DH announces quack job search

(91 Posts)
MurielPuce Thu 02-May-13 07:05:09

Help me, mumsnetters... So, we're having a tough time financially; like everyone else, the bum economy has hit us hard. Both DH and I do freelance consulting, and this year has been so tough! The overwhelming bulk of the income for the past 5 years (easily 2/3rds) has been mine, and because we've both taken fewer jobs to work around the kids, we've had basically no money coming in since December.

Yesterday, while opening another huge mortgage bill, which I will pay, I say, "So what are your plans for work this year?" And he goes, "I'm thinking about taking a course in kinesiology.... maybe get some clients."

!!!!!

First of all, let me say that DH is a genius. Without exaggeration he is unbelievably smart. He can do the Guardian cryptic crossword in an hour. He outperforms winning University Challenge teams, he speaks fluent French & is teaching the kids, he is a statistics nut who actually understands how the stock market works. When I met him he was doing an economics degree. He's incredibly clever, a good dad, and a nice guy.

"Applied Kinesiology", as far as I can make out, is a kind of alternative therapy where you wave crystals over the body correspondent to different organ functions and that connects to muscle functions. For example, if your foot hurts, a therapist waves a crystal near your liver, and presto, your foot is fixed. I think. I'm not sure how it works, or that it does work; the first 10 searches for "kinesiology" on the web return results that say "quackery". DH had a session last year that he felt helped him, and has had like 5 other sessions since, and now wants to go into it as a career.

I can't support this! I mean, financially, I DON"T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY to be the sole breadwinner while he gets set up, even when he is up and running his income prospects are v-e-r-y l-o-w, and I absolutely cannot get behind a job that I am embarrassed to describe to others. Secondly, I love him, but his people skills are TERRIBLE. He is definitely a back-office type of personality. How can he build a career, support 2 kids when the whole job of a therapist relies upon being good with people? If he would have said "teacher training" or "law school" or even "medical school" I would have been 100% behind him, but I am not okay with this!

Am I being unreasonable? Someone, give me advice please. I am too embarrassed to talk to friends or family about it, and every time I look at him, I feel like I could strangle him, so I am absolutely not in a place to talk to him rationally right now.

ElleMcFearsome Thu 02-May-13 07:14:15

A whole list of questions:

How much does the training cost? I'm assuming even with something as woo as kinesiology there's training (that probably costs a lot!) Where will this money come from?

Will he be able to do other work whilst he's training to bring in some income? Are there other jobs available that he could do, thereby removing some of the financial burden from your shoulders?

Has he done any research into whether there is a market for this sort of thing?

Is he ok with effectively peddling snake oil treatments to people who can be really desperate and vulnerable?

Does he tend to have these sorts of impulses often (i.e. will it be something else that catches his eye in a few months?) Maybe a session with a careers advisor, if he feels like he's floating and wants to get a career on track?

Southeastdweller Thu 02-May-13 07:17:06

I think you need time out to get your thoughts together and explain, with the emphasis on practicalities, how him doing the course and the lack of opportunities in this line of work will set you back financially. Perhaps he might respond positively to you having worked out on a spreadsheet his projected loss of earnings against your outgoings?

You seem very concerned with outward appearances. I don't think you should be embarrassed to talk to your loved ones about it.

And if he really is a "back office" type (charmingly put - hope he doesn't read this), how come he does consulting?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 02-May-13 07:19:11

I don't think my understanding of Kineseology is the same as yours. My DH had a course and it didn't involve any crystals...aside from that..I so relate to your issues. You could suggest he gets a job in a call centre to fund the course....have you told him that the course will be too expensive?

MurielPuce Thu 02-May-13 07:47:34

@ElleMcFearsome There is training, but I don't know how much it costs.... He's kept quiet about this one for a while. He floated it a year ago when we were a little more solvent, and I dismissed it then, so I was really surprised to have it come up again yesterday. I think the fact that I feel his personality isn't suited to building up a business based on client relationships and dealing with people in an intimate setting is something I see as a challenge but he doesn't...

@Southeastdweller I'm less concerned about outward appearances than it might seem from this post, it's just that all my loved ones expressed amusement (okay, all our friends laughed and said "what a nut your DH is!") when he started having sessions with a kinesiologist, so I don't feel comfortable outing his decision to pursue it as a career. Yes, he is sort of back-office and in consulting, but he's usually the numbers guy in his team-based work, and the numbers guys seem allowed to be a little wonky ;)

@NeoMaxiZoomDweebie You're right that my understanding of AK is probably not correct. His therapist (who does sessions in our home as he doesn't have a studio) uses crystals and tiny vials of substances, but maybe that's not how it works generally. After he did his course, did your DH pursue a career in it? How did it go? What was it like for your family?

diddl Thu 02-May-13 07:49:26

If you can't afford the time/money, then you can't.

If a time comes that you can, then I think that you should support him.

Perhaps money would be better spent improving his people skills?

ElleMcFearsome Thu 02-May-13 07:55:33

Holding my hand up here - my DM dragged took me to a kinesiologist when I was about 12. It freaked me out - no crystals but lots of vials of something that he held in one hand (one at a time), whilst moving them round my body (no touching - not as dodgy as it sounds) and rubbing the thumb and the middle finger of his free hand together. Apparently the friction would change when he found the right combination. Can't even remember what I was allegedly lacking now. All I needed was a pair of fricking glasses ffs (which I eventually got). So I might be biased...

I do think the way to approach it is from a factual, numbers stance. Like diddl says, if you can't afford it, you can't. I'm assuming this also would be the case if he was thinking about medical/law training?

Emsmaman Thu 02-May-13 08:10:05

I know this is not the question but if your dh is fluent in french and teaching your dc's successfully can you encourage him to do something with this to earn money? There are a couple of french playgroups in my area that charge roughly £10 per hour per child. You don't need to be ofsted regulated just CRB checked, few french worksheets/songs etc and some free play time where your dh only speaks french with the kids et voila, decent second income for the family and on extra time spent, if he would have been teaching the kids anyway.

To bring it back on topic, if he was earning the money for the kinesiology course by doing something like this, would you be happier about it?

Emsmaman Thu 02-May-13 08:11:15

sorry no extra time spent

Planetofthedrapes Thu 02-May-13 08:52:00

Kinesiology.....sounds like bollocks to me hmm......and you say he is a whizz at economics?? Can he not see there is very little market for it.

My homeopathist does ak, she makes a killing from it! Fifty an hour to see her and she's fully booked. Not bad money if you can get the clients!

From a quick google, training courses will probably cost in the region of £4000-£5000 so your dh needs to tell you how he is going to raise the funds for that. It sounds like he's not thought it through at all.

MolehillAlchemy Thu 02-May-13 09:23:51

Could he have meant a course in Keynesian economics? Which is absolutely nothing to do with crystals!!

expatinscotland Thu 02-May-13 09:24:35

But he's not doing homeopathy, he wants to do this crap.

How do you pay the bills with no money?

You need to be honest with each other.

ZillionChocolate Thu 02-May-13 09:27:53

He needs to put together a business plan for the two of you to discuss.

I'd be mortified if my DH 1. Believed in something which was presumably a fancy placebo or 2. Didn't believe but was willing to target the vulnerable.

IsItMeOr Thu 02-May-13 09:36:13

Oh wow OP, you have my sympathies. I think Zillion has put their finger on why I would be very uneasy about supporting this.

Although I have come across a non-religious person married to a vicar, so it must be possible to make option 1 work - although I'm not sure I could.

Is he familar with Ben Goldacre? His book has a good explanation of why this kind of thing is nonsense, which might just appeal to his intellectual side.

I agree with others that if he wants to earn the money to do this himself, and do it in his spare time, then you should support it. I wouldn't worry too much beyond that as there's no way he'll make a career of it anyway

If he wants the family (i.e. you) to financially support this career change then he needs to do a hard sell.

Make it clear from the off that turning down paid consultancy work for this will not sit well with you.

I don't think it's really the issue here whether the treatment works. Plenty of people don't believe the guiding principles of homeopathy, but I've never met a homeopath who peddled it without believing it (although you read about them), and lots of people swear by it. I'm happy for all that to go on as long as everyone's happy. A bit like people going to church. If my DP "found God" that would be hard for me but I'd probably find a way to live with it.

What is a problem is him using family resources in retraining at a time when those resources are tight. That's what you should focus on.

badbride Thu 02-May-13 10:01:46

OP, from what you've said, kinesiology works via the placebo effect. A real effect, mind you, but probably one that requires a practitioner with good people skills to work...

Perhaps it would be worth (gently) exploring his reasons behind suggesting this career change? What are his motivations for picking kinesiology? Does he want to help people, for example?

Once you've got a list of motivations, perhaps you could subtly steer him towards something more suitable...

FriendlyLadybird Thu 02-May-13 10:07:28

Is it kineseology or applied kineseology? Because my understanding of the former is it's a bit like physiotherapy -- it's the science of human movement. Applied kineseology is the dodgy one.

I have to say, in your situation I wouldn't be thrilled either way. But the former seems to be a respectable field.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 02-May-13 10:17:13

That's what I thought too LadyBird...my DH and my MIL have both had good treatment.

flossieraptor Thu 02-May-13 10:24:59

I don't know what area he is a consultant in but can he teach himself programming? DH has similar skills to yours, very high academic credentials, stats and he learnt several computer languages and now earns a lot from financial gambling. You may of course not have the stomach for professional gambling, but he could get a job as a programmer.

Also, surely he could train as an accountant and be guaranteed work.

Mondrian Thu 02-May-13 10:27:44

Desperate times require desperate measures. Obviously your current combined income from your respective professions is not bringing in enough so while you should welcome the process of change you are entitled to question the expected result of change in profession.

For the record high IQ does not necessarily translate to high income, but a high EQ does - reading your post I get the feeling that he is blessed in high IQ but you are the one with the higher EQ, if you work together you will make a great team.

Undertone Thu 02-May-13 10:50:12

I am concerned that he's going for a drastically different job to what he's used to because he's just really unhappy with what he's doing now. The new job in question includes a more touchy-feely emotional kind of service delivery. Maybe he feels a bit isolated and cold about numbers and being 'back office'.

I would say that he needs to explore those feelings before setting himself such a huge stretch target of being successful in an alternative therapy practise. As someone else said - why does his economic background mean he isn't aware that it would be almost impossible to make it a success?

Also - why are you getting so wound up to the point that you can't even talk to him about it? He probably has no earthly idea that you feel this way. Do you feel that you would automatically go into 'attack' mode when speaking to him about it? Why? Just because you're tense and resentful about money? Does he not tend to listen to you when you try and be reasonable?

Laquitar Thu 02-May-13 11:40:18

In my area every second person seems to have been trained as therapist. The shop windows are full of ads, the local shops have 100s of leaflets, they seem to be too many. Maybe there was a time when there was a market for this but i really think the time has passed. Unless you live in a city or area that there is still room for new therapists.

It is a bit like the cake bussiness imo, too many people went for it.

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