My husband was laid off from a very good job that he planned to remain in until he retired. He received a severance package of six months salary plus benefits. That was over four months ago and he has not started looking for a job. He says he wants to relax, but I’m worried. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for six years, but without his secure job, we can’t afford to be a single income family. Now he wants to start his own Internet business. He’s a smart guy, but he’s not particularly disciplined. I feel like the whole thing is a huge risk. His idea of working on this new company translates into sitting by the pool and reading magazines (he calls this education). My frustration has created a lot of friction in our relationship. I haven’t said anything, so he thinks the flare-ups are because we’re together more often than usual. How do I get him to see that he needs to look for a real job?
By admitting that what you’re really afraid of is being back on the chain gang yourself. You like being a stay-at-home mom. It’s a job that suits your temperament and values and you want to keep it. Your husband’s choices appear to threaten the lifestyle to which you’ve grown accustomed, so you’re needling him. At some level you may believe that, if you bother him enough, he’ll decide life is better on a job and he’ll go back. Then you would have lost an opportunity to deepen the intimacy in your marriage. After all, sharing the dreams that we hope will shape our lives is a profoundly vulnerable gesture. Can you see a way to join in, rather than attack, his vision? His dream may not be completely viable (who knows?), but doesn’t he deserve a chance to try it with you, his life partner, on his side?
You don’t have to dismiss your practical side. Just don’t confuse being pragmatic with being paranoid. Use this experience as an opportunity to grow closer to your husband and to explore your own fears of risk and change.
My boss and I became great friends last year during a work-related conference. We have lunch together at least twice a week, attend movies together after work and sometimes hit the malls or see a play on weekends. I really like her as a person and thought she felt the same way. Seven months ago she hired a woman to fill a position that is the same as mine. That person is now being promoted and will be supervising me. I can’t believe that my boss didn’t promote me or at least let me know about the promotion before it was announced in the office so I could be prepared. I feel hurt and angry that she betrayed me and our friendship. I know that I need to talk to her, but I don’t want to lose her friendship or my job. Your suggestions?
Find the place in your heart where you can be genuinely happy for another woman’s success. Then smile, shake the hand of your new supervisor and wish her a warm congratulations. Next, stop using your boss. Have the maturity to enjoy being her equal in friendship and her employee on the job. If you expected something extra in return for being her friend you should have told her so, up front. That might have squashed the friendship, but at least your expectations would be clear. Personally, I think your boss sounds like she has the integrity to not let business keep her from a great friendship and to not let friendship stand in the way of doing what’s best on the job.