Author Topic: How can I get my husband to quit his job?  (Read 13383 times)

frugal rph

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How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« on: September 18, 2012, 12:23:15 PM »
My husband and I have been savers for our entire 10 year marriage, and we have 1 son.  He is significantly more frugal than I am.  We have a net worth of about $700,000, which is about 40/60 in cash and investments since we have been saving to pay cash for a house and like to have a large emergency fund.  I work about 25 hours a week and have full-time benefits.  We can easily live on what I make and my job is secure (I'm a pharmacist). 

The problem is my husband's job.  He makes about the same amount I do, but he has no benefits, no schedule, and is treated very poorly.  They call him multiple times a week to change his schedule, ask him to come in on his day off, or criticize him for things he did at work that day.  We have had to cancel our last 2 vacations because of his job.  He has developed insomnia, anxiety, rashes, stomach problems, and more since being in this field.  There are very few options in his field and he will not easily (or possibly never) find a job that is substantially better.  I have begged him to quit, and do not care if he never earns another dime again.  I suggested buying a couple of rental houses that he could manage, or going back to school if he wants to.  He has invested significant training time and costs in his current field and worries what will happen if I lose my job and/or he never finds another good job.

I have shown him how we could live on our savings if we had to and told him how unlikely it is that neither one of use would not be able to get a job doing something if we really had to.  He is miserable, and we are all not as happy as we could be.  I think he is missing out on too much of our son's life and our marriage is suffering.  Has anyone been in this situation?  I don't want to save money just to see my bank balance grow, I want to also live a great life!  Any advice would be appreciated.

deciduous

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2012, 12:33:00 PM »
I can't give any helpful advice right now, but I just want to wish you good luck. That sounds awful and I hope you can pull him out of it.

totoro

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2012, 12:38:11 PM »
Does he read this blog?  Can you show him the formulas?  What appeals to him in life and what is getting in his way of making different decisions about work?  Is it self-esteem with having a job?  Fear of poverty?  Would he go to a personal development program or counsellor?

I think first you have to figure out what the block is and what the motivators are.  What we did is a vision board.  My partner and I wrote it together on a piece of poster board.  I am looking at it on our wall right now.  The sections are:

1. relationship
2. free time/fun
3. work
4. finances/FI
5. health
6. family

We wrote down mutual goals for all the sections.  It has really helped focus us on what is important.  We have accomplished a lot of the goals for this year already and we only wrote it in July.   I think you have to be prepared to do what it takes to have what you want - but you really have to know what you want first. 



vwDavid

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2012, 12:58:21 PM »
subscribed...thought you were posting about me for a moment...wrong wife, same life....

Angelfishtitan

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2012, 01:23:18 PM »
Have you really sat down to assuage his fears? With so much wealth, he should not be worried even about the loss of your job. I think the best way to bring him relief would be to show him with math why he shouldn't worry. With your net worth you have a safe withdrawal rate of $28K + whatever you are currently making, which I assume is not insignificant with a stashe like that. Plus, I bet your yearly expenses are not even much more than that currently.

Another way to convince him is to make him understand that if the need arises and you end up jobless, no matter how unlikely, you both can go back to looking in the job market. Depending on if you are as close to FI as I think you are, you will not even have to find jobs that pay as highly, you can keep looking for better jobs after you find something.

If he is still hesitant, it may not be entirely financial. Try to pull out what else he fears about quitting. The whole point of mustachian living is to get the most joy out of the least "stuff", and your husband sounds like he is significantly missing that first (and personally more important) part.

Jason G.

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 01:34:44 PM »
If he is still hesitant, it may not be entirely financial.
This is absolutely true.

People can get a lot more out of their jobs than just money. Prestige, sense of self worth, sense of identity, a chance to socialize with like-minded people, etc. If he understands your secure financial situation but is still worried about quitting, there is probably something deeper going on. Try to have a quiet conversation about what he's getting out of his job that he's afraid of losing. If you can identify it together, that's a huge step toward finding a more fulfilling alternative.

ShavenLlama

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 01:47:47 PM »
What's the point of F-You money if you aren't going to give someone a major EFFFFFFF YOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!?

Can he become a freelancer in his field?

velocistar237

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 01:55:08 PM »
There are lots of enjoyable, rewarding, part-time jobs out there. He could find something meaningful to do like tour guide, substitute teacher, museum docent, handyman, instructor, volunteer, etc. Change is hard, so people often don't think about it.

frugal rph

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2012, 02:37:00 PM »
Thank you so much for all the replies!

I realized I haven't really sat down with him and run the numbers.  I just assumed that since he knows how much money we have and I keep telling him that we can live on it (and he occasionally reads this blog) that he has the whole picture.  I am going to schedule a financial meeting with him on Friday and really crunch the numbers with him.

I think there are two non-financial reasons he is resisting quitting his job.  First, if he leaves his field, there will be significant training costs to get back in after even 6 months off.  Secondly, the men in his family WORK!  His parents would freak out if he quit his job, and his male siblings all have financially lucrative careers.  I don't think any of his siblings have significant savings, but that is beside the point right now.  Society also still seems to expect men to work, as much as I would like to think otherwise. 

He can't really become a freelancer in his field without having to make significant money to pay his own ongoing training costs.  I totally agree about the FU money!  I am ready to go to his office, tape a huge middle finger to every door, and set off a stink bomb on his boss' desk.

I think he would really enjoy something like one of the part-time jobs velocistar mentioned.  I have suggested this type of thing in the past, but I will bring it up again during our financial meeting on Friday.  This would also help satisfy his need to tell his family and others that he is working.

Thank you so much again!

vwDavid - What is stopping you from quitting your job?

Angelfishtitan

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2012, 03:06:04 PM »
I think there are two non-financial reasons he is resisting quitting his job.  First, if he leaves his field, there will be significant training costs to get back in after even 6 months off.  Secondly, the men in his family WORK!  His parents would freak out if he quit his job, and his male siblings all have financially lucrative careers.  I don't think any of his siblings have significant savings, but that is beside the point right now.  Society also still seems to expect men to work, as much as I would like to think otherwise. 

Even if he can't bear to give up having a job, full or part-time, is there anything really stopping him from moving into a less stressful field? He may not make much money, but like you said before, he doesn't even need to work. I agree with velocistar237 that the working world is basically his oyster at this point.

If it is his family giving him grief, the obvious response is to PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE! But honestly, are they going to look down on him for retiring early? Just explain your situation, and don't let family harassment get to him.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 03:09:39 PM by Angelfishtitan »

happy

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2012, 05:42:40 AM »
I really agree with making sure he really understands what is possible. It would be good to really check that he has got  just how do-able it is and that your ongoing income will further buffer the numbers.

I hate sexist stereotypes, but I really think for some blokes self identity is  terribly tied up with working. Also does HE see his work as problematic as you do? if he doesn't then you might have a hard time getting him to see it your way.

Sometimes it takes a big reality check for people to see what the important things in life are - such as a health scare, or someone close becoming unwell.  I'm not suggesting you can or should manufacture something like this, but if there is nothing in your immediate circle that could give him pause for thought (And I sincerely hope that there isn't) ...what about something like thishttp://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

If retirement = failure, what about "taking a break", and looking for some new direction.
If the family are negative, emphasise "we are FI now", He could be"reassessing his options"...not quit, out of work etc.

good luck.



velocistar237

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2012, 07:01:51 AM »
Has your husband read the MMM post The Joy of Part-Time Work?

igthebold

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2012, 07:43:32 AM »
I've never had this particular problem, but I have had problems where I let my career have too much impact on my emotional life.

Two nights stand out in particular:
1) The night before my last day at a full-time job when I realized I had to come up with about 10x more work than I'd been able to find up to that point. I was awake literally all night.
2) The night after I'd been screwed over by a startup in a very ugly, personal way. I was awake stewing all night.

Soon after these events I noticed gray hairs. I was 31-ish, so this isn't uncommon and probably wasn't related, but it signified something to me: it's possible to get old before your time. The past two presidents have done it.. they've greyed visibly in office. It just wasn't worth it.

So I'm a lot more philosophical about the whole thing now. One of my primary goals in following MMM is to reduce the expense side of the equation, reducing the emotional impact anything on the revenue side has on me. In the end, for most jobs, work is merely a means of supplying needs. As such, it needs to remain in its proper place.

It's not your boss or your family that need to be punched in the face. At least not primarily. It's that little portion of your life called, "provide for the family." Having a job is a way of generating revenue, no more. Until you get this, you'll be emotionally bound to things that have no rightful claim on your emotions.

One of my projects just scaled back, so I don't know where all of next week's revenue is going to come from. Yesterday I learned how to tie a Monkey's Fist knot. I've wanted to do that since I was 12. It was more productive than worrying.

ShavenLlama

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2012, 09:32:45 AM »
I am ready to go to his office, tape a huge middle finger to every door, and set off a stink bomb on his boss' desk.

Please PLEASE do this. Do it for me. And take pictures.

JJ

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2012, 10:27:52 AM »
The idea of FU money isn't necessarily about saying FU, it's knowing that you can.  It sounds like your husband is on the wrong end of a power relationship.  Do you sums and check that he really can say FU - then the power comes back to your husband in the relationship.  There is a huge difference between _having_ to be there and _wanting_ to be there. He simply needs to point out that he is only there now because he wants to be, and so here are the new ground rules:
1. Vacations are non-negotiable
2. A planned day off is a day off
3. Any criticism must be constructive
...
18. 8 weeks vacation each year

It sounds like your husband would rather carry on working, but not under the current circumstances.  If you are more or less FI you are in a position to change those circumstances.  That's the whole point.  You don't need to burn bridges there just yet.

BTW - this is speaking from experience.  I had great bosses, but far from ideal working conditions.  I was FI early 2010, but still working - I changed a whole lot of my working conditions to suit myself- still not perfect, but it is a reasonable balance between doing something I find interesting and not going too grey too quickly in the process.

travelbug

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2012, 09:54:59 PM »
I really agree with making sure he really understands what is possible. It would be good to really check that he has got  just how do-able it is and that your ongoing income will further buffer the numbers.


If retirement = failure, what about "taking a break", and looking for some new direction.
If the family are negative, emphasise "we are FI now", He could be"reassessing his options"...not quit, out of work etc.


I agree with this.

It's exciting what you have achieved, I would focus on the FI part rather than the negative emotional work part. Give your DH back his power that may have been stripped away from him over time by his employment situation.

The family have no real rebuff if he states that he is retired, has financial independence. How cool.

Also, how old is your son, can he replace a daycare arrangement so that he is saving rather than earning  $ to keep you on track to FI?

Good luck

Wendyimhome

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2012, 12:32:35 AM »
As wwDavid said, I really thought you were writing about me.  (You're not faking the bit about being a pharmacist, are you?)

In all seriousness, I am in your husband's situation now and have been for some time.  A couple of distinctions are that my wife does not make the money you do.  She does online teaching, more for enjoyment than anything, I think.  She also pretty much spends every penny she makes on "fun stuff" for her and our kid.  So I am the breadwinner, and I have to think long and hard about calling it quits.

That said, we do have a goodly amount saved and could go a number of years without me working.  And, to her credit, my wife has encouraged me to quit or go part-time.  What's stopping me, (and I suspect your husband)?

First, you're exactly right about men feeling a need to work, especially in the less progressive states and communities.  Men also don't like to be perceived as quitters, and we don't like to "let the bastards win," which quitting would seem to do.  I try hard to look past this, but the bottom line is that I spent a lot of years going to school and even more learning my professional afterwards, and I just hate the thought of chucking it all.

We also have a fear that you must either stay in the game or retire.  If you call it quits and take a hike, there's some chance that you will be viewed as someone who couldn't hack it, damaged goods that no one will want to take a chance on again.  There's also the concern that you will become too rusty to make a comeback if you sit it out too long.  I think these fears have some merit, but your husband and I are probably over blowing them.

I'm also genuinely terrified about the economy and the future of the US.  I don't see my field (law) EVER getting back to where it was in terms of financial security, and I have significant concerns about whether the country's job market as a whole will ever recover.  I've also seen our portfolio hammered by two horrible bear markets, and I know that could happen again at any time.  Just think, mideast turmoil, oil/gas shortages, you name it.

Finally, I don't want to "use up" everything I've saved and cut it close financially,  I want to have funds available for family if they need it, and I personally feel an obligation to leave my son something.

So all of this combines to make a perfect storm of fear and a feeling of being trapped.  If it's any consolation, you can appreciate that you are married to someone who is obviously very responsible and wants to make sure the family is well provided for.

My suggestion is this:

Get your husband to take 2 or 3 months off.  Given the symptoms you've listed, you can probably get a doctor to order it, thus bringing it within FMLA protection.  Get him some much needed R&R and perspective.  He probably should also seek out some counseling, as that can help him see things from different angles, put some perspective on his fears, etc.  If he's not on an anti-depressant and/or anti-anxiety med, he probably needs that.  While off work, he can calmly explore other possibilities, including things that he probably now thinks there is no way he could find the time to do.

After that leave period, he will probably at least feel sufficiently recharged to go another several months or longer without feeling quite so miserable.  If the feelings return just as severe, then he will know that it is high time to quit for good.

Last thing.  Try to remain supportive.  I know it gets hard and frustrating, but the compassion and support of a good wife can mean all the world, especially if he has no good friends at work.

frugal rph

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2012, 08:43:03 AM »

I'm also genuinely terrified about the economy and the future of the US.  I don't see my field (law) EVER getting back to where it was in terms of financial security, and I have significant concerns about whether the country's job market as a whole will ever recover.  I've also seen our portfolio hammered by two horrible bear markets, and I know that could happen again at any time.  Just think, mideast turmoil, oil/gas shortages, you name it.

 If it's any consolation, you can appreciate that you are married to someone who is obviously very responsible and wants to make sure the family is well provided for.



You sound like my husband, except he is not a lawyer:).  I do really appreciate being married to someone who is willing to put up with so much at work to make sure we are financially secure.  I know plenty of people whose significant others will go buy a new Play Station when they don't have enough money to pay the rent.  I so try to remain supportive and resolve to try even harder in the future.

The idea of FU money isn't necessarily about saying FU, it's knowing that you can.  It sounds like your husband is on the wrong end of a power relationship.  Do you sums and check that he really can say FU - then the power comes back to your husband in the relationship.  There is a huge difference between _having_ to be there and _wanting_ to be there. He simply needs to point out that he is only there now because he wants to be, and so here are the new ground rules:
1. Vacations are non-negotiable
2. A planned day off is a day off
3. Any criticism must be constructive
...
18. 8 weeks vacation each year


This is a great idea and a better direction for him.  He is not going to quit right now no matter what I say, but we have already started taking small steps in this direction since I wrote my original post.  He now turns his phone off for 2 hours after he gets home.  This may not sound like much, but it is huge for him. 

He was also asked to do 40 hours of unpaid training in 2 weeks, and he said NO!  He has done a day or two of unpaid training in the past, but never 40 hours.  He calmly said that he is willing to do it, but he will have to be paid.  I checked the law and it seems like they at least have to pay him minimum wage for training since he is an employee and not an independent contractor.  If he doesn't do the training, then he won't be able to work on about a third of their business, but that is fine with us.
I really agree with making sure he really understands what is possible. It would be good to really check that he has got  just how do-able it is and that your ongoing income will further buffer the numbers.


If retirement = failure, what about "taking a break", and looking for some new direction.
If the family are negative, emphasise "we are FI now", He could be"reassessing his options"...not quit, out of work etc.


I agree with this.

It's exciting what you have achieved, I would focus on the FI part rather than the negative emotional work part. Give your DH back his power that may have been stripped away from him over time by his employment situation.

Also, how old is your son, can he replace a daycare arrangement so that he is saving rather than earning  $ to keep you on track to FI?


Our son just stared Kindergarten this year, so our childcare costs have almost disappeared.  We have an arrangement with two other families that one of the six parents will be there after school each day or all day for school holidays.  Another cost eliminated!

I agree about focusing on the positive.  We really want to move, but can't because of his job.  If we don't feel tied down by his job, we can look at moving anywhere!  We have planned a vacation in October to really look at 2 communities we think we want to live in, and he is excited about that possibility.

His family will never understand that someone could be FI in their early forties, but that seems less important as time goes on.  They live 14 hours away, so we don't even really have to discuss his employment situation in detail with them.  I think he will always be working at something, so he can just talk about that with them.

Thanks for all the replies and support!

travelbug

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Re: How can I get my husband to quit his job?
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2012, 10:44:22 PM »
How exciting for you OP. I wish you all the best.