Husband Can't Keep a Job

Hi fellow believers,

I am coming to you at my absolute wit’s end, because I need as many prayers as I can get, and I need some advice and support.

Short version, my husband and I have been married 13 years and have three kids. In that time he has spent over 3 total years unemployed and has had at least 5 different jobs, if you don’t count the ones he quit within a few days.

I was an idiot when I married him and didn’t really “get” that this was his MO and a really, really big problem. He is very fun to be around, life of the party, always has a great story to tell. Handsome, smart and funny. BUT HE CANNOT STAY AT A JOB. I now see that this is a pattern and not a one-off or bad luck.

In every job he has gotten (he is in higher-level IT), there is some reason, never his fault, that it doesn’t work out. The first one, I bought the story that the boss was intimidated by my husband’s ability and fired him so that my husband couldn’t take his job. The second one, they didn’t appreciate his genius and just wanted him to be a “yes man” - so that didn’t work out either and I got suspicious. Since then, over the years it has just been a series of lost jobs, always blaming others, never looking at the role HE plays in these job losses. Frankly, he is cocky and arrogant and in most things in life, has a hard time seeing himself as anything but perfect. But lets be real, the common denominator here is MY HUSBAND. Everyone else is able to maintain employment, even if the job isn’t wonderful.

My husband expects to have the perfect job where everyone sees how brilliant he is. He wants to be in charge of everything, and gets furious when his ideas are shot down or they go with someone else’s vision. He is very critical of his coworkers and management, and thinks anyone who doesn’t do things HIS way is a loser and a moron. And yet, we are on the brink of financial disaster and I have had to resort to selling humiliating MLM products from home as a way to get by.

This is no way to live and I need my husband to step up and be a man and support his family. I am very close to taking the kids and moving in with my parents who are out of state. They can’t believe how selfish and lazy my husband is and are encouraging me to jettison him. My sister and brother-in-law have made it clear that my husband is persona non grata and is not welcome in their home, for they take the position that he has abandoned his role as provider and protector of the family and left me and the kids vulnerable. Right now, we don’t have health insurance and RARELY do because he can almost never stay at a job long enough to earn that benefit. It’s ridiculous.

My husband says that everyone is against him and that the problem is that too many people are “sheep” and just go along with corporate (he hates corporate!) instead of using his revolutionary ideas. I don’t think he’s insane, in a clinical sense, he’s just got zero personal insight and makes a million excuses.

We argue a lot and a few weeks ago I told him, “I don’t care if you hate your job, I don’t care if your boss is an idiot, you need a soli paycheck and you need to step up as the breadwinner. I am doing my part by caring for the children, the home front, our awful finances, and all that goes along with that - and no, no one appreciates MY genius either. It’s just life and you have to get it done. SO, Suck it up!” Frankly, him slithering and slinking around the house while he SHOULD be at work makes me crazy and I want him out, out out.

I have prayed and prayed over this. His selfishness made us have to pull the children from Catholic school and I still hold that against him. He says he doesn’t want to be a stay home dad. I have been out of the work force for 11 years and could probably not get into a career where I made decent money at this point. WHAT CAN I DO?

Thank you,
Bags Half Packed

I was going to suggest you going to work, but you suggested he has no interest in being a stay at home dad. That’s very bad news.

I think for you to make it work, he has to understand the finances. I would quit doing the MLM, because I highly doubt you’re actually making any money doing that (see for information on MLMs.) Sell off what you’ve got if you can (even putting the rest on eBay), or better yet return it if that’s possible with the company you work for. Has he actually looked at your household budget? Does he know specifically what it costs to run the household?

If you want to bring in income on your own, I’d suggest making something on your own if you have skills for that, or providing some kind of service. has a section now on home based businesses that is not scammy and actually offers good advice. I used to run an in-home childcare and even do date-night babysitting, I’ve had friends who’ve cleaned houses. Of course, some of this you can look to for income whether or not you remain with your husband.

The problem is big enough that counseling is warranted. If he won’t go you should. If you don’t have mental health coverage through insurance I’d ask your priest or call Catholic Charities, either for counseling they provide or for referrals to free/reduced counseling. There’s even telecounseling options available.

Praying for you.

Perhaps if your husband likes to be in charge, or cannot take direction at work he should start a consulting company from home and be his own boss…or he can work for a temp agency doing the same.

There are many careers that do not require your dh to have regular contact with others and he should look into these as well.

This is my condensed answer. Perhaps I will expand later.

Also, and I don’t know if you’ve considered this already, but since you say your situation is so serious I would consider looking into WIC or other benefits you may be eligible for. I don’t know if your family would qualify for unemployment or not, but that would be something to look into as well. Also utility assistance, etc.

That isn’t to say that you should just accept your husband won’t provide and that you should live off the government forever. But I don’t think you and your kids should go hungry or be cold, either.

Thank you. He actually does “freelance” on the side… Those jobs are few and far between. He says the industry is slow, and people are outsourcing, and no one wants to pay him what he’s worth, but I have a very serious suspicion he is difficult to work with and has a poor reputation.

I wish I knew what was wrong with him.

I can’t get WIC because my kids are too old and I’m not pregnant. Our utilities are pretty low, we have cut back as much as possible. Luckily, my parents secretly send me gift cards and cash to pay for things like groceries, clothes, and other necessesities because they can’t stand the thought of us going without. However, I do not tell my husband that they do this, or I will say, “Oh, they send these for Valentine’s Day/Halloween” etc. He would be embarrassed if he thought my parents were floating us, which of course they are.

Our biggest expense is our mortgage, and I’m afraid that within 6 months that will no longer be an issue because we will be foreclosed upon.

The industry* is slow and people are *outsourcing.

Maybe your husband* is difficult to work with and maybe he does *have an attitude, but there was a time when difficult people with attitudes could find jobs, as long as they had sufficient talent–and they showed up to interviews. Computer and tech skills used to be in extremely high demand. We had one neighbor who was an absolute jerk, he quit his job because he didn’t like something about it, and yet even he found work within a few weeks. If a person had a job skill, especially technical skills, they could find work.

Your husband’s problem is the economy.

Is your husband a Christian? If he is, 1 Timothy 5:8 might give him a bit of a push: “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.”

If he refuses to stay at a job & if he also refuses to get counseling to learn how to keep a job, you may have no choice but to leave him - at least for a time. That might - or might not - wake him up. But from what you’ve said, he’ll probably blame you.

I hope the house is in his name only, not yours.

LuLuWatermelon, You and your family, especially your husband are in my prayers this evening.

Prayers for your peace of mind, and for your husband to find suitable work.

Sounds identical to my late husband.
I do know what’s wrong with him.
He’s vain.
Plain and simple.

*It’s never his fault.
Everyone is jealous of him and his know-how.
Everyone else is an idiot.
People are out to get him because he’s so smart.
People don’t hire him because they just know that soon, he will be taking over THEIR job.
Management is clueless.
No one can take a joke.
His supervisors are all idiots.
In addition,
YOU are dumb in his eyes.
You are too demanding.
You can’t do a good job at anything.
You can work 3 menial jobs, that’s fine.
But he can’t work for less than $70 grand a year right?

I feel for you. Mine did this stuff for 13 years. It got to the point where our youngest didn’t recall her dad every working. Everybody I know felt sorry for us. Everybody I knew thought he was a jerk and were afraid of him because they were on to him, and he made really rude remarks to people.
He was a bully. Pure and simple. Make everyone else appear to be stupid, and make your wife scared, and keep control over them.

I finally left one horrific night.
We were gone a week to a secret location.

Then he was gone.

Squirrel away as much money as you can.
Open a separate account.
Have several “safe houses” set up for you to flee to.
Take your keys and what you absolutely have to have. DON’T return to the house without law enforcement.
He’s going to be really angry.

You do NOT have to live like this.
You do NOT have to live like this.
You do NOT have to live like this.

I’m praying for you. Hard. I feel for you. I pray that everything works out for you and that you are safe.

I’m sorry to be so blunt.
But it is what it is.
Maybe he’s not at all like my late husband,
But what if he is?

It’s not worth it.
God bless you dear one.
I’m so sorry you are going through this.

All I can say is, that when I finally took my girls and left, EVERY SINGLE PERSON said to me
“Why didn’t you ever tell us? We would have helped you!”
I didn’t tell because he threatened me and I was scared of him; I WAS dumb.

I should have trusted God more.

I don’t envy your position. It’s probably not practical to leave your husband. If he won’t work, he won’t have money to support your children and if he can’t stay in a job, there’s no way to get the courts to catch up with him and attach his paycheck. It seems like you’re going to have to work either way, so I would focus on finding a job that’s the best situation possible for your family. Any way you can get him into counseling?

I’lll keep you in my prayers.

All I can say is I’m praying for you, that is a terrible situation to be in.

Is being an Uber driver an option? He needs to take anything even if he feels like it’s below him or his dignity. I know what a house can represent emotionally, but is it possible to sell at a good price and find a cheaper house or a condo? I myself was not a consistent worker until I had my kid. Shortly before I became so digusted with being dirt poor and not being able to afford stuff like 4$/pound sweet peppers that I was willing to accept pretty much anything.

Would you consider a part time job and your own bank account if you don’t already have one? I would be careful about working full time with him as a stay at home dad, you could just end as a single working mothers with an extra child.

Maybe your husband needs to know your parents are supporting you, it might be a wake up call.

There are many issues at work here…

The first, is that your husband does not realize that hard work is respected, not titles or position. He may also have a problem that needs counseling before he can stabilize in the work force. If his only work experience in IT perhaps the culture of this position is not for him…and a poor fit with the personality types that are predominant in his field…
Perhaps sales would be good for him even part time until he finds something else.

If no one else is building him up, he will continue to do it for himself through an arrogant attitude. This may be how he copes.

The second issue is that you need to insist he let you work. I am all about traditional roles, but spouses cover each other., and he needs to be open to this. There are many dual income families with children…there is no shame in providing stability this way.

My question is if you were financially secure, would you have a different outlook about your husband–ie does he have any noble qualities, and do you love him…if the answer is yes, I would help him and give it another try.

I also would not share too much info with your extended family, and stop taking money and gift cards. They have a very negative view of him and will push you to leave him. It is not helpful to complain and vent about your husband to others unless there is abuse . If your marriage gets back on track, there may be some collateral damage from this and relationships between them may never heal.

If you are in dire straits, tell him to go to his parents instead, until this passes and you begin to move forward.

I would put a time limit on the above and sit down with him… Give him options, and be kind about it, and make it a goall, not an ultimatum.
If he still refuses to listen or misses the time frame, I would move with the children to your parents until he realizes you mean business and straightens out.

Your job as a mom is to provide security and stability as well, so don’t let him take this away from you. You don’t have to sit idly by and watch as a spectator while this all goes down the tubes.

I definitely would be called to action.

Yeah. I would also feel cautious about the OP’s husband as a SAHD.

Agree totally…

Been there, done that.

If he doesn’t feel compelled to support his children and he doesn’t respect authority at the office, he won’t go to counseling.
He’ll just say that they’re full of beans.