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So I’m sort of at a cross roads here and wanted some opinions from others on my situation. I’ve been with my current employer for almost 30 years and have risen through the ranks accordingly. I’m currently in charge of a work unit of almost 400 people and in all honesty I’m getting burnt out with the 60 plus hour work weeks and constant, unrelenting pressure. I think it’s starting to affect my home life as I’m not very good at “leaving it at the office” as I should be and many evenings I’m just not great company. Wife is very understanding but still being like this is not who I want to be.

What it comes down to is that if I look for something else which has less pressure I’m sure it will come with a commensurate decrease in pay and prestige. We are at a point where the kids are out of college and pretty much on their own and we can swing the bills on a reduced household income but obviously would have to cut back on some of the luxuries that I get satisfaction on being able to provide for wife and family. My issue is my current job is a big part of where my self esteem comes from. I don’t want to end up feeling like less of the provider I have been and sort of losing the alphaness in our relationship. I can see myself being very hard to live with if I felt less of a man because I gave up a well paying job because the pressure became more than I could handle and I’m concerned this might affect my relationship with my wife. I realize my thinking is probably somewhat old fashion and there are lots of people out there in this economy who have it much worse but I can’t help how I feel. I’ve seen too many people make themselves miserable in bad jobs or bad marriages and I have really become a believer in the whole life’s too short to be miserable mentality (even though the advice from my brother has been to just suck it up….)

I didn’t know if this would be the appropriate place to post this but I just wanted some viewpoints from the Men’s Clubhouse as to how guys define their self esteem or ways to build it outside of relating it to what they provide from a material standpoint to their wives and families. I hope this makes sense and I’d be very grateful to hear any thoughts anyone might have.
 

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I disagree with your brother on this. If sucking it up leaves you miserable what's the point? You've apparently done a great job taking care of your family to this point. There is no reason to believe changing jobs will change that.

Yes you may take a cut in pay. But if you arrive home energized because you enjoy your work more you're going to make a better husband. If your wife is more concerned about what you can buy her than she is about your happiness than you're married to the wrong woman. I'm guessing she'd be overjoyed to have you come home positive and in a good mood every day.
 

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good lord. You are me.

Well, not really - but there is some overlap there.

If you have a secure position it doesnt hurt to throw your fishing line in the water to see what is out there.

If you have been there 30 years - my guess is you are making more than you are worth and yeah - you might take a hit if you go somewhere else. Maybe. The only other problem with being somewhere that long is that you get so steeped in it, it is hard to see the forest for the trees.

You have the management chops to go find something else - but the drill typically is that you go somewere that NEEDS someone... and often to fix their problems. You pay the price through long hours for 5 years or so until you get enough 'attaboys' and become their superman, and then you can start relaxing a bit. My point being - its not a guarantee that going somewhere else is going to yield an immediate payoff with shorter hours. It might. Never know until you try.

I think you are realizing that the price you are paying for your standard of living is higher than you thought. I have thought that too - and considered I would gladly take a 25% hit in salary for a decent paying (lesser) position with zero commute and different work environment - but have been reluctant to follow it. Face it - if you take a step down - it can be very difficult to step back up again.

I think you should find a headhunter you can trust and confidentially leak your resume. Try Winter Wymen since you are from the Boston area Im guessing? Thenyou can get some feedback about compensation and get your head around what you may be looking for as far as what position you would want... and give you and your wife something to chat about.

I dont think the self esteem thing should be an issue - though just you mentioning it means that it is. 30 years is a success of its own, and taking a 1/2 a step down to enjoy your life for a change is hardly 'bailing out'. How old are you?

My dad work like a slave until he was 60 and then died at 65. I dont want to be him either. I believe far too many of us get to the end of the road wishing we did not work as we did. I temper that belief with the knowledge that 'the grass is not always greener' and that unhappiness is not always mitigated by altering our external circumstance. Its just not that easy.

You are lucky and know it. You have it good and you know it. Its hard to give up. You dont have to give it all up, but making a change may be in order and you wont have the answers until you both look at your options and figure out your lifestyle impact that change would entail. It may be all for the better. Maybe.

Your age - kids left - and more scream mid life crisis - but I feel without you saying any more that isnt totally the case.
 

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30 years in is close to retirement, will you be collecting a pension?

Is it the nature of the work you no longer enjoy or is it the guilt and anxiety about prioritizing your family? It seems like despite the pressure and long hours you actually enjoy your job? Why don't you see if you can start apprenticing someone into your position and negotiate a shorter work week... sort of "pre-retirement" preparations?

Or if you really just hate it, just retire and spend your invaluable time with your loved ones - that is kinda the point of all those years of committed hard work.
 

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I finally got to a point where I realized I could only do so much at a job and scaled back.

Do you REALLY need to work 60 hours per week. I mean REALLY, REALLY need to? What do you do that someone else in the 400 people you manage can't do?

But in the end, if you can't scale back at your present job there is nothing bad about moving on to a less pressure job. You have EARNED that after 30 years. Go for it.
 

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:iagree:

60 hours a week? 400 people?

Someone out of that group must be ready/worthy of your delegation.
 

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I really don't know WTF to say because the fact is I'm F-KED with the SAME fking BS problem and it's driving me FKING NUTS!
 

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i dont know. i think it depends on you.
it hasnt totally worked for me. let me explain.
years back i traveled alot, stayed in hotel rooms. it was the job.
when we had the first child, i was just gone to much. i liked the job, liked the money, but i needed to be home with my wife and child so left it and went elsewhere.

The job i took, i could be home at night instead of living out of hotel rooms and in hotel bars. But i still put in alot of hours. we needed the money, and a good place to be. But as time went on i started getting sick of it, and the hours, and i still was spending way to much time working and not with the wife and kids.
so i left that job, and took the one i have now. so i would have more time with the wife and kids.
but it isnt that simple because it isnt the job, it is also your personality. so i found myself getting bored, wanting more money, start one business, start going the other business more that i left, while im still working this job. Then i buy some rentals.
next thing i know, im still struggling for time with the wife and kids. Because no matter what i do for a choice i naturally lead back to more hours and making more money. i just do.
i have to constantly remind myself to not work more, which is very hard to do.
And money, i always had this thing about "go get money" as far as work and things.
which i have really had to stop myself and be like "go spend time with family". It isnt easy. it may not just be the work, it may be your personality is what im saying. so it is alot better now than where i originally started, but the stress, headache, hours i seem to take on in other forms naturally and have to stop myself.
 

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I don't know. I'm surrounded by gee-whiz computer kids who'd love to take the old man's job. The older I get the more I produce. I can rest when I retire. I can sleep when I'm dead. I'm not working at WalMart for peanuts, being supervised by kids. If you have to get your self-esteem from work, it must mean there's very little of it at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate all the input and comments. I've got about 10 years more to work (53 now) but I'd have no problem working longer at something that I enjoy.....but it won't be what I'm doing now.

Lon: it really is the nature of my work which I no longer enjoy. It used to be where you felt you were making a difference now its just keep pushing it out and don't look back. Day after day after day.
Worked 11 hours on Thursday and Friday and it took me until Sunday morning to decompress. Went to a nice dinner with wife on Saturday night, came home, she waited for me to come to bed and I sat up watching football because I just wasn't in the mood for sex.....WTF is that all about???
Somebody I work with told me that a person needs to have enough F U money in the bank....enough to be able to tell the boss "F U, I'm out." That's what I'm closing in on. In the mean time I think I'll explore what's out there that will allow me a little more time to get my life back.
 
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