours. I’d have been fine if Ivy had taken on the non-technical side and left me the analytical work because it would have still been viable, but she wasn’t handling anything, from what I could see. Requests to her to handle things like report assembly did not get any traction despite sending increasingly detailed lists, workflows, etc. Just radio silence and blaming others for mistakes and incomplete tasks. When clients began asking me what was going on, I began to become very concerned.

    It’s been frustrating and I hate seeing this happen to her.

    1. SereneScientist*

      Thanks for the extra info, LW! Sounds like you took a chance on Ivy based on a prior, more limited scope of work that went well. Not a totally bad choice all things, but it does carry risk as you’ve found out. Best of luck going forward!

    2. Tasha*

      “It’s been frustrating and I hate seeing this happen to her.”

      OP – from all you’ve said, this sentence should read “…. and it’s a shame to see what she is doing to herself”. None of this is “happening” to her, it is all a result of her own actions.

  20. SereneScientist*

    Seconding Alison’s questions around the hiring and vetting process. LW, it’s clear that Ivy cannot do the job that she was hired for, which is unfortunate, and likely will need to be let go.

    But however you approach bringing on a new partner next time, that process really needs some vigor. That vigor felt conspicuously absent in your letter because I’m struggling to understand how such a massive gap in expectations and skillsets only became obvious after Ivy started the job and was not something you raised clearly upfront. Maybe you did and Ivy assured you she could handle the work. Whatever the case might be, an equitable and independent business partner is not the same thing as an average office employee.

  21. El l*

    It’s clear what to do with Ivy, but of more interest is what to do next time.

    For that, OP, what it sounds like you need to hire is someone who has 5+ years of experience in 1 or both areas:

    Niche Technical Field
    Data Analysis with experience in interpreting data (personal experience, they’re not necessarily the same skill)

    Necessary precondition.

  22. RebPar*

    It’s this part of the response that struck me too: “I do find myself curious about how you came to hire Ivy — how thoroughly you vetted her and how rigorously you probed into her skills and work habits and past achievements, and whether you relied on things like conversational chemistry or liking her personally rather than on a more intensive investigation of her work.” It sounds like Ivy lacks the key skills you needed for this position so it’s perplexing how she was hired in the first place.

  23. OP/LW*

    The update: I had to cut Ivy loose and things got a bit banana pants. Not full-on, but definitely a little weird.

    I went ahead and sent one last email the other day that was pretty much what Alison suggested as a final attempt to address the problem – a detailed discussion of what went wrong, what should have been handled differently, and a clear but kind query about whether this was workable. I emphasized that her mistakes were Really Serious, but I also emphasized that I was worried about her as a human being. I told her point blank, “Ivy, I want you to succeed.”

    Ivy disconnected her remote software after receiving the email, a critical component to working with me while I’m not in the country. I spoke to my legal counsel a few hours later, he noted that this entire situation was composed of red flags, and then told me that her choice to disconnect the software was legally job abandonment (I’m based in the U.S.) He advised me to send an email outlining the specific problems again, with dates, times, etc., and the seriousness of the issues – and then to state that I was going to accept her software disconnection as evidence of her resignation. I curtailed some of her cloud drive access, as well.

    I drafted it and sent it to him for review. I then logged into the cloud system with our part timer to untangle another mess we had just uncovered that Ivy had left in a project folder. While there, we detected Ivy doing…something, we’re still not sure what, in the shared cloud drive. It may not have been nefarious, but it does suggest (along with a lot of other evidence) that she has poor judgment. When you get an email from your business partner raising deep concerns about the way forward, heading into the company files without a heads up to state what you’re trying to accomplish is a really bad look.

    This motivated me to cut her limited access off completely (we work under NDAs with sensitive data, this is a non-starter). Once my legal counsel signed off on the letter an hour or so later, I emailed it to her.

    The response I got a few hours later was…a LOT. I received a multi-page screed about how I set her up for failure. At no point did she even acknowledge her multiple errors on reports or acknowledge all the detailed workflows I sent to try to help when things first began to go sideways. Some of her claims were downright weird, as well. She accused me of expecting her to be available 24/7 because of the time difference despite emails and multiple text and voice conversations where I asked her to set core hours in her time zone, and the online timetables created to show who was available when. Even stranger was her voicing anger that I gave her access to an entire library of materials for her own use. I’m not sure how you train someone without giving them materials to read and I’m confused as to why that was a bad thing. I’m not covering snark with professional language when I write that – I’m genuinely thoroughly stunned that offering her access to an entire library of relevant materials for our field is evidence that I did not train her, help her, or set her up to fail. I can’t do the reading for her.

    I’ve worked in academia, and frankly it came across like she had expected a relationship more like that of a graduate student with a supervising professor, than a business partner.

    It also frankly led me to suspect that maybe she did have a second job, as one poster suggested – which again, would have been fine with some transparency and open conversations! But any hesitancy I had before about ending the partnership was gone once I got that response.

    I did a deep dive into all written communications (email, texts) over the last several months to once again see where I could have handled this better, and came away actually feeling much better about my decision. All along the way, I reached out to her with specific requests, concerns, and solutions, and everything she asked for to help her (checklists, etc.) had been supplied. I’ve been asked here why I hesitated to end the partnership, and the answer is because I think it’s always important to figure out my part in a situation before focusing on another person in it. That email and my review of communications assuaged any concerns I had.

    Again, the advice for vetting is most appreciated, because prevention is really the key, isn’t it?

    1. happybat*

      I have taught people who got angry about being given a range of readings, because they didn’t know how to identify what was relevant to them, and they didn’t want to read all of it. Those people were generally hoping for a short bullet pointed list of instructions they could follow to pass the course I was teaching. That… doesn’t lead to good teaching and learning.

      I think maybe your employee was hoping for a formula to follow and was upset that there was a wide range of knowledge and skills to acquire and capacities to develop. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t work in situations where people need genuine understanding and judgement.

      1. OP/LW*

        I think so, too, happybat. Your comment reminded me that each of the reports she was asked to edit all have literature review sections specific to each project topic, too, so I’m further flummoxed as to why she didn’t use those as jumping off points for the literature. The summaries were…literally right there and she was billing hours editing them, which implies reading them. I don’t get it.

        1. *kalypso*

          There’s reading them, and then there’s ‘read this one first and this is how it links to what we do’, which is where training comes in. Walking into a new job and getting an encyclopedia isn’t helpful – walking into a new job, getting orientation and an annotated summary of the encyclopedia peppered with links to the important articles and a few step-by-step examples of how things are done in x, y, and b circumstance? Is.

          I’m reminded here of when I took on a volunteer delimiting job and they gave everyone a link to the documentation and said ‘you can have a buddy train you if you want’. I could not relate the documentation to the processes at all, so I asked for a buddy, and the buddy just went ‘read this page. now read this page. now read this page. in three days, read this page. now you’re trained~!’. Then it turned out that the subunit I was assigned to operated in an opposite way to the documentation and everyone just turned a blind eye rather than standardise, and that wasn’t documented. I never learned the process even though I read everything in the order suggested, because nobody took the ten seconds to link the documentation to application and walk me through the process for my brain to start making those links on its own, but because everyone around me was doing it ‘wrong’ I didn’t have any hope of self-learning taking as it was immediately reinforced as I was doing something wrong.

          It sounds like there may have been some gap in the information that you needed to fill for Ivy, perhaps that you wouldn’t need to fill for someone who already had your kind of experience, perhaps that because you have the experience you couldn’t see from Ivy’s perspective, but just dumping a bunch of reading on someone is rarely going to result in them internalising it to the point of being able to work at a high level instantly. If it did, we wouldn’t need schools or colleges or universities, we’d just have libraries and a certification process ‘you’ve read K-12 maths, tick, you can now read accounting 305 and take the CPA exam!’ You weren’t expecting to train someone so you didn’t invest in training documents, so they didn’t learn what you wanted them to know, basically.

    2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Oh wow, that’s A Lot. All in all, you sound like a pretty reasonable, compassionate person, OP. Yes, in retrospect, you made some decisions that didn’t turn out great, though it was because you erred on the side of giving someone a chance. I’m sorry it turned out this way, but glad that the situation was resolved before Ivy could do too much damage.

  24. L'étrangère*

    I’ve heard a business partnership compared to marriage. Equally in need of a prenup, perhaps even harder to get out of. I totally understand the urgent need for help, but it sounds like many people rush into these relationships without enough thought. It’s pretty standard to have a probation period for an employee, shouldn’t the same be even more true for a partner? Especially if you’ve never worked together before, maybe some contract work initially should be an important first step? I’d even suggest a fairly long period of getting to know each other, like a year

  25. New Senior Mgr*

    I was wondering the same, how and why OP chose Ivy. I’d take time to think about that answer (and scribble some notes for myself) before moving ahead with a new employee. Things could be worse. Good thing you spotted this when you did and wrote in for help. Wishing you the best.

  26. OP/LW*

    One final response: one query that was raised was concerning the amount of complexity involved on the financial end of unraveling the partnership.

    Ivy was scheduled to buy in her portion of just under 50% of the business with quarterly payments based on a valuation of the business at the beginning of the year. She had not paid in yet. We only signed the operating agreement a few months ago, and I agreed to a delay on payment so she could get some billable hours in, and hopefully bring in clients (All of our current clients are mine; she expressed a lot of eagerness to take a lead role on generating new clients, though she was not successful before things went awry).

    Anyhow, she did not have a vested stake yet, so the financials are thankfully not difficult. I didn’t ask her to come aboard to ease financial stressors, either, thank goodness. Overhead is low.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Thank you for the updates! I’m sorry things got so bananapants in the end (I’m with you in your confusion of how “you gave me access to an entire library of materials” is a bad thing). Glad that you and Ivy have parted ways with a minimum of financial mess to untangle.

    2. Pyjamas*

      It’s almost like she didn’t feel she had a stake in the success of the company because… she didn’t! Hindsight is 20-20, but next time you might consider a meaningful downpayment up front plus a probationary period during which either partner can back out. Put the new partner’s downpayment into an escrow account. Then, at the end of the probation period, deposit the money into the main account, or return it with any interest earned.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        You’re not wrong in general, though I read the comment to indicate that the delay was at Ivy’s request. Sounds like she may not have had the money for a meaningful downpayment yet.

    3. The OG Sleepless*

      OK, I was wondering about that part…in what sense she was actually a partner and not an employee. I’m glad she hadn’t actually bought in yet! Bullet dodged.

      My family was half of a two-generational business partnership, my husband had one, and I worked for one. I’ve had a front row seat to business partnerships my entire life and I have a lot of observations about when they work and when they don’t. You are very fortunate to have this one end before the finances got entangled.

    4. linger*

      Oooh, that raises a possibility Ivy was working another (main) job trying to generate the money to be able to buy in. If that’s the case, Ivy was setting herself up to fail, as she clearly did not have enough time left available for doing the basic work, let alone for learning to take on more advanced tasks. Also confirms a partnership was the wrong model for both of you, and Ivy might have been more successful staying as a contractor.

    5. It Actually Takes a Village*

      I am SO SO SO relieved at this part of the update.

      OP, you got so so so lucky here. This could have been incredibly messy and potentially tanked your business and livelihood. I’m sympathetic because I’ve done some similarly risky things with my business, not realizing how much I didn’t know could go wrong, and how much more complex and labour-extensive expanding your business is.

      You are obviously very skilled at a wide range of things that don’t always go together, which is why your business has been successful thus far. Most people who can dive deep into the technical work can’t also do great at marketing, plus rainmaking, plus administrative stuff. You’re a unicorn! As you expand, try to break your business down into small pieces. Hire out for the pieces that you’re not that passionate about, that are too time-consuming, and that someone else could do better than you. Part-time or even casual contracts will help you build slowly and not get in over your head.

      You’re also probably being overly empathetic for business matters, which is something I struggle with a lot. But your business is not a rehab or social program, and you can’t put that pressure on yourself.

      Remember that you’re building a plane while flying it. Do things slowly, and very surely. You just can’t know some things until you’ve done it, so place smaller bets while you’re learning how to play the game. Ok, enough analogies! You and part-timer sound like an awesome fit, best of luck to you!

  27. frida*

    I spent two years working for a small business owner very keen to hire people with no experience but “eager to learn”. One of the most frustrating jobs I ever had.

  28. Really?*

    Sounds like you need a completely different skill set than she has. As a partner, she needs to be a self starter, capable of completing engagements and running the business when you are on the road. From the description, and your comments, it sounds like she is an adequate worker bee, but is not management material. Sadly, I think you need to cut her loose as a partner. Depending upon her attitude, you may be able to continue to use her as a contractor, but I doubt it. If you can not find a peer, you may be better served by taking someone (perhaps the part-timer?) on as an employee, and promoting them to partner as they develop more skills, and become more integral to the business.

  29. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    That sounds like a really tough situation for both of you, OP. Unfortunately, it sounds like the best option for you and for Ivy is to end the partnership.

    You say in your letter that “I’m not sure [Ivy] understood the expectations for a full partner.” That is very not good. I’ve learned the hard way how important it is for people to be really clear from the start about their expectations (ask me why my band imploded! It’s because we all entered with different expectations for what we wanted to achieve and how hard we wanted to work to get there and by the time I realized this everyone was mad!).

    It’s incumbent on you to be super clear when proposing a partnership, OP. Maybe this experience has given you new insight on what your expectations are or what you need that you didn’t anticipate. Yes, ideally Ivy would have asked probing questions about expectations, but it sounds like she’s new-ish to the field, so may not have really known what to ask.

  30. Raida*

    Honestly I hope that you learn from this: She has no business being a partner.

    You did nobody any favours by bringing her on as such.

    In the future: Hire someone. Pay them. Pay them well if they are good. And *then* discuss partnership if they are suitable.

    Maybe you’ll find someone uninterested in partnership that’s just good at the job! Maybe you’ll find that one analyst and one project person is a better fit.

    1. Raida*

      EDIT: just found some of LW’s replies…

      …Thank god!

      This is not a partner. This is an employee. You’ve found her unsuitable. Fire her, she’s not even able to value-add without being in a partner’s position by the sounds of it.

  31. Johannes Bols*

    I think in black and white in some cases due to having been strung along by weak links in the chain. So, I can only say: GET RID OF HER NOW. I reckon you’ll have a good night’s sleep for the first time in months. Good luck!

  32. SomeBunny*

    I know I’m late this to party, but I would love to hear how someone in Ivy’s position would (asking for a friend, not Ivy), would get themselves ready to be a partner in this situation.

    I see a lot of myself in Ivy’s actions and reactions, and I’m wondering how I could – for lack of a better word – train myself to be more proactive? Maybe this is a Friday discussion topic.

Comments are closed.