Money Matters

One spouse working more than another. A whine.

H and I started dating in college and have been together for our whole professional careers thus far.

H started at a really crappy job and moved to two more crappy jobs prior to landing the job he has now.  The three previous jobs were all low paying and not rewarding, and his salary wasn't great.  He always worked set house (8-5 ish) and worked hard despite the bad experience / pay.

His new job is amazing - he makes great pay (we bring in approx equal salaries) and works hard but not long hours.  His typical day is probably 8 to 3:30 or 4, with an occasional longer day.  What he does is fun and easy for him.  

 I have been with the same company all along.  I have always made more than him, but my job has been very challenging and time consuming.  My typical day is 8:30 to 6:30, but I am often working much longer hours and very rarely shorter hours.  I go through waves of liking and hating what I do, but am always stressed and not completely happy. 

I am SO happy that he has found a good paying, fun job but now I am feeling really jealous and sad that we are making the same amount of money and I feel like I have gotten the shaft.  He is completely supportive of me finding something else but we also really like making the money we make and would be sad to take a pay cut.  

I don't know what the solution is and don't want to resent him, but I work from home and it's really hard to see him home at 3:30 every day and still be stuck to my desk being miserable for another 3 hours. Sad

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Re: One spouse working more than another. A whine.

  • Remind yourself that he suffered a lot and paid his dues for what sounds like years before he landed his current, great job.  Now maybe it's your turn, which is never fun, but sometimes is necessary.  Rather than looking to immediately bail, think about the long game -- what kind of job is your ideal and how do you position yourself to get it?  Can you add skills or experience?  Network?  Feeling like there's that light at the end of the tunnel because you're working on how to move to a better job can make enduring a not so great one a lot easier.

    Also consider how realistic it is to try to get a job where you can get off work before 6:00 p.m.  For lots of people that's kind of a pipe dream.  In your field is it realistic to expect a job that lets you clock out at 4:30 or 5:00 routinely?  If you find it, will that limit your upward potential?  Is that the career path you want?

  • I can relate.  My DH had a pretty flexible job where he can work from home.  But his hours vary a lot and he can easily take half days and run errands during the day that I can't.  So I get jealous because he doesn't have to commute and some days only works like 4 hours.  Everyone in his dept does it so it is not an issue, whereas for me, if I leave 30 mins early my boss is watching me and I know it.

    I get jealous too, but I'm happy for him and his flexibility is great for us as a family.  He can do errands during the day for us, be home for repairmen, etc.  When we have kids, it will probably be easier for him to do the drop off/pick up or stay home when our kid is sick. So overall, I know it benefits both of us.  I rag him sometimes (when I'm particularly stressed) and thankfully, he doesn't hold it against me.

    But more than that, I've realized that I'm really jealous because he really likes his job and I really don't like mine.  Which is making me realize, I need to make a change in my life.  I'm just like you, I have good pay, decent commute and good vacation, so it is hard to give that up.  But I'm realizing being happy is more important so if that means taking a pay cut to make a career change, so be it.  If I don't do anything to change my situation, then I can't really complain.

  • image noodle_oo:

    I can relate.  My DH had a pretty flexible job where he can work from home.  But his hours vary a lot and he can easily take half days and run errands during the day that I can't.  So I get jealous because he doesn't have to commute and some days only works like 4 hours.  Everyone in his dept does it so it is not an issue, whereas for me, if I leave 30 mins early my boss is watching me and I know it.

    You've just described my life.

    Mama to 2 late-term preemies (7/10 & 11/12) due to HELLP Syndrome.
  • I work way more than my husband now. Previously, he's had as many as three jobs at once and still earned less than I make and he was miserable. He quit his corporate job last fall that he hated and we took a $70k/year income hit because of it. In order to earn more, I transitioned to a new role in my company that I like less but pays more. Now dh has a business that he owns but has basically zero involvement with (his partner runs it and takes a larger income) so dh is at home all day doing whatever and my work hours have only gotten longer. I don't resent his time at home or the fact that he got to quit the job he hates even though we've had to make substantial lifestyle cuts. The only time I was resentful was when dh wasn't even helping out with basic things (like getting ds dressed and fed for school so that I could get up at 4:50am to fit in a workout at the gym). When he does at least the basic level of "stuff" like folding some laundry, emptying dishwasher, staying home with ds when he's sick, picking him up or taking him to school when I have early/late meetings, then I find myself thinking that this works just fine for us. I'm grateful that he has more free time during the day because he can do his workout and have his "me" time and then we can have lots of family time during my non-working hours.
    image
  • It's a good motivator for you to be able to believe that something better is out there...

    and think about, aren't you glad that one of you doesn't have a job that sucks! If you both were hating your work life, that could add stress to a marriage

  • Thanks both for your thoughts.  Noodle - I am definitely jealous.  I wish I wasn't, I should just be happy for him.  You are right that unless I do something about it, it is hard to complain :)

    image volenti:

    Remind yourself that he suffered a lot and paid his dues for what sounds like years before he landed his current, great job.  Now maybe it's your turn, which is never fun, but sometimes is necessary.  You're right.  I suppose that I always look at it as that I have been suffering too in a job I don't like, and he has had the opportunity to "shop around" for a better job while I was "holding down the fort" by bringing in the money.  Rather than looking to immediately bail, think about the long game -- what kind of job is your ideal and how do you position yourself to get it?  I have no idea.  My biggest problem is that I don't know what I want to do with my life but don't think that what I do now is it.  I worry that I will never figure it out.  I find that I work to live rather than live to work (and don't care as much about having a "career" - I would love to be a SAHM one day).  Can you add skills or experience?  Probably! I just need to figure out what I should be getting experience in. Network?  Feeling like there's that light at the end of the tunnel because you're working on how to move to a better job can make enduring a not so great one a lot easier.  I think I should start putting feelers out and looking at what jobs are available out there.

    Also consider how realistic it is to try to get a job where you can get off work before 6:00 p.m.  For lots of people that's kind of a pipe dream.  In your field is it realistic to expect a job that lets you clock out at 4:30 or 5:00 routinely?  If you find it, will that limit your upward potential?  Is that the career path you want?

    I would love to just have a job.  I would rather make a decent salary and just work 9-5 doing something fun than make a ton and have a "career".  Basically I am lazy, which I realize is not a good quality.

  • We are in a similar situation.  I wouldn't say I resent DH, because I don't, but I definitely know the pangs of jealousy that hit me when I am at work at 7pm and I know he has been home for several hours already.  However, we do have a mostly unspoken agreement that since I work longer hours, he picks up some extra slack at home and that works for us.  I am at least thankful that I don't have to work 12 hour days and then come home and clean my house, walk my dog, etc. 
  • image KAdams767:
    We are in a similar situation.  I wouldn't say I resent DH, because I don't, but I definitely know the pangs of jealousy that hit me when I am at work at 7pm and I know he has been home for several hours already.  However, we do have a mostly unspoken agreement that since I work longer hours, he picks up some extra slack at home and that works for us.  I am at least thankful that I don't have to work 12 hour days and then come home and clean my house, walk my dog, etc. 

    Maybe this is what really gets me.  I think I need to address it.  I feel like H could do more around here in terms of cleaning and doing stuff around the house. 

  • Try to remind yourself that there are people who would be thrilled to have some of the perks of your job too. Working from home is nothing to sneeze at.
    Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing...Harper Lee
  • image LibGrl:
    Try to remind yourself that there are people who would be thrilled to have some of the perks of your job too. Working from home is nothing to sneeze at.

    Yeah, kind of 'look on the bright side' of things.

    But, if your DH is not picking up some slack on the home front with his shorter hours, he should step up (preferably without being asked).

  • image LibGrl:
    Try to remind yourself that there are people who would be thrilled to have some of the perks of your job too. Working from home is nothing to sneeze at.

    Aside from not commuting, what do you think are the "perks" of working from home?  I am not being snarky, just wondering.  

  • I would just focus on the positives and if you want a better work life balance, look into switching jobs.

    I make more than DH and if you ask him, I have a cake job compared to him.  He's a lot busier on a daily basis and has been working consistent overtime for years, 10 hour days, weekends, etc.  But sometimes I'm super busy and sometimes I'm not, so he doesn't mind the not home until 9pm every night the couple weeks a year it happens.

     

  • I'm your DH.  I work straight 9-5 most of the time while my H works 12+ hour days (also from home).  I feel like he's always working and I feel bad.  I try really hard to make things easy on him - doing the grocery shopping, dishes, etc.  Just know that it's not easy to be in either position - working hard or feeling guilty about working less.  I am happy your husband found a job he's excited about and hope you can too someday soon.
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  • Life isn't fair, quit expecting it to be. On the upsdie, his extra time from work can be spent on house stuff you don't have time to do.
  • image count the stars:

    image LibGrl:
    Try to remind yourself that there are people who would be thrilled to have some of the perks of your job too. Working from home is nothing to sneeze at.

    Aside from not commuting, what do you think are the "perks" of working from home?  I am not being snarky, just wondering.  

    Commuting is a big deal, IMO.  I have several friends who commute well over an hour each way which would make up for your imbalance in working hours in a hurry.

    Office politics is reduced.  Costs (fuel, work clothes, lunches, etc) reduced.  Flexibility in your work day without someone looking over your shoulder (ahem, you are nesting right now, right?).

    There are drawbacks, yes.  But plenty of people would like the opportunity to work from home.

  • image count the stars:

    Thanks both for your thoughts.  Noodle - I am definitely jealous.  I wish I wasn't, I should just be happy for him.  You are right that unless I do something about it, it is hard to complain :)

    image volenti:

    Remind yourself that he suffered a lot and paid his dues for what sounds like years before he landed his current, great job.  Now maybe it's your turn, which is never fun, but sometimes is necessary.  You're right.  I suppose that I always look at it as that I have been suffering too in a job I don't like, and he has had the opportunity to "shop around" for a better job while I was "holding down the fort" by bringing in the money.  Rather than looking to immediately bail, think about the long game -- what kind of job is your ideal and how do you position yourself to get it?  I have no idea.  My biggest problem is that I don't know what I want to do with my life but don't think that what I do now is it.  I worry that I will never figure it out.  I find that I work to live rather than live to work (and don't care as much about having a "career" - I would love to be a SAHM one day).  Can you add skills or experience?  Probably! I just need to figure out what I should be getting experience in. Network?  Feeling like there's that light at the end of the tunnel because you're working on how to move to a better job can make enduring a not so great one a lot easier.  I think I should start putting feelers out and looking at what jobs are available out there.

    Also consider how realistic it is to try to get a job where you can get off work before 6:00 p.m.  For lots of people that's kind of a pipe dream.  In your field is it realistic to expect a job that lets you clock out at 4:30 or 5:00 routinely?  If you find it, will that limit your upward potential?  Is that the career path you want?

    I would love to just have a job.  I would rather make a decent salary and just work 9-5 doing something fun than make a ton and have a "career".  Basically I am lazy, which I realize is not a good quality.

    Count the stars: you and I are kindred spirits.  I feel like I'm a bad woman, but I have no ambition.  I want a decent job that isn't too hard and pays the bills and let's me enjoy my life.  I also think I'd love to be a SAHM someday, so I'm not interested in a demanding career.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I also have no idea what else I could do (other than my current job), and thinking about it scares me.

    My advice to you is to start looking at what jobs are out there.  I have felt trapped for so long, I recently started looking and found some neat opportunities that are actually getting me excited again.  I'm going to start applying and just knowing there might be something new in my future is definitely lifting my spirits.  Even if you decide to stay at your current job, just knowing that you have looked at other options will make you feel more secure that you are doing it by choice.

    ETA: are you on LinkedIN?  That's the first thing I did.  It had a great and easy to use job search feature and it was neat to see where other people I know work.  Good for getting ideas about what other types of jobs there are out there and seeing what companies you might have a contact at.

  • image noodle_oo:
    But more than that, I've realized that I'm really jealous because he really likes his job and I really don't like mine.  Which is making me realize, I need to make a change in my life.  I'm just like you, I have good pay, decent commute and good vacation, so it is hard to give that up.  But I'm realizing being happy is more important so if that means taking a pay cut to make a career change, so be it.  If I don't do anything to change my situation, then I can't really complain.

    I think this is the real crux of the issue.  Our situation is sort of the opposite of yours in that my current job is a piece of cake and I make nearly twice as much as DH while not working all that many hours.  DH has commented before that he's jealous of my pay, especially relative to my workload.  BUT I'm similarly jealous that he does work he loves and is really good at.  He has a career; I have a job.  Not knowing what you want to be when you grow up when you're theoretically already mid-way into your career kind of sucks.  When work is enjoyable, you don't really count the minutes ticking by.

    I'll be honest, I've sort of given up on finding something that I love to do.  Instead I'm in a job that, while mundane, pays a great wage and doesn't kill my personal time.  That personal time is then used for the things I do love but that don't pay the bills.  Sure it'd be ideal to combine the best aspects of both worlds, but at some point you just have to suck it up and be realistic: typically there's a choice to be made between sacrificing type of work, hours, and/or pay.

    I'd rather be rock climbing or playing volleyball
    image image
  • I sympathize with you count, as I'm in the same position. I work 50-60 hours on average and DH works 25 hours a week. He is good about picking up the household slack (he cooks 95% of our meals and keeps the house tidy during the week), but I have a hard time not rolling my eyes when he makes comments about how tired he is.
  • Is it possible that his new job is still new enough that he hasn't hit the stressful point yet? I know here it would take 9mo-1yr to really hit that point.
    image
  • Thanks everyone for your thoughts,experiences, advice, kicks in the rear and commiserating. I am going to search around for other opportunities and try to get out of this funk.  I will also talk to H about picking up more slack at home.  He is very lucky in that his job is probably going to stay equally (or less) stressful as time goes on. 

    While there are definitely benefits to WFH, it is definitely not all perks - I have little face-to-face interaction, it can be isolating, and I have to work VERY hard to keep up with my in-office colleagues (I am often passed up on opportunities because I do not sit in the office and miss out on lots of networking and leadership building).

  • image count the stars:

    image KAdams767:
    We are in a similar situation.  I wouldn't say I resent DH, because I don't, but I definitely know the pangs of jealousy that hit me when I am at work at 7pm and I know he has been home for several hours already.  However, we do have a mostly unspoken agreement that since I work longer hours, he picks up some extra slack at home and that works for us.  I am at least thankful that I don't have to work 12 hour days and then come home and clean my house, walk my dog, etc. 

    Maybe this is what really gets me.  I think I need to address it.  I feel like H could do more around here in terms of cleaning and doing stuff around the house. 

    This is what got me with my exh. And I actually made almost double what he did, worked longer hours, did most of the house stuff and most of the stuff the ds needed. It SUCKED. I now live with my bf and he actually does half the stuff around the house and helps ds with his homework because he knows it helps me and he gets off work earlier. Try talking with your dh to see if he can help more with the house stuff so that you can not worry as much about that kind of thing and have a little time to enjoy when you are not at work. It may make a huge difference for you!

  • Well it sounds like he ate a lot of crap and sucked it up before he got his current job.   You'll need to do the same - take it in stride and keep trying - I believe you will eventually land something a lot better.
  • I think this is a hard one because I've come to realize already that neither of us are ever both going to make the same money working the same hours at the same level of happiness. One of us is always going to be doing "better" in one of the areas.

    I think we both like our jobs at the moment, but I'm sad that my DH is making almost as much money as I am and I worked a LOT harder to get to where I am (I have a master's degree, he hasn't completed any degree at all). But then I think about it and him making more money benefits us both, and it isn't his fault that I picked the wrong path for jumping into a good paying job.

    On the flip side, my hours are decent and his are horrible (he works overnights) but I work more than full time because I'm salaried, and he clocks out on time every day because he's not.

    I have no point other than that there are always upsides and downsides to each job and things will never be completely equal. I think your plan to explore options and ask for help from your DH is a good one, and other than that I think it is just something you'll need to get used to and accept over time. Good luck! 

  • This is a little off the direction of this thread, but as one of the career junkies, I want to say that there's nothing wrong with not wanting a career.  You shouldn't feel ashamed, lazy or guilty, as long as what you're willing to provide is enough for your family.  Just because I'm eager to climb the corporate ladder doesn't make you a less valuable person for just wanting a low stress job where you can clock in and clock out and get paid a fair wage for what you contribute.  Trust me, there have been plenty of months where I've wanted the same thing.

    Just be sure that your compensation expectations are in line with your job aspirations.  At my own firm, I've seen people who run into trouble in that area.  They make it very clear that they don't want to take on any added responsibility, and are then upset when everyone gets a raise but them.

    Hope you can find something that works well for you.  If there are networking events for your industry, you might go to a few.  Just running into people who are working in other jobs and other capacities may give you some ideas of what's out there.

  • I'm sure you would feel a lot better about it if your husband used some of his extra time to make things easier for you.  I am currently a SAHM and plan on only going back to work PT in about a year.  My husband has told me he actually likes our current situation a lot more because he comes home to a home cooked meal and a fairly clean house most nights of the week.  My DH does help me with some cleaning on the weekends but M-F I make sure to do it all by myself.
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  • So you would feel better if he was down in the shitter with you? Nice. Mature....
    image
  • image Spenjamins:
    So you would feel better if he was down in the shitter with you? Nice. Mature....

    LOL. I don't think I said that anywhere.

  • THis isn't about your husband; this is about you.  If you dont' like your job then talk to your manager about how you can find newer, stimiulating, career developing opportunities that will keep you interested and engaged in the business of this company.

    If your manager does not come through, expacd your network.

    Also, use this as a catalyst to look at other companies.

     And don't assume you are going to take a pay cut!  You now have years of experience under your belt and jumping shift to a new company should earn you nothing but a pay raise.

  • image count the stars:

    image LibGrl:
    Try to remind yourself that there are people who would be thrilled to have some of the perks of your job too. Working from home is nothing to sneeze at.

    Aside from not commuting, what do you think are the "perks" of working from home?  I am not being snarky, just wondering.  

    Well, no commute is a huge perk in terms of time and money (gas, wear and tear on a car). Also, no dry cleaning bill, reduced office drama/politics. I'm sure there is more but I would enjoy those "perks" off the top of my head.

     

    Also, neither of my comments were meant as snark. Just a suggestion that searching for a silver lining or two may help you feel better. 

    Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing...Harper Lee
  • I work longer hours (during the week) than my DH... but he has to make up the work on Saturdays. So basically, he works less hours during the week, yes. Then I get home at 7, and have to make dinner and put DD to bed. Then I'm home alone with her on Saturdays.

    So I am resentful he is at work on Saturdays because one of us needs to pick up DD from daycare during the week and he has the flexibility to do so- I don't. Then I only see him one day a week. Both of our jobs are demanding and require much more than 40 hours a week, but since he works for family, he has more flexibility.

    Just venting also, no real point. 

    :)
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