Friday, 24 January 2014

(Pre) Occupation

I've been completely preoccupied over here. There's a very simple reason - Jay has become totally focused on quitting his job and finding a gross  old house to renovate.

I know. 

Is he insane? Maybe. The probability gets higher when I include the fact that he currently has a slipped disc. You know - in his back. I can't help thinking that a fully-functional back would be helpful if he's about to embark on a career of manual labor.

But he wants to do this so badly. Personally, I can't imagine wanting to spend my days hammering and gluing, but he does. I mean he really really does. He doesn't want to make a ton of money, he just wants to do a good job and make enough profit to pay for his own labor.

But ugh, who can forget what happened in 2008? And I'm extremely financially risk averse, and always was even before that happened. All those Victorian novels I read as a teenager, probably - too much Dickens has given me a morbid fear of Debtors' Prison, even though I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist anymore.  The thought of any kind of self-employment has always terrified me. What would we do if we had to pay our gas bill and there was no money at the end of the month to pay it? I have no idea.  (I'm aware how privileged this all sounds, by the way. Please don't hate me for admitting that money is a very useful thing to have). My big fears are silly, I think - we wouldn't risk any money that we couldn't afford -worst case scenario- to lose. Obviously nobody goes into one of these projects planning to lose money, but we wouldn't be out on the street if we did. I don't think so, anyway.

So should he stay or should he go? Here's the pro/con list.

Things I hate about his current job:
  • All his friends have left for other companies;
  • It's a ninety minute commute each way;
  • It makes him miserable. That's definitely my least favourite part. 

    Things I like about his current job:
    • He wears a suit, and he looks super cute in a suit;
    • They pay him. That's definitely my favourite part. 

    I hate that he is miserable at work. Right now I really love my job, and I wish he could have the same experience. I so want him to do something he loves with his life, and he really does love anything to do with houses and building - also, he's really good at it. I'm trying so hard to be a supportive wife, but right now I'm not entirely sure what that looks like.

    The housing market seems to be moving again - right now, we can just afford to do this. If it moves too much further, we won't be able to (at least not without a lot more risk). This is probably his last chance to do the thing he's always dreamed of. I should say yes, right?

    But what if his back flares up really badly? What if something happens and I lose my job? And even if none of that occurs, how will we survive for the length of this project without his income? When I first moved to the UK I lived on a tiny student stipend for years, and I know I can do it - eat nothing but dried beans and canned tomatoes - but frankly I also know it's freaking annoying and I'd rather not do it again if I can avoid it. I like the security - the easiness - of knowing I can buy a latte without having to save for it. Jay assures me that he's done the sums and it would all work but what if he's wrong?

    Did I mention that my job is part-time?

    I hate the risk, but what about what it would mean for him to spend (even more) years in a job he hates? I've always assumed that's just what you do, because hey, the kids gotta be fed, but what if it's not? Is my hesitation prudence, or is it just selfishness because I'm not the one who has to go into an office and do stuff I don't want to do?

    Should I be the voice of encouragement or the voice of reason? I mean, I'm not going to forbid him to do it, but if the house he's looking at now doesn't work out, should I be scouring the real estate pages for the next one or just saying a silent prayer of thanks? What would you do in this situation - not what you think sounds like the right thing (that's follow your dreams, right??) but what would you actually do?

    Curious minds want to know.


    1. I've been married to the husband-miserable-doing-what-he's-doing. Telling him "OK, fine, go ahead and quit, and do something else" was one of the best pieces of advice I ever gave him. Having a happier husband again was so totally worth the time we lived on a single income.

    2. holy crap. this one is tough. i also love to DIY and my DH and I have done a great deal of our share. but foregoing the salary for a bit? well, life is about risk, and risk to do what you love is risk that should be fully considered. and after all, it is not irreversible right? you could always dump the house midway and get back on the corporate horse? besides, a tool belt, or tool KILT (!) can be mighty cute too.

    3. During the 90s dot com era, I pushed my DH to make a break from his solid job at a stable company and go out and do something with a dot com thing because A.) he's brilliant and any company would be lucky to have him and B.) the money.....oooooo....the money. He told me that if I really wanted him to do it, he could but I had to know that I would never see him --at all-- because he'd be required to put in crazy hours. At the time the DSs were little and I already felt he didn't get enough time with them. The idea of less was unacceptable. It was clear that he could do it if I insisted, but it was outside of his comfort zone to do something so risky. We decided we each had to be true to our temperaments and comfort levels even if it meant less money. I couldn't push him into a job he hated because of all the money I hoped to have for us. So I guess we had the inverse situation of you, right? Anyway, we decided together it wasn't right for him....and us.

      Me on the other hand, I've been free lance for 25 years (God I'm old) and though the money is never a steady thing, I love, love, love the freedom. To me, it's totally worth the smaller income. I wake up happy to do my job. And that, my friend, is priceless.

      So I guess I have no advice but a ton of empathy. These are difficult decisions but no one solution fits all. You two have to decide -- temperamentally-- what works for you both.
      Good luck!

    4. I'm biased. My job was soul-destroying and my husband encouraged me to quit. Now I am self-employed but it's basically a part-time job. If he weren't fulltime we couldn't have made it work (US--no workie, no health insurance) but we have managed very well for two years. He's been so supportive that I can't imagine telling anyone else not to quit. That said, your husband doesn't have just two choices and with his back and the fact of kids ( we don't have any) perhaps he could look into a different job rather than a different career?

    5. I think you lift it to GOD and let him open the door. If the house comes through then you give him your full blessing knowing that it is a door God opened. He will be happier, God will bless you abundantly for being obedient and you never know what you may learn by only being able to afford 6 lattes a week instead of 7. Embrace the change

    6. hmmmm, you and D both! He's also INTJ, extremely risk-averse. I said about wanting to resign, "what are savings for if not for times like this?!" (he's not convinced) :)

      I say go for it IF you have money to tide you over for awhile (and it sounds like you guys do) and know how long you have to give it a go before he has to look for a corporate job again. But like someone said, to see your husband happy again is just worth it. D was out of work for 6 months in 1992 :) and it did my nerves in BUT when he was eventually in a decent job it was amazing to have my husband back.


      PS I also like Kathryn's comment!!!!

    7. Encourage him! Dream stompers are no fun. (so says the idealist who has lived through a massive home remodel...) Home remodels are painfully slow sometimes. And scary. And sweat-inducing. But completely worth it.

    8. We managed this (no renovation, but a couple of degrees) but only thanks to a healthy redundancy package. Any chance of that? Or him taking the, erm, next adoption leave? Or you working more hours?

    9. I think as a partner, you have to try to help your spouse find a way to try to be happier at work. I was in the same position, almost over-encouraged hubs to make a change, and he did and it was different than he thought, but it's still in process and money has been stressful. Wow, that wasn't great advice. So, my advice is - be supportive, but let him make his decision for himself so that it's a decision he feels he made however it turns out! Also, is there any way he can work part-time at something more secure, while starting on the slower process of his dream job?

    10. I wholeheartedly encouraged my husband to leave his fairly lucrative career that made him miserable. His work had paid off the house, which let us live off my income while he went to school. Then we adopted, and while that was financially challenging, it was great that he was home with the kids the first year. Then, just as budgeting got scary and he started to get panicked about finding a job I his new field, he got one. Now his boss is making him crazy, and he's struggling with the feeling of "I finally got what I wanted and I'm not sure I like it." There are no safe answers. I do know I have never regretted being supportive of his dreams, regardless of how they pan out. Then again, my husband is a self-doubter, and I know that believing in him is one gift I bring to our marriage. It might not apply as much in another relationship.

    11. My name is Roland monica from Houston,taxes.i never believed in love spells or magic until i met this spell caster once. when i went to Africa in June 28th 2013 this year on a business summit. i ment a man called DR omoba. He is powerful he could help you cast a spells to bring back my love’s gone,misbehaving lover looking for some one to love you, bring back lost money and magic money spell or spell for a good job.i’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 3 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 2 years… i really loved him, but his mother was against me and he had no good paying job. so when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. and in 6 days when i returned to taxes, my boyfriend (is now my husband ) he called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married..i didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do… well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid,and my husband also got a new job and our lives became much better. in case anyone needs the spell caster for some help, email address:

    12. I'm so with your husband for all his reasons. If I had the knowledge and skills, I would be out there being a rehab addict. Not sure my knees could take it though.

    13. Never a dull moment Claudia! Exciting idea but. .. yes, not without risk! Any chance Jay could take career break to test the waters or work part time (do you want to increase your hours or is that not really an option?) That said, if you guys do decide this is the right thing to do. ..I reckon the further north the better :) c'mon up & join us then you too could be sitting down to haggis, neeps & tatties tonight!!

    14. You are both v employable sweetie and that's not going to change if he takes a bit of time out to follow his dream. I like anon's idea: could he take some unpaid leave and give it a go?

    15. I think my question is: if the house thing doesn't work out (back problems act up again, something unexpected happens, etc.), how hard would it be for him to find a similar job to what he has now, or something similarly financially lucrative? If he could go back to his current occupation without too much fuss if the house thing doesn't pan out, then I don't see the harm in him going for it. With the housing market on the upswing, then even if renovations weren't finished, the house could likely be sold at a profit, yes? So I feel like this could be a win-win.


    16. I am carissa from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband, i love him so much we have been married for 6 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady called Marian, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I met my a friend of my and i told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem like this before and she introduce me to a man called Dr.swami from indian who cast a strong spell to bring him back to her after 3days. then my friend ask me to contact Dr. swami. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that he is going to bring him back to me within 3days. He also told me by three days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After three day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr.swami on any problem in this world,if you need any restore in your relationship contact Dr. He is the best spell caster i have ever seen.


    17. i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband, i love him so much we have been married for 5 years now with two kids. when he went for a vacation to France he meant a lady who encharm him with her beauty, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I complained to my friend and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr Saibaba. who cast a spell on her ex and bring him back to her after 2days. she ask me to contact Dr Saibaba. I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two days my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness and that he never knew what came upon him that he will never leave me again or the kids. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great spell caster did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr Saibaba on any problem, he is very nice, here is his contact

    18. Definitely do the spell thing. Sounds really effective, plus 2 different commenters recommended it so you'd be mad not to take their advice. The only dilemma is whether to go with Dr Swami or Dr Saibaba. Other than that, quit the job and buy the house! Seriously.

    19. Disclaimer: I know very little about how the real estate market in the UK works

      I don't want to be Debbie Downer but that is (sort of) what I do for a living. And it is hard, very hard, to make much money at it. And it is easy, very easy, to lose your shirt. If you think it will take 6 weeks and $50k then it will likely take 6 months and $100k. And then the next one you think to yourself, "Self, I'm not going to make that mistake again so I'm going to estimate 6 months and $100k." And then it ends up taking 8 months and $120k. So you get better but it's a big ol' learning curve. Just for example, you do all your estimating but you don't have anything in the budget for caulk. Caulk is $2.50 so not a big deal, right? Well then you find that your going to end up using 6 cases of caulk and suddenly that line item is $180. Same thing with plumbing elbows or electrical boxes and by the time you're done all your profit went to buy 700ft of quarter round.

      I love, really love, the flexibility and the be-your-own-boss thing but you have to have gobsmacking amounts of money saved to be able to do it properly. Way more than you would think. So I would second the suggestion of having a very good, safe escape route back into corporate hell should things go south.

    20. My husband has always had back issues. About 6 years ago he was in a job he hated (stressful, awful boss) and his back gave out really bad, worse than ever before. His doctor suggested that perhaps his back was trying to tell him something - too much stress can actually affect us physically and sometimes our bodies just say enough is enough. He's now in a completely different career and things are a lot better.

      I'm not really trying to give you advice here. I think others have given good advice. I just want to say I know what it's like when your husband is in a job he hates, and to encourage you to help him to try to remove the stress from his life (however that might look). Perhaps there's something else that's a bit more financially secure that he would enjoy (or at least not hate) that he could do?