Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wife Drops an Empty Bombshell

Last night, my wife approached me with something that I think she feared would stress me out. She told me that she wanted to quit her part time job that she does from home. From the remarks that she had been making the last few weeks, I saw this one coming so I was pretty calm. I think that caught her off guard.

When we moved to our current home six years ago, we didn't have kids, and we both worked full time. Both of us stayed with our employer and worked as telecommuters. She moved from a job in finance to a job that did database cleanup work. They continued to pay her at the same level. The work was not mentally intensive. She watched TV while she did the work to keep from getting bored to sleep.

Once the kids arrived in the summer of 2003 and the winter of 2005, my wife scaled down her hours, going to 15 - 20 hours a week. She worked the time during the afternoon and evening hours. With increased commitments to the preschool, she rolled back the time to 10 hours per week. Her work schedule became scattershot, usually coinciding with prime time TV and her favorite cable reality shows.

A few months ago, her boss said that they were running out of things for her to work on, and there may be some uncertainty over whether they could find her another position. They eventually moved her from sales leads processing to customer service.

The person she reports to now is much more hands on than the prior manager, with whom she had very little contact. She gets several e-mails a day from the manager, asking questions and expecting prompt responses. My wife has vented frustration with the higher level of accountability. It might be that the new person is a micromanager, but it is causing a high level of distress in my wife.

After six years of pretty lax supervision and great autonomy, she's now feeling pressure to adapt to someone else's schedule. It makes me wonder how she would handle the prospect of divorce, because it would probably require her to get a full time job.

She says that she knows she can't quit right now because she says we can't afford to live on my salary alone. I make about 85 % of the household income, and since she took over bill paying about a year and a half ago, I'm not certain of where the money is all going. I am going to have a talk with her sometime soon about what our budget looks like because my gut tells me we could afford to live on my income alone, if we spent more wisely.
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