What you can learn from Jeff Bezos’ divorce

We could all learn a lot from Jeff Bezos.

The founder, chairman, CEO, and president of Amazon, who is worth more than $150 billion could teach us about overcoming obstacles, creating company culture, taking calculated risks, improving customer service, and what he calls “work-life harmony.” The former Time Person of the Year could tells us about philanthropy, technology and entrepreneurship.

And now, as the dust is settling on his divorce from his wife of 25 years, we can learn a few things from Bezos about divorce.


Praise in public, criticize in private

This old adage is generally used by leaders in board rooms rather than lawyers in courtrooms. But it applies here. While rumors swirled regarding the reasons for Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’ split, both chose to keep it classy.

On April 4, MacKenzie Bezos tweeted, “Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff with support from each other and everyone who reached out to us in kindness. … Excited about my own plans. Grateful for the past as I look forward to what comes next.”

At the same time, on the same day, Jeff Bezos called her “an extraordinary partner, ally and mother” in a tweet that read, in part, “I’m so grateful to all my friends and family for reaching out with encouragement and love. It means more than you know. MacKenzie most of all. I’m grateful for her support and for her kindness in this process and am very much looking forward to our new relationship as friends and co-parents.”

It’s highly unlikely that your divorce will be as well documented as Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’ but in a tight-knit community like Murfreesboro, it would be wise not to air dirty laundry unless you have to, and to always take the high road when in public.


Remain committed to the rest of your life

The seemingly all-encompassing troubles that come with divorce can extend to other areas of your life.

Bezos started a recent meeting this way: If you don’t mind, just raise your hand, if maybe–just maybe–you’ve had a better start to your 2019 than I have. … But seriously, no. I’m as engaged and focused on Amazon as ever. I still tap dance into the office. I get to work with remarkable people. I get to live and work in the future. And that’s where I like to be, so thank you.

We’re certain he had similar conversations with other people in his life. Whether you’re talking to your employees, your children or just the members of your church softball team, let them know you need to be able to rely on them – and that they can still rely on you.


Have a plan

It’s safe to say that Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have a few more zeroes in their bank accounts than you do. The laws are different in New Jersey than they are in Tennessee. The challenges your children are going to face won’t likely have much in common with what the Bezos’ four children are dealing with. So we’re hesitant to make too many comparisons here.

While it’s unclear whether they had a prenuptial agreement, Jeff Bezos managed to keep 75 percent of the couple’s Amazon stock and all of their ownership of The Washington Post and the Blue Origin space company. We’re not so sure you’ll fair as well if you don’t start your marriage with a back-up plan for what could happen if it ends.

We know it’s an exciting topic on conversation to have in the middle of planning a wedding, but we must insist that before you get married, you have a conversation with an attorney. If divorce isn’t easy for the richest couple on the planet, it’s probably not going to be easy for you. But having a plan will help.

If you need information about divorce law, contact the law offices of Joshua T. Crain.