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AIBU to be getting fed up with DH bringing his work anxieties and issues home

(57 Posts)
ScoutFinchMockingbird Tue 15-Apr-14 12:46:44

DH is not a confident chap about managing others (--except me, of course!--). Basically he has had a lot of bad luck in managing Awkward People who want to take him for a ride and who are really Trade Union oriented. Nothing wrong with that, but DH worries they would take him to tribunal. DH is a World Champion Worrier about the Small Issues. So, for example, at the annual appraisal of someone he used to manage, he worried that they hadn't got the top performance grade, even though it wasn't really his decision as it was in the hands of Higher Ups (--and the person didn't deserve it anyway--). DH then worried for over 6 months that this person would take him to tribunal.

The current issue is that the person he manages is a contractor who is leaving 20 mins early pretty regularly (I think every 2 weeks - certainly feels like it from the amount of discussion we have had on the topic!)
He does not seem to get much support at work regarding these things and so brings all the issues home and asks my advice and we then have to discuss and discuss and discuss (--and discuss--) - you get the jist. Then I have to regularly reassure him at what feels like 5 minute intervals that he has nothing to worry about with regards to tackling this person.
This is getting really annoying now and I feel like
a) I'm not an expert in his workplace
b) I'm certainly not an employment lawyer
c) I have been as supportive as I can be in reassuring him and telling him not to worry and really can't find it in me to keep doing so.

AIBU and a bad wife, or would you feel just as grrrr?!

Amytheflag Tue 15-Apr-14 12:50:59

Yabu. If it's hard for you hearing about it, imagine how hard it is for him constantly worrying about it. No support at work and then his support at home is going to stop.

Wantsunshine Tue 15-Apr-14 12:55:34

Well I would not put up with a contractor leaving early if he is paid on a day rate. I don't get why you cannot listen to his concerns though. Do you not have any in your workplace. Sometimes talking them through can help. He may not want a resolution just someone you bounce ideas off or get a different perspective.

You are doing the same now just on mumsnet!

DrewsWife Tue 15-Apr-14 12:56:18

Ybvu. He is struggling with something. And as his partner it's your job to listen.

Offer his help, a kind ear but don't get annoyed.

TalkieToaster Tue 15-Apr-14 13:00:10

I think you're getting some slightly harsh responses, OP. By all means, listen to him. You'd be very unreasonable not to, but that's not the issue, is it? It's the constant worrying and having to talk it out with you and ONLY YOU and it grinds you down because it's all the time and he's transferring the responsibility for it all to you, which isn't fair at all.

I think you need to help him find another source of support for this, so you can go back to a normal partner role of listening and helping, but not having to micromanage the situation for him.

Chippednailvarnish Tue 15-Apr-14 13:02:42

I hope my DH doesn't moan about me getting stressed, after all he's my partner and "We're in it together".

I'm not sure if it's intentional, but your post sounds almost condescending about your DH...

ArsePaste Tue 15-Apr-14 13:04:02

Do you ever talk to your partner about your day after he gets home from work? If so, you're not only BU, you're being a hypocrite.

Phineyj Tue 15-Apr-14 13:08:46

No. I occasionally ask DH's advice about work issues and vice versa, but we'd both be extremely annoyed by this sort of ear bending every evening! Your DH needs a different job, long term, and short term, some techniques to deal with this worrying - go for a run or a swim?

ScoutFinchMockingbird Tue 15-Apr-14 13:09:50

Thanks Talkie. As you say, it is the fact that he seems to want me to take responsibility for the problem and the fact that there have been a number of such issues - all of which I have supported him with. But taken as an accumulation, they do grind you down.

ScoutFinchMockingbird Tue 15-Apr-14 13:12:55

Thanks Phineyj. Yes, he does have an escape route and a holiday coming up.
He does need a new job - I have been telling him so for years. But the industry he works in is not prolific on the job front and, again, he is not a confident chap and so never believes he can get another job (despite the fact that he is very well qualified and has good experience and is generally a really nice guy - except when he's bending my ear continually!)

Jjou Tue 15-Apr-14 13:13:24

I totally get where you're coming from OP: DH does this kind of thing to me (about different work anxieties not tribunals etc.) and it's exhausting. After awhile it becomes clear that I'm just a sounding board and he's not actually bothered about what I think. I reassure and reassure repeatedly about what ever's bothering him, but inside I just wish he'd stop and change the subject. His obsession with work grinds me down, and I can only be sympathetic up to a point.

Flossyfloof Tue 15-Apr-14 13:14:24

It is actually quite difficult managing some people. Can you encourage him to explore any courses on management? I think lots of us worry about things in work. Is he in a union? That would give him protection and he might have access to lots of information to make sure that he was dealing with things properly. It might allay his anxieties a bit. I do think it is reasonable to expect to discuss work when you get home though.

PoundingTheStreets Tue 15-Apr-14 13:14:57

I'm missing the point, but TBH it sounds like he's not managerial material. If he's had that many "Awkward People" among his staff, feels incapable of dealing with the employee who keeps leaving early, and is a "World Champion Worrier" he's probably working at a level far above what he should be. Managerial roles come with responsibility and a certain level of stress, but no manager should feel that stressed out all of the time. That's usually a sign that the company is either badly run or the manager in question isn't the sort to deal well with the type of stress involved in that role (which isn't to say that they are a bad worker who wouldn't perform excellently in a different role).

Can he change jobs? Or if that's not an option, try making this about his physical and mental health and encourage him to find more effective ways of dealing with stress and anxiety that don't involve him simply coming home and off-loading on you all the time. You can't actually do anything and unless he gets a huge sense of relief and a resolution from talking to you (which he clearly doesn't as the issues keep resurfacing), he's just going to end up making himself ill and you resentful.

Phineyj is right - I manage people too, but if I were worrying for 6 months about being brought to a tribunal about a justified performance rating, or procrastinating about challenging someone who was leaving early on a regular basis, I'd be wondering if I were in the right job.

Probably not something to bring up with him while he is in the throes of a work related rant/decompress, but definitely something to talk about in a less charged conversation.

How is he about doing work related research and reading outside the workplace? I've read several very good management books in the last couple of years, and have found a few good online resources, which have given me a lot of help in work related issues.

How's his own line manager in work - do they provide good support? Alternatively has he a contact in HR he could work with? He could transfer his discussions to them - and they would be in a much better position to encourage him to take action rather than talk constantly around the subject.

cross posted with a lot of good advice - Pounding's last para is very good

SlimJiminy Tue 15-Apr-14 13:25:23

It's a confidence thing, then can't you help him to build it rather than focusing on what he's crap at and therefore making him feel even crapper? "You keep asking me, but you know the answer really - remember when X problem happened and you did Y to solve it?"

I struggle with confidence in business sometimes and DH is always the first to point out all of the things I'm great at/do well. He's always got the perfect example of something to illustrate his point and he's never implied that I talk about work too much. I do talk about it too much sometimes.

A contractor leaving early should be made to stay until his hours are up. If he's struggling with assertiveness, can he request training at work? Buy a book? Watch tutorials on YouTube or something? If he was my DH I'd be helping him think of ways to handle issues at work so he wouldn't feel like he needed to bring them home.

gasfiredbottom Tue 15-Apr-14 13:25:36

he needs you.

LtColGrinch Tue 15-Apr-14 13:26:04

I'm pretty sure that if I told my OH I was fed up with listening to them moaning on about work & that they needed to see a counselor they'd be over the moon. I'm also pretty sure that this would just add to the stress they were already under & make things worse.

I'd suggest you just "nod & smile" and let him get it off his chest. The alternatives may be even more stressful.....

ScoutFinchMockingbird Tue 15-Apr-14 13:28:05

OnTheBottom - he is good at Buying books on mangement and does read them a bit, but they don't seem to help.

Can't mention too much about the help available at work for DH as it may out me, but his line manager usually makes things worse and there is no internal HR. I think they contract that sort of thing out.

Yes, there is no doubt he is not managerial in nature at all and shouldn't be doing that sort of job. He acknowledges that himself. But again, for reasons I can't go into, it is not something it would be very easy to get rid of in his current situation. A new and different job would certainly help, but the industry he works in is not prolific on the job front and, again, he is not a confident chap and so never believes he can get another job (despite the fact that he is very well qualified and has good experience and is generally a really nice guy - except when he's bending my ear continually!)

Musicaltheatremum Tue 15-Apr-14 13:29:49

I wonder if he would benefit from some training in these issues. Acas do courses that will help him manage people. I find it very difficult to manage people but sometimes you have to look to outside agencies to help. Does he have anyone senior he can ask for help.

edamsavestheday Tue 15-Apr-14 13:30:05

Some good ideas here re. ways you can suggest dh tackles these issues and gets help to deal with them.

ApocalypseNowt Tue 15-Apr-14 13:30:44

Could the work issues be a red herring? It seems extreme to keep worrying about a situation (that doesn't that likely to go awry anyway) for a period of 6 months. If he had a stress-free job i.e. with minimal responsibilities would he find something else to worry about? e.g. health, money, family, etc?

Perhaps he should talk to his GP about these feelings of anxiety - they may be able to help....something like CBT could be beneficial in this case.

ScoutFinchMockingbird Tue 15-Apr-14 13:32:31

Yes, thanks for the ideas all. Will mention them to DH as possible aids. Not sure he will act on them, but I can try at least!

Hoppinggreen Tue 15-Apr-14 13:32:50

I agree it's frustrating, people who over analyse things like that can be a pain.
My DH has his own business and he stresses over all sorts of things and tends to obsess about 1 small detail - something he should have said differently etc.
I try to be supportive and I hope that mainly I am but he just keeps saying the same thing and I give the same response.
We are both working from home this morning and I am juggling work for 3 clients, he keeps coming into my office and asking me questions. I am managing to keep calm so far. Especially since I had to put yesterday on hold to go to a client meeting with him in London yesterday so am a bit behind. The kids are out with firiends so I want to get finished so I can spend time with them later - getting off Mumsnet might help !!!

sisterofmercy Tue 15-Apr-14 13:43:37

Get him to ring the Acas helpline for advice whenever he is worried about whether he is doing the right thing - doesn't matter how small. I presume he hasn't been taken to tribunal so far so he must be doing something right. He could also do their courses on things like discipline and grievance and having difficult conversations.

Also I suggest he gets to know the local reps, if possible. If he builds up a good relationship with them and consults them where appropriate they will be less difficult to work with. It sounds like he is on his own so he can't invite them to meetings to help with designing new work processes and such which is a shame. Obviously, if there is an ingrained Us vs Them culture in the workplace he may find that impossible.

ApocalypseNowt may be on to something too. It may be that the situation at work isn't as bad as he thinks but he is suffering from so much anxiety that it ties him into knots.

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