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Vent: He hates his job

I've been with BF for 3.5 years. The first year he lost his job and was unemployed. He got this job he's at and ever since I have had to talk him down from quitting more times than I can count. He doesn't really have a lot of drive when it comes to a career. He beats himself up for never going to college and just "getting by" as he says. It's hard for me to relate. While I may grow mentally bored with work, I have made a career path for myself, have a masters degree, and have worked at the same company for ten years. I try to be supportive and tell him if he's unhappy then start looking for something else, but he never looks and just sucks it up for a while before the whole cycle begins again when he's on the verge of quitting. I will look for jobs for him occasionally, but they are never what he wants or what he expects to be paid. Can anyone else relate?? I want him to be happy with what he does, more so than the money he makes. It stresses me out when he's stressed out. I don't show it though, but it scares me.

Re: Vent: He hates his job

  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Is he interested in going back to school? It's never to late to get more education. Maybe that could be worth discussing with him. I don't think you should hide your stress. He should know how his behavior effects you.

    BF and I are both really driven and have definite education/career goals. I don't think I could date someone who was less driven than me.


  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    My H and I are somewhat similar in that I went to college and he didn't. I've been with my company for almost 7 years and he's been with 4 different companies in that time. However he has always had a job lined up if he quits and when he's been laid off he immediately went through the process of collecting unemployment and searching for something new. 

    You can do what you can to help him out (I would search online for jobs that seem like they would interest him) but you can't do it all for him. He has to want to better his situation or else anything you do is pointless. 

    Do you guys live together?



  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    This is really a personal matter and he's going to have to want to better himself. He really needs to think about something he would love to do and then how to make it a reality. My FI and I worked at the same job and we were both super unhappy. I went off and got a new job but he remained stressed and unhappy. Finally I talked him into applying for a job and just going for the interview to see what it was like, he got the job and is super happy he moved. When I was looking for jobs we have several 'hot company to work for' lists - and I only looked off of those lists for FI and myself. My company is a software company and though it's not Google, we do have a lot of services available to us that help out (like tomorrow I'm getting a haircut at work) - FI was happy with free coffee and a 7 1/2 hour day with 1/2 hour paid lunch.


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  • One of my past relationships was one where my ex was not only unmotivated - but he also blamed the world for his issues (you saw the part where he is now my ex right????)


    There were a few times where his boss had TOLD him to apply for openings within his company that were essentially promotions - and he didn't want to apply for any of them because he didn't want any "added responsibilities" on top of what he was doing. He essentially didn't WANT to further his career at all - he was complacent in his position. He also bitched about not making enough money all the time too - go figure.


    Anyway - my current BF is the opposite of this - and I can't tell you what a difference it makes in this aspect of the relationship.

    I'm sorry that he hates his job, and I know that what makes you love him as your boyfriend is a lot more than the job he holds - but if its something that is constantly making him miserable that will effect the rest of the relationship. Does he realize that this aspect of his life is making you miserable?? Maybe if he did that would help him to get motivated to change - ultimately - HE needs to want to do something about it. Thats the only way it will change - the effort from HIM needs to be there. And he has to be willing to put that effort in. Its not always easy to get motivated, so maybe he just needs the push of knowing how his decisions are effecting you.

    Its a tough spot to be in - good luck - I really hope you guys are able to figure this out so you can BOTH be happy!
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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    So, J haaaates his job and will likely never advance professionally to the point where we could live on just his salary, or have kids unless I was making a shitload more than he was. There are many days (and, during certain points of the year, weeks) where I have to take care of him because he's so unhappy.

    However, he does look into getting his master's degree, and he's also aspiring to write professionally. Our ideal set-up is me working full-time and him staying home and writing part-time whilst raising little Js and little Phiras. So it's not an issue. He also has a phenomenal work ethic; it's not a problem with motivation, just that he haaaates his job.
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  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    phira said:
    So, J haaaates his job and will likely never advance professionally to the point where we could live on just his salary, or have kids unless I was making a shitload more than he was. There are many days (and, during certain points of the year, weeks) where I have to take care of him because he's so unhappy.

    However, he does look into getting his master's degree, and he's also aspiring to write professionally. Our ideal set-up is me working full-time and him staying home and writing part-time whilst raising little Js and little Phiras. So it's not an issue. He also has a phenomenal work ethic; it's not a problem with motivation, just that he haaaates his job.
    I think there's a big difference between someone hating their job and just bitching about it and someone hating their job and doing something about it.

    BF has had a lot of trouble finding a job this past year. It's been stressful for both of us. But he's never given up and is now working on a back-up plan (just in case a job doesn't come through soon) to still be able to do what he wants to do. Him not having a job doesn't negatively impact our relationship because we can lean on each other to deal with it. Him not doing anything to change things would definitely be a problem though.


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  • Thanks ladies!  I appreciate your feedback.  To answer some things...yes, we do live together. 

    Also, despite him feeling "stuck", he does have an incredible work ethic, even more so than myself, which I admire him for.  I think the reason he is unhappy, aside from why everyone there is unhappy due to lack of hiring more employees to replace ones that left months ago, is that he is a perfectionist personality-wise.  This means that when he has to do things quickly he can't put into it the effort he would if he had the time.  It creates a lot of anxiety for him and it turns into "I hate this job, I want to quit".  While I have empathy for him because he's just trying to do his best, I do not have empathy for him that he hasn't tried to find something at least less stressful. 

    When we first started dating I couldn't understand why he didn't have a career path.  But once I got to know him better it really hasn't bothered me because it's not that he's a lazy bum, he just doesn't hold the same mindset as I do about careers.  And we talked about him being more of a stay-at-home dad, maybe working part-time, if we have a child. 

    I am at the point where we've had enough times of this cycle occurring that I'm going to tell him that if we are going to more forward this cannot continue to happen, that something must change, because, and I've said this before, I am not going to live with someone for the rest of my life who constantly is unhappy with their job.  It will affect me emotionally, it would affect future kids emotionally, and I'm not willing to subject myself/future kids to that kind of atmosphere.  I've already told him I don't care if he makes less, he already does make less than me.  I want him to be happy with what he does, that means more to me than his paycheck.

    Also, I think he's been trying to "hang on" at this job because we were planning on buying a house next year (not to mention marrying this year sometime and try to have a kid right away), and he didn't want to be changing jobs to show employment stability, etc.  But I need to let him know it's ok...I think he's feeling the financial aspect and he just needs to move on.  All of those things...marriage, kids, houses, are nothing to me if he's going to just be unhappy.

  • @pepperally have you had a straight forward convo with him about this? Maybe if he knows you're okay with him switching jobs before having a house or having kids he would be more likely to try to better his situation. It does sound like you're not very comfortable with him not having a job at all (I likely wouldn't either) so I would make that clear to him as well. Also going back to school (IF HE wants that) is doable at any age, but as a community college instructor I must emphasize that it's only good to go back to school if you want it.
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  • I'll be the one to throw this in: has he considered getting personal or career counseling? It sounds like he has a lot of anxiety, which I'm sure makes it difficult to move forward in pursuing a better career path. Maybe talking to someone and learning strategies to deal with his perfectionism and his fear of moving forward would help; they could also help him determine where to look for jobs, what he might like, how to negotiate the salary he wants, etc. Changing jobs is scary, so I understand why he's been hesitant to move forward and is trying to stick it out...but that's clearly not working for you as a couple.

    I am also someone with an ex who didn't want to change things for himself. He is a very intelligent man and works as an engineer. He haaaaaaaaaaaaates his job, the first one he got out of school. He would come home every single day and complain about it for entire meals sometimes, and then spend the rest of the evening "recovering." No amount of encouragement, listening, or carefully given feedback motivated him to even consider a job change. He told me the company would have to do something seriously drastic before he would start looking for other things, and apparently all these things that bothered him so much weren't drastic enough. It did take a toll on the relationship, because it was all about taking care of him after his horrendous work day, day after day.

    I'm not saying that this is where your relationship will or should go at all. My story just serves to illustrate why it's so important that he take steps to change where he is if he doesn't like it. It's so important for each of you to take care of yourselves first so you can also take care of each other. Everybody has bad days at work, and everybody wants their partner to help pick them up afterward, and that's OK. What's not OK is when one person refuses to change something that is causing stress on them and the relationship, and the other partner becomes responsible for constantly making them feel better, instead of both of them making the best possible life together they can.

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  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper

    Thanks ladies!  I appreciate your feedback.  To answer some things...yes, we do live together. 

    Also, despite him feeling "stuck", he does have an incredible work ethic, even more so than myself, which I admire him for.  I think the reason he is unhappy, aside from why everyone there is unhappy due to lack of hiring more employees to replace ones that left months ago, is that he is a perfectionist personality-wise.  This means that when he has to do things quickly he can't put into it the effort he would if he had the time.  It creates a lot of anxiety for him and it turns into "I hate this job, I want to quit".  While I have empathy for him because he's just trying to do his best, I do not have empathy for him that he hasn't tried to find something at least less stressful. 

    When we first started dating I couldn't understand why he didn't have a career path.  But once I got to know him better it really hasn't bothered me because it's not that he's a lazy bum, he just doesn't hold the same mindset as I do about careers.  And we talked about him being more of a stay-at-home dad, maybe working part-time, if we have a child. 

    I am at the point where we've had enough times of this cycle occurring that I'm going to tell him that if we are going to more forward this cannot continue to happen, that something must change, because, and I've said this before, I am not going to live with someone for the rest of my life who constantly is unhappy with their job.  It will affect me emotionally, it would affect future kids emotionally, and I'm not willing to subject myself/future kids to that kind of atmosphere.  I've already told him I don't care if he makes less, he already does make less than me.  I want him to be happy with what he does, that means more to me than his paycheck.

    Also, I think he's been trying to "hang on" at this job because we were planning on buying a house next year (not to mention marrying this year sometime and try to have a kid right away), and he didn't want to be changing jobs to show employment stability, etc.  But I need to let him know it's ok...I think he's feeling the financial aspect and he just needs to move on.  All of those things...marriage, kids, houses, are nothing to me if he's going to just be unhappy.

    That's a lot of stress for a guy. Try and take one thing at a time. Maybe put off children a year until you both feel financially able. Going into something like marrying, children, etc quickly is going to make him feel like he can't provide for his family if he doesn't have a solid job. Not to say all guys HAVE to provide, but more the manly feeling that they should or at least contribute significantly.

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  • PepperallyPepperally member
    250 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2014

    @Phira - not recently have had to have a talk about this, but I definitely plan on it so he knows we do not have to do X,Y,Z just because we had plans to do so.  I had told him a month ago that he could go with this one company that his aunt has a connection with who requires that you train at their place which is two hours away from here, he'd have to live up there for 6 months, then he'd have a career.  I told him before we would make it work, it's only 6 months out of a lifetime.  But then he just swept it all under the rug and never mentioned it again.  He's not willing to go to school, we've already covered that despite my encouragement. 

    @CLoGreenEyes - yes, I can definitely relate.  I don't think it's worth throwing away our relationship just yet, but I definitely relate to your story.  He expects to come home and do nothing all evening because it was just so stressful at work.  One, he just doesn't know how to cope with stress and anxiety.  Two, his job does expect too much out of him and the people on his team.  Three, yeah, I can't go on down this road much longer. I  suggested a career counselor several times...he has been resistant but I will be suggesting it again.  He needs some guidance.

    @Kait - I probably stressed him out recently when I showed him a budget for saving to buy a house.  He does talk about it just as much as me, but he gets anxious when it starts to get serious.  Also, the kids thing...I pretty much want that more than buying the house or even getting married, only because I'm going to be 39 this year.  But I have told him that I don't care if we don't have a kid, I just need to know what he wants.  He is the one who wants one definitely, while I'm sort of "what happens happens". 

    Looks like within the week we will be having a "come to Jesus" talk about a lot of these topics.  Thanks for bringing these to my attention...I really need to let him know what my priorities are, and that we need to be on the same page, and that something needs to change...soon.  I also need to take the pressure off of him for the other things...house, kids, marriage, so that he can focus on what he wants to do. 

    Blackbird230
  • Good luck on your talk, @Pepperally! All you can do is tell him the effect his actions are having on both of you and the solutions you see. I hope he will really take to heart what you have to say and start working on himself, for the both of you.
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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I think it's really easy to get caught up with "hanging on" to a job.

    J and I have been talking about kids recently. One of my coworkers is pregnant with her second child, and one of my friends is 7 months along with her first. So I've been feeling very eeee babies, which is honestly the first time in my life I've ever felt that way. J sometimes gets into panic mode where he laments that we will never be financially ready to have kids until we're too old (his definition of too old, by the way, is not too old by my standards or, like ... most standards). So that got me pretty down because, well, now I'm feeling symptoms of baby fever.

    I was reading a post on A Practical Wedding that really pretty much summed up my feelings and anxieties: We'll never FEEL financially ready to have kids, even when we ARE financially ready. When we have kids, we'll make finances work--we could always be better about budgeting, we could always live a little more frugally, etc. So I brought this up to J, and after talking about it, we decided that once my IUD comes out (end of grad school), we might not consider ourselves TTC, but we'll no longer prevent pregnancy.

    The reason I bring all this up is because it can be really easy to stick with a shitty job and not risk unemployment when you feel like you will end up in some terrifying unknown because you're supposed to be paying for a house and/or a wedding, etc. etc. Sometimes, it just needs to be said that money-wise, you'll find a way to carry on even with a period of unemployment and job uncertainty.
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  • Hummingbird125Hummingbird125 New York member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    I can relate a bit. FI is a college graduate, but was working a few part-time jobs when I met him. A few months into our relationship, he got a full time job, and has been with that company ever since. There are times that he really, really hates it, and seems very depressed about his career there (more so than just the normal bitching about work we all do). I listen and am supportive, and he has spent SOME time looking for a new job, but not as much time as I'd like him to. 

    What I do is try to sympathize with him, but it always goes back to the same advice "If you're so unhappy there, do something about it." 

    YOU cannot motivate him to look for something new. You should sit down with him and let him know that you hate to see him so unhappy with his job, and while you can always listen to him vent if that's all he needs to do, you feel helpless because you truly don't think there is another answer other than "work towards finding a new job". 

    Also, everyone deals with stress differently. Maybe this is just how he is and you are the one who has to adjust. I've accepted that as long as my FI is doing his part in paying our bills, and doesn't let his feelings about his job linger the whole evening long, I just need to let it be.
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  • @Hummingbird125 - Thanks for the feedback.  Yes, I definitely get what you mean...at one point I did say to myself "this is just what he does, this is how he vents, this is how he handles stress."  I'm usually good at saying that to myself, consoling him for the day, and then he usually snaps out of it after a couple of days(but definitely more often than just general venting of work that people do).  It's looking like this time it's lingering a bit longer, which has me concerned. 

    And yes, I do think the only thing that will fix it is him finding a new job, but I was just thinking today "well, if this is just the way he handles stress, then he will just do this at a new job, too."  So you're right, getting a new job may not be the answer, it may be in how he deals with this type of stress. 

    I guess I'm panicking now more than earlier in our relationship because we do have actual plans for the future, whereas I am used to rarely having a plan for the future, lol...it's just the way I operate.  But I need to relax more on the "plans".  It will come in time.  I really need to make sure I convey to him that I don't have this "fixed" idea of what MUST happen in the next year.  Perhaps that will take some pressure off of him in general.  My only condition is, please have another job lined up if you're going to quit this one...I don't even care if it pays less...but it's best to have something lined up. 

    I really appreciate reading other's perspectives on this...it helps me realize that I need to relax a bit.  I know I can't make him do anything until he's ready...I just want him to be happy.  But he has to do it his way, on his terms.

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