Welcome, girls. It’s that time of the month again — time to journey back “Inside His Head”. If you’ve got a question for our anonymous panel of husbands just send it to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com and it may be featured in an upcoming installment. Now on to this month’s question from a concerned wife:
Q: My husband hates his job. I think I should encourage him to find something else, but I’m really scared in this economy for him to rock the boat at all. What should I do?
GRAY: A change can be scary in any economic climate, but happiness is truly priceless.
A recent survey by the Conference Board research group found only 45 percent of Americans were satisfied with their job. The finding represented a record low in the 22 years the board has been studying the issue. No doubt the present economy as been rough on those lucky enough to keep their jobs, and many people have been soured on their jobs which now often require more work to be done for less pay.
I’ve always thought the most satisfied people I’ve met were ones happiest with their profession. Getting up every morning with anticipation for the day instead of dread has an impact that transcends the time clock too. Your husband will likely be happier in general if he feels his life at work serves a purpose beyond making sure the bills are paid.
Providing encouragement is a great thing. Many guys stay with jobs they hate because they feel they have no options and their wives would view them as quitters if they changed to something different. Discussing options and employment venues is a great way to start. Obviously a lot depends on your age, skills and financial situation and it could be the decision might mean months of unemployment for education, so discussing a course of action is critical.
Helping to formulate a financial strategy, keeping an eye on the classifieds and keeping an ear to the ground all help. Even browsing the web or talking to Facebook friends can often yield surprising results, but the most important is knowing he has your support. Knowing you have his happiness in mind can make life better all by itself.
MAVERICK: If he hates his job, really hates it, then yes you should encourage him to look for something different.
Making a move in this down economy is dangerous but lots of jobs are precarious as is. If your husband truly hates his work situation it’s unlikely he’s doing his best and that could make him vulnerable.
Loving a job is worth a lot, in particular with men, who often gain a lot of their identity from their occupation. For many man, hating our work is like hating a part of ourselves, it can be destructive and take a toll mentally and physically.
There are so many reasons a man could hate his job — low pay, long hours, personal conflicts, no chance for advancement — I’m not gonna try to go into trying to address those issues, without knowing why it’s hard to offer viable solutions.
But, in really general terms, if he hates working where his is, for whatever reason, you should try to help. First, determine if it’s something he can fix by remaining on the job — can he shift his hours, transfer to another department, eliminate a conflict with a problem boss or co-worker? If not, move on to step two.
Help him look. Encourage him to update his resume. Look at his options, maybe get him to take a class or get some additional training. A plan, even if it’s long term, on how to get away from the job he hates and move along could go a long way in changing his attitude.
One of the best ways to help is to look for jobs for him on the sly. Check out the classified ads. Look at Web sites of employers you husband admires or considers top-notch in his field. Sometimes you will see an opportunity that he can’t. When you see a job he’d be good at discuss it with him and encourage him to call about them or at least drop his resume in the mail.
Put out your feelers. Lots of women have large and well established nets of friends that are tuned into all sorts of info. Don’t let it be known your husband is dissatisfied at work, just keep your ears open for opportunities he could explore.
Finally, be realistic. He could hate his job but there might not be anything he can do about it. He could be trapped financially and actually unable to move or shift. If he’s the major bread winner and his options are limited that might be just the way things are for the time being.
You don’t hear about it much in today’s culture that minimizes the contributions husbands and fathers make, but many men go to work day after day to jobs they hate to support their family. It’s a sacrifice many of us are willing to make. In these situations, support, validation and kindness make the effort worthwhile until a better job opportunity comes along.
MAX: “The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.” ~ Oscar Wilde
The best advice I ever received? Other than to always compliment a woman on her shoes, is to never quit a job unless you have another one. By all means, tell your husband you’ll support him if he changes jobs. In the next sentence, tell him you will smack him in the head with a pointy rock if he quits his sucky job without having a less-sucky job lined up.
Looking for a better job while working another will not necessarily rock the boat. People do it all the time. I’m doing it right now, checking to see if there is a cooler blog to write for. [I’m kidding, of course, Motherlode]
Tell your husband that you appreciate him working a job he hates to support his family and that you’ll do anything you can to help him find a better one.
Just remind him to not leave copies of his resume in the office copier or wear his “I Hate This Stupid Job” T-Shirt on casual Friday.