Post # 1
I want to preface this by saying I love my husband to death, but his lack of motivation to find work has me at my wit’s end.
A little backstory: We dated for about a year before we got engaged. When we met he was in a PhD program but had been struggling with his motivation level for varying reasons and was contemplating leaving the program. That dragged on for six months or so before he finally decided to leave the program. Before he left the program and since then he has been primarily applying to one specific type of employment which is notoriously difficult to break into but he has occasionally been applying through more traditional channels. He’s had a few interviews (his last one was months ago) but nothing that has really panned out. In the meantime he has taken on temporary work (not in his field) and is severely underemployed plus has no benefits through this position.
My husband is one of the most intelligent people I know but people with his expertise are pretty much a dime a dozen in our area and because he has been in school until recently he does not have the work experience that many other candidates might. In my opinion, he should be applying to ANYTHING that piques his interest. When I graduated from college and every time I’ve been seriously looking for employment since, applying to jobs was my job. I applied to everything even remotely related to my field of interest. My husband doesn’t do this. I ask him on an almost a daily basis if he’s applied to anything and usually the answer is “I found a few jobs that I want to apply to later.” And then maybe he eventually does (usually only after I bug him about it) or maybe he lets it drag on and those job listings expire. I could probably count on one hand the number of jobs he has applied to through traditional channels in the last several months.
I know it’s hard to apply day in and day out and either not hear back or not get the response you’re looking for, but it’s part of the process. Does anyone have any tips for how I can help motivate him and/or how I can keep from feeling resentful towards him? He recently told me I was nagging him about the job search and I was so frustrated I wanted to cry and scream at him all at the same time. The fact that he doesn’t have a permanent position impacts BOTH of us – and the fact that he is not serious about looking for work is like a constant slap in the face. I feel like my life is on hold. HELP!
Post # 2
Unfortunately I don’t know how you can make someone else be motivated. I would lay it all out on the table in a serious talk about how dissapointed you are and how it is negatively affecting your lives. Im frustrated for you! I see a lot of “special snowflake syndrome” in your post where your husband idled away in school for an eternity for a degree he wasn’t even committed to getting… And now will only consider a dream job (that he may or may not get around to applying to). That’s ridiculous. Immature. Spoiled. Selfish. And id tell him just that I guess!
Im with you- looking for a job is a job and you have to cast a wide net, be resilient, and except to apply to many many many if not a hundred gigs before you get a hit. Good luck.
Post # 3
Just because he does not apply to everything that remotely uses his skills does not mean he’s not serious about his job hunt. I’m only learning about the situation from a few paragraphs, so believe me, I don’t know what it’s like on a daily basis – just take this with a grain of salt. I’ve been in his same position, and often times, the thought of applying to everything and anything is really demoralizing because I don’t want a job that I dislike. When I was recently out of my university programs, family members thought I should be applying for everything, but I know myself extremely well, and it was easy to tell if a job was going to make me miserable. That was something my husband didn’t want me to compromise on to make the money easier.
I understand that sacrifies might need to be made in the short term to get some income, and maybe you guys could work out a compromise so that you can get in a better position financially. He has to work something for 6 months, a year, whatever you both feel is best. This is what I did. I took a job that had some small perks for my resume and worked it for several months while I figured out my future plans on the side. It did really solidy my DH and I’s opinion that I shouldn’t go into a job I knew wasn’t right for me from the start unless it’s an emergency – it was really rough on both of us and my motivation took an even bigger hit.
Post # 4
Oh man Bee I’ve got no useful advice, but I wanted to say that has to suck so badly!
I’d recommend couples counseling or the religious equivalent if you two are religious. It would help rule out if your husband has some sort of underlying clinical depression issues that could be causing or contributing to his lack of motivation AND you’d have a neutral party explaining how this impacts your marriage.
Post # 5
Thanks to you all for your fast responses. I do value the opportunity to get to talk through this with someone other than myself. Also my attempts at conversations with my husband haven’t resolved anything (I think because I don’t know how to truly express my frustrations in a way that is helpful and not demoralizing) and it’s not something I can talk about with friends or family.
Thanks, bee. I know it’s hard to get a full grasp on what the situation is like from my post (I want to protect a few of the details to make this less identifiable if someone were to stumble upon it). It’s not that I want him to apply to anything that comes along. Believe me I don’t. In fact, his current temporary position has indicated that a permanent job offer might be coming and I really want him to kick up the job search now more than ever so that he doesn’t have to accept whatever’s thrown at him (this job has absolutely nothing to do with his field of study or really his underlying interests).
I’ll try to come up with a similar scenario. Let’s say my husband wants to be a librarian. He is focusing primarily on applying to jobs only through specific librarian networks (when it is famously difficult to find a job this way) and is not so much open to using the other channels that non-librarians use for applying to jobs (going to job sites, searching for jobs, submitting a cover letter and resume).
Thanks for this. I think if it does go on for much longer some kind of counseling might be in order. It’s bleeding over into other areas of our life as well – for example, my interest in being intimate is almost nonexistent because I am terrified of getting pregnant in our current financial position
Post # 6
DUDE. Special snowflake is like, my favorite phrase right now :)))))
Post # 7
it sounds like he is suffering from depression. Does it seem like he should see someone?
Post # 8
That would drive me nuts! I feel ya, nothing is less attractive to me than an unmotivatived man. Sorry, I don’t have any great advice 🙁 You don’t want to nag, but you also don’t want to make him think that this acceptable… It’s a tough position to be in. I would probably be quite forward and tell him (nicely) that you’re worried he’s not being proactive enough.
Post # 9
How long has it been since he quit the PHD program? What does he do during the day? You said he has a temp position. Could he simply be content with that?
It’s hard to know if he’s depressed or just lazy. Everybody has to start somewhere. It might help if he talks to a career counselor or others in the field of his interest. If you are fully supporting him, you might cut off the “fun” money until he gets into gear. Depression is a whole other issue though.
Post # 10
OP, I could have written this post. I don’t want to nag either, but I am so frustrated. I am working over 40hrs a week in a salaried position that I am not happy with because we are completely reliatnt upong my income for survival. I’m really unsure how to proceed. I try to be supportive but he also doesn’t tell me a lot of what is he doing to find work. He doesn’t want to sell anything we aren’t using to get any kind of cushion, its hard for me to even talk to him at all sometimes.
We are not intimate at all and I don’t even care at this point. Today he actually did laundry and put it away so thats nice but its also needed to be done for a long time and I was just doing my laundry not his! My passive aggressive way of dealing with it.
I am pretty sure is probably depressed and I am too. I am crying at work over things I used to be strong enough to handle. We don’t have insurance so I have no idea how we would get any kind of therapy or counseling. We are not religious so that is not a route for us. I don’t even know if he would go to therapy. I might seek it out for myself. I daydream about how I really don’t need him in my life anymore and how I would have more money for me if we weren’t together anymore. Its sad, we haven’t even been married a year.
Part of me doesn’t want to talk to him about it. He is an adult. He knows he isn’t working. Why should I have to talk to him to get him to understand he needs to work? If he doesn’t get that on his own, then I can’t explain it to him. If my working a job that is very unhealthy for me, paying all the bills, doing all the grocery shopping, keeping the place clean, etc. isn’t supporting him enough for him to get a job so we can better our lives, I don’t know what else I can do. I’m not going to have sex with him when he isn’t doing anything for me to be attracted to. That’s where I draw the line. I am sure I am doing a lot wrong in this situation too but I’m maxed out emotionally between work and financial stress.
Ugh, sorry I don’t have any advice. I don’t wanna threadjack, just commiserate that these situations suck so bad and are hard to navigate. At least we know we are not alone. good luck.