It’s not every day that your spouse becomes your coworker or that you celebrate 29 years of marriage during a global pandemic. Enter Mary and Jim Tharp, a couple that we are proud to call our co-workers and work family. And especially during these uncertain times, it is a story like theirs that reminds us that we are all in this together.
On March 16, 1991, Mary and Jim Tharp said “I Do” at a little chapel in Mesa, Arizona, and the couple hasn’t strayed far from the roots of where their relationship started. It was in the Grand Canyon state where they first met, at a Judas Priest concert as 18-year-olds, and where they have since raised their two boys, Billy and Anthony.
It’s also the place where their journey with us began. Six years ago, Mary became an employee in our Scottsdale office and has served in various roles, most recently as a chargeback specialist. Last October, Jim decided to make a change in his career by joining us also and now works with our customer agent success team.
As our entire workforce transitioned to a work from home model three weeks ago in light of COVID-19 precautions, Mary and Jim’s dedication to our end users, their co-workers, and each other prevails. Separated by four computer monitors back to back over a shared six-foot table where their dining room table previously was, the couple has converted their dining room into a home office.Mary looks up to take a break in the action of her workday.
And while the two work on different teams and their typical in-office routine consists of breaks and lunch together when possible, they are still making time to engage with each other and co-workers. Sharing on one of our online employee communities, Mary said of their 29th wedding anniversary last week, “If you would have told us when we got married that we would spend today smiling at each other over our combined four monitors, working from home over the internet, we probably would have told you the bar was closed.”
The creativity of their dedicated workspace, having each other, and a spirit of gratitude and humor have all played an important role in Mary and Jim’s resilience during COVID-19. Jim says of the experience, “Sitting across from my wife — I love it.” Referencing a busy house with everyone being home, Jim teases, “When the kids aren’t at work, walking around here, the traffic gets really heavy.” Mary says she is grateful that while she’s working, she can look up anytime and feel grounded that her husband is right across from her. She admits that she recently brought some levity to their home by pranking Jim and was happy to share the story with co-workers. “In an effort to maintain good workplace habits, this morning I opened and closed every drawer in the kitchen, then went into the living room and told Jim there were snacks!”
Jokes aside, they share that they miss being shoulder to shoulder with co-workers in the office, but are grateful they can contribute to our end users’ own journey home by working from home. “We want everybody to stay positive, stay upbeat, and stay healthy,” Mary says.Mary and Jim at the wedding of former co-workers, Larry Hopkins and Christy Larkins, who they spend time with regularly.
We know that home is everything and during this uncertain time, home is playing an even more critical role in our lives. As we navigate the implications of COVID-19, we hope you draw inspiration from Mary and Jim’s story. At the end of the day, whether we are working side-by-side with our families at home, connecting with those we hold dear from digital devices, or supporting each other just further apart, we will get through this. See you on the other side.