Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quiet Disagreement

Have you ever had an argument/fight where voices were never raised, no harsh words were spoken, and yet you still felt completely drained from the conversation? We had a disagreement like that tonight.

My husband has a job where he is miserable. He works a thankless job that he only partially likes that has morphed into something that he really hates to do. (He likes the IT and the tech problem solving, but hates the managerial aspects that have fallen to him over the past 6 months, and that is becoming an increasingly larger part of his day-to-day job.) And yet, he has such a good work ethic, that he can't seem to let it go at the end of the day. This means that he NEVER gets out of the office "on time" and that means that I am always waiting (often impatiently) for him to come home from times ranging from 6:10 PM to sometimes 7PM or occasionally even later. (He SHOULD, in theory arrive home at 6 if he were to leave at the time the office closes.)

My argument is that he always has "one more email" after the end of the day - and those are the days that his boss doesn't corner him at the end of business and force him into a 30-60 minutes status report or some such. (And those he can't even call or text me to inform me he will be late, so I am left wondering what time he will be arriving, etc.)

Now, when it's something he is aware of, he does (often, or should I say most of the time) try and let me know ahead of time and he has never complained the very few times when Fuss just needed to eat and I had dinner ready, so I fed her. He has no problem with me doing what I need to do and eating warmed up food himself. He never complains on the rare occasions when I eat with her instead of waiting for him.

However, I am frustrated by this scenario. I want him to come home, on time, regularly. I want it to be the norm instead of the very rare exception.

And yet, I do "get it." He works hard. He wants to do a good job. And he does. He has so much to do, and never has enough time to do it. Sometimes, he chooses to bring work home, so we can at least be in proximity with one another while he finishes his work. But more often than not, he is stuck at the office, dealing with last minute problems that he just wants to get finished, instead of having to pack it all up and carry it all home. His boss is demanding, and has no care or concept of his having a family at home. (His boss has no children, a string of ex-wives and is currently going through a divorce to a woman who has annoyed him for years, so he has no desire to be home. His boss is also a workaholic in the truest sense of the word.) He has very little recourse for changing the situation, other than to find another job that is more family friendly, which, in this economy...

So there is no solution. We are both left frustrated by the situation, and I feel like I need to vent about it sometimes, but I have no idea what to do about it, truly. I have suggested that he tell the people who are taking his time at the end of the day "it's time to go, we'll discuss this tomorrow," but that doesn't always work, and he absolutely cannot do that with his boss. (His boss doesn't take no for an answer in these situations.)

So neither of us is happy, but we are trying to not make the other feel worse about it.


  1. P's job was kind of like this for a while. There's so much turmoil at his work (people quitting, layoffs) that whatever situation he's in doesn't last long, but I'm also married to someone with irritatingly intense amounts of work ethic. Sorry you have to deal with this.

  2. My husband is a commodities trader, so he gets commissions (he also has a base salary). His view is "the more I'm at work, the more money I make." July 4th is on a Sunday this year. My employer is giving us Monday off instead. His isn't. No day off. No 3-day weekend. And he's happy about it! He told me he couldn't figure out why people were complaining - another day of trading means more commissions. He also wanted to go back to work 3 days after our daughter was born. I had to beg him to stay home one more day, but he went back on the 5th day (a FRIDAY).