Post # 1
Hi Bee’s –
First, to clarify my FI is a contractor. It isn’t at all strange for contractors to frequently change jobs, but I’m a little nervous.
My FI is always looking for full time employment, and every once in a whlie he’ll get an interview, but he’s never gotten a FT job offer. He makes a lot of money as a contractor but you never know if they will renew his contract. He also doesn’t recieve any benefits.
The current contract he is in was supposed to be guarenteed until March, but instead they told him Friday that it will end December 20th.
When my FI told me, I was completely numb, it was the 7th time he’d told me this in 3 years. I know that I should have went and held him and told him it would be okay, but I just couldn’t. I was so frustrated that here we are again right before the holiday’s.
Every job that he has gotten as a contractor had the opporutnity to get to FT, but he never gets chosen. I keep telling myself to be supportive, but it’s getting REALLY hard. I get frustrated when he takes his time getting to work, I believe you should be 15 minutes early always. I get frustrated when he doesn’t cut back on his spending when we don’t know how quickly he will find another job. I get frustrated when he doesn’t want to tell anyone about his job, but leaves me to explain why we can’t afford to do certain things.
What would you do in my situation? Just be supportive? The first time he had a contract end I was BEYOND supportive, he was out of work 3 months and I took care of everything. He expects me to be that way everytime, but I don’t have the energy to do that.
Thanks for letting me vent….
Post # 3
I would be REALLY worried about his poor work ethic.
Being late is pretty bad, but getting turned down for that many FT positions and getting his contract cut short?
Those are signs of a MUCH bigger problem.
Post # 4
I don’t think it’s anyone’s business why you can or can’t afford things.
Though I do think it’s your business (marriage-wise) to help your FI learn to manage his spending, espcially given how uncertain his job situation is.
I think your FI may need another game plan with his career – whether that means planning ahead for shorter contracts, getting out of this contract-only groove he’s in and looking for a different kind of job, or having a constant part-time job in addition to contracts to keep him afloat.
Maybe some new professional connections can help him get a FT position if that’s what he wants – networking is SO key in some fields.
And finally, I think you need to speak with him about your willingness and ability to be supportive, and set limits on what you can manage for him in times of need (but also be kind!). And I mean really communicate – don’t just tell him how it is, have an open conversation (or two, or more!)
He has the right to know your limits and expectations with his employment/unemployment, as you two are planning your life together now.
Post # 5
@BrandNewBride: You are absolutely right. After the second time it happened, I suggested he find a therapist to see what was really going on. From that he learned, that his mother had coddled him his entire life, leaving him with no motivation to do anything for himself. As an adult, he doesn’t “blame” her where he’s at in his career, he just accepts it and still see’s the therapist to work on his life skills.
I went to one session with him, and his therapist asked me to be patience, I pray everyday for patience, but it’s growing thin.
@CakeyP: Agreed. Both of our parent’s ask us to visit home and when I tell them we can’t afford it, they keep pestering. It’s really annoying. You think it’s fair to limit how supprortive I am? I really can’t do it everyday, it’s depressing and exhausting.
Post # 6
- Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley
I can sympathize. My FI was a contractor for FIVE YEARS. He just got hired on as FT in September of this year after five years trying to find a job to pick him up. My FI does have excellent work ethic (always early, always stays late, always picks up extra work if they are falling behind, etcetc). I understand how frustrating it is because I have been there.
Is your FI’s work ethic really that bad? Does he arrive to work late, or does he simply not arrive early? In some situations, (okay, a LOT in the area I work), the positions are advertised as temp-to-perm but there is never any intention of bringing these employees on full-time. It can often be cheaper to keep them as subcontractors for a few reasons; benefits being a major one. Additionally, it is easier to hire/fire subcontractors than FT employees. It is a sad reality in the area I work.
I strongly urge you to have a heart-to-heart (gently!) about curbing spending. But please do your best not to get too upset with him. It is 100% possible that this was not caused by a fault of his own.
I also strongly disagree with the notion that having contracts cut short and never being offered FT employment is a sign of a bigger problem. Sure, it can be, but not always. I do not know what industry your FI works in, but contracts being cut short (especially this year and last) in the industry where I work (IT Government Services – any companies who support the Government & their sub-contracting support companies [Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grummen, Boeing, General Dynamics, ETC]) is becoming commonplace due to sequester, budget concerns, etc.
Post # 7
Job markets are tough right now.. but if you feel that this is due to poor work ethic then I would be upset too :(. He should be showing up early, going above any beyond, anything to secure that full time job.
I feel like the whole “my mother babied” me thing is a big giant excuse. Sure, that may be true but it’s true for many people. I don’t think he needs to be blame his mother, I think he needs to decide what he wants in life. Does he want a wife? Does he want a full time career? Does he want financial security?
If you’re getting frustrated you need to communicate this to him. Eventually it will turn really ugly if you don’t.
Post # 8
@LMD: He is rarely late, but never early. That really bothers me. His boss told him that his contract being cut short was due to budget cuts, so I don’t blame him for it…I’m just frustrated that 3 years have gone by and nothing.
@RedPandas: I have talked to him about my frustration. He asks me “what do you want me to do” the only thing I want is for him to find a job!! I know that’s not going to happen magically, but it’s what I really want….need actually. He knows I’m going back to school in August, I can’t do that if he doesn’t find a full time job.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley
@Meant2Bee: I understand. It’s rough. But please don’t automatically assume it is because of some shortcoming with your FI. I work as a contractor and I also manage subcontractors for a few major companies. So I see the hiring practices. I’ve been on both ends. I see that they advertise 9/10 of their positions as temp-to-perm and I see that 9/10 of those positions NEVER convert to full-time.
Make sure he is claiming unemployment!
I would encourage him to start putting in 110%, not just 100%. I would also let him know that showing up late – even 5 minutes – can have more of a negative reflection of his employment worth than he may be realizing. If someone comes in late more than twice in one month as a subcontractor, without calling me beforehand and providing me a legitimate reason, I will grow frustrated quickly and will bump this person to the bottom of my hire list if I had one.
Post # 10
@LMD: Thanks for affirming my feelings are valid. He is always telling me how his boss is never there on time, but it still matters. I also manage people, and if they are late on a day I really needed them – I don’t forget.
Post # 11
@Meant2Bee: Well, when you say you can’t do it everyday and that it’s exhausting then yes, I think it’s fair to limit. You need to always take care of yourself primarily – because if you’re not stable, how can you help others?
I also think it’s a HUGE red flag that his relationship with his mother lead to this behaviour in his career. The only reason I’m saying that is I am a big believer in “a man’s relationship with his mom affects his relationship with his wife” it doesn’t mean exact translation all the time, but in your FI’s case that seems to be happening.
That’s his choice – he is allowing that relationship to bleed into other areas of his life (his career, his marriage if it’s affecting you). He can choose to work harder on becoming a better person, but sorry to say that it seems that nothing he has right now is motivating him to do so.
Honestly, I would postpone my wedding indefinately if my fiance couldn’t hold a job and didn’t have a good work ethic, or even just the motivation to persue a stable job (well honestly I wouldn’t be with the guy – my FI and I are huge workaholics, it’s important to me!).
His financial situation (and dependancy on you to support him) will negatively impact your family life, the way things are going now.
Patience is a virtue, but so is courage… if your fiance doesn’t have the guts to tackle his career issues (therapy can only get you so far), I don’t see anything changing for him.
Post # 13
@Meant2Bee: Just to add regarding the spending. You guys need to sit down and have an honest discussion about how you will manage finances when these situations happen. It’s important to be on the same page about finances and what you will cut back/what you won’t cut back. I think the biggest things that has helped us is we try to still maintain a normal lifestyle. We don’t go spend on luxury items but we agree it’s still important for us to spend $ to go out to dinner or do fun things, even if it’s not a necessity and would be financially more responsible not to. Maintaining normalcy and having some fun amidst unemployment is really important to us to keep our relationship happy and healthy and less stressful.
Post # 14
@CakeyP: I appreciate your honesty, it’s refreshing. I am a hard worker, so I am critical of others. My FI is a constant reminder that a job is just a job and that my family is what’s most important to me. I know that lately (in the last year) he really has been busting his ass. He talks negatively about himself that he’s not doing enough to support us, he hates when I have to spend my money on him, and frankly I don’t like it much either.
@MrsWBS: That was a great suggestion. I need something for myself, I need an outlet. I have one friend who I talk to about everything, but I try not to overwhelm her. I want to lost some weight, so I’m going to use this time to put my anger and frustration into that.
Post # 15
@MrsWBS: We have bi-weekly financial meetings, and a personal financial manager. All of this is because of me. I am a tad obsessed with finances. That’s why we’ve never had to ask any of our families for help, I always have everything together. We’re working on him taking on some of that role and not depending on me to do all the math. If we are in the store and he say’s “I’d really like a a new shirt” I immediatly get angry…he will then say “can’t I just say I want something without you geting angry” and my answer is “No, don’t you think I want things”. We don’t seem to agree on that.
Post # 16
Not being early isn’t a sign of a poor work ethic, and if he is a contractor, showing up early isn’t likely to be the deciding factor in him getting a FTE offer or not. A lot of contracting firms discourage showing up early because that time is not billable time, hence he is working for free. So I would drop the “he’s never early for work” from the trouble list, because really it’s not a big deal and may even be more in line with his expected schedule than you realize.
That said, it is very difficult being financially tied to someone who is a contractor. You are always at the mercy of the contract renewal, and your SO may one day be forced to choose between salary and benefits where he may get a contract offer with a decent salary but no benefits at all. Most contracting firms do not cover any paid leave, which is another drawback. But in some parts of the country (like any state capitol or Washington, DC) all non-management work in certain industries is done by contractors. If you want to be a web developer or a network engineer then you’re gonna be a contractor.
I’d recommend first you determine how much of the year he is traditionally out of work. Take an average of days worked, days unemployed, and days on vacation over the last 5 years. It’ll probably be something like 15-20%. Whatever the number, that is the amount of his salary you two need to put into savings. You are working a lower hourly wage for your employer because you still get a paycheck when you are on vacation and you’ve got better job security; because he doesn’t have those things, you need to plan and budget for it.
Then you have to see what a comfortable “cushion” is, and both of you fund that equally till you have your cushion. If you want to be prepared against another 3-month stretch of no work, then together you need to save 3 months of his salary.
Then look at what it takes to run your household. Every month or every paycheck, each of you has to contribute fairly (which may or may not mean ‘equally’) to a joint account to cover your expenses. If you want to pad it to save for large expenses like home repairs or vacations, then it should be done from every paycheck too. Whatever is left over is play money for each of you, so if he wants a new xbox or you want a designer handbag, then it’s not coming from joint money. It’s coming from play money.