38 answers

Husband Job Issues

Maybe this is my husband's issue more than mine, but here goes.... My husband is a very honest, idealistic person. This is great when it comes to our family, but not so great when it comes to his job. He went into a field (education) where he felt he'd really be helping kids and making a difference in children's lives. Since he took a promotion of sorts within his field, he's had a job that makes him very unhappy. Not only is he upset by the unprofessionalism of some of his co-workers, but he's really upset because he feels that his job is useless and that he's not really helping kids in a meaningful way any more. He often complains that he feels he's wasting his time and that he's wasting all his years of college. I understand how he feels, but honestly, there are days that, as a stay-at-home mom, I feel the same way! But I know I'm doing what's best for my family, so I don't complain. I know he's under pressure because I'm at home, so he feels he has to keep this job, but I just get tired of the "poor me" attitude he seems to have. Last night, he was complaining again, and I mentioned that many, many people have jobs they hate, but they do them anyway, because they have to, and maybe he could look on the bright side-- that he has a good family, that he makes decent money, and that he has the education and opportunity to change jobs eventually-- a chance that many other people ever get. I thought this might make him rethink his attitude, but instead he just blew up-- told me that it just made him feel worse, that he'd rather I not say anything if I was going to belittle his feelings, etc. I was surprised, and I admit that I spoke next without thinking-- I told him that if he wanted to feel sorry for himself, maybe he'd better do it elsewhere instead of ruining my day (not very nice of me, I know). So he went off to bed and hasn't spoken to me since. This is unlike both of us-- we certainly argue from time to time, but we usually make up quickly. So, my question is--- what to do next? I know I need to be more understanding, but what can I say that will make him feel better, not worse? Incidentally, we live in a very small town, so finding a new job may not be feasible, at least for a few years. I definitely shouldn't have snapped at him like that, so any advice on what to do or say now would be great. Thanks!!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow!! Ladies, you are amazing! I really, really appreciate all the helpful hints, the kicks in the rear that I needed, and the reassurance you all offered me. I apologized to my husband for snapping at him, he apologized for whining, and we both agreed that I need to listen without commenting at first, and offer to help later, if it's wanted. (I want to be a "fixer" sometimes he needs that, but sometimes he just needs a listener!) We're also working on being more positive with each other so that we each know we have love and support at home, first and foremost. Thank you all so much!!

More Answers

Perhaps you could tell him exactly what you just told us. That you appreciate the fact that his current job is not very rewarding, and that you can sympathize because being a stay at home mom is not always very rewarding either. Acknowledge the fact that you are both a little stressed out because you are both making sacrifices. I've said this before on other posts, but it really is the best bit of marriage advice I have ever heard: If you're going to fight, fight FOR the relationship. Yes, you do need to apologize for invalidating his feelings. And he needs to quit coming home and unloading all of his workday misery on you. Talking to you about his day is one thing, using you as a sounding board is a whole other story. Instead of letting him go on and on about how much he hates his job, throw him a curveball: ask him what he's going to do about it. You were on the right track by telling him to focus on the positive, but your mistake was insisting that he should suck it up and get over it. No one is ever going to accept being unhappy, nor should they (and that includes you). Resigning yourselves to being unhappy is never in anyone's best interest, and the false sense of security it provides is only temporary. Repressed feelings ALWAYS find an outlet. A very positive thing to do would be to turn these problems into solutions. If he really hates that job, what are his other options? Is there something he can do in addition to his current job that would give him more satisfaction (like volunteering his time to the Boys and Girls Club)? Maybe the town you live in just doesn't have enough opportunities. Maybe if you had a job, he could accept something more satisfying even if it paid less. Sit down together and lay all your options out on the table, literally, write them down. Give equal and fair consideration to each other's ideas. Surely there is a fix that you can both agree on. The only problems are those without solutions. When he sees you putting real effort into trying to help him with this, what he hears is, "I love you and I'm on your side." Who doesn't want to hear that? And who has time to be miserable when you're busy making plans for a brighter future?

2 moms found this helpful

A job change is stressful in it's own right and many times we say things we don't really mean to say to our loved ones. I'd just tell him what you said to us. However my feelings are he can still make a difference it may not be the same like his last position but he can still make a difference. I did in my own little corner of my world at my job you just have to see that if you do something to help one person or 1000 a change is a change and you did it. About the children and you being home well it's a job to and it's better that you are able to sacrifice as you and your husband should for your children (and many others before you have) instead of having someone else be their influence like a sitter. Now don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with sitters or daycares but what a great thing it is for you to be there for them some children never have that except at night when a parent picks them up and has a few hours with them before their bed time. I am what I call a mother of privledge in that manner I'm a 24/7 mom no holidays no weekends but I get to spend a few short years taking care of my family instead of trading my pay check to a sitter and seeing my kids a few hours. I have been there and done that so I can speak from my own experience.
About your husband one last thing my husband said to me once when I was short on temper and attitude with him as he was telling me something. He said " I tell you things I don't share with others you are my wife and I feel I can bend your ear without complaints or judgment". I asked myself would I've acted the same way with a girlfriend? my answer was no so then and there I thought I should treat him even better then a girlfriend he is for that matter my bestfriend I mean if he wasn't why would I of married him? After that I listen to my husband and I tell him your bad days are my bad days but it's my job to tell you what you told me when we were homeless 5 1/2 yrs ago "come on I have enough faith for the both of us I'll drag you up the hill of success or whatever I'm your bestfriend". Then I do just that I tell him things will get better, you can do this I'm standing right next to you. Then we go on to another day of life and try our best to enjoy it I mean why not? I have a home (rented but a home), I have food, heat, a vehicle that runs (a 1990van) and pretty much a healthy family. I don't know if this really helps you I hope it does in some manner I hope you both find peace with each other and just realize you may have just had a bad day like everyone else can. My thought are with you.

2 moms found this helpful

R.
My husband and I had the same thing, only reverse, I was working and he was a SAHD. Both of us needed a way in which we could put our passion for lifting others from bad to better situations and helping others in general. My job used to do it until I got a "promotion" then I was stuck behind a desk. We found volunteer service through our church saved our sanity and our marriage. He (your husband) has a strong passion for helping kids. You are home and working to make your home and family a productive and positive unit. Both of you may want to leave your jobs a couple times a week or a couple times a month and give your talents to those less fortunate. With a 30 month old, this is not so hard and you can bring him with you.
Now, as for going to bed without speaking and still mad...I know you have a hundred emails by now saying that has to be a stict no-no and you have to make it a rule. Even if it means you both stay up all night and fall asleep on the couch! If you can say to the world in your email that you were a little harsh and spoke without thinking the statement through, then you can say it to him. After my husband and I had our first argument like that, I noted it in my journal and every year I tell him happy anniversary on that date. It signals the first time I realized that we could work anything out if we both put our minds to it and led from our hearts. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

HI R.,
I think you need to just validate his feelings when he gets into the "poor me". Many people who may have thankless jobs may complain to others and feel that when someone tells them to stop complaining you are belittling their complaint. What they dont see is how often they complain and how it affects their surroundings.
Sit down with your spouse. You need your feelings validated too if your mom duties go unappreciated from time to time. I would recommend a little sit down to voice what it is that really bothers him at work, how to express those feelings to you without disrupting your evening, and accept what is a reasonable expectation of time to be upset. If you set those boundaries you will understand what is acceptable and what is out of the norm. We all have bad days at work, some can handle it better than others, but even in a loving and honest relationship we cant be mind readers.
I hope this helps. :)

1 mom found this helpful

R., what a tender heart you have! NEVER turn from it. Forgiveness and love ARE what marriage is all about! You both are in tough spots... YOU want the best for your husband and your family.You've listened but don't know the next step. HE wants fulfillment (people so often find their identity in their profession VS. the entirety of their life.)

YOU BOTH NEED A REST... Consider a special time together, a weekend get away called, A WEEKEND TO REMEMBER... coming to Atlanta shortly. (I'm not affiliated with them but went to this life-changing event and found peace and strength and RESOURCES that helped BOTH of us). Their web address is: paste this next line into your web-search tool.

http://www.familylife.com/site/c.dnJHKLNnFoG/b.3204637/

I KNOW THIS WILL HELP BOTH OF YOU! Give it a shot! L.

1 mom found this helpful

Husbands are under the assumption most of the time that they are supposed to be satisfied in their chosen positions in life - husband, father, breadwinner, etc.

Husbands become frustrated when they had high hopes of something only to have their hopes dashed because of policy, attitudes, lack of communication and unreasonable demands.

So they complain about it. And rightfully so.

What I see your husband doing is trying to figure out a way to do what he wants in his career that brings fullness and satisfaction to his life and that of his family. So, he complains, ponders, stomps his foot, worries and generally feels bad about feeling bad - especially in front of the one person that he wants to impress most - you.

My own husband does this everyday because he hates his job. So I let him rant and rave and get upset. Then I put my foot down and tell him to stop feeling sorry for himself and do something about it. Actions speak louder than words and thinking outside the box, I'll give him a few suggestions.

At first, he resents my intrusion on his pity party. Then he thinks about it for a few days and gets back with me on it. When he does, he's calm and reasonable about where his direction should be focused.

I don't personally advocate sitting by and letting someone garner a lot of pity from those around them about situations that they have the intelligence and health to do something about. I will help all I can to include putting in resumes online or wherever I see a job opening that he might be interested in (of course, I let him know so he can be prepared). I'm his partner in life through the good and the bad and a lot of the ugly as well and he knows it.

Just like your husband knows it about you. He also knows that whatever frustrations you feel in your OWN life, you can rant and rave, too, and he'll be there to help you understand it. Just like you did for him this time. Apologize for blowing up but you guys need to sit down calmly and discuss the frustrations. Your partnership is equal in all aspects - including all the emotions and responsibilities.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.! Here's the bottom line. He feels stifled and unhappy in his job and the fact that he must stay there in order to support his family whom he loves, makes him feel worse and even trapped. Then he probably feels guilty for feeling that way in the first place. You also feel a little stifled at times, but you say you do what you have to do (something women are good at). I also get that you want to tell him (again, as a lot of women want to) to stand up, be a man and stop complaining. I understand your feelings. But he will think that you don't understand his feelings. This is classic. This is what I get from what you wrote. To me, this is just so simple. Everyone deserves to go through life happy and fulfilled creatively. He deserves it and so do you. So, you encourage each other to find that fulfillment. Sit him down and tell him you understand his need to be happy in his job. Tell him he's not stuck there. Tell him you'd encourage him while he still supports the family to find an alternative solution (an at home kids counseling or workshop business etc..anything that would fulfill him). Then tell him some ideas you have maybe for your fulfillment too. Happy people make happy couples and happy couples raise happy children. Don't let the old fashioned ideas that you must do what you have to do out of duty and be unhappy and unfulfilled all your life stay with you. Break out of that old way of thinking. You and your husband both were meant to be happy. I'm wishing you peace and love.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R. -- I've had such a crappy week at work that all I ever want my husband to do is listen to me. It's hard not to try to make suggestions...I've had a hard time just listening to my husband, too. Hopefully your husband does the same for you when you are feeling stressed and under appreciated.

Good luck to you! It's hard when we have to destress around the ones we love. Nobody here at work wants to hear me complain. Thank goodness for the cats! :)

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