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I think my DH might lose his job. How to support/advise him?(12 Posts)
Hello everybody. Just a bit of background, my DH is a fairly senior manager (board level). He works for a company which has been going through continuous restructuring during the past 18 months. They have a very aggressive profit target and in order to meet it my DH has been forced to make a lot of people redundant. In recent times everything has been about cost reduction, there has been no investment in people and to put it mildly, his team is extremely pissed off and blaming him. In short, his job is very very stressful and there appears to be a strong chance that he is going to be sacked.
My DH and I disagree on how to handle this. My view is that the people above him are a bunch of bastards and he should jump before he is pushed, even if that involves accepting a demotion and/or a pay cut elsewhere. He says that everywhere nowadays is exactly the same once you get to his level, that nobody will pay him less as that looks like an admission of failure, and that he's just got to tough it out. He also says that he doesn't know what he does anymore.
Every day he comes home looking fairly haunted to be honest. I think he's rapidly losing his confidence and I don't know what to do. I want to be supportive but I don't know his industry and so can't make any concrete suggestions. This is a fairly amorphous question but has anyone been in this situation or similar? What ended up happening if so?! Thanks in advance and apologies for essay.
If he is a hard worker and a person of integrity he deserves better. Unfortunately loyalty and past performance count for little in the current climate.
If I were him I would review and update my CV and start discreet enquiries about another job. Look at agencies handling his line of work. Does he have contacts elsewhere, is he on LinkedIn? Are his skills transferable, is he prepared to work away from home during the week? Is there any way in which he could at a push work for himself, become a gun for hire?
If I were you I would examine family finances: savings, incomings and outgoings. Do you work, could you cope on one salary for a while?
Do you have children? At what stage of education are they? Could you as a family move and relocate if the right job came up?
It can be gut wrenching and scary but it can also give someone a chance to take stock and reshape their working life. The important thing to remind him is it's nothing personal it is number-crunching. He is not failing if impossible targets are set. Oddly if he is in the line of fire his staff are more likely to sympathise once he is also under the cosh. Behind the procedures of "letting go" aka re-structuring, every employee is an individual. Sometimes the pressure of an axe waiting to fall is worse than knowing for certain.
PS If he is given the chance to re-apply for his job or an equivalent post under the same regime, if he tries it this could be stalling the inevitable.
He sounds pretty depressed. And when you are in that state, it will be difficult to motivate yourself to find something else. However, I am sure you are right - ideally he should jump before he is pushing.
No one is indispensible, and if the writing is on the wall, why wait for the inevitable - take charge and start looking elsewhere.
I was hoping for promotion at my old job. I spent 6 months working incredibly hard (after about 4 years there) having had a carrot dangled in front of me. About a year ago, the penny dropped...and I was very upset. I was never going to get the recognition, the promotion etc. Things dragged on for another 6 months or so before we had a stressful and acrimonious separation. But once I had emotionally left them, I worked to rule, put efforts into CV and job hunting, and it was not as stressful as the previous months.
Hello both, thanks so much for responding.
It's really hard to talk about this as my DH doesn't like me talking to friends/family, something to do with his pride I think. I do work but unfortunately my salary is not enough to cover all our outgoings. Or even many of them to be honest. I made a career change partly to fit in better with the kids (we've got two) as there was no way we could both work the hours he does. It will take me another five years or so to make enough money to really support us all. I can't wait and am working as hard as I can to get there!
The thing about him looking for another job is that I almost think he sees doing so as an admission that he's failed. He seems so determined to 'turn it around.' I tell him that he can't - I think he's being set up to fail. But for him, this sounds like I'm undermining him even more. Aaargh. We're extraordinarily lucky that his work pays well (currently)! But not to sound too ungrateful, with the amount of stress he's under, it's also a fairly horrible way to live.
Can he not ask for voluntary redundancy rather than just walking? I assume, at his level, he would be in line for a substantial pay out. There are ways of doing it by sending "without prejudice" letters. Alternatively, he could mentally check out by working his contracted hours and relaxing in the evenings, rather than beating his head against a stone. Looking elsewhere is always the first option but I assume that if he thought he could get something interesting or decent, he would go for it.
As everyone says, it is a horrible position to be in, though all too common these days.
Hi Larrygrylls. Yes, in theory he should be in line for decent redundancy. However, they have made other senior people redundant and they do anything to pay the least they can get away with. Essentially, they suggest that their performance is not up to scratch, give them a few months to improve in line with a new set of impossible objectives, then they sack them for under-performance. Nice.
Lovely! I know that game. The best way to fight it, to be honest, is to leave early in the process and take them to tribunal claiming constructive dismissal. You don't say whether it is a large or a small company. If large, most won't want the publicity of the tribunal, particularly if it can be demonstrated that their behaviour has been dishonest. Get the best lawyer you can afford, for the letterhead if nothing else (a top firm letterhead tends to strike fear into senior management and HR departments) and get them to write a feisty letter.
Then you can go for a negotiated settlement. He needs to keep a diary of every threat made, every unrealistic target etc and print out all the e mails. If your husband is as he sounds, he won't want to do that as he is a decent loyal individual. Sadly, companies exploit people like that and you just have to fight fire with fire. Loyalty has to be a two way street.
Yes they will probably make life as miserable as hell so he'll cave in and go minus any redundancy. Partly one thinks why give them the satisfaction? but realistically it is soul destroying and if there are several at his level all looking for the same kind of work, better he should get a head start and begin to look now. It is time consuming job-hunting but better to do it from a job. If necessary, he should use up leave to go to interviews, you'd better not bank on a big holiday anyway.
He should be careful to do things by the book. Don't let him do extra hours or cope with someone else's workload, they will take and take and he still won't get recognition. If he submits expenses, make sure every penny is accounted for. Nothing of a private or personal nature on his work pc. Anything contentious, make sure he dates and records any exchanges. Any verbal or written problems, keep track and where possible keep copies.
Oh x post with some of larry's points.
Hello again, and thanks so much. I can't imagine he would take his employers to tribunal, I think he'd be too worried about his reputation. I totally agree that he should look for a new job whilst in a job, but again, he says he doesn't have time. His workload is huge and he has a crappy boss who ensures that he (DH) is constantly fire fighting. Really helpful advice though, so thanks. Loyalty doesn't pay at all, it's every man (almost always men in his industry!) for himself.
Sorry dinosaur the trouble is not only will he get stressed and snappy, you will also become anxious and unhappy on his behalf. Days off become a thing of the past and weekends become mired in writing up reports or juggling figures - in short, a long way from family time or "him" time.
Watch out for his health, migraines or backache from tense posture, blood pressure, poor or curtailed sleep, even IBS or mystery cramps. Sorry to sound so pessimistic but it really can affect everyone at home and him physically.
Remember that redundancy payments are not great. There may be a contractual entitlement to more, but otherwise he will get £400 per year of service...that is peanuts if he is reasonably well paid.
If this ends badly, he will need as much evidence as possible...not necessarily to go to Tribunal with, but to make the company think that he will. The aim would be to get a negotiated settlement.
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