Husband in total career crisis - affecting us all.. Advice needed!(31 Posts)
My oh is pretty much having a mid life career crisis and I just don't know what to do. He works in Finance and the jist of it is that he hates working for other people/the corporate machine/working for those who have a*se liked their way to top despite being pretty rubbish at their job. He's a perfectionist and doesnt suffer fools gladly!! Ultimately we'dlove our own business...probably property, but unfortunately we can't finance that. We've got a big mortgage, a 2 year old and another on way. So he feels trapped... I've suggested he doesn't do a full career change (we couldn't afford for him to retrain for example) but try and use his skills in a different way. But it's difficult as you do get shoe horned. In any case it's a constant source of. Stress and arguments in the house, he's often very down. I want to be supportive but I can't wave a magic wand over the situation. Any advice? Any other career haters that have found a way out? I also work (luckily I like my job) but will be finishing for mat leave soon (another financial stress)! Thanks xx
Does he need to earn loads? All companies and organisations need finance staff so he ought to be able to easily move to somewhere with a different culture.
Finance director for a charity, a tech company, manufacturing company or creative design agency / architect would all have totally different cultures and feels.
Maybe I don't understand enough about his skills or level but I'd have thought he'd have loads of options.
Maybe see a careers adviser/life coach?
It seems to me that there's so much anger/frustration/stress going on that taking a level-headed decision might be difficult. Any possibility of getting another job in the same field and taking a bit of a break between jobs, to recover/think?
Could he become a freelancer?
The problem with jobs in finance is they are often well paid and it's hard to downsize salary with a big mortgage and young children. But if he can find something he should. Dh knows many people in the City whose health, marriages and sanity have been ruined by the stress, and it's just not worth it. It's easier to find a job whilst in a job so he should start looking around. The Guardian website is a good place to start.
If he works in finance do you not have
large savings he could use whilst he finds something else to do?
Is he a qualified accountant or auditor? If so he should be able to find another job fairly easily, in a small business if that suits him better.
However - he should maybe think about shifting his approach to life too, as 'not suffering fools gladly' is not an attitude that makes many people happy... unfortunately, working with and for people who are less able and committed than oneself is par for the course, wherever you work, and he needs to be able to accept this to some degree.
How much does he need to earn? He could have a complete change of environment - like for example the bursar of a school? Still finance but would feel totally different. Would that be enough of a change/enough money?
If he doesn't like the corporate machine, he needs to find a small company where he reports to the CEO. I suspect he'll realise there are advantages to big companies with proper structure!
Tbh with you about to go on mat leave he needs to find something, anything, and stick it out for a year. Then you can re visit this in 12m time. He might find a change of scene makes it bearable for a short time.
Pottering - we both work in finance but I find two dc in nursery isn't really compatible with having savings
As museumum has said, could he look for a finance job in a different sector? Start-ups are usually much less of a "corporate machine".
Alternatively, if you're really willing to make a change as a family, could you consider moving somewhere a lot less expensive and use the equity you release to start up your own business?
Or could he try to get his 'job satisfaction' from outside work by becoming a governor of local school or somewhere that he'd feel that he was making a difference to a worthwhile organization?
If he works for a big corporate, he should check whether they have an 'employee assistance programme' - they usually offer some sort of counseling which might help him.
I used to work in Finance, but never earned more than 26k. Not all finance roles are well paid - it's a very few who get the big money. Not everyone in Finance are accountants either. There are a lot of specialised roles that don't transfer well to other jobs. It may b easier to stay where he is and adjust his attitude.
Is there a way he could make some future plans / dreams while sticking with working for somebody else for now? That is currently saving my sanity. I do sympathise with being fed up with working for other people (it is of course especially hard if you disagree with them) but bills and childcare costs make it a necessity for me and DH for now. I am taking steps to look into freelancing in a few years which makes me feel I am at least doing something positive.
If I am honest I think reading your post it is his attitude that needs to change more than his job. It is very rare for some one to arse lick their way right to the top rather they have different skills than your DH has usually excellent interpersonal skills.
Sometimes being an out snd out perfectionist means it is very difficult to finish a project as there are still perceived flaws and it makes it difficult to close it out. He sounds like a very angry and bitter person and he will not be successful in his own company if he keeps that attitude. It is those interpersonal skills that really matter when you set up on your own. The matter every bit as much as the 'technical' skills no doubt your DH has but sometimes even more.
Can you suggest to him that he talks to a career/life coach? Many do it via Skype, so can be flexible time wise.
Does he know that his frustrations are causing anxiety in the rest of the family?
It can be so depressing spending 40+ hours every week doing something that you hate, and as your family grows he can probably see decades ahead of him in this unhappy situation. But only he can change it (with your support).
Other posters' suggestions to change the sector he works in might be a good short/medium term solution.
Please ask him to consider speaking to a councellor, yes he may have outgrown his current role - but councelling would help him identify what he wants out of a job or whether he should treat it for what it is (a means of earning money so you can do the fun stuff!)
My dh had a similar freak out, and it was horrible, especially when pregnant when all you want is some stability. In the end dh handed in his resignantion and was a sahp for that summer.
Trouble was, the job problems were the tip of a massive iceberg of crap (hidden finances, gambling, drinking) yes we got through it - but I nearly left him.
Councelling or coaching is an expensive short term hit, but would he be prepared to get advice and be honest?
He sounds miserable and that's no good. I second the idea of a careers coach but it would need to be a good one, probably recommended to him by someone he respects.
I have seen rather a lot of men in my life turn to self employment to deal, frankly, with personality issues. It is relatively rare to make a real go of it. My strong suggestion is that you think twice before going into business with him. Do you like your job? Are you successful at it? Don't internalise his view of people who can do the corporate gig. Seeing a careers coach yourself, possibly not the same one, might be a good idea.
Do you work, OP? Is there any way he could cut his hours and look after the DC and you two swap? Or could you relocate to where houses are cheaper, you may have built up enough equity to allow you to do something like that. Being miserable at work must be awful and I'm sure, if it is as bad as you say for him, some kind of plan can be found.
I really appreciate all these posts.. sone really useful thoughts and perspectives! Def have considered some career coaching for him..think I'll push it more, I think he needs an impartial view. But as some of you have pointed out, and I totally agree with, he needs to learn to be more tolerant of other people...yes he is aware that the stress is affecting me with he obviously doesn't want. But he does just feel trapped.
I second what annandale says by the way. I supported (emotionally) DH when he decided to leave a job he hated to become self-employed. He had the equity of a house sale to live off, but six months down the line the equity had gone on living costs and he had made about £3k from his freelance work.
So he found a new job and worked his way up and he is happier than ever, but every now and then we kick ourselves for all that lost equity money that we could have used to buy a house with (we rented for years and years).
People who are healthy with a reasonable career and income are rarely trapped in life... There are always options, but he may need to think out of the box a bit.
I'd caution him against leaving. My DH left a well paid finance job, and is now not even getting interviews for other, similar roles. All the Bursar/charity finance director type jobs say they want qualified accountants (DH is not). We're struggling hugely.
Sorry to hear that humpty, that must be a stress. Hope something comes up. Yes oh is a qualified accountant .
Is he just feeling trapped by life in general? And l mean 2 dc and one wage type thing, not you and his family
Corp finance is where the money is. A friend was very high up in a charity (CFO l think) and moved to a role in the city. Added nearly 50k to his salary
currently looking for a role in the city if anyone is hiring
My dh has such a laid back attitude to his career, he doesn't do OT unless it's absolutely necessary, he doesn't do networking but drinks with the colleagues he likes and generally is able to switch off once he's home. He works in the city and is doing fine, so it is possible to progress without arse licking. If he's got the right attitude.
I worked in the City (law) and left to run my own business in a related field. Like OP's husband, I just didn't like the environment, priorities or sycophancy. A few basic things to think about:
- What do you need to earn every month between you to maintain the lifestyle you want? Are you currently spending a lot on non-essentials? Can anything be cut? I think you both need to figure this out before he looks to move - you need to know the minimum you need to have coming in, to meet your family's needs.
- What does his ideal job look like? Does he want a smaller team / a company whose values he shares / any job at all as long as it's 09.30 to 5pm? Just "I'm not happy" isn't enough - otherwise he's equally likely to be unhappy in his next role after he settles in.
The City isn't for everyone. I like a fat paycheck as much as the next person, but at some point even I started muttering about what that huge salary was costing me in time and stress.
I will say though that it was probably the right choice for my DH to go self employed as he was pretty ill by the time he left his job. He was in fact pretty good at self employment - did it for a few years and turned over about £25K a year, though he was seriously helped by his previous boss who effectively let DH leave with a good client (I think he felt guilty, he was a nice guy in a firm of vampires and I've no doubt if his bosses had realised what he was doing he'd have been sacked). In the end the pressure of being the only person with nobody else to bounce ideas off or rely on made him even more ill. Just don't for a minute think you or he will make anything like what he did before. DH was earning £50K when he left - to earn that from self employment he would have had to turn over about three times what he actually did, which would have killed him. And that was when the economy was booming. So the thought of you going into business with him is scary - IMO you need to put some serious hours into your job, consider truncating your maternity leave and try to make it so that you can as a family live on your salary.
I also work in the City, and frnakly hate some aspects of the environment. However, I know I have to stay for about another 5 years, or we won't have the savings we need to fund our future plans.
What saved me for a while was changing companies - it bought me another 3 years of high pay. I'll be shifting again towards the start of 2018 at the latest, which will further extend my career. Moving helps prevent being boxed in, and it is through moving that you can work your way up (rather than having to with for a space where you are and hoping you get it).
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