May 14, 2010,
A.B. asks from Denton, TX on May 13, 2010
When Your Husband Is Married to His Job...
Does anyone else out there experience frustration from a husband that is married to a job? Why is it that jobs are so demanding of peoples' time these days? My husband's work requires him to be gone to multiple all evening functions (everything from staff retreats to company cookouts to board meetings) on top of his usual workday, which can often be up to 12 hours a day. He feels obligated to go to everything... it is all "mandatory", and of course, he wants to "shine" at his job and not put himself in any jeopardy of being fired. But, I feel that too many jobs are disrespectful of family time and require their employees to be committed to the job, which puts a serious damper on the family. Do any of you feel the same way?
BTW: LOL... no, he is not cheating! :)
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L.C. answers from Dayton on May 13, 2010
This is a super question!
My husband is active duty military. That means, really, that he is government property. What alot of people don't understand is that means that WE, his family, are also government property. Our particular branch fo the military is very family friendly and the supports they have put in place are wonderful. Still, there are the deployments, temporary duty assignments, short tours (which are single so no family). Then you add to that all the extra stuff: honor guard, booster club, awards ceremonies, banquets, volunteer time with the local rotc clubs and community service, not to mention the college education the military encourages all members to get and pays for. There was over a year of time where I saw my husband one night every two weeks. While the extra stuff wasn't required it was "encouraged" and often made the difference in who got promoted and who didn't. If you weren't going to do that stuff then you at least needed to save a baby from a burning building or do something equally extraordinary.
The thing is, no matter what the profession, anyone can find themselves in a position where they have lost the balance in their lives. In an effort to ensure that they "shine" so they can provide for their family they often end up losing the connection with that same family. It is especially easy to do, I think, in our current financial situation where most people, no matter how great they are at what they do, can't guarantee anything when it comes to job security.
My husband had a reality check when he came in one night and everyone was occupied. My sons had done all their chores, homework, baths and so on and were playing a game 20 minutes before bedtime. My daughter was falling asleep and I was putting her to sleep so I was unavailable as well. My husband was so sad. He said, "I wanted to spend time with you guys but everyone seems to be doing something." I just had to look at him and say,"We were here. All evening we have been here. For chores, homework, dinner, family time, bath time we were all here. If you want to see us you know where we are. We will always be right here. You have to be here sometimes, too." It was an eye opener for him. He cut back on some of the extra stuff and when it couldn't be avoided we made special arrangements so that we were ready for him when he came home. It's just a matter of helping them see the big picture and regain their balance.
Keep your head up, A.B.. It gets better. You are the best person to help him find that balance and one day he will thank you for it. Mine has.
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K.J. answers from Atlanta on May 13, 2010
Can you put the onus on your husband and ask him 3 specific steps he can take right now to be more avaible to his family? Perhaps you could inject some humor and tell him you are the CEO of your family and you want to know how he will "shine" in your company... where your children are the clients who need to be accomodated!
Humor and honest communication helps.
Best wishes. Your heart is in the right place!
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R.J. answers from San Diego on May 13, 2010
Ooooooh yeah. My DH easily spends 120 hours a week working. He works at work, and then he comes home and locks himself in the office and works all night and all weekend. We see him tops, maybe 10 hours a week.
Plain and simple though, it's his choice. If he actually wanted to spend time with us and be a part of the family, he'd be here.
I used to have it out with him over this periodically... the whole "I'm supporting our family" thing is BS. He's salary. He's just feeding his own ego and being where he really wants to be. I've told him before, and I'm sure it'll come up again; the day I *only* care about how much money he makes is the day I get my first child support/ alimony check.
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S.S. answers from San Francisco on May 13, 2010
3 reasons come to my mind:
- Fear: In this economy it is important to keep your job and he might have to make sure he shows dedication. Also, companies have been laying off people so he might have the amount of work of 2. Hopefully this is temporary.
- Escape: He is cheating (Sorry I have to mention it because companies that are having $ difficulties do not have staff retreats anymore) But hopefully that's not it.
- Identity: The job has become part of his identity. And he feels more "alive" and "himself" when at work and might feel out of place at home.
Hang in there!
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C.C. answers from Fresno on May 13, 2010
This is our family, too, only I am the one with the demanding job. Out of necessity (in my field, jobs are not a dime a dozen right now), I have to work in a field office that is 3 hours from our home, so I have to stay in a hotel near the office a few days a week. I am fortunate to be able to work from my home office a few days a week as well, but even so on those days I put in a good 10 hours anyway.
The fact of the matter is, if you're the bread winner for your family, right now you can't afford to slack off at work. You have to be visible to the company leadership all the time, otherwise they may wonder what it is they pay you for, and lay you off. It has happened to almost everyone I know in the past few years. Ideally, companies would realize that happy employees are more productive employees, but right now the name of the game is squeezing every last ounce of productivity out of employees at the lowest possible cost. No paid time off, no raises, sick time is frowned upon, and it's expected that you'll work 12 hours a day and be happy to do it. Even so, they will outsource everything to India that they possibly can. My company just implemented a policy where those of us who are salaried have to turn in time cards. I've never been anywhere that did that; used to be that if your work got done, nobody cared if you did it in 8 hours or 12. But now if you're not working 12 hours a day, they'll keep piling work on until you are.
Anyway, sorry for the rant (I am going on hour 10 at work, no lunch, with another several hours of work to go... uggggggh). I just wanted to give some perspective from someone on the other side of the coin. I bet my husband could identify with you - tonight he is on his own taking our girls to the school open house while I am at work, and then at a hotel near the office. =(
C.R. answers from Seattle on May 13, 2010
I am so with you on this, but the job that I feel doesn't consider the importance of family is my own and not my husband's. I'm a teacher and the amount of after school functions that I'm "encouraged" to attend is over-the-top. The administration puts a lot of pressure on the teachers that don't attend everything... It's tough. When you find a solution, let me know!
C.G. answers from Davenport on May 13, 2010
You are not alone! I had a similar discussion with my husband. I was angry because he was spending so much time at work and I felt that he was putting me and our family second. His perspective is that his job is providing for our family...so he felt that the harder he worked, the more he provided and that was benefiting our family. He has tried to cut back, but sometimes it just isn't possible. At least now, we both understand how we feel about it and we don't fight about it anymore.
S.G. answers from Albuquerque on May 14, 2010
Oh where to begin! My husband works out of town every week all week long (20% of the time according to his contract!) On Saturday's we HAVE to stop by the office to check in (it only takes a couple hours!) If his work phone rings it must be answered even if it is Sunday or the middle of the night. Someone needs help afterall. (they have is other number, and mine anyways!) I must attend all dinners (we want his bosses to know the whole family is supportive.) He must attend all meetings, confrences, retreats and phone confrences. Even if it is not his department because he could always learn something. He must make all his power point presentations at home becasue I MUST read them and make sure they are visually appealing. He also MUST volunteer to be in charge of the catering when he teaches a class because I am the ONLY one who orders the right thing (I don't get paid by the way!)
Oh and I'm 8 months pregnant and he will try really really hard to be there, if he's not, well... I have friends who would be there! Or hell I could call one of his customers!
It is bothersome but also endearing in a weird way. He does all this for us (his family). And when we do attend those dinners and they can't stop talking about how awesome my hubby is it makes me light up with pride. When we see a customer out and about and they insist on taking us to lunch, I know he is appreciated. When he tells me thank you for supporting him I feel like the best wife ever. Plus he'll retire someday (maybe!)
We just make the most of the time we have. The very little time...
BTW: LOL... no, he is not cheating either! :) Heck, he doesn't have time.