Feel like a fraud.

(40 Posts)
IveNCforthis Fri 07-Oct-16 12:35:03

See username.
I met DH around a decade ago, we were both pretty broke when we moved in together, which was early on in the relationship (almost purely financially motivated but worked out well) I was the lower earner by about 5k pa. then DH lost his job, we were on our knees financially. DH ended up taking an apprentice position out of desperation, He was the lower earner for about 7 months or so, taking home 7k pa less than I was,we struggled, he Got the qualification he was working towards, stayed on with the company and got a decent hourly rate (about 1.30above minimum wage). The rest is history really, 4 years after that, the same year we got married, he opened his own business.
That business now does incredibly well, with multiple sites across the country, a very healthy turnover and profit.
But the trouble is, I helped with that, we share our finances and the like. But I still haven't progressed at the same level he has. We're relatively in the same kind of thing, kind of like waitressing vs chef work, different but closely related. I could work for his company but I choose not to, because I don't want anyone to be able to say I fucked my way to the top which has not and never has been true. I'm at team leader/supervisor level, close to getting an actual managerial role. yet DH is CEO, We have a 6 figure income, very little of that (20k) is down to me and if I lost my job tomorrow I'd never have to work again. But no one respects me. I love my job, I love my work, but people seem to take the attitude of ''awww some pocket money is it pet? how adorable'' some also think I got with DH for his money, untrue. I helped him get his money, I encouraged him to set up his own business, I helped him research, hire staff, do taxes. But before any business, or even his career line was thought of, we were going under financially. If I was out to gold dig I wouldn't have ever even looked at DH tbh.
But I'm not taken seriously by friends and family, co workers(sometimes even nosy strangers, even though I try not to mention money/careers in public)
I just feel so unrecognized, whereas people at similar standings career wise to me, who are single or have a partner with a similar career to them get some form of respect and recognition for their hard work. Ironically its made me want to just jack in work altogether, But I don't think I could cope being a ''lady of leisure'' as the judgement would only get far worse and I'd feel bored.
AIBU to just want to scream, and to ask for tips on how to handle this?
thanks for reading my little rant...

user1471426807 Fri 07-Oct-16 13:00:48

That's awful, you definitely need to assert yourself when it comes to your independence and your career.
My husband earns far more than me and amongst maternity leave etc people assume I don't want or need to work. I have a job I'm proud of and I'm still very driven.

You have your own ambitions and you own life, don't let other people make you feel like you don't deserve to be respected as independent! Equally if you wanted to stop work that's between you and your husband, it's no one else's business!

acasualobserver Fri 07-Oct-16 13:04:05

A lot of your dissatisfaction seems to centre on other people's opinion of you.

IveNCforthis Fri 07-Oct-16 13:07:19

Well yes I am dissatisfied with it, strangers and friends don't matter so much, but it matters to me when those who matter more (such as those above me at work, who have a direct say in whether I progress or not and more importantly, close friends and family) I have no idea how to assert myself.

steppemum Fri 07-Oct-16 13:14:41

with friends and close family, I think you need to spell it out.
with a smile
"You do realise that when we met he was in training and I earned more, and that he set up his business with my help - why do you think it got off to such a good start!"

Thinkingblonde Fri 07-Oct-16 13:17:34

It is none of their business, you know your worth and so does your DH. (I hope he does).
If anyone brings it up or make snide remarks tell them to mind their own business, they don't know how you both supported each other when times were tough in the early days. Don't be worried about hurting their feelings, they aren't worried about hurting yours.

As for progression at work would anyone really hold you back because your DH earns a lot? If that happened I'm sure you'd have a case for taking your employer to a tribunal.
Stop feeling like a fraud.

IveNCforthis Fri 07-Oct-16 13:20:45

I don't think I get held back because of it, I've been held back for other stupid reasons though, but their opinions do matter to me a lot because I try to stay on the good side of management personally.
DH does know my worth but we're a tad stumped on how to deal with this, being direct may be the way to go I think.
bit shit at being direct though

pinkdelight Fri 07-Oct-16 13:23:35

Agree with acasual. The problem appears to be that people are defining you by your earnings/career status, but you can't change how they define you, only how you define yourself and you also seem hung up on financials a integral to this. I can't imagine breaking down my relationship with my DH into who earned how much when and what we owe each other in career terms. Maybe I'm just lucky, but we're a team and in truth it sounds like you and your DH are a team too. It's not him who's denigrating your earning capacity and presumably he appreciates everything you've done for him - and that it's balanced out by him supporting you in lots of ways, not just financially. I'm not trying to criticise you as society does place stupid amounts of value on money and status, but again, we can't change that. We can only change how we value ourselves. Instead of joining in the game and trying to win respect by their warped values, the only solution has to be owning your choices (which seem sensible to me) and the fact that you are absolutely NOT a fraud. If you value yourself then you can stand up to any dumb remarks or attitudes, or let them wash over you. There must be some assertiveness training or somesuch that would be a start for you in that?

Thinkingblonde Fri 07-Oct-16 13:57:17

Good to hear that DH is in this with you, I think he may need to 'have your back' as the saying goes. He could say something like "I wouldn't have the business if it wasn't for the support and encouragement she gave me in the early days,".
I find when you present a united front in the face of criticism they tend to back off.

I used to be right pushover, forever getting walked on until my DH told me that my time and effort was worthy of being paid for. I'm a dressmaker and was always expected to 'run up a little dress for xxxxx, it won't take her long, she won't charge much'. I began to tell people it would take me ten hours and I charge by the hour.

GreatPointIAgreeWithYouTotally Fri 07-Oct-16 14:21:22

I'm wondering- in what way do you feel a fraud?

Mari50 Fri 07-Oct-16 14:26:55

I don't understand your reluctance to take a bigger role in your DP's company. If you both started from the same position (skint) why would anyone ever think you'd fucked your way to the top? There would naturally have been a greater awareness of your input?
I have to say that if I'd been as instrumental in my DP's success I'd want recognition and if we worked in similar businesses I'd probably hope for a senior post. You helped create the business so why not the recognition?
Incidentally it wasn't too difficult to work out who you are (you mention your financial situation a lot) so if you name changed for any significant reason you might want to get this removed.

puglife15 Fri 07-Oct-16 14:33:08

I agree with Mari

Surely your close friends and family know the back story and would never think you shagged your way to the top. I'm struggling to understand your concern tbh, except in the context that your self esteem seems very caught up in what other people think.

myownprivateidaho Fri 07-Oct-16 14:36:30

Yeah I also thought that your thread title doesn't really accord with the thread.

With people's opinions, unfortunately all you can do is rise above them and correct any inaccuracies that you hear people saying.

But I have a feeling that this might be more about how you feel about yourself.

Ultimately, your husband's job shouldn't affect how you feel about yours. Why not try to just focus on your own career and career development? How can you move ahead?

Mymouthgetsmeintrouble Fri 07-Oct-16 14:37:15

People who are worth bothering with would never think those things , maybe those who do are feeling a little green

Atenco Fri 07-Oct-16 14:40:50

You and your dp sound lovely, but I do think you are focusing too much on finances. How do people know how much each of you earns?

I believe that if you think someone is important about you, other people will too.

AmeliaJack Fri 07-Oct-16 14:52:56

I'm not sure really why your management are talking to you about your husband's job and your families finances. That's very inappropriate, how does that even come up?

I know loads of couples who have a disapparity in income for various reasons:

A female investment banked married to a lovely man with a small Ebay business
An male IT consultant married to an artist.
A female banking executive married to a scientist
A male VP marketing married to a nurse
A female management consultant married to a scientist.
A male cardiologist married to a librarian.

I have never heard anyone be rude about the lower earning spouse and I can't even begin to see how it would be relevant at work.

rookiemere Fri 07-Oct-16 15:00:28

So you're with a DH that you love, you do a job that you enjoy and brings you fulfillment and you have a family income that puts you in the top 5% of the UK.

I'd say it's time to focus on all your positives, which are many, rather than the rare detracting comments that are probably driven by envy. You seem to be very influenced or aware of what other say. If I was in your situation I wouldn't want to work for my DH's company either - seems sensible not to have all your eggs in one basket, and being the employee of your spouse is not a good position to be in.

It's also slightly weird that you can recall exactly who earned what at each point in your relationship. Surely both you and your DH are worth more as individuals than just the financial amount that you earn.

In terms of practical help, I'd practice having a few stock phrases to say if people say something that you find jarring:
"I really enjoy my work."
"DH and I have always loved each other, it's got nothing to do with who earns what. "
Or if it's a particularly rude or noteworthy comment:
"Gosh, that's an odd thing to say. Why would you say that?"

OurBlanche Fri 07-Oct-16 15:04:10

I think YOU need to change how YOU feel.

Over the years we have each been the higher earner and each supported the other through university and now me starting my own business.

If anyone ever ask WE have worked TOGETHER to get him where he is and me where I am. We both say that we put each other through uni, I supported him whilst he worked his way into the role he now has, including 2 years when he just couldn't work - industry took a down turn and then he needed surgery. Now he supports me and my new business.

We often drop in to any conversation on earnings that we started as builder's mate and bar maid and are now commissioning engineer and entrepreneur smile

Start practising a sunny and smug smile with a few stock sentences, like "Yes, we work really well as a team and have really made ourselves happy"

It makes my PoisonousSIL spit feathers, so it might be a useful tactic for you.

imnotreally Fri 07-Oct-16 15:07:01

If you helped him out so much why aren't you a partner? Would make sense then people could recognise the amount of work you put in.

KoalaDownUnder Fri 07-Oct-16 15:26:30

I've read this twice and I'm still not really following what the problem is.

I don't understand why you don't go and work for your husband. Nobody is going to say you 'fucked your way to the top' confused - you've been together 10'years and are married.

YappyYapster Fri 07-Oct-16 15:33:07

Wouldn't it make financial sense for you to be involved in the business? I'm pretty sure there's a tax saving thing if you're a partner or a director (I'm no expert!).

I'm a SAHM and wen I did work I earned a fraction of DH'd salary. It has never been a problem.

phillipp Fri 07-Oct-16 15:59:53

Ok I am in the same position. But in a different way. I gave up my career, to work for dh. That business failed. As it was failing I came up with another business, it took off saved our asses and now does really well.

I am about to leave the day to day running of the company to dh and staff we have and go back to my old career and can't wait.

Even though the company was my idea, I did the branding, the advertising, the social media, built retailer relationships etc. People still treat me as though dh has just give me a little job to keep me busy.

We once had a meeting at home and dh asked the clients to leave the house when one of them turned to me and said 'so you just answer the phone and do a bit of paperwork do you?'. Dh was furious with the condescension.

The assumption always is that it's dhs business and my job here is pocket money. In actual fact the company wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me. I am ridiculously independent, which is why I want to go back to my own career. I am looking forward to working away from the business where so many view me as 'The Owners Wife'.

People think I mad, but I can't wait. And even my new colleagues make out my job is a pocket money job, I usually laugh. I couldn't care less what other people thought of me. I really couldn't. I know and dh knows, we would have lost our home if it wasn't for me. I know he tried his best in the last business and that he worked his arse off, in the new one too.

Please remember, Their opinion doesn't matter. Unfortunately we live in a deeply sexist world where it's assumed a business (run by a couple) is successful because of the man. That the man has saved his wife from having to work a boring job to do bits here and there and get still get a decent wage. Or because it's more tax efficient and the woman doesn't do much. I have heard all the reasons that people think a couple work together, none of which seem to acknowledge the woman's input.

You either need to tune it out and carry on as you are and do whatever makes you happy or challenge it. It really depends on the day for megrin
Dh always challenges it. Every time.

But letting it drag you down will not Help you, it won't improve how you feel or make them think any different or realise their assumptions are based in sexisim.

I am sorry to hear yet another woman having to deal with this shit. But you aren't alone.

phillipp Fri 07-Oct-16 16:01:10

I don't understand why you don't go and work for your husband. Nobody is going to say you 'fucked your way to the top' * - you've been together 10'years and are married.*

I really wish that didn't happen. But it does. I started our business and have been married 14 years. The business has been going only 2. I am still generally viewed as 'his wife'

Minniemagoo Fri 07-Oct-16 16:07:20

Why when your husband set up his business were you not listed as co-owner/director. Could this be done now? No one need know its a later thing and you can always say that your current job was just insurance but now that your joint company is successful its time you moved into a more visible role?

IveNCforthis Fri 07-Oct-16 16:10:32

Sorry, disappeared for a bit and have come back to lots of comments,
I don't mean that people will think I've fucked my way to the top in that sense(ie in the sense of, met him and fucked him/did whatever to get the job) , more that If I was to take a job in one of his sites, and progress well, that people would think he had something to do with it? Or that I only got the job due to being married to him.
Perhaps feeling like a fraud was a bad word to start with, I mean no one really takes me seriously if they know DH or of his company and position.
Some people know because I tell them in general chatter, some people know or guess due to the house I live in and the car I drive.
I wouldn't want a higher position in DH's company, I'd want a similar position to what I have now which would have nothing to do with DH, and I'd never see DH in work (which suits me fine) but I still worry about being seen as only having the job, or only doing well/progressing well in it due to DH's position and input.
I have put some worked in with his company (mostly during start up) but don't want to be involved officially.

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