thank-you note for not being laid off?

A reader writes:

My husband has been successfully employed by the same company for 13 years. Due to the economic climate, the company has been forced to lay-off 14% of their staff. Fortunately, my husband’s job has been spared, and at least for the moment, we feel that his job is secure. Would it be appropriate for me, his wife, to write a thank-you note to his employer expressing my gratitude for my husband’s employment? This company has always been very good to us and I feel as though this would be a genuine gesture, but am not sure how professional it would appear.

It’s an understandable impulse, but you, as the wife of the employee, should not write a thank-you note to the company. As a spouse, you really shouldn’t have any official interaction with the company, and a thank-you note for employing your husband would come off strangely. Your husband should interact with the company on his own behalf. (And remember, the company isn’t doing charity work; they’re presumably employing your husband for good reason.)

However, your husband could certainly tell his manager how much he appreciates working at the company — couched not in terms of the economy but rather in terms of whatever he does truly enjoy about the company. Any manager in this situation would appreciate hearing an employee affirming that he loves his job.

{ 6 comments… read them below }

  1. Evil HR Lady*

    Absolutely. Any time I hear from a spouse for a reason other than the employee is out sick (and by sick, I mean too sick to pick up a phone), I cringe.

    Even though we’re not bound by confidentiality laws, I’m not going to give out info to a spouse.

    Although, I did once make a phone call in behalf of my husband. I’d do that again. In a heart beat.

  2. Taco*

    Oh the rants that are percolating regarding spouses calling the office! My favorite was the wife who called–at the last minute–for her truck driver husband who had just had a vasectomy and couldn’t drive “due to the swelling and discomfort.”

    Legit? Probably. Poor planning? You betcha.

  3. Inside the Philosophy Factory*

    I agree — although, if the wife wants to somehow express her appreciation, she could bake something for him to bring in, invite the boss for dinner or something else out of the “1950’s flashback to good, supportive spouse” manual.

  4. Rachel - I Hate HR*

    While it’s nice to get some appreciation once and a while, this is not an appropriate matter to send a thank you note. Layoffs are not a desired choice. You’ll only make them feel more guilty when they have to lay off your husband next month.

  5. Sadistic Manager*

    Agreed. The only time I’ve ever heard from a spouse and understood it has been when an employee was hospitalized. And at the birth of babies, though that’s never a surprise and I tend to tell the happy couple I’d better hear the details from one of them if the one on my payroll wants to stay there.

    Only kidding.

    What really got my goat was having someone’s mother call in sick for him. It was just a cold, but Mommy had to step in. That’s a little over the top; I told her I needed to hear from him.

  6. Anonymous*

    Do not invite your husband’s boss over for dinner. If you want to bake something, that is fine, but it should be from your husband, not you. Do not write anyone anything or contact the company in any way, shape or form unless it is an emergency. It’s inappropriate and odd. It will make people uncomfortable. He’ll be the guy with the weird wife. This also goes for trying to get other people jobs. I have (more than once) chastised a mother for calling on behalf of her child looking for work.

    This is HIS job. Writing a thank you note/inviting the boss over, etc will only draw attention to him…and not in a good way.

Comments are closed.