Trouble in Paradise
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Lost

Hello all,

I've lurked here for a long time, so I feel like I know you gals already. I hope you can help. I'll try to keep this as short as possible, but I have a feeling that will be unlikely.

My husband hates his job. It's a stepping-stone job; not exactly what he wants to be doing, but essentially a necessary step to moving up the ladder to the type of job he wants to get (he works in academia). Since starting a few months ago, he has been nothing but negative about every aspect of it, from the duties themselves, to the schedule, to the time of day, even the school's mascot. I mean, seriously. With this attitude, to no surprise he has become very depressed about his job and has been desperate to leave.

Essentially, in order to follow an efficient career plan, he should stay at this job for AT LEAST two years. Within the past several weeks, he has waxed and waned from being committed to sticking it out for his/our future, leaving as soon as this year is over, and quitting immediately (as in, today, no notice, students without a professor for the remainder of the semester). The cycle keeps continuing, and it is so exhausting for me.

I try to be very sensitive and supportive to him; however, I feel the degree to which he has let his job affect him is unreasonable and unhealthy, especially considering that there is nothing "bad" about the job, he is just teaching courses he doesn't particularly care for. Millions of people hate their jobs, and although it may not be a healthy situation, they are able to tolerate it enough to do what they need to do to feed their families, keep their insurance, etc. As of right now, we are in a "quit after this year" phase. He is literally planning to leave whether or not he has another job lined up, which I think is incredibly irresponsible and selfish. Also, due to his field, his new job would almost certainly be in another state, and I absolutely cannot leave because I am in my second year of medical school. It would also be very difficult to re-enter the field if he were unemployed for a year. Basically, he is willing to leave, live away from me, and possibly be unemployed (immediately and potentially long-term within his field).

On top of the obvious reasons I don't want him to leave, we have also been in this situation before. He attended 4 universities for his bachelor's because he "didn't like them" and therefore took 6 years to finish. He has gotten depressed in past jobs as well, and has been desperate to leave virtually every stressful situation he has ever encountered. When he is not in an overwhelmed state, he is an incredible worker and positive husband, but I just want to point out that these are recurring issues he keeps encountering. Therefore, I feel that leaving the job is not the solution, since I don't believe the job is truly the problem. 

Because his logic is absent/unreasonable about this and his depressive/angry moods, I urged him to see a therapist. He complied, and actually really likes her (yay). However, as of last week, she told him that he is thinking completely rationally about his situation, and if he wants to leave, he should quit his job. Seriously, what therapist tells a 35-year-old married man that it's a good idea to leave his wife and risk unemployment?!?!?

In her defense, she has given him some "homework" to do to change his thinking and try to increase his happiness, but he is not doing it. If I gently remind him to do it, he just says, "I'll do it later". Now, I'm not only upset that his is contemplating ruing his career and potentially our relationship through a long-distance situation, but he is not doing anything to change anything.

Okay, this is terribly long, and it's not even scratching the surface. If you've made it this far, thank you. I am just sad, a lot. I am an incredibly positive, happy person, and I just feel weary and worn down emotionally. I am also at a loss of what I should do about his resistance to doing his therapy assignments and work on getting better. Again, in his mind, the issue is 100% with the job, so he doesn't feel he really needs to change.

Thanks for any help you can give. I just needed to vent. 

Re: Lost

  • I'm not your husband, but I can tell you that I see parallels between him and myself so perhaps I can offer another side?

    I, too, am in an academic field and in a stepping stone job between what I used to do (which I LOOOVED) and what I want to do.  Being out of work for any period of time is not a good idea for me, either.  I started my current job knowing I had to be there about two years.  Even on day one, I was miserable.  Completely, 100%, miserable.  I cried my first two days on the way to work.  Since then, it hasn't improved.

    Is it because of my mindset?  Probably.  But, there are legitimate things I don't like about it that can be changed in a different environment.  There's so much that can't be known about a job until you are actually working in it.  I also flew through stages of "I'm leaving tomorrow," to "I'm leaving after a year," to "I'll stick it out for the two years."  I waffled horribly.  In the end, I made it the two years and am nearing my end time now.

    I've become "depressed."  Not clinically, but I don't like doing things or talking to people as much as I did.  The only thing I can focus on it getting out and the next step.  I'm a shell of who I used to be and I'd imagine it's quite frustrating for my husband.  Especially compared to the accomplished, happy, confident person I was in my previous job.

    However, he 100% supports and has supported my leaving this job.  He *hates* seeing me upset.  He *hates* seeing me coming home and crying.  He's willing to take the one income, the one health insurance and carry us for a few months.  He welcomes it.  He often wonders why I haven't left sooner.

    A very large but needs to come in here, though - I've told my husband a thousand and one plans that has me working again in a short period of time.  I've identified what I don't like about my current position and how I can fix those with a new job.  They are fixable problems.  I can articulate exactly what I don't like and how other jobs will be better.  Can your husband do that?

    In the long run, if this is going to be your husband's career (and not just a job to pay the bills), then I think his happiness absolutely needs to be taken into consideration.  Of course, yours does as well, which means that you and he need to compromise.  You're in school and can't leave, so what *can* he change in his job that will allow him to be happier?  He needs to be able to say these things and discuss with you to come to a reasonable solution. 

    Please don't shut him out based on the past.   I know you want to and I know you want to scream "just suck it up!"  I would've had the same reaction before my current position.  I have a little more empathy for those in employment that is not a good fit for them.  However, those of us in those positions need to help ourselves in realistic ways that aren't a burden on our spouses/families.  Sometimes that means just fixing half the issues instead of going whole hog and moving to another state. 

  • Thank you so much.

    I realize in re-reading it that I sound very insensitive and demanding, and I can assure you this is not the case. It kills me to see him upset, and I absolutely want him to be happy, whether it be in this job or a different one. We are up all hours of the night sometimes talking and comforting, and I absolutely have his back.

    My biggest frustration and fear is that he isn't able to do what you stated, coming up with reasonable plans for different scenarios. When I suggest that living apart will be difficult, he just says, "it will be better than now", without regard to how we would afford to travel, making time for each other, etc. Also, when we discuss that the workload/supervisor/students/etc. at another job may actually be worse, he is unwilling to accept that possibility as well. He is actively applying for jobs; if he gets an interview, then I definitely support him going and trying to find something better, even if it means being long-distance. Again, my issue is in him thinking leaving without a back-up plan or evaluation of consequences is a reasonable solution.

    I completely understand that he is miserable, and I feel terribly selfish even considering urging him to tough it out. I just don't want to see him ruin a career he is passionate about because he hasn't taken the time to truly evaluate his situation and his thinking, and put in the work to try to change. If he does the therapy exercises and still hates his job, you're right, he absolutely should leave. However, that is not what's happening right now. Also, if I were working and we could afford it, I would take on the burden as your husband did and support him. School doesn't allow me to do that now, so I feel he should at least try to survive this for the paycheck until he can line up another job.

    I also don't hold his past against him, but I recognize that this is a pattern of desperation he gets into, and I fear that he may risk a lot by leaving, and chances are high that we will have a similar situation in another location. My main concern is protecting him, career-wise, as well as personally, and we are trying to address these issues now so they don't continue to plague him in the future.

    Again, thank you so much.  I hope that you are much happier in your next job, and that things will improve for both you and your husband. I understand how terrible the situation is for both of you, and I applaud you both.

  • You are right. We all have had jobs we have hated, for one reason or another. And to just go and quit would just be bad.

    I have no other advice. Hoping that there's a solution that's satisfactory to you and to him --- maybe teaching isn't for him and he should do something else with his degree.

  • I too have felt like your husband..actually I do right now! I went to school for something and when I went out into the field...I wasnt crazy about it. As a matter of fact I have a hard time staying interested in anything for a long period of time. I dont have ADD or anything..at least I think I dont! Im not a hyper person I just can't do repetitive jobs for very long. Once im bored that is it time to find something else to do. I think your husband just hasnt found his "passion" yet. I also do not believe that every hates their job. Yes they may hate having to get up early in the morning and be away from their kids but I know people who love going to work everyday. Hopefully your husband will find that job and be happier. Maybe you could encourage him to figure out what it really is that he wants out of life? Good luck!
  • image MissQ10:

    Hello all,

    I've lurked here for a long time, so I feel like I know you gals already. I hope you can help. I'll try to keep this as short as possible, but I have a feeling that will be unlikely.

    My husband hates his job. It's a stepping-stone job; not exactly what he wants to be doing, but essentially a necessary step to moving up the ladder to the type of job he wants to get (he works in academia). Since starting a few months ago, he has been nothing but negative about every aspect of it, from the duties themselves, to the schedule, to the time of day, even the school's mascot. I mean, seriously. With this attitude, to no surprise he has become very depressed about his job and has been desperate to leave.

    Essentially, in order to follow an efficient career plan, he should stay at this job for AT LEAST two years. Within the past several weeks, he has waxed and waned from being committed to sticking it out for his/our future, leaving as soon as this year is over, and quitting immediately (as in, today, no notice, students without a professor for the remainder of the semester). The cycle keeps continuing, and it is so exhausting for me.

    I try to be very sensitive and supportive to him; however, I feel the degree to which he has let his job affect him is unreasonable and unhealthy, especially considering that there is nothing "bad" about the job, he is just teaching courses he doesn't particularly care for. Millions of people hate their jobs, and although it may not be a healthy situation, they are able to tolerate it enough to do what they need to do to feed their families, keep their insurance, etc. As of right now, we are in a "quit after this year" phase. He is literally planning to leave whether or not he has another job lined up, which I think is incredibly irresponsible and selfish. Also, due to his field, his new job would almost certainly be in another state, and I absolutely cannot leave because I am in my second year of medical school. It would also be very difficult to re-enter the field if he were unemployed for a year. Basically, he is willing to leave, live away from me, and possibly be unemployed (immediately and potentially long-term within his field).

    On top of the obvious reasons I don't want him to leave, we have also been in this situation before. He attended 4 universities for his bachelor's because he "didn't like them" and therefore took 6 years to finish. He has gotten depressed in past jobs as well, and has been desperate to leave virtually every stressful situation he has ever encountered. When he is not in an overwhelmed state, he is an incredible worker and positive husband, but I just want to point out that these are recurring issues he keeps encountering. Therefore, I feel that leaving the job is not the solution, since I don't believe the job is truly the problem. 

    Because his logic is absent/unreasonable about this and his depressive/angry moods, I urged him to see a therapist. He complied, and actually really likes her (yay). However, as of last week, she told him that he is thinking completely rationally about his situation, and if he wants to leave, he should quit his job. Seriously, what therapist tells a 35-year-old married man that it's a good idea to leave his wife and risk unemployment?!?!?

    In her defense, she has given him some "homework" to do to change his thinking and try to increase his happiness, but he is not doing it. If I gently remind him to do it, he just says, "I'll do it later". Now, I'm not only upset that his is contemplating ruing his career and potentially our relationship through a long-distance situation, but he is not doing anything to change anything.

    Okay, this is terribly long, and it's not even scratching the surface. If you've made it this far, thank you. I am just sad, a lot. I am an incredibly positive, happy person, and I just feel weary and worn down emotionally. I am also at a loss of what I should do about his resistance to doing his therapy assignments and work on getting better. Again, in his mind, the issue is 100% with the job, so he doesn't feel he really needs to change.

    Thanks for any help you can give. I just needed to vent. 

     

    Re: the bolded - does his therapist know that this is not just a one-off but rather a recurring pattern?  It's one thing to hate your job and want a change (I was there myself not too long ago), but it's another thing when your apparent only solution to any adversity ever is "Eff this, I'm going somewhere else."  His dislike of his current job, standing alone, may indeed be completely rational, but given the larger context I'm skeptical that it isn't just a symptom of a larger issue.

    image my to-read shelf:
    Steph's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (to-read shelf)
  • I agree that his inability to articulate what the problems are isn't a good sign.  I can state mine out in a list (as I have for so many people and I think they're a little sick of me!) and why changing to a new position would help those things regardless of what kind of boss I end up with.  There's pros and cons to leaving and starting new.  I'm with you on being concerned that he can't even acknowledge that a new position might not necessarily be 100% better.

    I'm so sorry you're in this position.  You seem very rational and want the best for your husband.  All I can suggest is keeping the dialogue open and trying to reach the heart of the matter.   It would be awesome if he could say "I hate this.  This new job, which will still help me get to this spot like I want, won't have this and will be better.  Not perfect, but better."  I think that's the most realistic approach you can hope for.

  • These are all very clear symptoms of ADD in adult men:  easily bored with school or a job, convinced a new job will fix it, getting sucked into fatalistic thinking patterns, shifting gears quickly from "I hate this" to "I love this".  My husband had all of those symptoms and was recently diagnosed.  It is so so so stressful to be the partner when you're trying to be emotionally supportive and he is shifting gears all over the place, and throwing out decisions that would have a very serious affect on both of you.  When the diagnosis was first suggested for DH he went home, googled and had a "holy cow!" moment when he realized almost every.single.symptom described him perfectly.  he is so much happier since he started getting treated.  I would strongly encourage your H to get evaluated and meet with a psychiatrist to try meds.

     

    ETA:  I also went to joint counseling with DH to help the therapist get a full idea of what was going on.  Her suggestion.

    image "...Saving just one pet won't change the world...but, surely, the world will change for that one pet..."
  • image Bigmama00:
    I too have felt like your husband..actually I do right now! I went to school for something and when I went out into the field...I wasnt crazy about it. As a matter of fact I have a hard time staying interested in anything for a long period of time. I dont have ADD or anything..at least I think I dont! Im not a hyper person I just can't do repetitive jobs for very long. Once im bored that is it time to find something else to do. I think your husband just hasnt found his "passion" yet. I also do not believe that every hates their job. Yes they may hate having to get up early in the morning and be away from their kids but I know people who love going to work everyday. Hopefully your husband will find that job and be happier. Maybe you could encourage him to figure out what it really is that he wants out of life? Good luck!

     

    That's actually exactly what adult ADD looks like, hyperactivity has been more or less removed from the diagnosis.  

    image "...Saving just one pet won't change the world...but, surely, the world will change for that one pet..."
  • Thanks again, everyone.

     Yes, he mentioned to the therapist that he has had similar feelings in the past, albeit not as severe. She basically said he has a low tolerance for stress, but didn't seem to offer any solutions for that. She also said these have been "corrective experiences" for him; i.e. he was never made to do anything he didn't want to as a child (chores, etc), so he is having those moments now. She said that each of these are making him more tolerant, but I don't know about that.

     I would love to go to a session with him, and suggested joining them via phone since I'm on campus every weekday. I'll try to pursue this further.

     The ups and down are utterly exhausting. Last night, he went from ok, to yelling (not at me, just about things), to punching pillows, to sobbing (lending more evidence to the fact that this has a definite mental element beyond the job). We'll see what tonight brings. It's terrible to be apprehensive every night coming home, wondering which husband will be there and how the night will go.

    He's mentioned feeling spacy/ADD in the past, so I will look into that as well. He is having trouble focusing right now to prepare his work, but that may also be a symptom of the depression.

    Sorry I didn't tag you all for individual responses; I'm a novice haha. 

      

  • ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADD is just Attention Deficit Disorder. They are two different beasts :) My sister and father are ADHD, I am just ADD.

    Agreed though, adult ADD is difficult to deal with (as a "sufferer" I can attest to this). My professional career has been difficult because I also get bored and "miserable" in my position after the novelty has worn off (I work for a bank but have a degree in ED - I quit ED because I hate how limited I was by the system and my own stupid coworkers).

    The move from Education to the banking world was drastic and a drop in pay, but my overall quality of life and contentment from my job more than made up for it. However, I still have to resist the urge to apply for new positions constantly and just recognize it for what it is - ADD and boredom. 

    I feel for you - I wasn't always able to differentiate between being actually miserable and just bored/unhappy and I'm sure it drove my family nuts. Thankfully I had a handle on it before I got married.

    Although your husbands happiness and satisfaction with his job is important - he needs to really sit down and think about his career choices. Is the End. Goal. worth the temporary crap? For me, with education, it wasn't. For me, with banking, it is.

    I'm so sorry, OP, that you're having to deal with this. It's difficult, especially if his therapist is getting duped. And seriously, there are good and bad therapists. I've duped some; hell, my 13 year old sister duped some. Hard to know unless you're the one in the sessions.

    Best advice I can give you? Remind him that his decisions affect your family, not just him. You deserve equal consideration when it comes to career changes/moves now that you're married. You should support him as his wife, but he should put your needs first as your husband - when you both work with that dynamic, things are so much better! It's not the same as when he was in college where it was just him and he could just up and move. ADD/OthermentalconditionX or not, if he doesn't acknowledge that, then there are other problems going on there. 

    Ignore the politics and enjoy life!
  • I realize that I'm chiming in late but wanted to add to the conversation. First, let me say that I am truly sorry that you are having to go through this... and of course, your husband as well! Did you ever convince him into letting you come along to a therapy session? If he seems to be hesitant to let you come along, have you ever thought that maybe his therapist hasn't actually agreed with him about quitting his job and that he's just telling you that? In no way am I trying to say that your husband is a liar...maybe he just really wants it to seem to you as if he isn't the only one that thinks following his heart and quitting his job isn't such a bad idea?! Since he feels so strongly that he should be able to call it quits and you disagree with him doing so, maybe he just wants you to think that someone understands and agrees with him?? Don't get me wrong, I agree with you that he shouldn't just give up whenever he is the least bit unhappy. However, he may just think that you'd feel different if his therapist, a professional on decision making, was agreeing with him. You know what I mean? Even when I know that my solution to a problem isn't the best, I still want for at least one person to agree with me. If this were to be the case with your husband, I wouldn't think that he's trying to be dishonest with you.... I'd think that he just doesn't want to seem like the unhappy guy that couldn't make his job work. I'm sure he's embarrassed that he's not doing a great job of making his current job work. No man likes admitting that they're failing at something so they tend to make excuses and put everything off on others and the situation rather than admitting that they're actually struggling. Maybe try sitting your husband down and telling him that you understand his frustration and explain to him that you realize how hard this is on him. Explain that you are sorry that he's having to go through this and that you promise to help him get through this by listening to his fears, concerns and even his complaints. Assure him that he's not in this alone and that you will be by his side every step of the way. Try to help him see his goal.... that being the job that he wants to end up having....and that if he can just push through and see his current job through to the end, it will all be worth it. While it may be extremely hard, try not to get aggravated or frustrated with him . Instead, be a good listener and allow him to vent and put everything out on the table. Reassure him that he's the strongest man you know and that he can do this and that you will be beside him every step of the way. I know that this is going to be very hard on you and you'll wish he would just suck it up and do what he needs to do! However, tell him that you want to hear ALL of his concerns and any and every problem that he can see arising not just now, but throughout the duration of his time in his current position. While having this conversation and letting him put everything on the table, if you feel like you just can't listen to him complain about his miserable job anymore, take a break and gather your thoughts instead of giving up on the conversation. Even get on here and vent if you need to so you don't accidentally say anything to him that may break the lines of communication. Once he feels like he's said his peace and told you ALL of his concerns, once again, assure him that he CAN do this and that he just needs to remember that great career/job that's waiting on him once he's made it through this 'boot camp'. After he has said everything that he needs to say, explain to him how hard it is on you to see him unhappy. I realize that it's really more aggravating and you get tired of him complaining in reality (I'd feel the same way) but don't tell him that. Stress how hard it is for you to hear how horrible his day was when he gets home because you HATE to see him in pain. Tell him that when he stays so upset about his job that it makes you upset because you can't take the pain away for him. Remind him that in order for you two to truly begin living your 'happily ever after' that you both are going to have to pull through these next couple of years together. Take him back to the time when he was struggling to finish up his degree but how he did it and that you were SO very proud of him. Not sure if you even complain about anything to him but tell him that you are going to try your hardest to not complain about your classes because you don't want to bring him down. Then, carefully, ask him if there is anyway he can bring his work problems down a couple of notches. Remember to focus on how hard it is to see him upset and remember to emphasize how strong he is and how lucky you are to be with such a strong man. Hopefully, by taking all of the attention off of the negative aspects of him complaining and giving up on his job and switching it to the concern you feel for him when he is upset, discouraged or defeated he will feel the need to stop complaining non stop about every single thing at his school. (i.e. the mascot) I realize that this is a very long post but I've been in a VERY similar situation before and this helped with what my husband and I were going through! I hope that this will maybe help you out some even if it's just a little. Best of luck to you! Feel free to message me anytime if you just need to chat!
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