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Disagreeing with a partner on a major life decision


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#1 Pompol

Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:59 PM

DH and I are mid "discussion" about a career change for me.

I am 100% keen to change careers.

He is 100% keen that I should stay put where I am.

To be fair, if I do change, my new job will have a significant impact on our income and lifestyle. But conversely, I am utterly miserable where I am and stressed to the point that I feel I just can't keep doing this. At the end of the day, I don't like my job, and I want to go back into the industry I worked in a decade ago where I'll earn a pittance financially but at least not dread waking up each day.

We've had plenty of disagreements over the years, but never where we were both so determined about something or starting from disparate opinions, and I am not sure how we are ever going to work this out.

I feel like I have no idea what the process is to get from where we are to an agreement, when there is just no middle ground. I either change jobs, or I don't.

Inspire me EB. Or at least give me hope that we can resolve it. Have you and partner had completely different points of view on a major life decision, and if so, how do you work it out?



#2 Holidayromp

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:03 PM

To be quite honest it is not entirely his decision to make.  Is there any middle ground where you can change careers but to one where you are not earning a pittance?  If you are going into a job where you are going to go backwards what is the point of working?

#3 Feral Madam Mim

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:04 PM

My career would mean my final decision, end of discussion, especially if what I was currently doing was making me miserable.

#4 Taffyk

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:05 PM

It's your job - he can only offer an opinion.

On that note, change jobs!  Staying in a job you hate is soul-destroying.  It takes forever to get your confidence back - I've been there.

#5 MarsBarSlice

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:05 PM

Hi Pompol. My DP and I are at that point too about a major life decision. I feel just as strongly as him and there is no middle ground.  So yes, I understand, no middle ground for us either and it's not a win win situation.

I think for you it is your decision as you are the one that has to go to work everyday and be happy. But you also need to keep your relationship happy and healthy. I hope you sort it out  biggrin.gif

Edited by MarsBarSlice, 30 December 2012 - 08:13 PM.


#6 Pompol

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:08 PM

QUOTE (Holidayromp @ 30/12/2012, 09:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
To be quite honest it is not entirely his decision to make.  Is there any middle ground where you can change careers but to one where you are not earning a pittance?  If you are going into a job where you are going to go backwards what is the point of working?


It's a completely different industry I'm returning too, rather than going backwards per se. I left purely for money. Its true there would be limited career progression without a lot of further study but I'd see the kids a LOT more and that's what I want out of this stage of my life. At the moment I earn a motza, but am increasingly having to travel and often at short notice, aside from just not enjoying the work.

#7 cinnabubble

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:09 PM

It may be her job, but it's their income (as EB mantra has it). Disadvantaging the entire family financially shouldn't be done lightly and changing jobs isn't a panacea for every other aspect of life that isn't going well.

#8 Pompol

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:11 PM

QUOTE (cinnabubble @ 30/12/2012, 09:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It may be her job, but it's their income (as EB mantra has it). Disadvantaging the entire family financially shouldn't be done lightly and changing jobs isn't a panacea for every other aspect of life that isn't going well.


This is exactly his point, and why we have to agree on whatever I do. I can't just take a more than 50% pay cut and all that will entail for our family without him being on board.

#9 Feral Mozzie

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:11 PM

Is he happy in his job? I imagine I would be quite resentful if I was miserable in my job, but would be forced to stay in it because my partner had a career change.

What are you asking him to give up or change so that you can do this?

Are you the main breadwinner in your house? Is he? Do you share it equally?

I don't know what the answer to your dilemma is, but answering some of these questions (to yourself) might help to see things from his point of view.

#10 bikingbubs

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:13 PM

Its a tough one, because the loss of income would obviously effect the whole family.  But, I also dont think you should have to go to work miserable every day when there is still a way of bringing income in and being happy.
I think you make whatever your situation is work for you, so that might mean taking a pay cut.

#11 Dagobah

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:13 PM

Is there a middle ground? I'm asking because I have been in that same position. I was working in the private sector in my profession. I was earning a very large income, and I absolutely hated it. I was very miserable, and I dreaded every work day. I ended up resigning. I am still working in my profession now, but in the public sector. I am earning far less, but I am far less stressed and less miserable.

No one really understood my decision, and I am sure that plenty of people out there think I am loser, but I have no regrets. I still dream of getting out of the profession entirely, but it is not so easy. When you are highly trained in one thing, but not in anything else, to then go back to the very beginning in a new field, with no guarantees, but a family to support.... It's easy to say just do it, but the reality is more complicated.

Anyway, good luck.

#12 libbylu

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:22 PM

I wonder if there is a compromise....could you;
bare to stay in your job for 12 more months and try to save up some cash to tide you over through a period of lower income to follow?
- or switch back to your previous profession for say 3 to 5 years only (not sure how old your kids are, but this might give you a good chunk of time with them) and then agree to seek higher paid work for another period after that?
I agree that it should be mostly your decision - you are the one who has to do the work each day, and if you hate it, that's no good for anyone.  But what would your family have to give up?  Your current home? Holidays? Kids extracurricular activities?
If you are not giving up too much, then I would insist on doing it for your well being.

#13 Feral Madam Mim

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:23 PM

Wow I didn't realise you meant such a huge pay cut, my response would have to change then to how this big of a pay cut would affect the family budget, would you struggle? or go from lavish to comfortable? If you were not going to struggle then I still say change, or atleast look at a new career all together, I still do not think you should stay put where you are if it is making you miserable, but as the others have said, find some middle ground, a new career all together, just something that would make you happy.

#14 mum201

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:29 PM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 30/12/2012, 09:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's your decision. He can express his opinion and voice concerns, but ultimately the choice is yours.


I disagree, and think it is way more complicated than this. This decision impacts the family's financial bottom line so I think both partners do need to come to a decision on what is right for the family, which is a case of OP's higher level of job satisfaction v more money. I don't think anyone commenting is actually able to say the above without knowing the full situation eg OP changing jobs and making things really tight at home is very different to OP changing jobs and the difference in pay meaning they can only go on an overseas holiday every other year, instead of every year iykwim....
If it is going to make finances really tight and put pressure on the OPs DH to make more money I think he has a right to be concerned. I am currently a SAHM until DS is school aged where I will be starting a new career, earning a lot less than my pre kids salary. I would never have dreamt of making this decision without DH as it does impact us both as we are equal members in a team.

What is near impossible in OPs case is deciding whose needs trump the other's (financial comfort or job satisfaction). OP - what is it going to do to the family's situation if you change careers?

#15 Verurtle

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

We are going through something similar at the moment.

My DP has just quit his job again.  He never lasts more then 12 months, he had a great job with great money but was not happy doing the work.  He had another job lined up when he left which was less money, but at least it was a job.  It lasted 7 days.

We have always been on low income, in fact the past 6 months has been the only time in our lives where we were close to earning over $100,000 as a family.

I am now earning double the family income of last financial year.

I have told DP he needs to sort out what he wants to do, whether it be go to uni or tafe or move away to do the sort of work he wants to do.

I can support the family now, with or without him here.

So at the moment he is enjoying 4 weeks off with no work before TAFE starts.

He has been supportive of my studies and it worked well when DS started school as we had no before/after school care.

I would love for my DP to have stayed at his job even it was just for the financial side of things, but seeing him depressed about going to work is not fun.  I just hope he finds what he is looking for without being a jobless bum.

#16 Threelittleducks

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:36 PM

Why don't you like your job? You don't have to answer here, but it is worth thinking about. Is it the work itself, the people, the industry etc. If you like the work but not the employer can you change employers and stay on the same pay scale?

I understand hating your job. I'm currently on mat leave. I dislike my job - the work itself, the industry, some of my colleagues. But I have earnt big bucks doing it, more than enough to make us financially secure, own a home etc. So now DH are exploring what we can do so I'm not miserable when I return to work. Our plan is for me to return PT for six months, request a shift in duties and see what I think at the end of 2013. At the same time I'm exploring other career options including returning to study to start all over in something else, as well as applying my current expertise elsewhere.

The key to this is that DH and I are on the same page - that we agree my happiness is critical for our families wellbeing. But, frankly, we have the luxury of financial security to do this. I also feel that I have made such a significant financial contribution to the family unit (which included personal sacrifice of my social life/ hobbies etc pre-children) that I can   change now. DH's only condition is that if I do a full-on career change and return to study, that I have to really, really, really want it and if this is the case he will support me 100%.

But if for one minute, the change would negatively impact my children's prospects or force us live on the edge financially, then (even with DH's support) I would not be considering starting all over, but rather focus my energies on finding a role I did like / could grow to like, with remuneration that met our current family goals.

Hope that helps.

#17 **Tiger*Feral**

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:41 PM

---

Edited by Tyrone Finkelmeyer, 26 March 2013 - 08:38 PM.


#18 Summer love

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

I am sitting here thinking "money doesn't buy happiness".

Honestly, it isn't fair on you to go to work and be miserable just so you can earn lots of money, not if you are destroying yourself, and what will eventually destroy your family in the process.  If he forces you to stay, you will end up resenting him. Your children must sense that you are miserable. That isn't good for them. They need their mother to be happy to make them happy. This is much more important than anything material money can buy them.

If there are serious repercussions to you changing jobs - I.E you would have to sell the house, then I think you may have to come to an agreement. However, if you can easily survive on the lower income, and be much happier, then I can't see what the big issue is for him - sounds a bit greedy to me.

Edited by ally4281, 30 December 2012 - 08:49 PM.


#19 Dionysus

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:52 PM

is there any way you can take a leave of absence from your current job, and work in the other industry for 12 months.

(In my job, I would not be allowed to do this, not sure in other industry)

Also, can you show your DH a plan/budget of how you will manage with a 50%+ paycut?

#20 TKS

Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:53 PM

Is there a third career option available to you? One that may not earn as much as you currently earn but better then the job you are thinking of returning to? Something that you might enjoy and find less stressful? Something that uses skills that you have from your current career and your old career?

#21 Affogato

Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:04 PM

I agree with the people in support of changing careers. Depending on how drastic the lifestyle changes would be of course. But in general I think work is such a big part of life, and takes up so many hours that being so unhappy about work is not at all good for you, or your family longer term. Makes it hard when your husband isn't supportive of the planned change though.

#22 epl0822

Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:08 PM

Any decision regarding career change for one spouse should be - ideally - jointly made. As you mentioned, OP, it has a significant impact on your family's earning power and lifestyle. It could also mean a potential relocation or temporarily living on solo income if one spouse is retraining or job hunting. I believe your DH certainly has a say in this, as do you if he were to ever contemplate a major career shift.

However, if the two spouses are both at a dead end in terms of discussion, I think the person who is doing the change has slightly more say in general. You are the one who has to get up every day and go to your dreaded job. You are the one who suffers most from staying in this place of work, if indeed it is as horrible as you say with no prospect of improvement. If my DH contemplated a career switch on a significantly reduced salary, one of my first concerns would be what that would mean for our family financially. But if he completely hated his work and it was his ultimate goal and dream to work in a different job, I cannot imagine telling him he must endure all the stress for the sake of our family's financial comfort.

Is there some kind of compromise you could reach? Perhaps looking or an alternative place of employment? Switching fields within your industry so you can still earn close to your current salary without having to start from the bottom again?

#23 newphase

Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:13 PM

Balance...

Would the change seriously affect the life you have now? The extras (private schools, or swimming lessons, or overseas holidays), what would you have to cut, and can you live with that realistically. Short term is easier than long term, though you do manage on less over time BUT as Tiger Filly said you begin to notice the things you can no longer have or give the kids and that I find the hardest too! Re the kids.

Would it mean general life being hard re just having to pay the bills, rent/mortage or is it just the slurge things that will need fine tunning?

Ultimately we are in the workforce for a long time, and for most it takes up a big part of our lives, to be miserable and seriously unhappy daily going to work would be a big reason to move, retrain, take a pay cut but only if life the other side wasn't going to be worse too as a result!

I wish I had changed jobs a few years back, maybe I wouldn't be divorced now...maybe I would though who knows!

I am going through a big need of change lately and am going to delve into a dream....the cost all up I am not sure! Things will be tighter for a few years whilst I retrain but ultimately I think $$$ I will be way better off....just wish I could retrain quicker!

Find a trade off...a balance!  original.gif

#24 Dagobah

Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:17 PM

Can I just add, that I don't think that the amount of the income reduction should be decisive. If someone is earning a low or average income and they are miserable in their employment, no-one hesitates to advise them to change jobs, because work is "not worth it" and their mental health is so much more important. Why is the mental health less important and the misery less real, just because you're earning a large income? I know that when I was in that position, I resented the implication that I should just suck it up, because the pay compensates for it. It really doesn't.

I also think, that even if you split a large income in half (which is essentially what I did when I down graded), you CAN raise a family on the remnants. I won't lie, I do miss the easy spending and things are harder now, but when I think back to my old job, I have no regrets, and I would never go back.

#25 Lil Chickens

Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:18 PM

I think when it impacts the family it must be a joint decision.

In our situation I have pushed for DH to stop dairy farming so he has a less time consuming work life and can see his children more.  For us it is likely that, at least short term, this will mean a lower income so I will be going to work more so that we can afford it.

I will work three days per week amd he will work 5 days but 2 of those will be stuff he can do with the kids and be around the house so that he cares for them two days a week, I care for them two days a week and the day we both work is a babysitter.  We'll share weeknds but since farms are 7 days a week he will still have some work that we can help with to give us some free time together on weekeds - we don't really get that now.

We lead a pretty plain, frugal lifestyle so although we will still end up with less overall we will be fine financially and hopefully we will all be happier.




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