my husband emailed my manager about our decision for me to resign

A reader writes:

Recently, I accepted a part-time RN position, but resigned within the 90-day probationary period due to several personal and professional factors. I had tried to re-enter the workforce after being a stay-at-home mother for 9 years. I had mixed emotions about leaving the position, but overall it was not meshing well with our family needs. I felt like an RN number rather than a respected individual.

My husband sent a polite, professional email to my former nurse manager, expressing our family decision for resignation. He sent the email to communicate that he was no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working. He was fed up with the financial burden the job had become. Childcare costs and commute were draining my earnings. He told me that I was not being “assertive” with them and so he took the matter into his own hands. He felt he had the right to do so since he is deciding what is best for our family situation.

His email said (editor’s note: names changed to protect identities), “Speaking to you as Jane’s husband, I now have a problem with Jane’s full time schedule, which is producing unnecessary stress and financial burden on my family. My original support for her was limited to part time weekend only work to maintain a healthy family structure. From one professional to another, I ask for your understanding that Jane can no longer continue to meet the needs of ABC’s work schedule.”

The nurse manager expressed during my exit meeting that she and the nursing director were “concerned” about the email from my husband and sent it to H.R. I had sent her an additional email in my own words after my husband had sent his. My email was much more emotional and expressed apologies for resigning. I told her that my husband meant well and was only trying to help me out. She stated she has never received an email from a husband before and that it appeared as if he were sending in my resignation for me.

I did not want him to send the email, because I knew that they would not understand where he is coming from; it is odd and unorthodox. It’s absolutely “out of the box.” But nothing threatening or negative was said to justify her sending it to HR or telling me it was “concerning.” I can understand her saying to me that it might be inappropriate, but “concerning” seems very judgmental. 

What is the meaning behind sending his email to H.R.? And does quitting within the 90-day probationary period banish you from possible employment in the future for a different role? Or did my husband’s email cause that? Should I be apologizing for his email with another communication to H.R. or the nursing director? I personally think the nurse manager has a hard time with thinking outside of the box. There is a first time for everything.

Oh dear. Yeah, you can’t have your spouse contact your employer on your behalf about anything. The only exception to this would be if you were in the hospital and he needed to inform your manager.

Having your husband involve himself in your resignation (or salary negotiations, or requests for time off, or anything else) is … well, it’s not done, it’s unprofessional, and it would absolutely be alarming. It’s not about “out of the box” thinking; it’s a huge violation of professional norms and what it means to conduct yourself in the work world as a professional. Your husband crossed a line that made you look unprofessional and made him look … a bit crazy, and possibly scary too.

The thing is, this is so very much Not Done that when it happens, people will assume that you’re either in a scary, dangerous situation or that you lack professional judgment:

1. Scary, dangerous situation. You may bristle at this, but the reality is that having a spouse appear to dictate your decision to resign — and to go so far as to convey that decision on your behalf — makes most people wonder why he has this much control over your professional life … and whether that level of control indicates an abusive relationship. This type of control (including speaking on the spouse’s behalf in a situation where she should speak for herself) is a common hallmark of abusive relationships. That doesn’t mean that you’re in one — but it means that it sure looks like a possibility from the outside. (If this rings at all true to you, you might take a look at this for more information.)

2. Professional judgment. First, let me be clear: It’s completely your prerogative if you want a marriage where your husband makes the decisions for your family. As long as you’re a willing participant, that’s your call and no one else’s. But this arrangement only applies to the two of you, and you can’t expect people outside your marriage to play by those rules. Your employer’s relationship with you is with you, not with your family or your husband. You can’t ask an employer to accept that they’ll be talking with him rather than with you. It just doesn’t work that way. And if you appear not to recognize that, it will raise questions in people’s minds about your judgment.

I’m hoping this situation is #2. I suspect it probably is, and so I’m going to answer the rest of the question assuming that it’s #2. But please don’t disregard #1 without thinking it through.

In any case, this is why your manager reacted the way she did. She said it was concerning because it is concerning. And she forwarded the email to HR because if it’s scenario #1 above, she wants HR in the loop, and if it’s scenario #2, they’d want it in your file in case you apply in the future, because they’d have concerns about your professionalism and judgment.

As for what to do now, I would just let this go at this point, rather than sending another email; another email will just make this more convoluted than it already is. I would not reapply with this employer in the future; getting emails from an employee’s spouse announcing her resignation is not something they’re likely to sign up for more of.

And I think this does raise questions that it’s worth spending some time thinking about. Good luck.

{ 565 comments… read them below }

      1. Molly*

        That’s why I love this column because you never know what kinds of issues are going to come up! Wow is right.

    1. Grace*

      I’ve heard of family and friends editing a resignation letter if the employee needed help crafting a pithy resignation letter. I’ve heard families make the decision for one parent to quit their job because it was better for the family. But to not do it herself?
      To air one’s family laundry (finances, etc.) before others? That’s just bizarre. Mind you, I have plenty of friends and family where one parent (usually the mom) stays home, homeschools the children (sometimes — great, social, brilliant, loving children), and keeps the home front together. But even amongst them — this (husband writing employer to resign her job) just isn’t done. Ever!

  1. KarenT*

    My husband sent a polite, professional email to my former nurse manager, expressing our family decision for resignation. He sent the email to communicate that he was no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working. I would not be able to work without his support.
    He sent the email to communicate that he was no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working.
    He told me that I was not being “assertive” with them and so he took the matter into his own hands. He felt he had the right to do so since he is deciding what is best for our family situation.

    I don’t know the OP, but that is wildly concerning. It is a hallmark of abusive relationships, and it concerns me that the OP doesn’t seet how controlling and domineering this is. And I say that not out of judgement, but of serious concern.
    OP, only you know the truth about how your husband treats you, but please look at your relationship carefully.

    1. Ellie H.*

      That quotation “he was no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working” is what seems the most askew to me. I think most people take for granted that *you* are supporting your family *through* the endeavor of working, not like employment is some pet project that your family may “support” your participation in.

      1. Esra*

        That was alarming. Also, when he states “From one professional to another, I ask for your understanding that Jane can no longer continue to meet the needs of ABC’s work schedule.” that makes it sound like you aren’t a professional, OP, and that’s not the case.

        1. Anonymous*

          Yes, I thought that too when I read that. It’s like he’s writing a letter to the teacher of his child, not the employer of his partner.

    2. Heather*

      Totally, unbelievably, sickeningly concerning.
      I’m not sure what’s worse – that the husband has so little sense of boundaries that he thinks this is in any way okay, or that the wife doesn’t seem that bothered by it at all.
      OP, you’re not his child. You’re his partner, and he sure isn’t treating you like one.

    3. Hari*

      I think we’ve seen cases on this blog where spouses will contact employers for raises, etc. on behalf of the partner, which is horrible enough on it own. What alarms me is it seems the husband took it upon himself to do it without consulting or talking to the wife first. Seems like she only knew after the fact from the off hand comment of “not being “assertive” with them and so he took the matter into his own hands.” I agree with the consensus that those are some dangerous lack of boundaries to be had in a relationship.

  2. fposte*

    OP, it’s not about “thinking outside of the box”–it’s about the reasonable possibility that this is a sign of a situation where your employee is in genuine danger. Nobody decent can afford to overlook that. This would be true regardless of what the spouse’s email had read, but the phrasing in this one would frankly have alarmed me. There’s more than one spot that would trouble me, but the big one for me: as your employer, OP, I would consider you, not him, to be my fellow professional, and would have been deeply disturbed by his intimation that he and I shared a status that excluded you.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, and similarly: “My husband sent a polite, professional email to my former nurse manager”? This isn’t a professional email; this is a personal email. The employee’s spouse has no professional capacity that’s relevant to this communication.

    2. amberm*

      It’s not just concern about the employee in danger. It’s concern for the others in the workplace. Anyone else thinking of Wisconsin day spas right about now?

    3. Mishsmom*

      fposte, something bothered me about the situation and you nailed it right on the head “…that he and i shared a status that excluded you”

  3. Anonymous*

    I was in a violent relationship once upon a time – and if any, ANY of the statements that CASA provides (through the link Alison posted), please don’t hesitate to get help. Even if it’s just to talk to someone about how you feel and how you are doing. I know that all relationships are complicated and relationships that involve domestic violence especially so, and you may not even recognize that you are in one right away, as physical abuse isn’t necessarily the prominent factor. Control and disparaging remarks can be the larger part of that sort of relationship.

    I do hope for you that you are simply in situation #2 that Alison outline above. But if truly, you think that you can recognize any of the warning signs provided by CASA – please let me be one of many to urge you to get in touch with a therapist.

  4. fposte*

    And in case anyone reading this is in need: 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) is the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the U.S. It helps with all kinds of domestic abusive relationships, whether there’s been actual violence or not, so please don’t feel you have to meet some standard of assault to call.

    1. JessB*

      If anyone is in need in Australia, you can call 1800 737 732, the 24-hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling service.

  5. Anonymous*

    “I did not want him to send the email, because I knew that they would not understand where he is coming from; it is odd and unorthodox. It’s absolutely “out of the box.” But nothing threatening or negative was said to justify her sending it to HR or telling me it was “concerning.” I can understand her saying to me that it might be inappropriate, but “concerning” seems very judgmental.”

    I don’t like this at all. The fact that your husband thinks it’s ok to communicate with your employers like this on your behalf is so beyond “out of the box” that the box isn’t even in sight. He doesn’t have to use threatening or negative language for it to send alarm bells ringing, sirens blaring, and warning lights flashing. And of course she was judgmental about it – most people would be!

    I get the sense that the OP is treated more like a child than an adult by her own husband. :(

    1. businesslady*

      agreed re: “I did not want him to send the email.” it would be one thing if she’d said, “I hate dealing with this stuff so I asked my husband to write on my behalf”–that’s not really professional, but it doesn’t creep me out. but the fact that it was against her wishes?! definitely alarming, & I’m glad the HR team responded accordingly.

      I also bristled at his reference to “my family”–not “our family”–in his email.

      LW, please don’t take offense at the many commenters who are freaking out about this; I think it’s worthwhile for you to at least listen to the perspective of “this is anomalous & worrisome” & see if any part of you agrees. as Alison says, it’s fine if you enjoy having a “head of the household” type spouse, but even a traditional patriarch should be able to acknowledge his wife’s autonomy & opinions.

      1. Forrest*

        I bristled at the reference that he will not support her. I fear that in this case it meant not help with the childrearing. Like, “sure I’ll try to make sure they don’t kill each other while I watch the game but its not my job to cook them dinner or clean clothes.”

        I hope everyone is wrong and the husband is just extremely unprofessional and not a chauvinist.

  6. Anonymous*

    Wow. Your husband totally stepped over the boundaries of a healthy relationship. He should never have contacted your boss, not even with your approval. It’s unprofessional and creepy. And as a reader, I’m concerned about your relationship with him. There is no situation in which it’s appropriate for a person to do what he did.

    Your decision to work or not to work is yours, regardless of whether you have a husband and a family. And if you decide to terminate your employment, it’s your place to contact your boss.

    There’s no polite way to say this: he sounds like a control freak. Do evaluate your relationship with him, and get help if you need to. It does sound like a symptom of an abusive relationship.

  7. Jamie*

    I agree with Karen and fposte – this is absolutely cause for concern.

    I would assume the likelihood that this letter stemmed from an abusive and controlling relationship would be greater than not and of course your employer was concerned. I would have been concerned for your well being and your safety as well.

    Hopefully, that is not the case and that you and your husband have an atypical but non-abusive relationship – I truly hope that you do – but you need to see that from the outside this isn’t just outside the box – this is throwing up frightening warning signs all over the place.

    1. fposte*

      I might actually have called the police, in fact. I think they’d probably tell me there’s nothing they could do at this point, but I’d be really worried that something serious was going on and I might not want to risk waiting until the employee’s next scheduled appearance.

      1. Jamie*

        I agree with this – even knowing nothing could be done at that point I’d have needed the concern on record somewhere so I could sleep at night.

        Then when/if anything happened there’s a paper-trail already started.

        1. Hari*

          That’s a smart thing to do. I wouldn’t want to cause unnecessary trouble but for a case like this I think that level of concern would be justified and better to say now than later that you were concerned about the relationship before anything major goes down.

  8. Liz T*

    Also remember, OP, that no employer can accept a resignation on behalf of someone else (even a spouse). They received his email first, so the story absolutely running through their minds is that he angrily determined you’d stay at home whether you liked it or not, attempted to quit FOR you, then bullied you into quitting yourself. All of which may or may not be true, and all of which is concerning. Your employer wants to make sure you’re leaving of your own free will, and not being coerced.

    1. AnotherAdmin*

      Exactly. Another thing to note is that she was hired for an RN position. Nursing professionals are typically trained in domestic abuse awareness and would recognize the signs of, at the very least, a controlling and potentially dangerous relationship.

      The OP’s letter rings a lot of bells with me because my first husband was extremely jealous and controlling, and borderline abusive (he once ripped a door off its hinges and threw it at me because he couldn’t find a t-shirt). I had to be very careful about discussing any frustrations with work etc because he would become unhinged and threaten to go to my office and “take care of” whoever was giving me grief. I finally left him when I realized that the chance to be free of him and breathe again far outweighed the risk of him turning violent.

      I hope the OP takes a good hard look at her own letter (and life) and asks herself how she would view this situation if were happening to her daughter, sister, mother, or friend. Would it still just seem “out of the box”?

      1. Steve Martin*

        Ripping a door off its hinges and throwing it at you was only “borderline” abusive? I don’t think I want to know where the border supposedly is.

          1. Jamie*

            The problem is when you’re in an unhealthy relationship that the border creeps deeper and deeper into dangerous territory and it’s so subtle you often don’t notice until you’re in real trouble.

            1. AnotherAdmin*

              Jamie – exactly right. It’s like the frog in the progressively hotter pot of water. It incremently gets worse until one day you wake up and realize you can’t take a breath without setting the person off.

              @Steve Martin – to clarify about the door…it was near the end of our relationship. He had never been “physically” violent before, but that incident helped me see the progression from jealous to controlling to emotionally abusive to menacing to the reality that physical violence was the only thing left. He was high strung emotionally and extremely temperamental and moody, so the likelihood was there. When I left, he tried to get me to come back with promises of counseling and whatnot, but I never went back or looked back. He never came after me, so in that regard, I’m one of the lucky ones.

              1. fposte*

                Yeah, somebody who really means to go to counseling actually does it, not just promises it. The people who really are serious about changing come to the table with their new track record, not just with the plan for one.

          2. BW*

            Ripping a door off its hinges and throwing it at someone IS violent. If he missed, he still meant to hit her with it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have thrown it at her in the first place.

    2. Lanya*

      Another aspect to note is that until the OP confirmed that the email was from her husband, the supervisor would have had no idea whether the person who sent that email was really and truly the OP’s husband. Anyone can sign up for a free email address of their choice. So the e-mail could have come from anyone close to the OP – an irrational husband in the middle of an angry divorce, an ex-boyfriend exacting revenge, or even a coworker trying to cause some professional damage. It could have even been a prank email. This would absolutely be concerning! So the fact that the OP’s supervisors forwarded the message to HR is perfectly normal from a security perspective.

    3. Josh S*

      And further, some abusers use financial dependency as a means to keep the abused on a tight leash. If they don’t have the money/resources to run away, then they’re better ‘controlled’. And even further, keeping them away from nosy coworkers who might implant ‘bad’ ideas about “the awful way your husband is controlling you” is important for the abuser too.

      I hope the OP isn’t in an (emotionally, financially, and/or physically) abusive relationship. But just from the short missive above, it screams red flag.

      1. KarenT*

        Good way of putting it. I agree that controlling someone financially (and by extension their careers) is a red flag. And to say he couldn’t support her endeavor is just so patronizing.

        I’ve been reflecting on this letter all afternoon and it’s bothering me more and more. He’s controlling, she sees her HR as the problem and not her husband. He resigned her job on her behalf. The more I think about it, the worse it seems.

        1. Josh S*

          Yeah, but the financial dependency isn’t simply a matter of controlling the career they take. If an abused person isn’t allowed to make money, then they likely don’t have at-will access to money, which prevents them from making an ‘escape’.

          How do you leave an abuser if you have no money to fill the gas tank or buy a lunch, no way to get money to do those things, and nobody to ask?

          1. Anon for this*

            Lack of resources is a major impediment to people fleeing abusive relationships, particularly people with children. Aside from the obvious reasons, domestic violence shelters are usually running over capacity and a woman may need to go a ways away from her city to get shelter.

            At a dv hotline I took a heartbreaking call from a woman who was going to sleep in her car with her three children until a shelter opened, because she didn’t have any money or enough gas to drive 60 miles to a shelter that could take her. That’s about $10-$15.

            1. Grace*

              In the future, if someone calls you in this dire situation, please refer her to a local church to see if they can help out. They usually have a special fund to at least get gas in a person’s car, some food, and some basics to help a person make it to safety. There’s also wire services to get funds (from friends or family), pay pal, etc.

          2. KarenT*

            Agree completely, but it’s not just money (though that’s huge). Being cut off from work can be isolating. When women are being abused co-workers are often the first to notice or offer support. Work can also be a safe haven. We had a family friend with an abusive husband and she would often lie to her husband about working late just to avoid being out of the house.

      2. Anonymous_J*

        Exactly. This letter made me bristle.

        Something is definitely not right here, and I hope that the OP is safe now!

  9. My brain is exploding.*

    The beginning which in she says she didn’t feel like a respected individual and the rest of the letter …

    A polite, professional email doesn’t start with “I have a problem with …” I read your thinking that HR used a word that seemed very judgmental to be fairly defensive. I hope that you can take a step back and at least acknowledge that how others have reacted to your husband’s letter is completely within normal grounds.

  10. Joey*

    Psycho husand! That’s what I’d be thinking if you were my employee. And Alison is being too nice. It’s likely that you’ll become one of the crazy stories in the HR office so don’t plan on reapplying. Sorry, but im trying to give you the reality. That is unless its domestic violence. HR folks usually don’t joke about that.

    1. Katie*

      Alison isn’t being too nice – she’s being professional yet tender with regards to what appears to be a very difficult emotional situation. This email certainly would test the mettle of even the best managers, and she found a way to address the possibility of abuse without being accusatory. One of the better responses on this blog, if you ask me.

      Anyone who made this a crazy story in the HR office would be pretty awful and gutless, IMO.

  11. Beth*

    Oh, my goodness, I hardly ever comment, but this letter is so alarming to me!

    I am hoping that the OP will come back and explain some more of this to us, because I am curious about how this relationship works. Maybe it is a cultural thing, and maybe this poster isn’t in the US?

    I look at this from my perspective, of course. I’m an American woman and I enjoy all of the benefits of feminism. My husband and I both changed our names when we got married. I have an advanced degree. My parents support me in having a career and do NOT expect me to give them grandkids.

    I am wondering if this guy makes all of the decisions in the relationship, and if he even influenced her thinking in deciding to leave the position. I know I’d be beyond annoyed if my husband said things like “You should quit” or “Your job makes it impossible for you to keep up with your other duties!” In my home, we share the housework and responsibility for everything.

    So, yeah, definitely agree with Alison here. This is a bridge you’ve beyond burned.

    1. Amouse*

      This view of marriage in this day and age confounds me as well but I’ve had people my age (late 20’s) express that they want a marriage where their husband makes all of the final decisions for their family. To me that;s regressing to around the 50’s but it does exist. I had a facebook friend of mine explain to me that for her this was what a Christan marriage should be and she said it was a different thing from gender roles because “The woman is CHOOSING to give over her power to her husband and trust that he knows what’s best for her family” (something close to that). I don’t get how this can not be about gender roles. But that’s just me.

      1. Amouse*

        PS: I’m in no way making any religious statements here or anything like that, just paraphrasing what she personally told me she believed.

      2. fposte*

        There are also couples who choose that for dom/sub reasons rather than religious ones, but again, that’s not appropriate to take to the workplace.

        1. D/S*

          I was going to say the same thing! Some people find submission to be exciting, passionate, erotic, whatever…but even people who live in full-time dom/sub relationships typically have rules set up around the fact that you can’t involve non-consenting third parties in your sex games.

      3. VintageLydia*

        Eh, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that husband led households are automatically oppressive. The great thing about feminism is it does give women that choice. I’m a SAHM, my husband normally makes the final decisions on a lot of things (usually after mutual discussions–he never decides anything for me unilaterally and normally they’re the decisions I’d make anyway.)

        I’ve also been described as a radical feminist (feminist, yes, radical, hardly) and if I ever do decide to work outside the home he’d be supportative of that and if we were in a position to let him stay at home and me work, and that’s what we wanted, we totally would.

        That said, the situation in the OP doesn’t sound nearly so open and equal.

        1. Amouse*

          Oh I’m not jumping to that conclusion at all. I’m sure in many cases marriages can be very happy with that arrangement. The key is that both parties want that type of marriage. I was just saying it’s not for me but that I have had it expressed as something desirable by some of my peers.

        2. Laura L*

          But it sounds like you are making mutual decisions, if you’ve discussed it and his decision is what you would do anyway.

        3. Beth*

          This is probably controversial, but I am skeptical of “choice feminism.” I highly recommend Linda Hirshman’s book, ‘Get to Work.’ In our American society, power exists in the form of career, money, and influence. I don’t get power by cooking, even if I enjoy it, and I don’t get money by keeping my apartment tidy, keeping my (theoretical) kids well-taken care of, or by supporting my husband in his career. By doing those things, I am not influencing the outside world. But by having a job that pays relatively well, I maintain my power. This is not a romantic way of looking at the world, that’s for sure. But I definitely feel and know that my husband and I are equal partners in our relationship. I’m not saying that SAHMs aren’t partners in their relationships or that they don’t influence decisions (or even make most of the decisions and their husbands agree with them), but the power balance is unequal when one person makes the money and one person does not.

          1. Jamie*

            I will disagree with this – it completely depends on the relationship.

            I’ve been on both sides of this – I was a SAHM for 15 years and am now making considerably more money than my husband. In neither situation was there a disparity between our power at home either when he was earning all of it, or now that I’m earning more.

            There can be dysfunctional power dynamics but as long as both partners are in agreement about the choices being made to work or not there doesn’t have to be.

            1. Beth*

              Oh, I don’t mean power within the relationship. I mean power in society. If I didn’t work, of course I would still have power within the relationship because my husband respects me and would support me. However, if he were to leave me, and I didn’t have a job, my situation would be challenging because of my lack of power in the world.

              1. Jamie*

                I apologize – I misunderstood what you were trying to say. I agree with your real point, not the point I thought you were making that I clearly invented. :)

              2. The Snarky B*

                Ahh- same here- I also misunderstood. I totally agree, Beth! (Screw ‘controversial’, amirite?)

          2. KellyK*

            This is a good point. I think respecting individual women’s choices is *a part* of feminism, but it isn’t the only part or even necessarily the primary part. Putting too much focus on individual choice also obscures the role of anything societal or systemic.

            1. Beth*

              Yes, I can’t remember if I read it in Hirshman’s book, but someone wrote that defending every ‘choice’ as good/correct doesn’t affect change. This is a tangent and has only a slight relation to the original question by the OP. The systems in our society work against women in so many ways, I really do believe feminism did not get us far enough. I think education does women a disservice in many ways, and the fact that women are paid less and typically go into lower-paying fields, and the challenge of high quality childcare, works against us when we decide to have children – we are priced out of being able to work in some cases. Just as in the OP’s case, it is more cost-effective for her to be home than to work as an RN – this sounds totally ridiculous on paper, I am sure it makes sense in real life, but it is horribly sad to me that a woman with a college degree is better off staying home.

              1. Laura L*

                I know this is getting way off topic, but if you read this, can you expand on your thought that education does women a disservice in some ways? Or maybe we can move this to the linked in group?

                1. Beth*

                  I’ve not been expressing myself very clearly on this thread, I’m sorry. I was trying to say that young women are still fighting stereotypes in math and science classes. I heard a public radio piece on this not too long ago, and it was very depressing–there were stories of professors who literally did not know what to do with the one or two females in their lab classes (!?!?). There’s also the fact that even though women are now going to college at a greater rate than men, the fields that they go into tend to be lower paying. My field is one of them (related to education).

              2. Anonymous_J*

                It makes perfect sense to me. I have had friends who have gone through this and have come to the conclusion that it was more cost effective, with the cost of child care, for one of them to bea SAHP (stay at home parent.) It IS sad.

          3. Grace*

            Beth, I respectfully disagree with the book you cited. People go to work, earn money, so they can have a life.
            In couples that I know where the woman is the Stay at Home Parent, she usually designs the family spending plan, gives discretionary money to her husband herself to spend, gives the children their allowances, pays the bills, and the like. It’s not a tug-of-war. It’s sharing. About everything. The book you mentioned talks alot about
            “power” apparently and is stunningly cold because it never talks about “love.” Love does alot of things for other people and “power” can never make up for it. I dearly loved a little old lady friend who was a family friend and had no family to take care of her. At the age
            of 97, I moved into her cottage with very few belongings,
            slept for 4-years on a fold out futon on her living room floor, and I stayed with her until she died at age 102. I was offered “powerful” jobs, with lots of money. Nah. Can’t do it. Would die of guilt. I’d known her all of my life. She’d taken care of orphans, loved everybody, was a friend to everybody, taxicab drivers, drunks, hookers, the mentally ill. It was her turn to be given back to. And in looking back, I’d do it all over again! There are so many things in life that money and power can’t buy. I learned so much from her.

      4. Jamie*

        Yes, I know women who have made this choice as well. To the extent that if they were driving and passed the exit they wanted she wouldn’t tell him because it’s not her place to instruct or contradict him.

        There is no physical abuse and per the woman, no abuse at all because it’s a choice she’s making of her own volition.

        However, the second she chooses autonomy he needs to respect that or move on…because she may choose to give her decision making authority to him but she can’t waive her right to take it back at any time.

        It’s on loan – he can’t legally keep it.

        And while there are people who claim to be happy in such relationships, and it’s not my place to judge whether they are happy or not, as a woman it breaks my heart. I would find it so suffocating and abusive (for me) and if my daughter were in one of these I’d never get a moments peace until she broke free.

        There are so many things about people I just will never understand. Fwiw if we were driving somewhere and I saw that we missed the exit and didn’t say a word because I didn’t want to contradict my husband – he’d have the biggest wtf moment of his life.

        1. Amouse*

          Yes. I would personally feel oppressed in that situation as well. I love having a partner who believes in being an equal team. It’s just not in my character to think that gender should define the parameters of a relationship. That’s just my view. I’ve seen people in marriages be totally happy though with traditional roles.

          1. Anonymous_J*

            But you know, even in those more traditional relationships, there IS respect between the husband and wife. That’s an element that I don’t see in the original post. THAT’S the problem I have with this.

            I know MANY people in more traditional relationships who are happy, because the spouses respect one another–and not in a “power over” way.

            As for me, I could not survive in a relationship like that. I need to be myself, and for anyone to try and take that away from me would be a big problem. Sometimes, I’m happy in the driver’s seat, and other times, I’m all “Oh, you decide, honey.” ;) My BF and I are a team.

            I just can’t wrap my mind around any other way of being.

        2. Maraca*

          Jamie, you said it perfectly. When I read what Amouse heard from her peers, it broke my heart also. Whether you would “choose” to turn over your power to your husband or you are just submissive, you have emotional problems. I can’t come to any other conclusion. The same goes for any husband who would want to be the sole decision-maker and have the “power” in a marriage. Cloaking it in the guise of “Christianity” only makes it worse.

            1. KellyK*

              Except that it kind of is. It’s based on religious traditions and on Christian scripture (particularly Paul’s letters). It’s not the *only* or even the *majority* Christian viewpoint on gender roles, but it is definitely a thing that exists in a lot of Christian denominations.

              I don’t agree with it either, and I don’t like having my own beliefs associated with it, but it is a part of Christian tradition.

              1. Amouse*

                Seconded. It’s also something where I think the lines have become a bit blurred between what is written in scripture and what has been interpreted or adopted as practice in various denominations. The degree to which this view of gender roles exists varies widely from church to church it seems.

              2. Laura L*

                Agreed. Although there are definitely strains of that in other religions (e.g. Judaism and Islam). So, it’s not exactly unique to Christianity.

              3. EngineerGirl*

                No. It is taken out of context. Especially when the next bible verse tells husbands to be willing to sacrifice and be willing to die for the wife. Sorry, you don’t get theology out of context.

                1. Amouse*

                  Alright well if we’re going to judge what is and isn’t religion by “context” and “interpretation” we’ll be here all day.

                  People’s interpretation of scripture and sometimes taking things “out of context” is one of the reason religious differences of practice exist within what is fundamentally the same religion . It is also the reason you can have two churches of the same denomination that have differences of practice. Scripture and interpretation of scripture are pretty hard to separate when it comes to organized religion. If we want to talk World Religions, Nowhere in the Qur’an does it actually say women have to wear the hijab but that has widely evolved as a Muslim practice as an interpretation for women of “dressing modestly”, You can haggle over literal translations all day long but the fact remains that interpretation plays a pivotal role in what organized religion is otherwise everyone would have read the Bible and all be in cohesive agreement as to what it means and how it should be put in practice. Look around you at the word: gee that doesn’t seem to have happened. Maybe it’s because human beings are flawed and their perceptions are shaped by any multitude of factors.

                2. Amouse*

                  And also if that’s how my friend and her church choose to interpret marriage in the Bible, I may not agree with it but their interpretation is every bit as valid and Christian as yours in my opinion.

                3. KellyK*

                  I agree with everything Amouse said about interpretation. It’s reasonable for you or me to say, “I think that’s bad theology and I disagree with the people/denominations who practice it and here’s why.” But when it’s a thing that several large and well-known Christian denominations do, it’s not accurate to say it’s not part of Christianity.

                  If you’re using “Christian” prescriptively rather than descriptively, to say that you don’t think there’s a Biblical basis for it, then yeah, I agree with you. But we don’t get to tell other people what their religious beliefs are or should be. If the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, pretty much every evangelical and pentecostal church, etc. etc. etc. think that men are supposed to be in charge in a marriage, I don’t get to declare them “not Christian” even if I do think that idea is BS.

                4. Amouse*

                  If you’re using “Christian” prescriptively rather than descriptively, to say that you don’t think there’s a Biblical basis for it, then yeah, I agree with you.

                  I agree with that. I also happen to think a lot of things about women in the Bible are heavily reflective of women’s place or lack thereof in society at that point in history. But as KellyK said we don’t get to tell people what their beliefs are.

      5. twentymilehike*

        “The woman is CHOOSING to give over her power to her husband and trust that he knows what’s best for her family” (something close to that). I don’t get how this can not be about gender roles.

        I don’t see it as being about power at all. Even if I was not workign and my husband was, our relationship is healthy enough that we can share the power. I would LOVE to stay home and cook and do things around the house (even though we don’t have children, and have chosen not to). The fact is, I’m GOOD at those things: I love cooking, and am great at organizing and little handy-man-odd-jobs. I can fold a towel like a champ, but my husband, not so much. He’s great at other things. If thats defined by gender, then so be it. I’d rather do something I enjoy and that I’m good at, than go to work every day, thinking about how the chores are not getting done because we are both spending so much time at work trying to make ends meet. I love so many things about the women’s rights movement, but absolutely hate that we now need a two-income household to survive. I wouldn’t mind going back to the 50s sometimes ….

        1. Amouse*

          Again, that quote was from someone I know, not me and doesn’t reflect my view.

          That aside, what you’re talking about is dividing tasks and chores based on what both of you mutually decide you’re better at. It might happen that what you’re better at falls under what is traditionally defined as a “female” task such as cooking. That’s very different than you saying “It’s my duty to cook because I am the woman in this relationship and it’s my husband’s job to the the breadwinner because he’s the man”. You’re choosing to stay at home. You aren’t staying at home because you’re part of a 1950’s society where “the woman’s place is in the home.” You’re looking around at the options based on having equal rights and saying “I think what I want to do with my life is stay home and focus on things like cooking”. I cannot stress enough how totally different that is than being part of a society in which you have an inflexible role and limited options.

          Also, you’re talking about mutually agreeing upon decisions therefore resulting in a shared power dynamic. That’s in line completely with my belief as well. Dramatically different than saying: “I believe that it is fundamentally a husband’s role to be the ultimate decision-maker for my family as the man. ”

          I’m not saying people do not have the right to choose any kind of marriage they like or that many different approaches can work. That depends on the individuals. I’m just pointing out that what you’re talking about is very different than what my acquaintance was. She’s expressing a view that is about an uneven power dynamic.

          1. twentymilehike*

            Also, you’re talking about mutually agreeing upon decisions therefore resulting in a shared power dynamic. That’s in line completely with my belief as well. Dramatically different than saying: “I believe that it is fundamentally a husband’s role to be the ultimate decision-maker for my family as the man. ”

            Oh yes! I probably should have been more clear that I absolutely agreed with you. I am also continually dumbfounded by the amount of people that equate “gender roles” to “power balance.” It’s not at all the same, but I am continually being bombarded by this notion that “gender roles” are demeaning and if daddy doesn’t let his little girl play with trucks then he’s doing her a disservice! Sometimes little girls don’t want to play with trucks … nothing wrong with that.

      6. Observer*

        If a woman CHOOSES to have her husband make all financial decisions, that’s her business. But, as Alison points out, that still does NOT make it ok for the husband to resign for her. And it CERTAINLY does not make it ok to talk about her as though she is a child, who is not “professional” and whose input into decisions about her is not even relevant.

        As others have mentioned, the employer CANNOT accept a resignation from the husband – it’s not legal nor is it something any sane employer would find acceptable, even if it were legal. That neither the OP nor her husband recognize that his email was wildly inappropriate is *highly* inappropriate. That she can actually call such an email (and it’s not just that he sent a resignation on her behalf, but what he says about the matter) “professional” makes me really think that she’s well into Stockholm syndrome or the like.

      7. Emma*

        My first immediate thought after reading this post relates to my knowledge of patriarchal Christian relationships (man is head of house who makes all the family decisions, even if he is the most shiftless, money-foolish workshy man on the planet; woman is stay-at-home wife and mother and only in very rare circumstances an outside-the-home breadwinner), so when I was reading my brain was screaming that she is the wife of a traditional Christian patriarchal man (a la “Quiverfulls” and other such fundamentalists such as the Duggers and Andrea Yates).

        1. Grace*

          I’m a Christian so I’d like to clarify the parts of the Bible about marriage, since there seems to be so much confusion.
          God commands that the first act of submission be the husband’s and that the husband submit to God, obey His commands, and not be a self-centered person but a selfless, loving person. God commands that a husband is to be willing to lay down his life for his wife. It’s when he’s doing his job that she’s to respect him. He is to never abuse her.
          And she isn’t to permit it. It’s a sin and it’s a sin that is to be confronted, including by the pastors and the entire church if necessary. I go to a church with all different kinds of nationalities, and couples who’ve been married for decades and other couples that have been married for a much shorter period of time. Let me tell you, it’s a beautiful thing to see husbands and wives love, adore, take care of, and respect each other. A visitor to our church told me she’d be back because she was so impressed by how well our men members took care of their wives and the love and care she saw them exhibit. That’s Biblical love. Nothing mean about it.

    2. K.*

      To be fair, that’s what works in your marriage (and what I’d need in my hypothetical marriage, and what worked in my parents’ two-career marriage), but if the OP is in a “husband is the head of the household” marriage and that works for her, that’s her business. The issue is, as Alison says, is that that decision is only between her and her husband; her employer isn’t going to – shouldn’t – recognize that, and that’s what her husband is trying to … enforce, for lack of a better word, with this email. Their marriage isn’t necessarily inappropriate (unless there’s abuse, of course); but it IS inappropriate to try to apply these home rules to work.

  12. Anon*

    I think it’s interesting that the OP felt she was treated as a number. Her manager’s follow-up with in this case was absolutely out of concern for her.

    1. twentymilehike*

      I think it’s interesting that the OP felt she was treated as a number

      I did also. I was wondering if this isn’t somehow all related and that she was perpetuating this “treatment.” If her husband treats her a certain way, and that’s what she’s used to, then I could see how being in a new working relationship with an employer would feel completely different and possibly uncomfortable.

      1. Jamie*

        I was a SAHM for 15 years and it is weird going from everything being personal to being part of an organization.

        The majority of people you interact with are your kids, spouse, and people who know you as your kid’s mom. So it’s all super personal…at work you’re not honey or mommy and they won’t love you no matter what.

        It’s totally worth it – but it does take a little getting used to.

        1. some1*

          You explained how this may have come from the SAHM mom thing very well, Jamie. Having a best friend who is one and has never worked full-time and having worked with former SAHM’s I have notice markedly different perspective on things like this.

          1. VintageLydia*

            One of the reasons I read this blog is because I know I won’t be a SAHM forever and I don’t want to be totally blindsided by the working world. I just wish I knew about it when I was working :P

  13. -X-*

    Nowhere near as dramatic as this post, but I don’t agree with the recommendation that not to have a spouse contact your employer on your behalf “about anything.”

    My wife handles our health insurance, particularly related to my child but also mine, which is covered by my company. I’ve let our 2-person HR team know that and they are happy to talk with her when there are issues with payments to iron out. So I guess that gives the impression I’m not as good with health insurance. Which is true. But I don’t think those two think I’m less than professional in my specific work. Indeed, they sometimes come to me for advice about their work that relates to internal communications. My job focuses on external communications, but I’m happy to give them advice as needed and when I have time.

    1. Jamie*

      I agree with Alison on this – and none of the companies I’ve worked for would even speak to a spouse about such things.

      My husband has the obligation to call my work if I’m in the hospital and unable to communicate and to be charming when we run into one of my bosses at the gas station or grocery store. He is always the latter and fortunately the former hasn’t come up.

      I would be mortified if he interfered in my work – then again I can’t imagine any part of him wanting to do so.

      1. K.*

        Yeah, I wonder if this is a company size thing? It sounds like the company is small if HR is only two people. I’ve never worked in a company that small, and no company for which I’ve worked would allow what -X- is describing.

        1. COT*

          I work for a small nonprofit and I can’t imagine our executive director (who administers benefits) ever being okay with speaking to my husband instead of me. Nor my boss. Unless I were so physically or mentally ill that I couldn’t handle matters for myself, I’m expected to take care of my own work life and everything that involves. And we’re pretty informal!

          So no, it’s not necessarily a size thing, but certain office cultures would allow it and most wouldn’t.

    2. Verde*

      We have a small office, I am the only HR. I will not speak to anyone but the employee, no matter what the employee tries to give me permission to do. (This gets especially tricky in that I have a married couple working here and one of them is constantly answering on behalf of the other, even when they weren’t included.) However, the company’s relationship is with the employee, not the spouse. Regardless of who manages what at home, I don’t call my husband’s work and check up on his HR business (even though I’m the expert on this stuff) and he doesn’t discuss mine with my work.

      HR has no idea what might be going on in someone’s personal life. If they give information to spouses who are – for example – getting ready to file for divorce or do something else weird, they could get in a lot of trouble. Also, health information, HIPAA regulations, etc. – so many places where you could violate.

      We make is a general rule not to disclose any personal information about any employee to anyone, including spouses, end of story. More professional, and keeps us out of peoples personal lives.

      1. -X-*

        She can’t cancel or begin new form of coverage (and decisions like that need my signature). But in dealing w/ a lost reimbursement or receipt, I don’t see the problem.

        And attorney being upset about that my wife calling up with details of something like that? That’s risky or even worth attention?

        Also, I don’t understand how this sort of thing can be called “professional” in that I have to handle it all and yet part of my personal life.

        1. -X-*

          “HR has no idea what might be going on in someone’s personal life.”

          Oh they do. They know I’m married, have a kid. They know my wife is on top of our health insurance. I told them all those things and they also have documentary and evidence of some of it.

          1. Kimmie Sue*

            One more contrary point -X-, by following along with your wishes, your HR department is creating a possible precedent. They may know about your personal situation, but can they make an exception to a process or protocol for you and not the other employees at your company? How will they manage to stay on top of everyone’s personal situations? Who is still married? Who still has custody of the kids? Whose spouse is still employed with insurance coverage? I don’t mean to sound harsh but as an adult professional, you really should be able to handle these kinds of business items. Even if your spouse gives you tips.

            1. -X-*

              ” by following along with your wishes, your HR department is creating a possible precedent. They may know about your personal situation, but can they make an exception to a process or protocol for you and not the other employees at your company?”

              I don’t know. I also don’t see how the current situation is bad for me. Can you explain how it is?

              “I don’t mean to sound harsh but as an adult professional, you really should be able to handle these kinds of business items.”

              Perhaps, but that is a slightly different topic from how the current situation harms me.

              1. Jamie*

                Incompetence, whether it’s real or feigned because you don’t want to do something diminishes you in the eyes of your co-workers. Not being able or willing to assume a pretty basic responsibility would have some people wondering if you’re inept or lazy. Neither one of those are good for the reputation.

                It’s also pretty selfish – since HR should only have to deal with their employees and not keep up to the minute tabs on every employees relationship status and who they can and can’t speak with…considering how high the stakes are if they make a mistake and are too forthcoming with the wrong person. It’s not fair for them to keep tabs on everyone, and no one should be an exception to the rule.

                This doesn’t make you a bad person, or bad at your job…but being inept at something you should be able to manage…it’s not like an accountant being inept because he can’t change a carburetor. There is something helpless when an adult claims not to be able to do something that’s within their area of responsibility.

                I know someone who pretends she can’t gas up her car. She hates it, so she goes through this whole thing about how complicated and how she always “does it wrong” so her boyfriend does it for her. What do people think of her? Stupid, lazy, or a little of both. It’s just not a image you want to foster.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          For starters, you’re asking your company to deal with two people rather than one. Secondly, and more importantly, they can’t know what’s going on in your personal life — if you’re in the middle of a separation or divorce where they shouldn’t be giving info out. Most companies just don’t do this — the potential for complications is too high.

          1. HR Anon*

            I’m in HR and I will discuss health insurance with an insured who isn’t the employee, if it is about an issue that insured is having, because part of my job is benefits administration. So if a wife of an employee has a question about whether or not our insurance covers a procedure for her, or about a bill of hers, I will answer it. I will not discuss the employee’s own health care concerns with the spouse, unless the employee is in the hospital or otherwise unable to discuss it himself. Also, sometimes when a parent who isn’t the employee has custody of children covered on the employee’s insurance, it is necessary by law to send health insurance information on the child to the custodial parent. I will not EVER discuss an employee’s salary, vacation, work performance or anything else with a spouse though. Health insurance is an exception only when it is also the spouse’s or their children’s insurance.

              1. KellyK*

                It falls under benefits administration. Also, the insured isn’t really the insurance company’s customer, so I would imagine that the employer can sometimes get better results or better service.

            1. Verde*

              Even for those types of inquiries our broker and our attorney still tell us it’s best to refer the person with the question directly to the insurance provider, our broker’s help line, and/or our EAP rather than going in to detail with us. I can/will answer some questions if asked, especially generic ones like “what the difference between the FSA and the HRA?”, but I’m trying to steer people away from the intimate details being shared with anyone here unless it impacts work.

              The situational example I used when I sent out the email about it was:

              “The help center is there to help you with questions such as “Does our dental plan cover getting vampire fang implants?” or “Is my kid covered for rabies vaccines on our medical plan?” – things you might not want to share with anyone here at the office. The help center can also be utilized by anyone who is covered by your plan and there is no charge for help center services.

              An additional resource available to you is our Employee Assistance Plan. This is a service that provides things like legal referrals, counseling sessions, information about community resources, and more. It is completely confidential, free of charge, and there for you to use whenever you might need it. For example, if your kid bites his teacher with his new vampire fangs and gives her rabies, the EAP can help you with resources for navigating the resulting situation.”

                1. Verde*

                  Thanks! I find that the more ridiculous they are, the more my people actually pay attention. Plus, we have a weird crew, so the like it.

              1. Just a Reader*

                This is interesting, thanks! I’ve always dealt directly with my insurance provider…it would never occur to ask questions about this type of personal stuff in the office.

          2. Hari*

            There wouldn’t be any potential for legal complications if someone was so adamant about giving control of benefits to their spouse they gave them a legal power of attorney to do so. With PoA they don’t have to give them control of everything, they choose what aspects they would want them to have rights to. There is a section specifically for “business interests” and also to write in to make special amendments or exclusions of access. Of course they would have to fill out forms, get it notarized etc. IMO it all seems like a lot to do to not have to deal with something so minor as your own benefits but it is an option. Not saying the company would agree to it but if they did accommodate it as long as the company followed PoA exactly then they wouldn’t be libel if a complication did arise. I don’t necessarily view it as unprofessional due to the fact it doesn’t have anything to do with the actual work but I do think its odd and unorthodox.

            Not nearly the same effect in the professional sense but I feel its similar to when students fill out forms so parents/relatives/spouses can have access to their university finances or enrollment info. I can recall a time during college when I did work-study for admissions a parent who feared their child was missing, called to confirm enrollment of the student but due to the law and the fact they never filled out that paperwork, we couldn’t even confirm it for her (I genuinely felt horrible for that).

          3. -X-*

            AAM – How does this make *me* look unprofessional or hurt *me*? Does it make me look incompetent at my job or indecisive?

            I certainly am not very competent with health insurance, and if I was the only one communicating I don’t think it would improve that impression.

            I can perhaps understand what you’re saying from HR’s viewpoint.

            “they can’t know what’s going on in your personal life ”

            But I’m not in the middle of a separation and they do know that I’m married and have a child – that information is clear on some of the forms I have to give them about benefits. I’m quite good at keeping secrets when I want to, but these are not some of them.

            But can you explain what is bad about this setup for me? Or how it makes me look bad or unprofessional? I don’t get that impression from our HR people at all, but perhaps they are hiding that impression from me…

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Well, it potentially makes you look like you don’t consider yourself capable of doing something that most adults do for themselves. You do risk becoming known as the guy whose wife has to call in on his behalf, which can certainly make you look more helpless than is ideal to look in the workplace.

              The fact that you’re not in the middle of a separation doesn’t change the fact that HR generally will not know whether or not you are. You know the situation, but they have no way of knowing tomorrow that things haven’t changed.

              1. -X-*

                “You know the situation, but they have no way of knowing tomorrow that things haven’t changed.”

                There is at least one way they could know – I could tell them.

                “make you look more helpless than is ideal to look in the workplace.”

                Too many people where I work come to me to solve problems of all sorts already – they think I know tons about all sorts of stuff (I somewhat do, but….). Being “helpless” at a few things doesn’t worry me – it may even be a good thing.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  The point is that they don’t know if you have something you haven’t told them or not. It’s easy for you to feel secure; you have up-to-the-minute knowledge of your situation. They do not.

                2. -X-*

                  “It’s easy for you to feel secure; you have up-to-the-minute knowledge of your situation. They do not”

                  You’re critiquing the situation from a generic HR/management perspective – a (potential) problem for them. I’ve been talking about no problem for me.

                3. Rana*

                  Here’s a very practical reason you should know at least as much about your own policy as your wife does: what if she is injured or hospitalized for a life-threatening illness? Are you really going to force her to wrestle with insurance companies at a time like that? Or what if she’s not conscious, or is incapable of thinking clearly due to medication, brain damage, etc.? Do you really want to be struggling with unfamiliar policies and procedures at a time like that?

                  Short version: however convenient it may be for her to handle all the details for you now, in the event of an emergency you need to know this information, too.

            2. Verde*

              I think it behooves all employees to understand their benefits. They are a valuable part of your compensation and you should get the most out of them. It makes you look – in my mind – unprofessional because you a) can’t be bothered with it, and b) say that you’re not good at it, so I would wonder what else you don’t want to be bothered to do and aren’t good at.

              Additionally, I would want to know that whoever I worked for valued not just my privacy, but their own practices and policies enough to follow best practices, even if it’s not exactly how I would prefer it.

              And, on a personal level: What if your wife isn’t available? What if she had to go deal with a family emergency or something, and she wasn’t around to take care of this – would you know what to do?

              I talk about this stuff with my husband all the time, and even though it’s not his favorite thing, he now has a much better understanding of things and knows enough that he could manage it if I were incapacitated. And that makes me feel better, because if I’m the one in the hospital, I want to know that I can rely on his help in sorting this stuff out, rather than trying to run it all myself while possibly hopped up on some [hopefully good] painkillers.

              1. -X-*

                “I think it behooves all employees to understand their benefits.”

                So when a reimbursement attempt goes missing I should do the groundwork for straightening it out? I really don’t see the value in that. If I had to, I’d figure it out. But knowing now is not worth the attention or time on my part.

                My wife is quite willing to do so (she even seems to enjoy this stuff).

                Frankly I think it is very “professional” to not be bothered with things that someone else is able and happy to do.

                “What if your wife isn’t available? What if she had to go deal with a family emergency or something, and she wasn’t around to take care of this – would you know what to do?”

                If it was about $40 or something like that, I’d ignore it and lose the money. If it was big money, I’d figure it out. Hopefully I won’t need to. And if I do someday, I’m doubtful the details of the company/system/plan will be the same a few years from how, so specific knowledge now doesn’t seem valuable to me.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Your wife is not an employee of your company, and they should not be interacting with her about reimbursements. That looks unprofessional, and it’s unusual/surprising that they’re willing to do it.

                  I’m not sure how many other ways to say this; you seem pretty committed to just arguing the point.

                2. Joey*

                  Here’s why I don’t deal with spouses:

                  1. It’s a pain in the ass
                  2. They frequently contradict the spouse ( my employee)
                  3. It’s my employees responsibility because well he’s my employee
                  4. My staff doesn’t keep a roster of updated spouses handy so they really have no idea who they’re actually talking to.
                  5. If they’re too busy to be bothered with benefits you could also argue that they really dont care to know how much those benefits are worth as part of their total compensation.

          1. anonn*

            Its sounding more and more like its beneath him….

            I’m sure that’s not how it really is supposed to look but it does.

            1. Emily*

              Ding ding ding!

              “Frankly I think it is very “professional” to not be bothered with things that someone else is able and happy to do.”

              This sounds to me a lot like a recent letter writer who thought that borrowing the CEO’s bright assistant would help him bond with the CEO. Because, you know, using an assistant shows how important you are, and only those who don’t have someone else to delegate these duties to will bother with it.

    3. Marie*

      I do that sometimes, but only when the employee doesn’t speak enough french or english to understand what I’m saying. and only if they ask me for that particular time. Such as helping the wife of an employee to fill out a dental clame over the phone.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Whether your company is fine with this or not, it’s miles different from your spouse sending a resignation letter to your employer on your behalf, behind your back. Miles.

  14. K.*

    Holy s***.

    Everyone has touched on the “this raises abuse red flags” issue (which it absolutely does), so I’ll just say that a while ago, there was a post that indicated that a woman was inserting herself into her husband’s salary negotiation, and everyone rightfully jumped all over how inappropriate that is. Of course as his spouse, how much money he makes concerns her directly and if she wanted to script him for the negotiation at home, that’s between them – but it is not and never will be appropriate for her to butt in (because that’s really what it is) to his work stuff. The same is true for every spouse everywhere. Your employer saw your husband as out of line because he was.

  15. KayDay*

    Jumping on the bandwagon of concerning quotes: “He told me that I was not being “assertive” with them and so he took the matter into his own hands. He felt he had the right to do so since he is deciding what is best for our family situation.”

    Resigning isn’t that difficult, so I’m not sure what’s going on here. I mean, sure it is awkward to resign a job when it’s outside factors, and not the job itself that are the motivation to resign, but you either tell them your resigning or you don’t. Like Alison said, I’m hoping the case is that you aren’t used to the professional world and kept trying to beat around the bush instead of saying that you resign, and not something more concerning.

    “I had sent her an additional email in my own words after my husband had sent his. My email was much more emotional and expressed apologies for resigning.”

    But I can’t help but wonder if the OP really wasn’t trying to resign herself? Was this a matter of simply having difficulty coming up with the right words to say and the husband getting impatient or was it really a matter of the husband making the decision that his wife would resign and going straight to the employer and telling them–I am hoping it is the former, but still concerned about the latter.

    OP, I know someone who had to stop working full time because it was actually costing the family more for her to work than for her to stay home with the kids, so I understand where you and your family are coming from. But, as an RN, you ARE a professional! When it comes to dealing with your employers, you need to be the one to deal with them, even when communicating a family matter to them. And your husband, who (I’m assuming) hasn’t been out of the workforce, should definitely know this!

  16. Katrina Prock*

    OP – this would be akin to a teacher’s husband calling you in regards to your child’s grades… He’s not in the classroom, never met your child, and certainly doesn’t have any place calling you to go over the information. Know what I mean, Vern?

  17. Anonymous*

    Congrats AskAManager for answering this in a thoughtful and helpful way … I sure couldn’t have.

  18. Amouse*

    First, let me be clear: It’s completely your prerogative if you want a marriage where your husband makes the decisions for your family. As long as you’re a willing participant, that’s your call and no one else’s. But this arrangement only applies to the two of you, and you can’t expect people outside your marriage to play by those rules.

    I like the non-judgmental tone of this. It’s completely not the kind of marriage I would want, but this aspect of the OP’s letter is easy to get caught up in if it differs with one’s personal view of marriage. I’m trying not to let that cloud my reading of the letter.

    The point is that the OP needs to realize how having her husband act on behalf in this way appears. That aside, the wording of much of this letter is deeply concerning to me.

    He told me that I was not being “assertive” with them and so he took the matter into his own hands. He felt he had the right to do so since he is deciding what is best for our family situation.

    This sounds abusive and controlling beyond what I would think would be reasonable in a marriage where the husband is the ultimate decision maker. Regardless of who is making the decision, OP, your husband should not be speaking for you against your will. To me that crosses a line. It’s very possible you are not in an abusive relationship but if, as others have said, any of this rings true for you, please get help.

    1. ChristineH*

      Regarding the second quote – That jumped out at me too. OP, did you know your husband was going to send that email ahead of time, or is the meeting with your manager the first time you learned he’d done that? I wasn’t 100% clear from the letter.

  19. Marie*

    You’re the one who wrote in with the question, so you’re the one getting the answer. But I just wanted to take a second to say it’s not just concerning that *you* didn’t see this as the problem it is; it’s equally concerning that your husband didn’t see how unbelievably inappropriate, creepy, and strange an action this was to take. People make whatever arrangements they want in their lives — like Alison said, it’s your prerogative — but if your husband is going to be the one who decides what’s best for your family, it’s alarming that he has such poor judgment on such a basic interaction.

    You said you didn’t want him to send this email, but he overruled you. Do you think there’s a way you could have stopped him? I’m not asking this because I think you should have stopped him or you should feel bad if you didn’t — I am really hoping you think that through and come up with an answer. It’s fine to give your consent to let your husband be the lead in your family, but that arrangement should end as soon as your consent does. If telling him no is not enough to make him stop, what is? Anything? Is that okay with you? Are there situations where it would not be okay with you? Is there anything he could do that you absolutely would not tolerate? Do you know what you’d do if that happened? Would you be able to stop him?

    I also want to point out that letting your husband make the main decisions of the household is VERY different than letting your husband manage your personal and professional interactions. My boyfriend’s job is to take care of the garbage and dishes — that doesn’t mean he gets to pick what I eat, what dish I eat it off of, and whether or when I’m allowed to throw things away. I manage our main finances, but that doesn’t mean that (once he’s put in for his portion of the bills) I demand my boyfriend run his personal spending by me, acquire my approval, or allow me to speak to the bank teller for him to explain what he is and isn’t allowed to spend.

    Agreeing that your husband can decide whether you should be working is one thing; that doesn’t give him the right to manage how and when you communicate with your colleagues. That’s an overreach, and it’s very alarming to everybody but the two of you. If nothing else, that’s an indication that you’re living in a circumstance that isn’t normal. You can live there if that’s what you like, but if you didn’t know this wasn’t how it normally works for most people, if you didn’t know this is very strange and very concerning, if the reactions here surprise you, take that as an alarm bell saying that for some reason, you and your husband are very out of touch with what’s considered appropriate behavior in most people’s relationships. That may be fine with you, and that’s your business, but it should be an *informed* decision. Knowing this is deeply alarming behavior to most people, knowing that telling your husband “no” did not get him to stop doing something you didn’t want him to do, is that a life you want?

    If you can find it at your local library or bookstore, I also recommend checking out Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That.” If you can’t quite put your finger on something in your relationship, that book can sometimes help.

    1. fposte*

      I was hoping you’d weigh in, Marie–you’ve been so perceptive and eloquent on relevant topics before.

    2. EJ*


      There is a movement towards allowing men to be the ‘captain’ of the household, and in this model the wife is the ‘first mate’. Many people see this anti-feminist and regressive, but it has lead to happy NON-abusive co-operative households, even for women who otherwise lead high profile careers.

      The OP may be in such a relationship and have forgotten that it should remain in the household, not at work. Alternatively, her boyfriend could be controlling, unusual or abusive.

      1. Marie*

        Yeah, see, this makes sense to me in the same way that any mutually agreed-upon division of labor makes sense to me. My boyfriend does his chores, I do mine. We choose the ones we’re happiest with and make our lives function smoothly. If that stops happening, we re-negotiate.

        But both of us get to say no, both of us get to renegotiate, both of us still have control over our lives — we’ve just decided on some basic things we each do every day that we don’t have to discuss or run past each other explicitly anymore. If their arrangement is that he has responsibility for major decisions, cool, we all have arrangements like that to some respect — but OP, you still get to say no. If you lose that ability, this isn’t an arrangement anymore, and this isn’t consent anymore. Without the right to say no, there is no such thing as yes.

        1. Jamie*

          “any mutually agreed-upon division of labor makes sense to me. My boyfriend does his chores, I do mine. ”

          This is key. In my household the fact that my husband replaces the brakes on the cars when needed and I trim the kitties nails keeps everyone safe and alive. We do what we’re each good at.

          I love laundry and really enjoy cleaning the bathrooms (everyone needs a hobby). He hates those things but doesn’t mind grocery shopping, which I will do anything to avoid. But he still gets clean clothes and a place to go to the bathroom and I’m allowed to eat. I’m also within my rights if I feel like stopping by the store, or if he wants to wash out the sink once in a while I wouldn’t leave him over it.

          Division of labor isn’t necessarily unequal.

        2. MeganO*

          1,000 times yes. “OP, you still get to say no. If you lose that ability, this isn’t an arrangement anymore, and this isn’t consent anymore. Without the right to say no, there is no such thing as yes.”

          OP, like others here, I hope you and your husband have a mutually acceptable arrangement and this is just a place where it doesn’t jive with and wasn’t appropriate for workplace matters. But please consider this, to see whether it applies.

      2. Esra*

        The problem a lot of people have with a ‘captain/first mate’ relationship, and the problem I have with it as a woman and a feminist, is that in that scenario, the ‘captain’ has final say. So even if the ‘first mate’ absolutely disagrees with a decision, when it comes down to it, they aren’t in charge.

        As has been pointed out several times here, even if making the decisions or being in charge of certain aspects of the partnership has been decided to be the realm of one partner, the other should still have the option to say no or disagree.

        1. fposte*

          I agree with that for me, but honestly, I don’t think I have the right to tell somebody else she shouldn’t have a different relationship if she wants it. I’m also informed by the fact that I have a male relative who prefers that his wife be in charge; he’s happier not having the responsibility of administration or initiative. Makes me crazy, but it’s their life.

        2. Laura L*

          Yeah, I definitely view captain/first mate as different from dividing chores based on personal preferences.

      3. Anonymous_J*

        Being first mate is a FAR cry from being a galley slave, though, and this dynamic in the original letter has “galley slave” written all over it, IMO.

    3. Marie*

      Aw, y’all are so sweet. Don’t worry, I’m doing something with whatever insights I have — I’m currently getting my master’s in social work.

      1. Kimmie Sue*

        Good for you Marie! Best wishes! I’m not the only one who has found your contributions insightful and helpful.

      2. The Snarky B*

        Nice! I there’s any chance you’re doing that in NYC, I’d love to talk to you more about feminist relationships. I’m getting an EdM in Counseling. (Or if not NYC, via LinkedIn perhaps?) I love your insights here.

        1. Marie*

          Not NYC! I don’t have a LinkedIn yet, but with all the contacts I’m making at school, I’ve been thinking it’s about time I should put one together, since I’ll very likely be looking for another job once I have my degree.

          I prefer not to link my online handles to my real life anything — Alison, is there any way you could share our emails with each other (if that’s okay with you, Snarky B?).

    4. Meg Murry*

      I would also add to this section:
      “but if you didn’t know this wasn’t how it normally works for most people, if you didn’t know this is very strange and very concerning, if the reactions here surprise you, take that as an alarm bell saying that for some reason, you and your husband are very out of touch with what’s considered appropriate behavior in most people’s relationships”

      – if you run what happened by other people in your social circle (people you go to church with, for instance) and they think what your husband did is ok, its time for MAJOR alarm bells. Reading all the comments here should make you aware that the majority of AAM readers don’t think what your husband did is acceptable. If your circle thinks it IS acceptable, you may want to re-evaluate the group you are affliated with and what message you are sending to your children, as this is not the message the majority of the US believes is ok.

  20. Anonymous*

    He sent the email to communicate that he was no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working. He was fed up with the financial burden the job had become.

    Yes, childcare costs are burdening. It might very well be more cost effective to stay home.

    But OP, read the first sentence I quoted here: My husband is no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working. Say it out loud and here how it sounds. Your husband should have your back all the time, through thick and thin. Yes, you can disagree, but he should be there for you no matter what.

  21. Rex*

    The post is troubling but it’s my impression that women call their husbands supervisor/boss quite a lot for one reason or another.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s extremely uncommon, and when it happens, it’s wildly inappropriate and any sane employer will direct them to have the employee call instead.

    2. Kerry Scott*

      I spent 14 years in HR and I had this happen maybe three or four times (and never with a resignation; it was almost always benefits-related stuff).

      There are lots of circumstances in which spouses are involved–behind the scenes. For example, I manage the health insurance choices for our family, even though it’s through my husband’s employer. My background is in that area, and he has no desire to do it. But I would never ever EVER communicate directly with his company about those things, because it’s not appropriate and because I wouldn’t want to make him look foolish.

      1. Macea*

        I have never called my husband’s boss. We have gone out to dinners with his bosses and I have done a lot of the behind the things stuff like asking my husband to her ask her about something, etc… But to directly call his boss, I would never think of it and I do not know any other of wives who have done that.

    3. KellyK*

      You might be getting that impression because it’s come up here a few times, but that doesn’t make it common. I can’t imagine calling my husband’s employer unless it was to tell them that he was out sick, and he couldn’t stop throwing up long enough to tell them himself.

    4. PJ*

      In my 25 year HR career, only once did a spouse call in on behalf of an employee — and that was when the employee was physically incapable of calling. I occasionally receive a spouse call regarding insurance (as in, I am covered by my spouse’s policy and I need the website address/phone number/another card sent/etc.). Otherwise, no, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) happen.

    5. businesslady*

      yeah, no. even Alison’s “if you’re hospitalized” caveat above is a stretch. when I learned I had a ruptured appendix, I called my boss from the ER & handled all the communications with my workplace during my monthlong hospital stay. I did cc: my husband on certain emails (explaining who he was & why), but even in EXTREMELY DIRE medical circumstances, it’s possible to retain ownership of your own autonomy.

      1. Laura L*

        Yeah, I think that would be more when you’re physically incapable of calling (e.g. in a coma or a full-body cast or something). Although, it also depends on the person.

        1. Jamie*

          Right – I was thinking car accident and you’re in surgery/coma and unable to speak for yourself. I’d still want my husband to call my boss…but if I was at all capable of speaking/sending an email I’d do it myself.

      2. Judy*

        Well, last fall when my husband had to go to the ER on a Sunday night at 10pm, I did call his boss at the opening of business the next morning, as he was in a CAT scan at that time. I called his boss and then mine. He called his boss on the way home from the hospital at 2pm, and he actually talked to my boss, who called my cell to see how it was going as we were driving home.

        I’m not sure what good it would have done to have him call his boss at 2am when they decided to keep him overnight for observation.

      3. KellyK*

        I think even if you technically *can* contact work, it’s not unreasonable for your spouse to do so if you’re in the hospital. (The initial “let them know what happened” contact, I mean. Obviously if you’re stuck there for a month, your spouse won’t be handling all your communications during that time.)

        I mean, if I answer the phone and it’s a coworker’s spouse telling me that they’re in the hospital with a broken leg, my first thought isn’t going to be, “It’s not their vocal cords that are broken; why can’t they tell me themselves?”

        1. twentymilehike*

          I mean, if I answer the phone and it’s a coworker’s spouse telling me that they’re in the hospital with a broken leg, my first thought isn’t going to be, “It’s not their vocal cords that are broken; why can’t they tell me themselves?”

          HAHA … This made me chuckle. It also reminded me of when my hubby was in the hospital last year. He was in an accident on his way home from work, and I took it upon myself to call his boss and let him know he wouldn’t be in to work for a while … and then it became up to me to keep his boss updated. I mean, I did it because I love him and thought his boss should know without even consulting with my husband. He was on so many drugs for three weeks, even if he could use a phone … he probably shouldn’t have been! For the record, he missed four months of work because and had his final surgery almost a year later. In a good relationship, you can often judge when things like calling the boss are appropriate are not.

          1. Kelly L.*

            I had my then-boyfriend call in sick for me once when I had laryngitis and couldn’t even rasp. That’s it.

    6. A Bug!*

      Hi, Rex, this isn’t intended as a pile-on, but I’m really curious what experiences you’ve had that have led you to hold the impression, if you’re willing to share.

    7. ano*

      My mother did it once and she was already quite friendly with the boss due to social stuff anyway. She arranged a surprise holiday and called to sort out the time off from work.

      She’d never imagine dealing with anything else for him.

  22. Meg Murry*

    I’m going to seriously hope that Alison’s Scenario #2 is correct and address another part of the email. LW, you mentioned that you accepted a part-time RN position, but your husband’s email says that he had a problem with your “full time schedule”. If you were having a problem due to the fact that the job was more hours than was originally agreed upon, that is a valid reason to bring up with your bosses, and if it couldn’t be resolved, to resign. However, its not your husband’s place to tell off your employer! Have him help you draft your email if you need to, ask him to help you with wording or make it more assertive, even include the sentence “We have decided as a family that this job is not a good fit” if that is the case – but don’t let your husband write and send the letter for you! The part about “from one professional to another” concerns me as well – if you are an RN, you are a professional too! Leaving within the 90 day period when the job wasn’t what you originally signed up for is reasonable (if they really had originally agreed to part-time weekend only work), but your husband just burned some major bridges for you by sending that message.

    1. COT*

      Exactly. She may have well had legitimate reasons to resign. I’m guessing that her husband was annoyed that her new job was impacting their family life and that she wasn’t being assertive enough about holding her employer to their original agreement about hours/schedule. He was so upset about it that he took matters into his own hands… for what end? To show the employer the error of their scheduling ways? To take revenge on them for straining the family?

      OP, it shows a serious lack of judgement on behalf of your husband to think that this was the appropriate way to address the problem. He let his frustration overtake his reason… and that’s not good.

    2. Elizabeth*

      “you mentioned that you accepted a part-time RN position, but your husband’s email says that he had a problem with your ‘full time schedule’.

      During orientation, most hospitals schedule new nursing staff for full-time hours, even if they are hired for part-time work. They need to work with their preceptor for the orientation period, and most nurses who volunteer to be preceptors work full-time. Once orientation is completed, then the new employee starts working their regular part-time schedule. It usually shortens the orientation period, because it immerses the nurse in the hospital’s method of operations quickly.

      I’m non-clinical IT in a hospital. If I had been made privy to an email like this, the resigning employee would be watched carefully for signs of abuse in the time they had left.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This part-time/full-time thing caught my eye, too. I thought she wanted part-time weekend work. How did this evolve to full time inside the 90 day trial period?

        Anything out of the ordinary has to go to HR, OP. This is for purposes of documentation and to include relevant people in circumstances as they unfold. Any place that performs human service work would be extra diligent about a paper trail or including other coworkers.

        Also, I am curious, OP. No where does your original post say what YOU want. I have a good understanding of what “we” want. But I am not seeing where you thought through your own ideas about resigning.

        Probably, your follow up “much more emotional” email led people to conclude that you had been fighting with your husband and therefore you were very upset. It is only a hop, skip and a jump for them to conclude- “the husband is abusing the wife.”

        I am glad that you wrote in, OP. I take that as a good sign, that perhaps this was all just a misunderstanding about how employment settings work. And that is why we are all here, to learn more about workplace issues.

    3. Nurse Manager*

      Big, bright red flags.

      Yes, this could affect your chances of re-employment at that facility – if you’re ever inclined to apply there again. Someone who would write that email is very alarming to me. Is this someone who is going to show up at my workplace? Could patients/visitors/other employees potentially be at risk? What about this woman’s judgment?

  23. KayDay*

    BTW, to answer the OP’s actual questions, and not opine about the contents of the letter:

    No, I don’t think it’s necessary to follow up with an apology–however, if you haven’t done so, you need to let them know when your final day will be.

    Resigning soon after starting a job often does make it harder to get a job at the same organization, but not always. However, I think your husbands unprofessional email would be a big red flag if you try to apply again.

  24. Anonymous*

    OP, I think that part of the “concern” brought up by your boss and in sending the letter to HR is also an offer of help to you. If you are in situation #1 they are opening a door to you for help.

  25. Anonymous*

    I am actually worried about you. Just by reading his letter, it reminds me of an abusive relationship I used to have. If you told him not to send the e-mail because you could take care of it, that should have been enough. Even though it is clear that you two have talked about the situation, the letter sounds like he did not communicate with you and instead takes control of it himself without your consent.

  26. CJ*

    WOW! The husband sending that email was so over the line! I could possibly be okay with it if he were writing it on behalf of his child, but NEVER on behalf of his wife. She needs to get out now! The line that got me was “From one professional to another”…that says it all. He does not see “JANE” as a professional…he only sees her as his wife and his property. Shame on him!

    1. just another hiring manager...*

      Writing such a letter on behalf of a child, even if they are underage, is still pretty unprofessional! I don’t see how you could possibly be okay with that…

      1. Naomi*

        A parent does have the right to decide if their minor child can work. If the parent told the child to stop working (because it was affecting their schooling, for instance) and the child refused, I think the parent could legitimately send a letter like this.

  27. Neeta*

    Wow… I’d have died of shame if my partner would do something like that. This is a surefire way to lose professional credibility on the spot. Don’t EVER let him do something like this again, regardless of how nice/polite/professional the email may sound.

    As for the email you mention here… it is anything BUT professional sounding, so I can totally see why your managers were alarmed.

    First of all, the phrasing sounds incredibly condescending. Worst of all, not toward your employers, but rather toward you, OP. To me this all reads as if your husband were having a private little chat with your bosses and laughing over your silly little hobby that you like to call your job.

    Furthermore, the part with “he was no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working” sounds incredibly … rude, to say the least. Kind of like, you need his permission to work.

    It is entirely possible that your husband didn’t intend to come across as anything but polite, but ended up over-exaggerating things into the opposite.
    That is just how this all reads to me.

  28. Jen*

    I’m wondering if perhaps theirs is a Dominant/submissive or Master/slave relationship? If this were the case, I could see why she sees it as just “thinking outside the box”. I’m in one myself, and although technically I’d abide by his wishes if he felt this was necessary, one of the reasons I’m with him is because I trust his judgement and my beliefs are very close to his (in fact, as I like to often say, he takes better care of me than I often take of myself). I trust him for many reasons, but part of it would be that I know he respects my profession and career goals, and would take that in to account when he sent it. He also knows that how I present myself to the world is a reflection on the both of us, and he would know that sending a letter like this would put out a “not normal” vibe.

    Also, I’m originally from a very conservative christian part of the country, and I knew many family dynamics that were similar. So, maybe that’s also an explanation of why she sees it as more mainstream than the rest of us.

    That being said…if a husband/Dominant/Master is making such decisions on her behalf, ostensibly for the best of his household and with good intentions for them all, I think he failed his duties here. Any husband/Dominant/Master worth his salt would take the time to read this thread, see this perspective, and reevaluate his judgement, so as to improve in the future. As it is, I think her feeling uncomfortable before it was even sent is an indication of a tiny lack of trust in him (and for good reason. Just because you’re submissive doesn’t mean you don’t have your own thoughts/opinions!)

    Just food for thought from a different perspective. May not apply at all…in fact, probably doesn’t. :)

    1. D/S*

      I recall a letter to a kinky advice column along the lines of a sub who worked as a housecleaner/assistant. She and her dom wanted to basically instruct her new boss that she had various limited privileges and, per her dom’s instructions, she must obey all her new boss’s orders and the boss should please let the dom know if she was disobedient, etc.

      And the advice columnist essentially responded: you are involving a non-consenting third party in your sex games. Whatever you do between the two of you and other consenting parties is all well and good, but your boss did not agree to it and shouldn’t be involved in it.

      I think the same logic applies here. The dom husband could make the decision, but he would still need to order the sub wife to send the email from her own account, even if he writes every word of it, because the wife’s bosses are not part of the agreement.

      1. Kou*

        Absolutely this. Your home arrangements can be whatever you want them to be– the people you work with are not a part of this arrangement, and you need to deal with them the same way anyone else would. Even if it’s just as mild as “my husband is the head of the household,” he’s not the head of your work life and he has no relationship with your employer.

        1. some1*

          Agreed. Another example a supervisor at work told me a story about a former employee coming to work in jeans on non-Casual Day & her excuse was that her husband didn’t do the laundry. Employee was sent home to change.

  29. Steve*

    It is posts like these that make me wonder if the questions are sometimes made up. I don’t think they are, but I also can’t quite process that these are actual people with actual questions.

      1. Ivy*

        AAM I always got the impression that when people questioned the authenticity of the letters, it wasn’t to say that YOU made them up, but that the OP either exaggerated or is a troll.

          1. Ivy*

            I completely agree with you on that! The letter screams underplaying… and justifying… but Anyhoo! I was referring to a more general trend in the comments.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            There have been a few letters where I wondered if someone was messing with me (the pants-wetting one, and the coworker moonlighting as a prostitute), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from 5+ years doing this, it’s that you should never underestimate the amount of strangeness that’s out there.

            1. Josh S*

              Yeah, there have been a couple that I’ve thought were bait for you, as they’re topics that you harp on (in a good way!) frequently and any semi-regular reader ought to be able to answer on their own.

              That said, I give the benefit of the doubt. But I’ve commented more than once that a question seems too obvious or too far-fetched to be real.

              “Dear AAM,
              My boyfriend wants me to quit my job to work at his place of employment. People always say we sound identical over the phone. He offered to take my first phone interview for me. Should I let him?
              Fake Person”

              Sometimes, it’s just TOO crazy to be real.

            2. Another Anonymous*

              Very true. Here’s another one about a spouse overstepping bounds. Our office manager requested a raise and our boss (company owner) said no. She pouted and told him now her husband would need to get a job.

              She asked the boss to contact her husband and tell him now he would need to get a job as she was turned down for a raise. Here’s the real shocker. The boss did it!

              Our boss actually called and spoke to the office manager’s husband and told him as his wife wasn’t getting a raise, he would now need to get a job.

              2 of us overheard the conversation and were rendered completely speechless. And no, we aren’t creative enough to make anything like this up.

              1. V*

                !!???!! I am amused and appalled all at once. Was this a small company where the boss was friendly with the office manager and would know her husband? Although, I’m not sure that makes it any more explicable than if the boss didn’t know the husband.

                1. Another Anonymous*

                  It’s a small company with 6 employees total. The owner only knows the office manager’s husband as an acquaintance through her. As in, they see each other out somewhere and “Hi, how’s it going?”. To the best of our combined knowledge, they haven’t been friends outside of work or socialize outside of work. If they did, his wife would let you know about it.

                  We also found it amusing and appalling. Not to mention grossly unprofessional.

            3. Rana*

              Plus, even if the letters are fake, Alison’s advice is not, nor are the comments other people make in reaction to them. So there’s still value in them.

          3. Kou*

            Yeah, the way she justifies and explains the whole thing is so true to life, if someone did make it up they’re a master of emotional realism.

        1. Jamie*

          Oh gosh yes – I never for one second thought you made them up. Just that people were being goofy and seeing if they could get something weird through.

          This one absolutely rings true to me – to an uncomfortable degree. I really hope she’s okay.

    1. Joey*

      They’re real. I know I don’t see Alison’s inbox, but I can tell you weird employee issues happen all the time. I know they sometimes sound unbelieveable, but people act pretty unbelieveably all the time. It’s quite fascinating, actually.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Am chuckling. Yeah, you can pretty much tell the letters are real, it would be a rare level of creativity that would come up with these story lines. A person would have to actually be living that story. Some of the stuff that goes on is amazing, at best.

        Most of the stories here are fairly tame compared to some stuff I have seen/heard. Am sure others are nodding as they read here…

        1. Cheryl*

          Absolutely. I began to back away from a developing friendship with a co-worker when she told me casually over lunch that she had emailed her husband’s employer. (Her husband had been unemployed for a year and had finally landed a job, and she emailed the new boss to express her gratitude for hiring him.) I was speechless.

          I cut things off totally when I learned she was keeping printed copies of all her IM chats with co-workers.

      2. Lily*

        The inbox exercise I use for interviews has a selection of emails (anonymised) that I have received and had to deal with and interviewees ask me how people can behave like that. People with contact with the public have to deal with weird behavior all the time. Managers do, too. I have finally figured out that people who behave outrageously generally don’t see a problem with it. After all, who deliberately behaves outrageously?

    2. Elizabeth West*

      You obviously never read Dear Abby/Ann Landers. Some of the questions they got were absolutely insane. Ann Landers got so many weird ones she made this huge book of them.

      1. Jamie*

        My gramma had that book! I used to read it when I was a kid sitting with my legs glued to a plastic covered couch in a Chicago summer because I was afraid to go outside.

        As a suburban girl the city scared me.

        What a glamorous life I’ve lead.

        1. Laura L*


          I was the opposite. Whenever my suburban family went to visit my grandparents on the far South Side, I wanted to go outside and play in the park down the street, but the grownups wouldn’t let me because they thought it was dangerous.

        1. Jamie*

          The one I read was Truth is Stranger – but there are a couple of others including the Ann Landers Encyclopedia which looks interesting.

    3. The IT Manager*

      +1. I don’t think this letter is made up unfortunately, but this is certainly one I wish I could believe it. Sorry LW, but this is so outside normal that it screams mentally and emotionally abusive relationship, and you seem so much under your husband’s thumb that you’re completely unaware of what normal is for everyone else.

      Alison – I think the cries of fake are almost always mean that we think that a letter writer submitted a fake letter in the hopes of fooling you and having it printed.

  30. Kelly O*

    I can’t really say what is coming out right now without getting too deep into what some may think is too much “churchy talk” about the subject. I’ve tried typing this response half a dozen times, and it’s not coming out right.

    His email bothers me too, for so many reasons I could write a novella on the subject. It’s not just out of the box, and it’s not professional. It doesn’t feel like something done out of love, or concern. It feels as though you weren’t making the decision he wanted you to make, and so he took matters into his own hands. If I were the nurse manager, I would be concerned too.

    OP, just know that even in Christian marriages with very patriarchal roles, or the complementarian views that so many people espouse… the decisions are made that are best for everyone, and they’re made out of love, and prayer, and a sincere desire to do what is best. I just wish I could, I don’t know, go out for coffee or something with you. Because my heart really tells me you need to talk, and I don’t know why.

    (And sorry y’all, I normally don’t get this emotionally caught up in questions, but this one hits so close to home for me I can’t even explain right. Let’s just say I have an ex-husband for a lot of reasons.)

    1. KellyK*

      Nothing to be sorry about. I think you kept the churchy talk totally within acceptable limits. It’s probably helpful to hear that, even within the context of a relationship that’s patriarchal for religious reasons, emailing someone’s boss and essentially resigning on their behalf is *way* out of line.

      And you can say that in a way that others of us can’t necessarily. (I for one have trouble not rolling my eyes if someone *mentions* complementarianism, so if I say “Wow, that sounds out of line,” it doesn’t carry the same weight.)

      1. Kelly O*

        I am so very painfully egalitarianist as an adult.

        I guess I just have a really hard time believing that God would put us in inescapable boxes because of the way he made us – he made me female, and I don’t think that means I’m naturally subordinate to anyone, just based on gender. I mean, there are things I’m better at than my husband, and there are things he’s better at than me, but that doesn’t make one of us better or more superior to the other. We work best as a team. Equals on that team. No one’s say is more or less important or valued than the other, even though I could knock his head every now and then.

        And I remember what it’s like to not be in that kind of relationship, and it just breaks my heart for this OP, and for my friends and family members who really do truly believe this is the way it’s supposed to be.

        1. KellyK*

          Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly how I feel, except that I’ve never been in that kind of relationship. I’m glad you’re in a good one now.

          I also tend to think that if God’s intent was to put us into those inescapable boxes, he’d have made us fit them better. If complementarianism was a good thing, it’d be self-evident and self-selecting. If I’m supposed to be a submissive housewife, why do I not have a submissive bone in my body, and why is my husband a better cook than I am?

          1. Kelly O*

            Exactly. And that doesn’t even touch on the more controversial aspects of human behavior and why we are the way we are.

            Because seriously I was going stir-crazy on maternity leave, and I was only out six weeks. I would probably be a lousy SAHM. Either that or I would be one of those “OMG, you put the curry in front of the coriander? Now I have to redo ALL the cabinets!!”

            1. Jamie*

              I miss it sometimes. I can’t justify it anymore, and truth me told I’d go crazy after a week and a half – but too many long hours and I start waxing rhapsodic about excel sheets with task lists and how excited I was when it was Murphy’s Oil Soap day because I love the smell.

              Just this weekend I threatened to quit my job because someone put the Coconut Almond Milk carton back empty AND put the one-off coffee mugs away on the same shelf as the matching coffee cups. My husband neutralized the threat by reminding me that we have a little thing called a mortgage that would miss my income dearly.

              I miss having the time to redo all the cabinets when I’m having a fit.

              1. Jen in RO*

                I think I’m starting to understand why one of my friends chose to stay home after having her second baby. I would go crazy… but you sound so much like her! I’m sure she is delighted to be able to tidy the house 3 times a day and organize everything. (I keep asking her to come organize mine too, but she’s won’t :( )

              2. danr*

                I would never put an empty carton back in the refrigerator, but I would mix up the coffee cups. I love bringing chaos to order in small ways, since my profession is bringing order to chaos in large ways.

                1. Laura L*

                  I don’t like taking the last of something, so I’ll often leave a tiny bit for the next person (e.g. a quarter glass of juice, one cookie, etc.) to assuage my guilt.

                  When I lived with my parents, they hated it because they never knew if we were actually out of orange juice or not!

                2. Jamie*

                  Have you been in secret communication teaching this to one of my sons?

                  Half a tablespoon of ice cream was left in the carton the other day. I could have lived with seeing no ice cream – but when your heart does a tiny leap of joy at the site of the carton and then you see half a tbs…it just seems like a cruel hoax.

                  To all of you wonderfully well intentioned crumb leavers: Please kill the carton!! :)

    2. Not So NewReader*

      ” the decisions are made that are best for everyone, and they’re made out of love, and prayer, and a sincere desire to do what is best. ”

      Very well said. Decisions are made in a manner so as NOT to embarrass/belittle/demean/control/crush another person.
      Anything less than that is not love.

      Kelly O- nice job on that explanation.

      1. ano*

        Yes – and even if a decision is made and is somewhat ‘forced’ upon someone for their own benefit – that person has to follow them through. Not the deciding party.

  31. Karyn*

    My ex-fiance had to call my boss ONE time, and one time only – and that was when I was laying in a hospital bed on morphine for an intense cluster headache at 2:00am and could barely form a coherent sentence. He left a voicemail on Boss’s voicemail at my office telling him that I wouldn’t be in the next day, and Boss was appreciative of the call – totally understanding of why it hadn’t come from me directly.

    That is pretty much the ONLY situation where it’s ever appropriate for anyone other than you to contact your boss.

    I echo the sentiments of most of the other comments, and sincerely hope that you, OP, are okay and that you’re taking a look at your relationship. I realize, having been there, that it is very easy to make excuses and rationalize your husband’s behavior in a variety of situations. Lord knows I did it for years with my ex. But please understand how this may appear from any outside perspective, much less an employer. Just because he doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean it’s not abusive… I’m not necessarily saying that your husband IS abusive, but it’s a good sentiment to keep in the back of your head. Like I said, having been there, it’s not easy to see the situation as you might if you weren’t directly involved. Please be safe, and let us know how this turns out…

  32. some1*

    I guess I don’t have much to touch on that hasn’t been mentioned. I’m incredibly creeped out by this as well. I feel like the fact that the LW is more worried about her employer’s reaction to the email than the email itself is disturbing.

    I guess the only thing I would suggest to the OP at this point is please don’t let your nursing license lapse. Family situations change all the time, your kids will grow up, and you may want to work again.

  33. Ivy*

    I don’t have anything to add other than to share my concern as the others have. Concern about both situation #1 and #2.

    OP I think your also misusing the “out of the box” phrase. “Out of the box” is not to be used as a replacement for “unprofessional,” “inappropriate” or “wrong”. Wearing skimpy cloths to work isn’t “out of the box,” it’s inappropriate.

  34. some1*

    I guess I am curious as to how the husband got the boss’s email in the first place? I guess I can see how he could have figured it out if he knew his wife’s email,, but it so easy to guess the wrong spelling of someone’s name. Did he go into his wife’s email without her permission? Did he make her tell her the email address? To me this is more disturbing than if he had called the boss.

      1. Kelly O*

        Most likely.

        Not to sound “pile-on” but most couples I know like this share everything – email accounts, Facebook pages… wouldn’t dream of doing any sort of online activity that was not on a shared account that both could see. The premise being that naturally you would be tempted to hide something.

    1. Kou*

      Plenty of companies have people’s contact information on their website, so there’s that avenue.

      I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he just asked his wife for it, and she gave it to him while asking him not to email.

        1. Kou*

          Funny you should ask, because I just had to look up the contact info on several doctors and non-medical staff at a hospital here, and it was indeed on their website.

  35. Suzanne Lucas--Evil HR Lady*

    Excellent response, Alison. I agree 100%.

    And for the record, if one of my employees had sent that, I sure as heck would have forwarded the email to employee relations and my boss and I would have strongly suggested the employee call EAP.

      1. fposte*

        Employee Assistance Programs. A lot of big workplaces have them–they can provide confidential counseling and offer referrals to appropriate agencies and facilities. Ours used to be pretty lame (if you weren’t dealing with substance abuse, they had no clue what to do) but it’s gotten really good.

  36. Brenda*

    Where’s the OP here? We need her to come back in on this.

    OP, you said you didn’t want your husband to send the email, but he did it anyway. It’s concerning that he would disregard your wishes in this situation, and a sign of him being very controlling.

    However tempting it might be for us to sound off on our opinions about this situation in the comments, I think what the OP might need above all is support. OP, please don’t feel bad or ashamed. This isn’t your fault. Please reach out and get help!

  37. twentymilehike*

    Where’s the OP here? We need her to come back in on this.

    Yes, please update us! At least sent Alison a follow up to relay some information if you don’t want to post it here. I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say we are not only curious, but also concerned and dying to know that (1) you’re totally cool with everything now or (2) not cool with it and maybe somone said something that is helping you.

    1. Katie*

      If I were the OP, it would probably take me a couple days to respond, if I were to respond at all. These aren’t exactly easy words to hear.

      No pressure, OP. You do what you gotta do.

      1. fposte*

        Honestly, I’m always impressed with the OPs do come back. Even if it’s supportive, getting hundreds of responses would make me feel weirdly spotlit.

        1. Katie*

          And, in general, the OP’s responses are gracious and thoughtful. I don’t think I could always be counted on to react so well.

  38. Lana*

    Holly cow! What a crazy psycho husband! What is more alarming though, is that 9 years later OP is considering to return to the same employer and wants to explain herself to the employer for a situation that happened 9 years ago? I think there is something terribly dysfunctional going on in that family, and I feel sorry for the OP. She really thinks that kind of psycho behavior is “thinking outside of the box”. Good luck!

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think this happened nine years ago–I think the OP was explaining that it was nine years since she’d been in the workplace and that’s why there were some issues about reentry.

    2. Jamie*

      I don’t think it was from 9 years ago. I took it to mean she’s been a SAHM for 9 years, tried to re-enter the work force and is opting out – so wants to know if this will hurt her chances of employment there down the road.

      Am I reading this wrong?

    3. some1*

      I think you misunderstood. I took it to mean the LW recently became re-employed after 9 years as a SAHM. This all happened at a position she recently resigned from.

    4. Maire*

      I think you many have misread the letter. She returned to the workforce after 9 years but then decided(or her husb did) to leave. That’s when this incident occurred.

        1. AF*

          Haha yes – there are just so many responses and they’re coming simultaneously. A sure sign that we’re all pretty much in agreement and I hope we hear back from the OP soon.

          1. Jamie*

            That says something – when so many strangers are on the same page the point of view is at least worth considering, imo.

    5. AF*

      Lana the OP meant that it had been 9
      years before this position that she had worked outside of the home, and that all of this happened recently. But, yeah, I
      echo everyone else’s remarks. OP, this is very concerning. Please take care of yourself and your children and don’t hesitate to get help if you need it.

  39. Tater B.*

    Most of the replies have mentioned what I thought; however, I have a sort-of spinoff question.

    My sister had a domestic disturbance situation at her job last week. One of her employees got into an argument with her SO (he came up to the job on his lunch break) which led to a violent physical altercation in the parking lot. The police were called and the man left, but everyone in the company is still weary about this situation, i.e., what if he decides to come back; what if he tries to enter the building, etc.

    From an HR perspective, what would be the best way to address this, both with the victim and the other employees? This is a fairly new company and I don’t think any of them have ever dealt with a situation like this. Thoughts?

    Note: I am not saying the OP is in a domestic abuse situation.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The Gift of Fear has a section on violence in the workplace that might be helpful here. You might also speak with your local police about the best precautions to take.

      You might also get your employee some resources on domestic violence, and make it very clear to her that you will help her make the workplace safe for her. Read this post and the comments on it:

          1. Natalie*

            It’s a really good book, although IMO someone who has recently left an abusive relationship should probably skip the chapter on domestic violence. De Becker is a bit too fond of the “once is a victim, twice is a volunteer” trope.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I think his main focus is on preventive measures, and that is an area he does lack expertise in. Once you’re entrenched in the situation, getting out is very different than avoiding it in the first place.

    2. Joey*

      There are three goals here:

      1. Get her help if she wants it.
      2. Keep everyone safe.
      3. Prevent a disruption at work.

      So here’s what you do. First, her bossand/or HR should talk to her and recommend some places that can help her with her personal life. Then the boss has to decide if the guy is allowed on the property. If its no, then there has to be a plan for what to do if the guy shows up. The folks who work near the entrances should know what to say and what to do and be able to use some judgement. They should know what he looks like and have permission to call the police if they feel he’s a threat. The victim should know the plan. Yes, at some level you’re getting involved in the victims personal life, but when it impacts work, especially other people’s safety and work, you have no choice.

      One other thing you could do is contact your PD departments domestic violence person who frequently have good advice and will offer to visit the victim if that’s her desire. Sometimes they can give you the name of the officer who patrols the area. If the officer knows the situation he can frequently tell you how quickly he can get there if something happens.

  40. Just a Reader*

    This letter made me talk out loud to myself at my desk.


    Honestly, I think the LW has WAY bigger problems than burning a bridge here. Sad.

  41. ChristineH*

    I can’t add any more wise words than what’s already been said. I am also hoping for an update from the OP, even if it’s through Alison. Truly hoping that it’s not anywhere near as bad as we’re fearing. Will be keeping my eye on this.

  42. Snow*

    Wow. Just wow. Personally, pulling a stunt like that would constitute grounds for divorce in my household. I’m almost at a loss for words. Just wow.

    This is *not “thinking outside of the box.” This is extremely controlling behavior. Who does he think he is?? Sigh. I cannot even fathom.

  43. Anonymous*

    I have more concern that the OP’s husband will respond to or prevent a response to AAM. We may never know how this one turns out.

    1. some1*

      This occurred to me, too. If the OP got that defensive about her supervisor’s take on the email, she won’t like the Comments From The Gallery. And neither will her husband.

      1. Kelly O*

        I wondered about that too, if this was sent *ahem* under the radar and perhaps deleted after being sent.

  44. Maraca*

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think everyone who’s commented on here is in agreement. I also have to concur that once again, AMA has a wonderful, insightful and diplomatic response. I feel like Option 2 is highly unlikely, but I really, really hope that that is the case, and that this couple are simply out of touch with current professional norms. If Option 1 is the case, OP, know that everyone reading this cares about you and your situation. Nursing is an excellent profession with many opportunities. Someone advised that you keep your license current: definitely do that. If you ever find yourself no longer married you can most certainly support yourself and your children. AMA: PLEASE GET US AN UPDATE!

  45. N.*

    Everybody has made some excellent points, I was just thinking though, is it possible for one or both the OP and OP’s husband to have come from one of the counties where a woman requires her husband’s express permission to take a job outside of the home, and where it would be completely appropriate to send such a letter? Her use of the colloquialism “outside the box” did not ring true to me, and the fact that she seemed to genuinely believe she and her husband were misunderstood suggested this possibility to me. I suppose it makes no difference, but the OP needs to be aware that even if our guesses about her circumstances are incorrect that that is how she might be seen to others and can hopefully adjust accordingly.

    1. Jamie*

      There are definitely some sub-cultures here in the US who have this type of patriarchal mindset.

      I could be wrong but that was the first thing that sprung to my mind.

    2. Observer*

      Interesting thought. But if she has a nursing license in the US, she has to have spent some time here, and therefore should be aware of basic norms. If she somehow managed to totally miss this, then that would be quite concerning to me as an employer in the sense of the #2 scenario – not so much judgement but total lack of understanding of her social environment (which is especially important in people facing professions such as nursing) and lack of ability to learn appropriate behavior.

      At minimum, Allyson’s advice and all of the responses, should clue her in to the fact that she’d better learn a little about how things work here.

  46. OP*

    I appreciate all the opinions and concern. There are a lot of other factors playing into my resignation but to sum it up…I did not really want to work there. I felt pressure from myself to at least continue on til I got to the part time schedule to see what it was like. Every morning I would complain to my husband about the job. He did his part by dropping off kids in the morning, picking them up etc.. and he had to stay home with them while they were sick a few times so I could be at work. I think it was a mistake to accept the position, I really did not like being a floor RN. My earnings did not cover all the expenses to work. I have the choice to work or stay at home so it was not all about the paycheck. Sometimes I feel like “society” places no value on stay at home moms so that was part of my story I was telling myself to go find a job. It’s funny but the other stay at home Moms badgered me with the question of, “is your husband asking you to go back to work”? You never please everyone. While working, I felt like my kids and husband were being asked to change a lot of things for me. I feel better knowing I can at least serve my family while being home full time. Eventually, I plan to return to the working world in a couple of more years. I am taking this time to try out other classes to find something I will enjoy doing. Management never cared to ask me how things were even going for me on the job or gave me time off that I requested. They showed no understanding for my personal situation with child care issues hence feeling like a number. I did not feel like the workplace was a safe place to work. Everyone expressed worry about messing up and being let go.
    I just wanted an answer about the email…it’s typical how people assume the worse case scenario. My husband is a very responsible and caring person…and I am not a helpless blinded victim. I get this was a huge mistake on his part for not listening to me. I knew that it would appear as abusive and controlling. I expressed that to him but he still felt like he needed to send it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe he was sick of my indecisiveness? It was very bad judgement for him to send the email. He ignored me…why? Don’t know. He usually listens to what I want 98% of the time. This time he messed up! I know that socially he lacks etiquette. He handled this the wrong way in accepted “societal expectations”. Trust me, we have been to counseling. It’s easy to judge others. We are doing the best we can with mistakes along the way like everyone else.

    1. shawn*

      This is unrelated to the real issue at hand, but I’m surprised to hear that working as an RN didn’t cover the costs of going back to work (commuting, child care, etc). I know that situation can happen, but it’s usually for people with either no earning power, a ton kids, or both. Not sure on your kids situation, but as an RN you are almost 100% likely to be making above the median wage for your area.

    2. Anonymous*

      I don’t know what to say. I hope you take some time and really think about who you want to be – there are so many tangents in this, that I am concerned. You received lots of good advice here, and so many people were careful to point out the differences between perceptions and reality. It comes across, above, that you missed that distinction. Most of making one’s way in the world is making sure perception matches your intentions. Please think on this.

      1. Anonymouse*

        Based on my experience, this sounds like an abusive relationship. OP, you sound like the victim, making excuses for your abuser (emotional or physical abuse is still abuse). I hope this is not the case, but it sounds to me like you do not want to actually receive any advice. You only want to talk yourself deeper into believing it’s not what it is.

    3. Snow*

      OP, no one is trying to judge you. I think I speak on behalf of the majority when I say there was genuine concern for you. So being a nurse didn’t work out for you, at this particular time. That’s fine – it happens! Maybe you’ll be happier at home or in a different career field.

      However, what we all had a problem with was the fact that there’s absolutely no excuse for your husband to act so unprofessionally as to contact your employer about your resignation. I don’t think *anyone* here said what he did was OK.

      I really do hope everything works out for you.

    4. Adam V*

      > Management never…gave me time off that I requested.

      OP, can you clarify – are you talking about calling in sick or taking personal days?

    5. Kate*

      What you think of yourself and how you support the priorities you set in your own life is what matters. When you don’t have that intrinsic self-worth/strength, what others say and think is a lot more likely to get to you.

      If there is something or someone in your life that is making you feel like you aren’t good enough, I urge you to talk to someone about it.

      I wish you all the best. And I hope you are okay.

    6. AG*

      I don’t think anyone is judging your choice to work at this job (or in general) or not. Every person’a financial and family situation is different, and if this wasn’t the right job for you or the right time to go back to work or whatever, that’s totally okay. I think the problem is that not only did your husband contact your work (unprofessional!) he did it after your objected (crossing boundaries!). I hope that this was just a one-time lapse in judgement on his part.

    7. LMW*

      OP, only you can know what’s right for your family, and no one here is judging you on that! I think maybe you had too high of expectations for returning to work. Maybe the timing was all around wrong, but if you were within the 90-day probation period, that’s not the time to be asking for time off and flexibility. That’s the time to be showing you can do the work and are a reliable employee. Flexibility requires trust, and it takes time to earn that.
      I hope that when it’s really time for you to step back into the workforce, that you and your husband take sometime to figure out professional norms beforehand. It might save you a lot of stress and help you get off to a better start in your next job.

    8. twentymilehike*

      OP, Thank you for writing in!!! Your comment adds a lot of insight into your situation. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are less valued in society because you are a SAHM! Those people don’t know what they’re talking about …

      FWIW, if you really want to do something, but not ready to jump back into the work world, check out volunteermatch [dot] org. I found a great domestic abuse helpline that I volunteered for once–you can do it all from home. Or you can find something on the weekends to get out of the house :)

      My hubby and I have sure had our differences, and we both know that sometimes it takes a LOT of work to get on the same page. I dont have a lot to add, really, but seriously … I know where you’re coming from on the husband thing!

    9. Job seeker*

      I just read this post. I was also a stay-at-home mom for a long time. I was lucky, my husband’s income did not make it necessary for me to work outside our home. I still do not have to work for income. I like you, felt after my children were older, I need to be able to work again. I waited almost too long to re-enter the workforce though. I am still trying. I have now another situation, my mother has some health concerns and is staying with me. I am helping her every week go to doctors and am stressed. I am doing the best I can. I am now of all times getting calls for interviews. I recently with the help of one of my sons revised the format of my resume and learned to write a great cover letter. I had two people call last week to interview me the same day I submitted my resume and cover letter. I am having to weigh a lot of things. I wish you the very best of luck.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Phew! I am so glad you came back on, OP.
      You have waded down through all these comments- which is really great. So I will be brief- many of the comments you have made here you can find an AAM column that discusses that topic. I hope you keep reading AAM. It is a way of acquiring tools and knowledge that are hard to find anywhere else. I think if you keep reading it will help you define your next steps a few years from now and you will find an employment setting that is more like what you want.

    11. Patti*

      OP, thank you for responding. I’ve been checking back, hoping to hear from you. I hope you know that the concerns voiced here were just that — concern for your well-being, and not judgments. I’m glad to hear that it was just a one-time, well-intentioned mistake on the part of your husband. Best of luck to you.

    12. Nurse Manager*

      Strictly speaking about the job (and not the email)……when you accepted the job, you accepted the salary, benefits, etc. You should have given that due consideration before accepting the position.

      “Management never cared to ask me how things were even going for me on the job” – Did you speak up?

      “…..or gave me time off that I requested” – you weren’t even there that long; now I have to give you time off?

      I could go on, but there are a lot of statements in your response that make me think you don’t always take responsibility for yourself. That alone would have me reluctant to hire you back.

      1. Jamie*

        I get the feeling both from the original post and the response that the OP wasn’t ready to go back to work, and when you are doing something before your ready you can see obstacles as insurmountable, when they really aren’t.

        I like what you said in your other post, about judgment. I wouldn’t say this if the OP was an IT, or machine operator, or hostess at a Chocolate Tea Room – but there seems to be both a desire to explain away what are clearly red flags (whether there is fire beneath the smoke or not) and an effort to minimize some very bizarre behavior.

        A nurse has mandatory reporting obligations, if I’m not mistaken, and I think should be a concern for any employer if their mandatory reporting personnel don’t seem to perceive red flags in a typical manner.

        If the OP is happiest at home with her family for now, that’s wonderful – I loved being a SAHM. I just hope she’s making the choices she wants to make and has the autonomy to change that should she want to.

    13. fposte*

      Thanks so much for weighing in, OP. I’m glad that you’re safe and comfortable at home, and I hope you realize that we–and your employers, I suspect–consider the worst because the alternative is to sweep a possibly dangerous situation under the carpet and risk finding out later that there was a tragedy that we could have averted.

      I’m with Nurse Manager a little, though, in thinking that it sounds like you hadn’t quite moved your mind into the workplace expectations place–child care issues and time off requests are a lot to present with in the first three months, especially if this is a workplace where shifts must be covered. However, that’s not an issue if you’ve decided not to continue, and I totally support your choice to focus on what you choose to do rather than what you feel like you’re supposed to do.

    14. AMG*

      So glad that you are ok. I understand about sometimes not doing/sayingthe right thing. He may have actually had a misguided desire to help/put an end to the situation that neither of you wanted. Regardless, you are not in danger and that is the important thing. The rest will come later when you are ready to re-enter the workforce. Take care.

    15. Elizabeth*

      “Management never cared to ask me how things were even going for me on the job or gave me time off that I requested. ”

      I know that you wouldn’t be eligible for time off at my facility if you hadn’t made it through orientation yet. Our nurse managers & clinical supervisors expect that concerns about how a new nurse is adjusting to the facility to go first through the preceptor, who is expected to address them. But, if the new nurse doesn’t bring up the concerns to the preceptor, the concerns can’t be addressed.

      What I’m hearing is that you want to blame your husband, your manager and the hospital where you work(ed) for your not being ready to work.

    16. Stephanie*

      My mother has worked as an RN at a hospital for 30+ years, and she still doesn’t always get the vacation/holiday days she wants all the time. I think that your frustrations about vacation/flexible time suggests that that might not be the right industry for you.

      That said… if you are interested in a field that might utilize your healthcare degree and *might* be more flexible in terms of schedules/hours — maybe look into clinical research? I work at a company that runs clinical trials for many biotech companies. A lot of my coworkers in our clinical and safety departments have RN degrees. My schedule is pretty much 9-5, but some of my workers have 7-3 schedules for kids and/or 1-2 telecommute days a week.

      You can find out more about the clinical research field by going to a local chapter meeting of ACRP (if there is one in your area) or many universities have extension programs with courses in clinical research now.

    17. Observer*

      As others have said, no one is trying to judge you. They have made some good points about your adjustment (or lack thereof) to the new situation. But, ultimately, that does not really matter. If you genuinely felt that this was a mistake, then that’s your choice. (It’s worth taking what they said into consideration for future decision making, but that’s a separate issue.)

      The point, though, is that your husband made a REALLY bad decision, and your original letter not only failed to acknowledge it, you defended it and complained about the very legitimate responses of your supervisor and her supervisor. That is why so many of us responded so strongly.

      Please understand that your husband’s behavior goes way beyond lack of etiquette or lack of arbitrary “societal expectations”. It’s concerning to me that you don’t seem to get this.

      You have children. Given what you have said, I truly see the benefit of working on your marriage. But, you need to understand the potential issues what you describe present for them. Both the lack of judgement and boundaries that your husband (apparently occasionally) exhibits, and the role model he presents. I would strongly suggest you get some outside help in dealing with these issue – before they create more difficult situations.

  47. Job seeker*

    I am so glad Alison addressed several issues with this. I really hope this person is not in a abusive relationship. I have made many stupid mistakes in the work world looking for a job. I take responsibility for them, I own them because I did not understand how to do some things. But, this poor lady having her husband make her look bad is so terrible. Having to feel so embarrassed by what he did, not what she did. I could not imagine.

  48. N.*

    There, there now OP. To empathize with your husband, there have been times where I have wanted to call my husband’s boss and give him a piece of my mind for what I have perceived of as the company taking too much advantage of him, because sometimes I feel he has to tolerate far too much sh-tuff to keep our family fed and out of the red. I never have, thus far I have resisted this urge, because as he pointed out, it would only burn a bridge and make me and him look bad (also I knew it was a heat of passion impulse that at the very least should be examined before acting upon.) It is wonderful that by your account he values your intrinsic contributions to your household, and that you are free to work or not as you please. Chalk this last job up to a bad fit, a misunderstanding, and before you pursue anything else figure out a plan of action should you find yourself in a similar situation, one where your husband (who may have good intentions) does not do something like this again. I wouldn’t think working for this company again is a good idea even if they would have you back, consider it a learning experience and use this opportunity to figure out what you REALLY want to do.

  49. Elizabeth West*

    If my husband (if I were lucky enough to have one–:( *sigh*) pulled something like this, I’d be furious. He’d get rawred at for sure.

    OP, please update us. I’m worried about you. I hope you’re okay.

  50. Kay*

    The only reason I would ever imagine contacting my boyfriend’s employer behind his back is if I were trying to make sure he could leave work early so I could sneak him away for a surprise getaway or something of that sort. And I’m good friends with his boss so that wouldn’t be weird.

    But I think my boyfriend would still be annoyed by that because he might still have work undone when I snuck him away midday and he doesn’t like surprises. So on second thought, I couldn’t imagine doing that…

  51. jesicka309*

    My first thought while reading the original post was that “this is surely a plot line in Fifty Shades of Gray, right?” Obviously, this isn’t the case, especially now OP has weighed in with a bit more insight, but that was my first thought. It certainly seems like it wouldn’t be out of character, anyway.

    I’m pretty sure Christian Grey buys out the company Ana started working at so that he could monitor her work activities…I wonder if Alison has read this book? Could be a funny post about how characters in literature/fiction seem to get away with job crimes that you wouldn’t do in real life. People seem to love those books, but would you be okay with your husband deleting potentially incriminating emails from your company’s server, as he does in the book? Doubt it.

      1. jesicka309*

        Oh that’s a shame. It would have been great to see your professional outrage at some of the work shennanigans they get up to.
        To clarify, I only read out of morbid curiosity. And so I could make fun of it. :P

          1. Sophie*

            My boss keeps on talking to be about smut fanfiction (which is what 50 Shades of Grey was initially) because we’re a law firm and have had to give legal advice on publishing smut fanfiction in a magazine (the publisher is our client). SO AWKWARD AND HORRIFYING.

            I’ve been helping him with the legal research, but also since I am the only one in the office who knows what fanfiction is, I have become the go-to girl. Urgh.

            1. KellyK*

              Do you mind sharing what you found out (in generalities of course)? I would’ve thought that “No, you can’t publish fanfiction!” was a no-brainer because the writer of the fanfiction doesn’t own the copyright to the original work (Harry Potter or Star Trek or whatever) and so can’t sell those rights to a magazine.

              1. Laura L*

                That’s actually not true. Copyright refers to the actual written words, not the ideas or the characters. Well, I’m not 100% certain about the characters, but ideas can’t be copyrighted, only things put down on paper.

                That doesn’t mean someone won’t sue someone else over the fan fiction, which can be very expensive, but it’s generally not a copyright issue, unless they are taking words from the real works. And even then, you can use a small amount of a copyrighted work under the fair use clause.

                1. Liz in a Library*

                  Characters can be copyrighted; there was a case several years back where an unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye was blocked for infringing by using Holden Caufield as a character.

                  There’s a good blog post talking about this issue with several link-outs to specific cases here. (Assuming I can post links!)

                2. Laura L*

                  Got it. Now that I think about, that makes sense, because I know that Mickey Mouse is a major reason why US copyright laws keep extending the time frame the copyright is good for.

          2. Anne*

            My mother has been trying to get me to read it, too. I haven’t because for myself it’s hilariously tame.

            I’m not sure whether that makes it better or worse, but it sure is horrifying.

            1. Anon2*

              Same here. People at work kept asking me if I read it since they know I love to read and know I’m not … shy … about adult themes. They stopped asking after I said that I was too old and experienced for such juvenile sounding erotica. ;)

          3. Amouse*

            OK off topic but since someone mentioned book club below I’ll throw this out there:

            A group of colleagues at work who are friendly at work but I wouldn’t say “friends” outside of work decided to start a book club and of all the books they chose 50 Shades of Gray! So after the first meeting my co-worker told me that the club had disbanded because they were all too uncomfortable discussing a book of this sort with co-workers. Wow! Didn’t see that coming! *sarcasm*

          4. Liz T*

            My mother’s an investment banker, and works with a lot of men who aren’t used to working with women. One such man, an acquaintance rather than a regular colleague, tried to make conversation by asking her if she’d read 50 Shades of Grey, since HIS wife and mother both loved it. My mom was beyond horrified.

  52. OP*

    Just wanted to add that when you have young children and no extended local family support, going back to work is very costly. Child care for us is not free. When you add up all expenses versus earnings in our situation then there is no monetary benefit to working. This was the problem my husband had and in his email he was also addressing this issue by asking for weekends only. This was to help reduce childcare costs so he could tend to the kids while I was at work. Other factors: Who is going to watch my kids when they are sick? Or what if he is sick or I am sick? My husband was admitted to the hospital on my 3rd week of taking on a new job. My kids were sick along with myself all at the same time. Talk about stress! I should have took that event as a sign and gave up then! I asked twice for weekend shifts but was turned down. He viewed sending this email as a last effort to make this work for us. I remember suggesting that he word the email to make it look like it was coming from me if he felt so strongly about sending it. I knew it would be taken out of context. I don’t know why he preferred his way?
    I do feel that I could be more assertive with others at times especially in the work place and not worry so much about what others think. My perception in the work place was that people were afraid of saying something that might get them into trouble in fear of loosing thier job. The medical culture is very strict and rigid with rules and schedules. I am getting too old to deal with rigid rules. I need flexibility right now while raising a family. This forum alone proves how people can perceive a scenario quite differently.
    I know my husband does his best to provide for our family. Our first priority is to our children. He always does what is best for us. He works very hard at his job and he takes pride in that. And of all the twenty years I have known him he has never turned his back on me. And trust me, I’m not perfect either. I have had plenty of friends and family that have let me down through the years. Everybody needs to practice forgiveness or we will all be doomed. He is a reliable and very responsible man. I think his way of handling this was inappropriate and/or out of the box. I wanted to get a third party opinion because his view is that he does not care what the expected mode of behavior is. He is looking to solve a problem. Obviously, it was the unfavorable way to handle this.

    1. A Teacher*

      I’ve read everything said as well and I am still concerned for you. Everything you say still attempts to justify and/or excuse his actions. As a nurse you are an educated individual that has the training to deal with complicated situations. What would you say to a patient that told you this story? What your husband did in this specific case wasn’t just unprofessional or a a case of bad judgement. It was controlling and not controlling in a good way. He conciously went against your wishes and if he can cross a line like this he can cross any line at any time.

      The fact that you have no family or close friends in the area raises even more alarms to me. Please be safe OP because there are a lot of us out here worried about you.

      1. The Snarky B*

        I agree with this. OP, I can understand how you might feel judged, but I hope you can set that feeling aside so that you can see that people are expressing real concern here. My question to you is this: What do YOU think about the fact that you told him not to send your boss an email and he did it anyway?
        To me, that is the most concerning part. AAM is right that you any expect your boss to exist within the framework of your relationship, especially given that it is outside of some pretty common norms, but… What did you say to your husband after he violated your trust and went against your wishes?
        Your response here indicates that you might not be totally hearing the KEY parts of the commenters’ concern.
        P.S. props for having taken the initiative to get counseling- I’m all for that.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, agreed. OP, it’s not just that he sent the email even though you asked him not to — sometimes people in our lives do what they want, regardless of what we say. The issue here is that he overruled you on something related to YOUR career, YOUR professional persona. Those are things that you should have the final word on. It’s fine to listen to his input, and it’s even fine to be convinced by him, but you have to the be the one in control of your own career, which means he can’t veto your decisions and act on your behalf.

          Why? Well, for starters, you’re the one out there in the work world, dealing with the ramifications of your professional actions. And you’re also the one who may need to rely on your professional reputation if your situation changed. And your situation could change. Your husband could get ill and need you to support the family. And of course, sadly, people divorce and even die. If any of those happened, you’ll be very dependent on your professional reputation. So it’s key that you be the one controlling it.

      2. ano*


        I have to say OP’s responses in thread seem a bit.. forced and clipped and nothing like the original letter.

        This actually makes me more worried for her.

        1. KC*

          Agreed. The style of writing in the responses is noticeably different from the original letter. It makes me wonder if the OP’s husband has jumped in again.

        2. Anonymous_J*

          She seems very defensive to me, and even now, in December, I get the willies thinking about this situation.

          OP, I sincerely hope you are OK!

    2. Job seeker*

      Please understand many people here are showing so much compassion for you. I have been a wife and mother for a long time and have lived away from family. I understand how hard things can be without any extended family support. Just be sure you are evaluating your situation accurately. When you are the mother you will do anything to keep your family intact and your children’s lives not turned upside down. Just make sure, you don’t overlook things that could be a major problem. I have known someone who has went through a controlling relationship. She was very sweet and trusting. She tried so hard. Things can change very fast, you need to make sure you are evaluating this correctly. I hope that you are. May God bless you.

    3. Neeta(RO)*

      I don’t think anyone here had a problem with you choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. I can totally understand how things like taking care of sick kids can become a major problem after such sudden changes.

      But IMO, things like these are really not your workplace’s concerns. They are not related to your job as a nurse so it’s unreasonable to be offended that your bosses don’t care. It’s perfectly fine if this is not an environment that you can work in.

      My personal problem was with how your husband presented the situation in his email (and really, the fact that he sent the email at all).

    4. Heather*

      OP, I don’t know the specifics of your life. But what I’ve gleaned from your responses is that you’re dancing around the core issue that the commenters here are concerned about: your husband’s boundary crossing and disregard of your wishes.
      I can’t speak for others, but the other issues you’ve brought up don’t matter to me at all – how hard it is to be a SAHM or to find work after being one, whether your husband is a good provider or not or the culture of medical work and the long hours. Whatever. None of that is even remotely the point here.
      The point is, your husband doesn’t seem to regard your wishes and desires as anything more than gnats to be swatted away. Even if your husband is the most saintly saint who ever sainted, that isn’t right AT ALL, EVER. He crossed a line and it was inappropriate, and it sounds like he still doesn’t see that. Holy wow. And it sounds like you know that it was very wrong for him to do and completely disrespectful, but you don’t seem to feel that you have any right to be angry, and you do. You should be steaming angry, not making excuses or bringing up all the other great things he’s done. Doesn’t matter.
      You deserve respect and to be listened to, and you have the right to live the kind of life you love, whatever that entails (yes, that includes being a SAHM).
      Be well. I hope you are okay. Everyone here is only writing from a place of concern.

  53. Kinrowan*

    In addition to what everyone else has said, I am finding that I don’t hear *your* voice very much in there. What was the impetus for you to start working in the first place? How has that changed? What I hear is that others at the job didn’t seem happy and that your family life got really stressful. But is that because of the job or because it is a new situation? Of course, others might be resentful that the change you initiated is affecting them in ways they maybe don’t appreciate. But what about you? Again, I don’t know why you decided to start work at this point in time, there must have been something driving you to look at outside employment, but what I am hearing is that you decided not to continue working because it was stressful and to me that seems unsatisfactory, especially given that you had not been working there that long, when things like scheduling and arrangements for when the kids are sick might have become more well-oiled.

  54. OP*

    Please look at my other posts and re-read them, another thing I mentioned is I do not want to be a nurse. I want to go back to school. I don’t like not “earning” my own money. I want to find something else I enjoy. Everyone is limited in what they can do. We moved away by from family for a job like many others do. He is away from his family as well.
    I sacrificed my “career” for the opportunity to stay home with my kids. Ive said this before i do not like being a floor RN. If i got divorced or my husbavd died then I would go back to school. If i got divorced, and this is probably way out of the box too for you all to get, i would leave the kids with him and back pack across the world and study a profession I enjoyed. I could not afford to provide the kind of life my kids deserve. It seems your replies don’t understand our decisions as a family. I am now in an “abusive and controlling” situation? Whatever. Take a look at your own relationships before you throw stones. I wanted an answer to the email to let him know what the normal expectation is. It is clear some spouses do contact bosses so it is not unheard of either.

    1. Jamie*

      You seem frustrated that people are focusing on the reed flags your husband is throwing out there rather than whether your manager was right in sending he letter to HR.

      In an extreme example, if I wrote in to Alison asking her advice on which coverup is best to hide a black eye be ause my husband hit me and I have a big presentation today I’m pretty sure the response wouldn’t be L’Oreal vs Cover Girl or one mention of my meeting. It would be the crisis in room I didn’t want to talk about.

      Now, there is no reason based on what you’ve said to believe that you are being physically harmed and that’s good. However, I’ll be honest – I’m sure I’m not the only one who is afraid for you and your kids. Many people have been in situations where things were very bad for a very long time and they feel totally normal and how dare other people question our choices. Read the comments – a lot of us have been there.

      However, maybe you’re not. But people who hear this story both at your work and here fear for your safety and all have similar concerns. If my husband was told he was acting in a way that made other people feel he was hurting me or the kids he would be so embarassed and change – because that isn’t a reputation most men are comfortable with.

      It’s certainly your prerogative to live however you choose – as long as your children at safe – but you don’t seem to understand how this comes off to others and from a practical perspective ou really should. I promise you that when you do go back to work at some point we are far more representative of your future bosses and co-workers than is your husband and I hope you get that he will harm your career if this continues.

      Fwiw if the commute and child are expenses are such a strain on your finances then you don’t have that comfortable an income. Living that close to the edge could result in you needing to go back to work at any time should something happen. He’s already helped you burn one bridge, I would be careful about burning any more.

    2. ano*

      The normal expectation is that the spouse will have no contact with the employer unless there is a emergency reason or it could be something to do with health benefits.

      At no point should a spouse interfere with the employment status of the employee or of anything that affects their actual job. No shift change requests, no salary negotiation and certainly not any acceptance or resignation of the role. Just because people have done it doesn’t mean it is right.

      And as for “I am now in an “abusive and controlling” situation? Whatever. Take a look at your own relationships before you throw stones.” That is clearly lashing out and just makes me wonder more about your situation.

      I hope I’m wrong. I hope you find happiness in another role.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      “It is clear some spouses do contact bosses so it is not unheard of either.”

      If this is what you’re taking away from the discussion here, something is terribly wrong. Other spouses do NOT contact bosses, particularly not in situations like this. In the rare cases where they do, it’s either (a) an emergency situation, like the employee is in the hospital, or (b) strange and unprofessional.

      No one here has reported anything even close to what your husband did — resigning on your behalf is not normal, and it is worrisome and over a line.

      1. Forrest*

        Yea, I think only one person here said that his spouse contacts his employment for a non-emergency reason and everyone was like “um, what? Don’t do that, stop it.”

  55. N.*

    Sorry to revisit this OP, I read your original letter and you two responses, and what I am still unclear about is what exactly did you agree to when you signed up? Did you sign up for part time hours only and they put you on full time? Or when you realized working the full time hours wasn’t gonna work you tried to renegotiate down to a part time schedule? I get the impression first and foremost that you felt the company was not honoring their agreement with you. Moving forward from this point, do not try to work for them again, or apply to work with them again, you will just suffer further indignities, you said you tried to negotiate with them before you felt pressed to resign, they gave you your answer. Regardless of what happened with your husband, you have been labelled “unorthodox” by this company and as you can see the more you try to explain the worse it looks so don’t subject yourself to more scrutiny by them. Do not return to drink from a contaminated well. Stop feeling guilty about YOUR decision and own up to it. You quit for a reason, one that you could not mitigate or change when you worked there, now that you are in an even weaker position don’t go back on bended knee to beg because that is what you would be doing and I can assure you you will just be walking back into the muddy, only it will be deeper this time. Go forth now and do your best to make sure this does not happen again, I suspect you have a clearer idea of what will and will not work for you and your family now, use this new insight to your advantage. And don’t ascribe your self worth to what goes on at work, don’t let them make you “emotional”, enjoy being a number and save your best for your family. Don’t feel bad or that you are somehow cheating your employer if you leave your real passion at home, because you see how it works: job = pay, it is great if you LOVE your job but don’t feel bad if you don’t ’cause that is a minority. And Forbid your husband from speaking on your behalf this way again before you even look for another job. The last post you posted you still did not know why he did what he did, even after a barrage of comments to show him how dimly this is viewed; you had better figure it out soon because if he ever does it again he would definitely sending the message he does not trust you to handle your own affairs in the workplace, and that is infantalizing at best. If he is wrong he does not respect you, if he is right then you probably have no business working. Hopefully this was a one time gaffe, and you will have smooth sailiing from here on out. Best wishes and keep the faith, you are bound to make it work!

  56. kdizzle*


    My husband hates to see me unhappy, and would do anything for me…I’m a lucky gal (and he cooks too!). If I started a new job and came home day after day complaining about the hours, people, and commute, he’d be a cheerleader, but he’d also get frustrated. We’d talk about it, but he’d want to do whatever he could to ‘fix’ the situation. All I’d want to do is talk about the situation…but he feels like a situation can’t be resolved unless some action is taken (as if talking isn’t an action). I can see how something like this would happen to the OP. Some people try to help out, and start from a place of love, but hopelessly ignore standards of human interaction in the process.

    Sending the e-mail is a bit much. He overstepped major boundaries…especially after you told him you didn’t think it was such a hot idea. And the tone of the e-mail turns it into a note that should’ve sat in the ‘draft folder’ overnight and revisited in the morning with a clearer head. It’s like drunk dialing….it seems like a good idea at the time…

    The manager was right to have concern for you. The e-mail is strange and does give off a ‘controlling’ vibe. She doesn’t know him, your situation, your commute, your kids, etc…all she has is that e-mail. So she showed concern, which is valid (from her point of view).

    OP, thank you for sharing your situation and following up; that can’t be easy.

    Alison, great advice once again. Spot on.

  57. Just a Reader*

    I’m not actually reading where the OP told her husband not to send the email. It looks like she said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea, but if you’re going to send it, word it like this.”

    OP, the working world probably isn’t for you if you cannot be assertive enough in either your home or workplace about things that impact your career and reputation.

    But you might need a job someday so I hope you’ll think long and hard about mixing your family life and your work life. That’s a privilege one earns after a long time proving herself to be reliable and high performing, not something we get right out of the gate at a new job.

    Finally, if you can quit defending your husband long enough to really read the comments and advice here, I think you will find all the content helpful. This is not normal behavior on your husband’s part. It is not respectful, normal or professional. It does not have your best interests at heart. And it certainly is not designed to set you up as someone who is in control of her own destiny.

  58. OP*

    Everyone has a different “opinion”. I sent in this question to find the expectation that is the standard norm for future reference. I wanted to let my husband know the result so he could take that into consideration for the next time.
    I feel like I opened a Pandora’s box…it has been very interesting.
    It is hard for many stay at home moms to transition back into the workforce. I am not the only one. I do enjoy being there for my kids. I know they are safe and being looked after rather than relying on others to do it for me. If your not present with your kids then that can also lead to future problems like teenage pregnancy, drug use, alcohol use, etc..Actually, those kinds of behaviors are seen as “normal” as well in some people’s eyes. It’s accepted as the normal way to grow up. I even asked friends to help out to pick up kids and they would not do it…even with offering money. Everyone has busy lives.
    There are many other avenues besides being a floor RN that I could venture down. I don’t have to keep doing something I don’t like. Also, women face a lot of other issues trying to get in the workforce such as; age discrimination, being out of work for so long, and family obligations. A lot of organizations are not family friendly. If you dont like something about your life you change it. I am experimenting and so far i know that i dont want to go back to the lifestyle of being a floor RN. The work place did not care to work with me about family obligations, I was an RN number. And time off used for family emergencies was counted against me as well. Do i keep asking my husband to skip his job for mine? Or do i hire someone again to watch my kids? These are things that come up that make working right now not worth all the extra stress. My husband is responsible for floating the boat and he has expectations to fulfill as well. I can’t expect him to do something for me when he is expected to be at work.
    My husband supports me in my choices. I felt guilty too for not wanting to be an RN. After all, I have a BS degree in the field. People do change careers. A lot of us just get into the mindset that just having a job is good enough to pay bills. I do have a job staying at home but I don’t have a tangible paycheck. Who does not want to earn extra money…which was another reason for re-entering workforce. I would make more money working in a retail store while the kids are in school. No childcare issues. No asking husband to keep leaving job. Both of us were commuting as well… 50 minutes EACH way. It was just too much. Kids are in another town while both parents are working…not really the best situation either.
    Everyone is limited. So, if you have any professional advice for me then keep that coming. As far as relationship advice, I will leave that to the marriage counselors.
    I am blessed in many ways…my kids and I are fine….we have a decent human being leading this family and that wants the best for us no matter what. Which from my experience is a rare breed these days.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m not sure where you’re seeing that “everyone has a different opinion.” In fact, the opinions here are remarkably united that what your husband did was outrageously inappropriate and unprofessional and raised understandable concerns in your manager. Please tell us that you have picked up on that here….?

      1. Liz T*

        I think she meant that in a general way–like she was agreeing to disagree with us. Sort of like, “Opinions are like [armpits]…”

    2. Nikki*

      This is way off topic but..
      Just to address part of what you said, since I am sure others will chime in on other things.

      “If your not present with your kids then that can also lead to future problems like teenage pregnancy, drug use, alcohol use, etc..”

      True, if a child has parents that don’t care, they can go down the wrong path, but I take exception to implying that children with mothers working outside the home leads to future problems. My mother taught school for 30 years. My brother and I went to daycare, a daycare so good we begged to go spend a day or two during the summer when she was home with us (not because we didn’t want to be with mom, it was just fun there too).
      When the sun went down (and before), my mother was home, with her children. My dad was a PTA member. He was sorely missed when he moved on to a different PTA as we progressed through school.
      I am not discounting SAHM mom’s, but I will not have it perpetuated that mothers working outside the home are not ‘present’ and leave their children to be delinquents.
      That is all.

      1. Meg Murry*

        Thank you! OP, if it is important for you to be home with your family, that is fine and your decision, but don’t judge those of us who work outside the home – my kids are in a WONDERFUL daycare (and those do exist, they just take some looking) and are thriving there, and still get plenty of love and attention from me in the evenings and weekends.

        That said, it is fine if you have determined that the income you would make does not allow you to afford childcare you are happy with – quality childcare does not come cheap, and you’ve never mentioned how many kids you have, I could see how it would be more than your starting out income. But don’t judge all working mothers as “not present” for their families because its just not true. If you don’t want to work and want to be a SAHM mom, fine, own that decision. But don’t insult those of us who make different life choices for ourselves.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          You touched on something important here when you referenced starting pay. Very often, your starting pay when returning to work will NOT be enough to cover your expenses, or to have anything left over afterwards. But as you stay in the workforce, your earning power will increase, and eventually (in most fields) you should reach a point where you’re earning much more than your costs. Many people view those early years back at work as an investment in their future years of earning … because if you’re ever going to return to work, you’ll need to wait out the starting years of not making as much, in order to get to the later, more lucrative years.

          1. Jamie*

            Yep – paying one’s dues. Lousy pay, crappy parking spot, micromanagemed projects and hours (often)…

            Everyone in that boat – I promise you if you hang in there it’s gets better.

          2. Heather*

            Yes, and there’s also the idea that if a woman’s pay doesn’t cover childcare, it’s not “worth it” for her to work. Childcare is a household expense, not a female expense. Like Alison said, if you quit working because your pay alone doesn’t cover the childcare expense, you’ll never work your way up the pay scale. Both your family income and your personal ability to provide for yourself will suffer in the long run.

            This is one of my pet peeves (ironically, since my husband and I are happily childfree).

            1. K.*

              One of my friends’ salaries basically pays for child care so if she didn’t work, she and her husband would be in the same financial position they’re in now. (They have a six-month-old in day care in NYC.) She works because a) she actually likes her job, which is a reward unto itself, and b) because she wants to keep building her career, it’s worth it to her to get her dues-paying out of the way now. She’s in an organization that she’d love to grow with in a field that’s very competitive, and she knows if she leaves she’d lose a lot of ground.

        2. Anon2*

          Absolutely! Not only do these years grow your experience and seniority, so you can leverage better pay down the road, but people seem to forget social security earnings. From a strictly financial point of view, there are often long-term considerations that argue for working even when you’re only breaking even on childcare expensives. Of course, this isn’t true for everyone but definitely doesn’t seem to get as much talk-time as other factors.

          1. Laura L*

            Yes! I’m young, single, and childless, but my SS contributions are a big reason why I hope I’m never unemployed again for any reason. It’ll be important when I’m 67 (or whatever the retirement age is in 40 years).

      2. some1*

        I think the OP was trying to throw a red herring in the mix with the whole “working mothers = problem kids” line. She is really defensive about the unanimous agreement that her husband stepped way over the line, so she is making other excuses.

        OP, every family has to make their own choices. You do not have to justify why this job didn’t work out at this time. It still will never be ok for your husband to resign for you.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          And also, since the OP wrote below that her husband didn’t resign for her because they made the decision together, I want to clarify here that “resign for you” means “inform your employer of the decision.” Which he did do.

          1. Anon*

            I once had a mentor pressure me into taking an interview I didn’t want to go to. I went, and didn’t like it any better; they offered me the job on the spot. I didn’t want it, and the pay wasn’t fair, but they asked me to think about it for a day and call them the next day with my decision.

            He called me after the interview and asked how it went. I told him honestly the reasons why I would be turning it down. The next day when I went to call and decline, they said “Oh, that’s okay, [guy’s name] already told us you weren’t taking the position.”

            Yeah, I wasn’t pleased.

    3. Meg Murry*

      You mentioned earlier that the two of you had counseling at one point. I HIGHLY suggest you go back to it, both as a couple and individuals, to discuss this incident, and your overall feelings about working or being a SAHM. Your husband’s interfering in your workplace was NOT ok and the two of you need to talk about how to handle situations like this in the future, both work related and otherwise, such as – how can you be more assertive, and how can your husband help support you without overstepping the boundaries.

      On a separate note, since you have an RN and have been a SAHM for 9 years – maybe you would be happier in a position where you worked while your children were in school, like a school nurse? You’ve determined that working in a large corporate hospital setting doesn’t work for you, but that doesn’t mean that a smaller, more personal setting wouldn’t be an option in the future. Since you don’t HAVE to work at this point, you can afford to keep your options open and wait for a better fit for a position. Or like you said, start taking classes 1 at a time (there are lots of night, evening or online classes at community colleges) toward something you do want to do.

      1. A Teacher*

        I work in the public school system. If she maintains the justification or defense of what her husband did, she will be eaten alive by the parents that don’t like the decisions she makes as a school nurse. The school system is a whole different ball game and it isn’t for the faint at heart. I don’t know the OP but from reading her multiple posts, I don’t know that the school system is the place for her either. I’ve seen numerous people with good intentions that “like kids” get chewed up and spit out.

    4. some1*

      “I do enjoy being there for my kids. I know they are safe and being looked after rather than relying on others to do it for me. If your not present with your kids then that can also lead to future problems like teenage pregnancy, drug use, alcohol use, etc.”

      This doesn’t make sense….upthread you wrote that if (god forbid) you got divorced you would leave the kids with their dad & backpack around the world…you really think that’d be less damaging than working??

      1. Lils*

        I noticed that too…kind of goes against the “family is so important” storyline of her letter.

        My impression, OP, is that you feel trapped–job, kids, husband, being far from family, whatever–that’s a terrible feeling. I’ve been there too. It’s legitimate to feel this way even though you might be mortified to admit it. I would urge you strongly to get counseling as a couple or on your own. Hopefully you’ll find some concrete ways of dealing with your stressful situation that have a good chance of success. You have options, even in the sad case of divorce, that don’t involve operatic fantasies of leaving the kids and backpacking around the world (!).

        1. Forrest*

          I’m under the impression she said the backpack traveling thing so she can be all “see? my husband isn’t controling and willing to do ‘women’s work’!”

    5. Forrest*

      “I wanted to let my husband know the result so he could take that into consideration for the next time.”

      I hope you don’t mean this but it sounds like you’re fine with him doing this again, since its up to his consideration.

      There’s nothing for him to consider OP. What he did was wrong and he should never have any contact with your future employer. At this point, I’m willing to suggest have one of your kids contact your employer is you’re incapable of doing so (like, if you’re injuried in a car crash or something.)

  59. OP*

    Let’s be clear that he did not resign for me…it was a decision that was made together. He sent the email coming from him…and yes I get it was the improper thing to do.
    I feel like I am not being heard…and you all are reading way too much into this. It was a mistake. I agree that is is unusual, and my husband does not see things as others do…
    Like I said, I will leave it to the marriage counselors….
    Thanks for the professional advice and good luck.

    1. Just a Reader*

      He did resign for you, against your wishes.

      I don’t think you really do get that it was improper, or why, because you’re still using the phrase “out of the box” instead of “grossly inappropriate, alarming and completely unheard of.”

    2. Nikki*

      You keep saying that it is “unusual”… Do you understand that it is BEYOND unusual?
      As said below it is “grossly inappropriate, alarming and completely unheard of.”
      You wanted professional advice, but I’m afraid you won’t accept it and the both of you will continue to conduct each others professional affairs because you “do not see things as others do”…and this will hinder your moving forward in whichever career path you choose.
      Everyone here wants the others to succeed…

    3. Meg Murry*

      Has your husband read this thread? Has the two of you talked about this with your marriage counselor? I think in addition to seeing a counselor together, you both need individual counseling. And, BIG RED FLAG – if your counselor does not agree that what your husband did was wrong and that its beyond the fact that he does not “see things as others do” – you need a new counselor.

    4. karenb*

      I know that socially he lacks etiquette.

      I wanted to get a third party opinion because his view is that he does not care what the expected mode of behavior is.

      I agree that is is unusual, and my husband does not see things as others do…

      These three comments by the OP are telling… And I wonder how one deals with that type of mentality long term.

    5. SJ*

      I hear you repeatedly dismissing people’s opinions here because they ‘don’t understand’ or are incapable of thinking ‘outside of the box’ or allowing room for the ‘unconventional.’ Sure, it’s possible that your limited communication here has not fully illustrated your domestic bliss, but what’s the harm in thinking that perhaps they’re not all idiots and what they say might warrant reflection? Give the generally intelligent readership of AAM the benefit of the doubt and consider if there’s any truth to anything they’re proposing.

      One time, I started seeing this guy and my mom didn’t like him. My mom is one of the most understanding, compassionate people in the world and she was wary of him right off the bat; that’s not like her, even for guys I date. By the time I told her about him, though, I was over the moon. Then she comes raining in on my parade, and I didn’t want to hear it. Because she didn’t know what I was feeling, she didn’t understand how he made me feel, how excited I was, how GOOD this was, and it pissed me off. I so adamantly did. not. want. to hear it that I refused to even consider what she was saying.

      Now, this isn’t a happy situation for you, but when someone comes in with an alternate view of your current, joyous (or at least content) reality and threatens to unravel your perception of your reality – regardless of whether their view is accurate – I think it’s a natural reaction to feel like it’s kind of a slap in the face. However, what is our stake here? Do we have anything to gain by falsely convincing you your husband is abusive (and, to be clear, I don’t think anyone is saying that – I think people are concerned he might be)? How would you react if a family member or close friend voiced these concerns?

      We have no stake; everything I’ve read here has been an expression of concern. No one is trying to demolish your family unit or attack you personally, your abilities as a professional, or your competency as a mother. What we are saying is not a reflection on you as a success or failure. You have your answer about the professional aspect of your question, and now everyone is voicing their understandable concern about your and your family’s well-being. Think of it this way: they’re not trying to vilify your husband, they’re trying to make sure someone is safe, or help her if she’s not. That’s all. People looking out for someone who might be in trouble.

        1. Jamie*

          Mom’s are always right about that guy. I have this stitched on a sampler and it’s hanging in my daughter’s room.

      1. Amouse*

        so true. I’ve been there sooo many times. When you are emotionally invested in a situation it can be extremely difficult even if all the warning signs are there to see clearly and sometimes you just need outside help. It’s like a person who lives with an alcoholic. Some times their denial is as strong as that person’s.

        In a sense no one is more objective than a group of strangers who know nothing of you or your life outside of what you’ve written here.

        Elsewhere in the blogosphere you’d (you in general as in anyone commenting) would probably get a lot of swearing and probably some pretty disgusting things strangers would say to you. This is an incredibly compassionate group.

        We’re not judging you as a mother or wife, we’re just giving you an outside view of something you might not be seeing clearly yourself. And the great thing about this is the mirror reflects both ways: You might reaffirm that we’re totally wrong through this or you might confirm that some of the darker spots we’re seeing really are there.

        1. Jamie*

          Let’s not forget that people aren’t always ready to hear what they need to hear when it’s being said.

          If you’re in trouble and someone concerned hands you a card for a place to go for support – the natural reaction for many people is anger, indignation, and an immediate circling of the wagons. Other people just don’t understand and how dare they presume to make judgments.

          Many lifetimes ago when I was young I was given one of those cards by an ER nurse. I was rude to her. I refused to speak to the police – because I was fine. Seriously, I was a bitch.

          I also kept the card.

          I never used it – but seeing it in my wallet was a reminder that I was kidding myself…and for whatever reason I kept it even though looking at it made me angry. I finally tossed it much later, once I left and was in a better place…because it didn’t have power anymore. It was just a card.

          I have no idea what that nurse’s name was – but I owe her a thank you…and an apology.

          And some people toss the card and go through life angry at people for noticing.

          And some people don’t need the card because the opinion givers are wrong and did truly misjudge a perfectly healthy situation.

          All you can do it point out that if people are being treated with less than the full dignity they deserve, in any way, that they are entitled to more. Sometimes it’s all you can do.

          1. Amouse*

            Very true. I don’t think I was forgetting that although I think you meant your comment as an add on. In any case well said!

  60. Lana*

    Everything that OP said in her husband’s defense along the lines of “you don’t understand our family” sounds very disturbing to me. I can’t explain the feeling but for someone who is smart enough to be a RN and get a job as a RN after a 9-year break, it’s alarming to sound so… brain-washed? I hope OP figures it out if she wants to be in the workforce and be a successful example to her children. It’s not 1880 anymore, you don’t have to stay home 24/7 to raise healthy, successful and happy children. There should be some balance whatever you do.

    1. Just a Reader*

      Well, she doesn’t want to work, and that’s absolutely fine. What I think is strange is abdicating all career decisions/discussions to the husband, and being outraged by the idea of having to find childcare if you have to work.

      The family values don’t seem to sync in any way with normal working conditions or expectations, which is absolutely fine if you’re not working. But not fine if you are working, obviously.

      1. fposte*

        What I’m missing, since this is all about how work is so terrible in many ways that would have been apparent before she started the job, what prompted the return to work in the first place? The child care concerns, the commute, the pay–none of these were news. But you were seeking something, OP, that made them worthwhile–what was it, and do you think you can find it another way?

        1. Laura L*

          RIGHT. You can figure out how well your salary will cover childcare and other expenses BEFORE starting a job.

    2. Nikki*

      I’m so with you on the last part, ” you don’t have to stay home 24/7 to raise healthy, successful and happy children.” I hope the OP carefully considers all the career options available to her. I also hope she carefully considers her feelings for restarting her career vs. staying home with the children.
      The transition may not be easy, but it can be done. The first step is accepting advice from professionals, those who have been in your shoes, those who have come here and gotten a dose of tough love.
      The readers here are diverse and caring. No one is trying to tear you down, we want so badly to lift you up…

  61. Marie*

    OP, your original question was whether what happened previously might have left a mark on your professional record, and whether or not that reaction was warranted by HR. You didn’t ask about our opinions on your relationship, but to most of us, what we’ve heard here was so alarming that there was no way we could ignore it. What we’ve done here is pretty much what you experienced at your last job — expressed complete shock at your husband’s behavior, became leery at your professionalism due to your acceptance of your husband’s behavior, and became immediately concerned over the red flags in your relationship. You’ve now gotten this reaction at least twice — it seems likely you’re going to get it again.

    You asked a question, and you got an answer, and you really didn’t like that answer. That’s okay. You don’t have to agree. But it’s still the answer you’re going to get if you ask this question. How are you going to cope with that in the future? How have you coped with that in the past? Do you think those same coping skills will work if you enter the workforce again? If not, what do you think you can change?

    You can continue disagreeing with us about what we’re reading into your relationship, or providing more details to give us context to try to make us see why, from your perspective, your behavior was appropriate while HR’s was not. You can do that here, because this is a comment thread. But you can’t do this in the workplace. In the workplace, people are going to react the same way we have here, and the same way your old job reacted: they’re going to find your conduct highly unprofessional, and the brief details of your relationship with your husband highly alarming. So if you want to move into the workforce again, you’re going to have to develop ways to either cope with this reaction while maintaining a professional demeanor, or avoid invoking this reaction at all.

    There’s no third option of continuing to believe what you believe, and being vocal about it, and somehow not getting this reaction from people. You may consider that totally unfair, but it’s the reality. There are many things about my job that I find unreasonable or unfair, but my boss isn’t interested in my personal arguments — they are interested in whether or not I can do my job within general expectations and with minimal disruption.

    If you think what your husband did was reasonable and what your HR did was unreasonable, the vast majority of people are going to disagree with you, and that will cast a shadow on your professionalism in the workplace, because it’s so outside of general expectations and it is highly disruptive behavior. So you either have to choose between facing down this reaction in a professional way or changing your conduct or beliefs in such a way that you do not encounter this reaction anymore.

    All of us have to make concessions to our personal beliefs about what is right, fair, or appropriate in order to function appropriately in our workplace, and it’s not going to be any different for you. So consider this a training round of what to expect in the workplace, and start planning for how you’ll respond to HR, a supervisor, or a coworker.

    1. Mints*

      Totally agree with Marie.
      I wonder if OP& family belong to a church in which they preach about Man being decision maker and Woman being his servant. And maybe OP consulted with church goers, or even the Priest/Preacher/Minister/whatever, and they said it seemed normal and appropriate for the husband to send the resignation. In that case, us commenters are a bunch of online heathens OP will not give weight to.
      So even though we’re united in the reaction, it’s a reaction not aligned with her world view.

  62. Looking forward*

    Everyone has touched (and throughly explained) the most concerning issues here. I’m wondering if the OP has ever held a professional job. Perhaps she earned her degree and then started a family before working? There’s certainly nothing wrong with it, but it would explain why she has so many disconnects as to what is expected in the working world. (Childcare issues, expense of commuting, how and when it’s appropriate to request time off and changes to scheduling) This also may indicate isolation (you don’t have any working friends who are moms?), which is related to the big concerns.

    Looking foward, any adult who returns to school as she mentioned as an option should have a clear goal for doing so. I’m not so sure she should completely rule out nursing – there are so many different variations of that jobs – home health, senior care, doctor’s office, etc. – and each have different hours and pay.

    Lastly, I think it’s worth noting that many of the other responders have been SAHP themselves who successfully returned to the workforce. It is a hard transition, and I think it’s great to have others who have been down that path contribute their thoughts.

    1. Jamie*

      Some of us didn’t even return – we just started really late.

      I got married right out of college and was a SAHM from my early 20s and I didn’t get my first real job until I was 37. Yikes! I had done some freelancing – but my first real job with an office and a boss – I was damn near 40. Sometimes it’s still weird for me when I hear people my age talk about being on the job for 20+ years and I’ve only been in the workforce less than 7 years total.

      Not right for everyone – but it worked out okay for me. But yep – it’s a change and it’s a culture shock in some respects (and I cringe when I think of how naive I was when I started. I was to email an invoice and it was stuck in my draft folder, so it didn’t get mailed on time. I went to corporate accounting to ask if they wanted to take the late fees for the payment out of my check or if I could pay them in cash. I had the cash in my hand. Seriously – I could just die thinking about some of this stuff.)

      It can be quite an excellent adventure though – it was like exploring a whole new world and finding my place in it. I knew what I could do, because self-esteem has never really been an issue with me, but it was amazing have other people validate that and every added responsibility felt like a vote of confidence and a gift.

      1. some1*

        I’m glad it worked out for you.

        At a previous employer, I worked with a lot of middle-aged women who had returned to the work force after being SAHMs. I had more than a few express to me that if they could do it over, they might have made a different decision because they realized they missed many years to contribute to their retirement fund. This was especially true for the women who stayed home while their husbands were making good salaries and ended up getting divorced.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          She was assuming she’d have to pay out of her own money for the mistake, which a business would never / should never ask someone to do; it’s a cost of doing business, and they cover it.

          1. Anon*

            Is there a difference here for things like losing/having stolen your company laptop/iPad/etc.? Those things I think you’d be inherently responsible for, but maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way.

    2. Anonymous2*

      I really like this comment. I can relate to it because both of my parents are blue collar workers (my dad a carpenter and my mom a SAHM + a few odd jobs when we were older). They are by no means familiar with the inner workings of industry, nonprofits, businesses. They are from a small town where your word is as good as a contract. I can see the OPs husband being this type of person, where he just wanted to help the situation but unintentionally made it worse. I think we should stop harping on the abusive relationship and chiding her for not having more control of the situation. It seems like a misunderstanding and a bit of ignorance to me. Yes, it is probably a big deal if she ever wants to work in nursing there again–they will most likely not hire her back. But seeing how she wants to chagne careers, as long as her husband knows not to interfere again, I don’t see a problem with it. I have been reading for a while and a lot of the commenters on here seem highly educated and working more “white collar” jobs. There is a huge disconnect between both worlds, and having come from a family of “blue collar” workers and being a “white collar” myself, I can see where this sort of situation could happen. Lets cut the guy a break–he probably honestly didn’t think it through.

      1. some1*

        Sorry, no. I’ve dated blue collar guys, mechanics, a waiter, and more bartenders than I can count. None of them ever emailed my boss on my behalf.

        And, frankly, I find it insulting that you would chalk up overstepping of boundaries like this to some blue collar disconnect. Just because someone has a blue collar background doesn’t mean they don’t know what’s appropriate and what’s not about contacting your partner’s boss.

        1. Anonymous2*

          I was not making a huge generalization. I was likening her husband to my parents, who happen to be blue collar. If anything, I was saying my parents were ignorant of these things, not blue collar people in general. Why are people so quick to get angry and insulted for other’s opinions? That is ridiculous.

          1. Amouse*

            Ok but nowhere in the OP’s letter does it say her husband is a blue-collar worker. Either way we cannot guess that he is and then make assumptions or hypotheses based on this guess which is I think why your comment touched a nerve. Also you are assuming a ton by assigning ignorance to blue collar workers in general. Ignorant people exist in all fields of employment as do well-informed people. I get the sense based on the OP’s letter that his decision to e-mail her boss was done in haste and frustration not ignorance but that’s my opinion.

            You’re entitled to your opinion but assuming he’s a blue-collar worker and then making excuses based on that just seems like quite a leap. And regardless, his behaviour was not excusable.

          2. A Teacher*

            My dad just retired after 40 years at one of the largest manufacturers in the world as a welder. He’s from a town of 5000 people and moved 7 miles from his hometown to my mom’s hometown. Even as a kid when we dealt with HORRIBLE summer bosses my “blue collar” dad would not have dreamed of calling my boss for me and I was just a kid. You do make a hasty generalization and lump blue collar together–and that’s not fair to the hard working blue collar men and women out there.

      2. KayDay*

        There’s more to everyone’s concern than the simple fact that he sent the email. It’s what both he and the OP said in their respective emails that is cause for such concern.

        The husband letting the OP’s employer know she was home sick with the flu, for example, would be inappropriate, but would very much qualify as a mistake. Hell, if he sent the resignation email in himself, but phrased it differently (e.g. “my wife and I have discussed our family’s financial situation and schedule at the hospital and it no longer makes sense for her to continue working. Her last day will be Friday”) it would be highly inappropriate, but it wouldn’t invite the type of concern seen here and people could see it as a mistake/breech of professional etiquette.

        However, phrases like:
        “he was no longer going to be able to support me in the endeavor of working.”
        “He felt he had the right to do so since he is deciding what is best for our family situation.”
        I now have a problem with Jane’s full time schedule, which is producing unnecessary stress and financial burden on my family. My original support for her was limited to part time weekend only work to maintain a healthy family structure. From one professional to another, I ask for your understanding that Jane can no longer continue…”
        indicate, to me, that there is more going on that a simple misunderstanding.

        1. Anonymous2*

          I most definitely get that–I am also the one who initially responded with the “I’m speechless” comment in the very beginning. I, too, thought the exact same thing as all of you about the abusive relationships. But then I read everything the OP wrote in the comments section and from her comments and the writing style, I noticed it was similar to my mom. My mom speaks and writes the same type of way and a thought crossed my mind that maybe she is from a small town or she and her husband are just very ignorant of how businesses are run (from lack of experience/education/whatever). And keep in mind, that this could have been going on for a while and the husband was letting out frustrations in his email that were probably misconstrued as abuse. I am NOT condoning what he did–it was grossly innapropriate. But I do think ignorance plays a huge factor in this and I am just trying to play devils advocate since the OP did not seem concerned about her relationship with her husband.

        2. TeaBQ*

          YES, THIS. For me it wasn’t just that he sent the email that was a red flag, it’s that the way he wrote it removed Jane’s input from it entirely. There’s no “we” here. There isn’t even a “On behalf of Jane.” It’s all about him. Which hey, great if he’s chatting with friends or family about the frustrations of the work situation, HUGE RED FLAG if he’s talking to people on Jane’s behalf like this.

          OP – since you’ve posted in this thread, I hope you notice this when you read. It’s not just that he sent the email, it’s what he said in it.

          And for context, my mother has illnesses which make it very difficult for her, both physically and mentally, to communicate. So there are many situations when my dad really does have to speak on her behalf to doctors and the like. But he would never ever phrase what he said in this manner. He’d go with “She feels that…” or maybe even a “We’ve noticed that…” but never ever “I have a problem with this so she’s not going to do it anymore.”

        3. J*

          Being sick and unable to call in is the only time when it is appropriate for your spouse to call: why would that be inappropriate?

      3. Lils*

        I think Anonymous 2 has an interesting point. We have moved from what I like to call “the real world” into a teeny town in rural mid-America. Most people here, despite being more highly educated than the average American, have not traveled, worked or lived outside this immediate area. Sometimes we experience bizarre cultural and work practices that would not be acceptable elsewhere. Sometimes the habits and mores we experience seem like anachronistic leftovers from some long-ago time. Not to imply that a) OP should not understand that the email demonstrated horrible judgement, or that b) she should bring a whole lot of awareness to her family situation. Just that maybe certain behaviors have their origins in an isolated group rather than maliciousness.

        Like the people in my small town, it behooves OP to increase her knowledge about how business is usually conducted, and to not make excuses for their… uh…unique way of seeing the world.

  63. Lisa*

    Marie is awesome, but I have one thing to add: OP, your husband can leave anytime he wants to. Of course you’re committed to one another and married with kids, but he still has the power to walk away. Ask yourself how you would look at this incident if he left you tomorrow and you found yourself facing a hard deadline to be back in the workplace and earning your own living. He’d be paying child support, of course, but spousal maintenance is not granted in all states and is usually limited and temporary when it is.

    He burned a professional bridge for you that if you two were to separate, he would have neither the responsibility nor the ability to repair. Is that really okay with you? If it’s not okay with you, how do you plan to handle it with him moving forward? Has he apologized? Has he read these comments and felt embarrassed that his behavior came across that way, and determined that he will not behave in the same way again?

    Your career is not his career, even if your children are his children and your family is his family. No matter what your relationship is like, some things are simply YOURS to manage. He could walk out the door tomorrow and leave you needing a job–and thanks to him, one place where your current qualifications are enough for you to get a job, without going back to school, will likely not rehire you.

  64. pgb*

    I think it is awesome that the AAM community is so supportive of OP’s being in their best professional situations possible- it’s one of the reasons why I love reading this blog. I think AAM’s advice (and just about every other commenter’s insight) is spot on.

    OP, the advice and insight coming from AAM and the commenters are just that – advice and insight. None of what’s said has power in your life unless you give it power. No one lives your life for you so no one can truly know what it’s like to be in your family – no one could provide insight or advice from that perspective. And no one else makes decisions for you.

    About the manager emailing HR and expressing concern, you asked for AAM’s advice, and she gave you her take – so it’s worth considering even if you disagree. Yes, there is a first time for everything, but when that “first time” evokes the feeling of a person in a potentially controlling, abusive relationship, then it’s a concern any employer would address. And that’s all.

    Wish you all the best, OP.

  65. Sandrine*

    OP, are you even actually reading what people are saying here ? It doesn’t look like it. This is what I’m getting from the whole thing :

    OP : My husband sent an e-mail to my boss about resigning.
    AAM : Unprofessional and concerning.

    OP: You don’t get us, he’s so nice to me!
    AAM : Still unprofessional and concerning.

    OP : If I’m not a SAHM, my kids will be into drugs…

    ……… Wait, what ? How does this have anything to do with the situation at hand ?

    Do you really think that trying to insult commenters’ intelligence will do you any good ?

    You keep saying we don’t “get” you, but I don’t think YOU “get” society. Society, reading a message like yours, will be concerned. Quite a few people here, from all backgrounds and probably different countries, have read into it the exact same thing your boss read into it.

    It seems you are missing the point of the comments entirely.

    1. Amouse*

      hahah awesome summation :-)

      OP: I’m not trying to be unkind here but the fact that I (and I’d suspect many other commenters) agree with this comment hopefully gives you cause to consider its validity. No one is trying to attack you here. There is a widespread I’m going to say complete consensus here on your husband’s action being unprofessional and concerning and if you read this blog at all you’ll know that that total consensus is an exceptional rarity.

      1. karenb*

        “If your not present with your kids then that can also lead to future problems like teenage pregnancy, drug use, alcohol use, etc..”

        I know a family that has always had a SAHM and their kids are in trouble, one has been in the ER for alcohol poisoning 3(!) times and he is only 18… one other can’t figure out how to deal with her life cause it isn’t what she expected and has NO IDEA what to do about it, except turn to alcohol and drugs… They dont’ think it’s the norm by any means, they lack the ability to deal with it properly. Staying at home is NO WAY an indication of how your kids are going to turn out.

  66. Annoynmous*

    That is quite a husband there. I agree with everything this article said and have a question (which I am sure won’t be answered) but why did your husband send it at all? They can’t force you to stay in your job under any law in any state. So what was the whole point? To stick it to them?

  67. Elizabeth West*

    OP, I’m sorry this situation is giving you such a headache. Hubby needs to really understand that despite how you guys run your relationship, your professional life is NOT his responsiblity–it’s yours. Yes, you make the decision on whether you stay home with the kids together. But that’s where it ends. He can advise you but he can’t (and shouldn’t) do these things for you. He’s not your dad; he’s your PARTNER.

    Hell, it’s not my dad’s responsibility to do things like this for me, either. He has tried, because he cares. And I told him to please stop, because it’s my business, not his. Maybe your husband tries because he cares. It’s still inappropriate.

  68. Maraca*

    OP – I want to thank you for reading these comments and for responding. Posting a question on a blog that has a section for comments, by very definition, is opening yourself up for judgments and interpretations. I’m trying to put myself in your shoes right now, and I would be feeling very judged, and thinking, wow, I had a work question and now my relationship with my husband is being analyzed.

    It is very telling, however, that there is 100% consensus among the commenters here that not only was your husband’s email totally inappropriate, but it does raise serious red flags and causes concern. You even said in a follow-up post that you knew the situation “would appear abusive and controlling.”

    This is first and foremost a work/career/professional advice blog so this thread has clearly strayed from those topics. But I believe that all of the commenters here, myself included, care about you and want you to be the best you can, whether you are working at home or outside the home. We’re not judging you, rather we’re judging the situation given the facts at hand, and giving you the advice and opinions of the situation that you requested.

    I am very curious about whether the comments here will somehow change your views of the situation. Only you know the truth of what’s going on, but please know that most of us here only want you (and any OP) to have the best possible outcomes.

  69. AH*

    Dear OP,

    Reading your first question and your subsequent comments have hit so close to home for me. I see so much of myself and my former relationship in your words. I too am a health care professional. I put myself through school and was even the primary earner for several years. I understand how slowly and quietly a controlling relationship can build. I started out an independent person but after 10 years I ended up with no control over any family choices or finances. The balance slowly shifted, from one where it seemed we were evenly supportive to one where I was doing everything (working, cooking, cleaning, moving to new cities) just to keep him happy.
    I have been out of that relationship for 4 years and I am finally starting to see not just how it affected me personally but also how it affected my professional life. I had what I considered to be a high-stress job but now I am starting to realize that most of the stress I felt was because I was functioning with so little confidence and assertiveness. Every time I had to speak with a doctor or a manager I had to work to get up my nerve- even though most of the interactions were positive.
    I know you have mentioned that you no longer want to be a floor RN. I too have spent sometime outside of a hospital setting and have really enjoyed a different routine (and a more relaxed environment). But I don’t know if it is fair to attribute your bad experience entirely on the job itself. If I had to do my former job again I think I would be a better employee overall. I have gotten better at asking for something I need and setting boundaries. I’m glad you have found this website and I hope you can find something flexible and enjoyable. I hope you sincerely take the comments people have made to heart.
    And this is a little off topic but I see so many excuses in your postings. I made so many excuses for his actions (and my reactions) that I ended up really believing it. It was easier for me to just go with it because I was so afraid of the unknown. How much of it do you really believe and how much have you adjusted to fit what he wants? Just a thought.
    Best of luck to you. Hang in there!

    1. Heather*

      Great post, and maybe one that the OP will be able to accept more easily since you’re speaking from experience.

    2. Job seeker*

      This sounds very familiar. I knew someone that was in a controlling relationship and made so many excuses. It was a complete shock when things finally turned into her being thrown against a wall, pushed, shoved and things thrown at her. Her children ended up seeing this. Things can change very fast. Talking with a professional counselor or pastor or someone may help to see things as others do. Sometimes if you want things to be one way you can’t make yourself accept how things really are. I think she owes it to herself and her children to realize this is so scary.

  70. BW*

    If it’s not #1 and closer to #2, it’s certainly a person who can’t mind his own business and maintain boundaries. He may be concerned for his wife, but it’s not his battle to fight, and he can support her at home without taking over.

  71. Anonymous*

    From reading the OPs original letter and her followup statements, I kind of got a different conclusion than everyone else…

    It reads more like the husband was trying to make some kind of hard-lined “She needs a weekend schedule or it won’t work” appeal attempt more than a “I’m resigning on behalf of her” e-mail. A misguided attempt at trying to “force” her employer to give her the requested hours/schedule.

    Unprofessional and out of line? Absolutely.
    Signs of abuse? I’m not so sure…

  72. EC*

    Having been in a relationship with a man who expected that amount of control, I am continually mystified why people are so over the moon about Fifty Shades. Having experienced someone with that attitude, I can’t understand why people find it entertaining.

    1. Liz T*

      Fantasies are different than real-life desires, though. Plenty of people have idle fantasies they’d NEVER want in real life. Dan Savage always says that we fetishize what we fear.

      1. Jamie*

        If that were true I’d be really turned on by being broke and in a bad neighborhood – and I’m pretty sure neither of those things have ever featured in any of my good dreams.

        Interesting theory.

  73. Anonymous*

    OP, I think that you need to put more effort into finding out how you can utilize your degree and not have to be a “floor RN”. Have you looked into possibly working on the administration side of an orgnization? I work for state government and I know that many position within the departments that deal with things like Medicaid, community health, foster homes, etc., are looking for people with nursing degrees because it gives them a different and better insight into the job. You’d have a regular schedule, with guaranteed pay raises, easy-to-illustrate leave times, and great benefit packages for your family. You could also look into city- or county-level jobs that may require a nursing degree as well. There’s a lot you can do with that degree that isn’t just “OMG WORKING IN A HOSPITAL ALL THE TIME”.

  74. Meg Murry*

    Ok, just for some perspective, what if AAM had received the following letter from OP’s husband instead:

    “Dear AAM,
    I work full time and my wife has been a SAHM for 9 years. She recently got hired as an RN for part-time weekend work. However, for her first 90 days she was required to work full-time during the day for training. During the 3rd week of her training, the whole family got very sick – I even had to be hospitalized. Her new employer was not understanding of her family situation, and I exhausted all of my vacation and sick leave taking care of myself and the kids. We don’t have any other family nearby and I can’t afford to take more time off work to take care of the kids if they get sick again. We decided she should quit her job, but she wasn’t taking the initiative to resign, so in frustration I wrote the following email to her boss [insert email here]. [Insert part about HR being involved, etc etc]
    What should we do now? Should she or I write an apology email to her boss and explain the situation? How do we go forward from here?

    What would you say to husband?

    1. Meg Murry*

      Personally, my first thought is –
      1) Never email when mad/frustrated. Compose the message in notepad, then walk away and give it a day. Sending emails when mad is dangerous and can lead to all kind of issues (like the one OP is in now)
      2) Don’t interfer in your spouse’s work life. Help draft resumes, cover letters, resignation letters, etc, but at the end of the day it is your spouse’s responsibility to do their own communicating with their employer.
      3) The damage is done. Further emails will only make things worse. OP should apologize in person for the confusion caused by her husband sending her resignation letter if she is still at the job, and then work out the rest of her time and drop it, take this as a lesson learned for the future

    2. Liz T*

      That email is *almost* indicating that the husband knew he’d made a mistake. I expect we’d all take him to task for not owning it outright, however. AAM would surely tell him that other people would take this as abusive/controlling. If he included the thing about being miffed at HR for their concern, the comments would be much the same as they are now. If he did not, we might go a little easier on him, because he wouldn’t be placing blame on the people who absolutely did the right thing.

  75. OP*

    OMG! I have had a AHA moment! How could I have been so blind? My husband Forced me into going back to work and then he saw how independent I was becoming and sent the email into force my resignation! He provides no transportation, I’m stuck in the house all day while he drives a Mercedes Benz. I have to ask for permission before I purchase anything…even toothpaste! He tells me what to buy and what to think! He’s monitoring my thoughts right now as I write this…how does he do that?
    I have to get weighed in every night to make sure I’m at his ideal weight too! All meal plans must be run by him for prior approval. He gives me an allowance for each week. No wait, I am not allowed to spend HIS money. He decides where he wants to go on vacation and makes me stay behind with the kids. On weekends he goes off and does his own thing….hangs out in bars all night long, doing who knows what? The house has to undergo a white glove inspection each and every day before I can stop cleaning. I am not allowed to watch tv programs that he does not like or read books because that would make me think and he would lose control of my brainwashed mind. How will I ever be able to go back to school? He won’t allow it! I am not allowed to make my own friends or have my own separate activities. He tells me who I am. My house is decorated with stuffed animal heads that he got from his hunting trips. I have no say in that either. Oh excuse me, HIS house…
    I could go on and on with how bad I really have it. I sure hope I don’t end up on the street because he forced me into quitting that wonderful job that I was happy to work at. Everyone working there had it so much better than I!
    This has been very entertaining.
    Please Excuse me for my sarcastic excuses! I am too abused and controlled to think for myself.

    1. A Teacher*

      Remember when you asked if this specific incident would impact how you looked professionally? Yes, it will. If your attitude and sarcasm come across as poorly in person as they do in this last post that reflects even more upon your lack of professionalism. As someone that teaches career classes at the high school level (specifically Introduction to the Health Care Field courses) and as a health care practitioner myself, your lack of professionalism is dumbfounding to me. You are demonstrating a lack of social and self-awareness and just coming across as petty now.

      People actually sent you thoughtful and concerned comments–they responded with more thoughtful and concerned comments. You have the right to disagree with them but everything you do makes you sound like you are justifying not only a bad and stupid decision but a controlling decision. I don’t know if you’re husband is controlling or just naive but what he did was wrong and yet you still get defensive when your write in saying he was.

    2. TeaBQ*

      OP, regardless of whether or not this applies to your current situation, please be aware that it’s a myth that all abusive relationships are the same. I get that you’re going for hyperbole here, but it’s this sort of mindset that encourages people to have blinders about abuse when it’s going on – either to them or to people they care about.

      “It’s not an abusive relationship because s/he doesn’t hit me/her/him” or “It’s not an abusive relationship because s/he doesn’t control my/her/his access to a car” or any number of Lifetime movie cliches about abuse are not accurate litmus tests anymore than “I don’t have any health problems because I’m not currently having a heart attack” is for one’s physical well-being.

      I’m not saying that this automatically means you are in an abusive relationship. I’m just saying that in general people should understand that abusive relationships are not so binary in nature.

    3. KayDay*

      OP: earlier you said that you disliked your job because you felt you weren’t looked at as an individual and your employer didn’t care about you. In response to your letter dozens of anonymous strangers on the internet have expressed genuine concern for you. We have remind you that when at work, as an RN, you are a professional–a term of respect. People here have done their best to be helpful and supportive (unlike in most internet forums).

    4. Kerry*

      It’s interesting that you didn’t have the nerve to resign from a job you didn’t like and didn’t want (to such a degree that your husband got frustrated and did it for you), but you DO have the nerve to repeatedly come back and defend your husband’s actions to hundreds of people who disagree with him.

      Anyway, before I saw this last update, I was already coming back to say that it’s interesting that your original letter to AAM asked if all this had burned the bridge with the employer, but your subsequent comments say that you don’t want to be a nurse anyway, that you want to go to something else, that you’d give up your kids to go figure out what you want in the event of a divorce (clue: you don’t need to wait for a divorce to figure that out). If all that’s true, why do you care what this employer thinks of you anyway? You didn’t like working there and you don’t want to be in that line of work anyway. Why do you care if the bridge is burned? I feel like maybe you were just looking for some external backup in your discussions with your husband on why this was uncool, and it just went further than you thought it would, and now you’re in a pickle, because he’s probably seen the thread and isn’t enjoying it much.

      Anyway, whatever. Good luck. I hope you figure out what you wanted to figure out here.

      1. Liss*

        “you DO have the nerve to repeatedly come back and defend your husband’s actions to hundreds of people who disagree with him. ”

        OMG! I was coming back to say the same thing. But you’ve stated it much more graciously than I could. OP, your last post was just unnecessary.

    5. SJ*

      The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.

      I am skeptical that if everything were fine, you’d keep responding in such a defensive, dismissive way. No one’s saying your job didn’t suck or you should’ve stayed there. You’d probably not respond at all. Instead, you’re taking what everyone says intensely personally and responding with guns blazing. That sure says ‘you guys don’t know what you’re talking about, everything is hunky-dory’ to me.

      Your husband does certainly think differently about things than most people. This is also true of abusers. But your husband is not only so convinced his way of thinking is correct that he would send your employers an email, but the thinking is so entrenched that it didn’t occur to him that what he was doing was so beyond the pale it was almost unheard of and would be poorly received. When he wrote that email, it didn’t occur to him that this wasn’t Something People Do because in his mind, of course it makes sense he’d write the email. This suggests a certain amount of disconnect from reality – and into his own world where his rules make perfect sense – and a lack of self-awareness.

      Your staunch refusal to consider anything said, and your reversing people’s comments to suggest they’re overreacting and out of line are textbook examples of defensiveness and deflection. It’s your life, do what you want with it. Good luck, OP.

    6. N.*

      WOW, with all that going on I am shocked you can put together a sentence! Oh wait of course he must have written that for you too! Can’t resign on your own, nor compose your own sarcastic reply, he has you coming and going don’t he now?

      Thanks for the laugh OP! Sorry that you feel so picked on that you would reduce yourself to entertainment value for our enjoyment.

      Seriously, you care too much what the rest of us think if you are compelled to come back here repeatedly, ignore our points and the answers to the original questions, and compose long and carefully thought out scenarios to distract us.

      Okay we get it you are not abused. Even if you were, you are not open to the idea of getting help so any of us harping on that isn’t productive. Points I made before still stand.

      Don’t ever go back. The more anyone learns about your crazy home life the less we respect you, so keep it private.

      Don’t ever go back. You are not ready to work which you have stated repeatedly directly and through implication. If this how you respond to perceived issues you will keep burning bridges. You let your emotions get the better of you and that makes you an easy target and way too easy to fire.

      Don’t explain. Start by not responding to this. Practice restraint and look up discretion. It is obvious that neither you or your husband have any, which is fine at home but not if you want to be taken seriously in public.

      If you want to change any of your ways read “Nice girls don’t get the corner office”

      None of this is worth becoming unhinged over, the fact that you are WILL guarantee that each and every one of your forays into the working world or even academia will end in flames and ultimately result in your unhapiness.

      “Wake up break out, an epithet of your own self doubt”

      For the record as evidenced by the deliberate provocation and ignoring of other people’s advice I am starting to think we have all been had and this is an elaborate hoax (in which case consider a career in writing fiction), or that someone posing as OP has hijacked her thread.

      -The Poster Formerly Known as N.

  76. OP*

    Got it! I will take everything referenced to my personal life with a grain of salt;)
    It was pretty fun though…everyone got so worked up! Close to 500 posts…can we beat that?

    1. Anon2012*

      Wow! So, if you didn’t want to hear input and advice, why did you bother writing into AAM? You asked. She answered. People expressed concern. I’m starting to think that it was a good idea for your husband to resign on your behalf…your attitude would have gotten you fired if you worked for my company. SMH.

    2. Sandrine*

      Are you kidding me ?

      I’m disgusted by your attitude.

      Everyone here tried to offer support, but quite frankly at this point I don’t think you deserve our energy or concern. I don’t know what you were looking for when you wrote in, but you really don’t seem to get anything and we’re all a bunch of idiots.

      If you were working for me, same as others, not only would you be fired ASAP but I’d also make sure ALL my contacts knew.

      Thanks for insulting everyone who even dared to help you out, and for insulting AAM for daring to think such an obvious e-mail contained red flags… maybe you should learn to read next time before you write in to any kind of website, because this community here is caring enough that this kind of thing happens.

    3. SJ*

      And now you are minimizing the response, in addition to being dismissive. Be as flippant as you want; it doesn’t change anything about your situation or how people responded. But meeting people’s well-intended concern (and the time they took to voice it) with that attitude will drive people away. Hopefully if there comes a time when you need help, it won’t be true of everyone in your life who might’ve been in a position to help you.

    4. Job seeker*

      It is late, very late where I am. I am up because I can’t sleep. So many things on my mind tonight, or is it early morning? I got back on the computer and saw how many posts you received. I really hope you are OK. Life is so hard sometimes. I read you are a mom and as one mom to another, please try hard not to get your feelings hurt. Try to understand a lot of people do care about you being in a terrible situation. You have children and that makes it so much worst. You are one of the lucky ones. You are a professional and you have a very respected career. Many stay-at-home moms don’t. I hope you are safe. I hope people have misunderstood the real situation. Just remember, everyone’s life matters and you are important.

  77. Adele*

    OP, given the very small amount of information presented by you and the very personal nature of decisions regarding staying at home vs working vs going back to school, I hope you can at least give the commenters a little credit in their responses. I’m not sure why you wrote a letter to a public advice column if you aren’t able to read comments (mostly polite and mostly helpful – unlike the rest of the internet) without getting so defensive.
    Earlier in a comment, you mentioned that you felt like you “weren’t being heard”, but I’m not sure YOU’VE heard what most of the commenters are saying. For my own conscience, I feel the need to mention the following things that we are NOT saying to you about your situation:
    1) we are NOT saying that you should or should not be a stay at home parent, nor is anyone making any kind of value judgment about choosing to stay at home instead of returning to the workforce.
    2) we are NOT saying that you didn’t have valid reasons of your own for wanting to leave the job.
    3) we are NOT saying that you shouldn’t discuss your career with your husband and take your family’s well-being into account when making career decisions.

    By and large, we ARE saying that:
    1) your husband breached a boundary, both in terms of you and your manager, and in terms of you and your husband. It was inappropriate for him to email your manager for all the myriad reasons listed above, and it was wrong to do so against your wishes. This violation of trust is concerning because a person’s actions speak louder than words, and despite what you say to the contrary, we can only know what we perceive through his actions of sending the email.
    2) it seems to many of us (again, through the limited lens of the information provided and the narrow scope of an internet forum) that you don’t quite seem to understand how unprofessional your husband’s actions make you look. You have effectively burned a bridge with this employer, and since hospitals are often corporately run (and it’s a very small professional world), you may have ruined your chances of getting a job (RN or not) with this hospital and any others owned by the same corporation, not to mention the fact that your unprofessional reputation could very well follow you to another healthcare facility because of the “small world” factor.
    3) We are somewhat surprised and dismayed that while you yourself admit that the email comes across as “out of the box” and could be easily misconstrued as “controlling and abusive”, you are incredibly defensive about your husband’s actions and your own part of this situation, and have seem to become upset at how many people suggested that you might be in an unhealthy and possibly abusive situation.

    My advice, for what it’s worth, would be to take some time (weeks, or even months), and then come back and look at your letter to AAM and all of the comments. Perhaps, then, with a little more perspective and a little more emotional distance, you can understand (even if you disagree) where the commenters are coming from. And, if nothing else, at the end of the day, you can chalk it up to a “life lesson”, both professionally and personally. And that’s what we all want for ourselves – and for others – on this site. No more, no less.

  78. Nikki*

    Anybody else having flashbacks to the poster that wasn’t “tough” and nearly decided to give up?
    Glad she wrote back in after gaining perspective.
    I am still all. …wow…

  79. Jamie*

    Whether they are reading now, next week, or in a year or two someone will be in a bad situation. They’ll read through this thread and will see that people from all demographic groups and different areas of business understand.

    Maybe it will give them the courage to reach out to someone at work who can help. Maybe just be the validation that they are entitled to their autonomy and dignity that will give them the impetus they need to make a change. Or maybe it will just make someone feel less alone at a time they desperately need that.

    Regardless of the OP’s response, it was an important conversation about a topic that’s too often ignored.

  80. lucy*

    i was actually thinking it might be innovative, to allow spouses to have some input during 1 part of the interview process. where both people speak up about what they would like, etc.
    why not? this whole thing of being a professional, when all it means is that you cannot take the angle of 2 heads are better than one during any of the interview process, but all you talk about at home, is the process,… all day and night? c’man its ridiculous …
    having said all that , reading this made me wake up.
    scheme at home and go thru the process as best you can, by yourself, dont do things that are or seem nutty…

    1. Jamie*

      If tis ever becomes practice I’m completely screwed.

      I love my husband, but the thought of him in one of my interviews completely overstating my skills and competence while making up IT words as he goes, asking for a ridiculous amount of money because he knows someone who makes that and they are a moron so I “deserve” more (different field – doesn’t matter), oh and the 8 weeks of vacation he thinks I should have so I can be home with him when he’s on vacay…

      His wholly overestimated assessment about my value are very sweet and comforting in private – everyone needs a delusional cheerleader in their life – but to take that out in public would be like finding yourself naked in the middle of the grocery store. Just an exercise to see if you really can die of embarrassment.

  81. HRAnon*

    Putting aside the issues already raised and discussed…

    From the HR/ business perspective, a couple of thoughts:

    1. Regardless of any (absolutely justified) personal or professional concern about your husband’s email, it likely still would have been forwarded to HR. Anything regarding potential resignations/ staffing or personnel issues is generally brought to HR’s attention. The well being of individual employees IS a part of HR, but the larger area of responsibility is the continuity and functioning of the business as a whole.

    2. If the terms and conditions of employment there were not explained to you before starting the job- including scheduling and call off requirements- then this is not an employer you want to work for. If they were, then you should have known what to expect going in. Frankly, it does not sound at all unusual. Brand-new employees who ask for or expect changes to the system in place tend to be viewed as… problematic at best.

    3. I am not sure that expecting a better balance with your personal life by going back to school is realistic. Not even a paycheck there.

    4. I wish you the best and hope you find what you are seeking. Please report back to us when/if you do. I think these days that is a rare unicorn indeed.

    Finally, I would agree with those asking you to take a step back and re-read these comments another day and try to hear them in the spirit they are intended.

  82. OP Changed to PO (pissed off)*

    It does not matter what anyone says about your life. I know what works for me and for my family. I have stated many times that I did not agree with my husband handling this situation in the way he did. I am pissed off at him for doing so. He went into “protective mode”. No one can control another human being. I can tell him what I do not want to happen but in the end I have no control of what he decides to do. He can walk out on me tomorrow…no control. I could walk out on him and abandon my family as well…he has no control. The only thing that binds us together is a commitment and not letting the outside world tell us how to conduct our marriage. Did he do something that was seen as a major professional mistake…”YES”! I get that. I have hammered this point to him. I wish he would have at least made the email appear as if it were written with my name only so that others would not jump to these reasonable conclusions given the kind of world we live in.
    I do not know what I want. I felt like taking this job would make me feel “valued”. Life can seem kind of repetitive and boring at times. I thought getting back to work would make me feel more important. I found out that at work I did not have much value either. I am expected to start completley over. So, why not start completley over in a different field? I was also worried about the consequences of quitting a job within the 90 day probationary period. I thought maybe I should hang on to the job for at least one year to give it a chance and give a two week notice if I did not like it. My husband pointed out the other issues we were facing and then the fact that weekend shifts would not be guaranteed for us was a deal breaker. I can not ask him to compromise his performance at his job so that I can keep mine. His job is what floats the boat. If he has no PTO time then we are screwed. Who is going to pick up the kids when he and I are scheduled on the same day to be in another town? I thought it would all work out. But our family situation for the time being does not allow it. After taking the job, I recognized how unimportant I was to the hospital…I could be replaced in a second. If they wanted to keep me on they could of offered me the weekend schedule. They did not show any concern for me when my family was ill. Family emergencies were held against me. Frankly, I think they thought I was making sickness up. I felt shame for feeling like i might be passing by a good opportunity. I am aware of how small the world is….especially in the medical community. My gut was telling me in the beginning to not take this job. My husband seemed excited in the beginning for me to take it. So, I thought I would try it…I had applied over a year ago and had forgotten about it. I already explained away the details….it was not working. My husband made a bad move on my behalf and…I have AGREED with that point. However, I am defending my husband because he is not a monster for making a stupid mistake. Everyone makes mistakes! Show some compassion….
    In my perspective, RN’s do not get any respect. Doctors, and other RN’s are very “unprofessional”, alot of yelling and cattiness goes on. There is not much mutual respect in the medical culture. RN’s have major responsiblity, long hours with very little pay. You really have to have a calling to do this kind of work. There are other avenues to explore…I do not have to be boxed in to one profession the rest of my life.
    I am also pissed off at the world for assuming that well, for this to happen, that means she MUST be in an abusive and controlling relationship! I can not give you every single detail as to why this happened. Sometimes life is crazy…
    If I were a nurse manager, with the craziness of this world, I would do the same thing she did given everyone’s insights. But from my perspective, I did not see why it was that much of a “concern”. Inappropriate…yes…professionally taboo…yes. Maybe she could of asked me a question about why he felt he needed to send in the email if she was so “concerned”?
    I know from my history with my husband that he is a decent human being who is commited to his family…end of story. I am pissed off at the whole situation, including sending in this question.
    If the situation were different…say we take the responsibilities of the children out of the picture…if I were working and expressed I did not like my job to him and we had no discussion about it and then he sent an email to my boss like that. I would run!!! But you have to consider the context of it all. Making assumptions about other people’s lives is what gets people into trouble. You just never know what someone else is going through!
    How do you know if my husband is taking medications for a kidney transplant and his judgement is all whacked out…how do you know if he is battling depression? How do you know if we have a child with a disability? Like I said, we are doing the best we can. I am happy with him making the final decision about what is best for our family. I put in my thoughts and we weigh them together and he decides if it is a HUGE decision that impacts everyone in the family. If I want to go back to work…I can go…but it has to mesh with family . If I want to go back to school…I can go…but it has to mesh with family responsibilities. Everyone’s family operates different….to each his own. Live and let die.
    Sometimes, as a mother, I feel like I just want to break away and live a carefree life with no obligations or commitments. I am sure everyone feels like that. We all have so much to carry…
    All I can say is my husband and I are always re-negotiating and learning from each other. No one has a perfect marriage or a perfect life. That is a myth.
    I feel that listening to other people is what gets you off track in your life. All roads to hell are filled with good intentions. I listened to everyone telling me to be a RN when I knew deep down that I really did not want to be one. As I am older, I have discovered that you can not follow what the world tells you. You have to follow your own instincts or you won’t be happy.

    1. Jamie*

      I wasn’t going to reply to this, because quite frankly I think you have some pretty serious issues and your last few responses have been disjointed and insulting.

      But I need to say this: If he had medical/mental issues which could mean “his judgment is all whacked out” and you are still defending his role as the sole decision maker than you have far more serious deficiencies in judgment than any internet forum could ever address. Also, if that were the case and not hypothetical it would have been crucial information to include if at any point you did sincerely want advice.

      And as to “How do you know if we have a child with a disability?” Do you think parents of children with disabilities are given a free pass in the workplace? That they should be allowed time off others are not during a probationary period? This is the kind of bullshit that makes some employers reticent to hire parents of special needs kids. I know where of I speak on this – I raised a son with a disability. I was a SAHM for as long as I was in large part because it was best for our family situation – every family is different as you correctly noted. How dare you toss something like that in there as if it would have meant a ‘Get Out of Criticism Free’ card.

      There are millions of parents of special needs kids kicking all kinds of ass in every job across the board – we don’t need you tossing around hypothetical or real excuses making people wonder if we can manage childcare schedules as well as our jobs. FTR – we can.

      As has been said ad nauseum – no one said one word about whether or not you should be working or whether it was the right profession for you. You want to argue that point because it’s more defensible than the crazy email, but you’re arguing only with yourself.

      I also have never seen anyone in any comment on this thread or any other claim to have a perfect marriage or perfect life. It’s as if you’re going for a world record in strawman arguments.

      And no – not every mother fantasizes about leaving her family and living a life without responsibilities and commitments. Sometimes we want a couple hours to ourselves, but that’s radically different than “I am sure everyone feels like that.”

      You clearly don’t know what you want and it’s good that you realize that. You claim your very profession was dictated by other people’s desires rather than your own. I suggest you figure out what you want and start acting on that – you’ll find once you make the choices in life that make you happy you may be less inclined to want to abandon your children to live with no responsibilities and commitments.

      Responsibilities and commitments are part of being an adult, they aren’t exclusive to parents. You seem to be operating under some serious lapses in logic, apart from your husbands actions, that I hope you give some serious effort to addressing.

      1. Job seeker*

        Jamie, I have so much respect for you after reading many of your post. I admire you as a mom raising a child with a disability. A good friend of mine is in this situation and like you, doing a wonderful job. I could never imagine thinking of abandoning any of my three children when they were smaller. I know motherhood can be demanding, but a mom is their protector, nurturer and security. I think this bothers me most of all.

      2. Forrest*

        Here here! My sister has special needs and both my parents had full time jobs when we were growing up. And my dad was in the air force, so he was go for long periods of time. My mom still managed to take care of us, work, work summer school and a part time job on top of that.

        Yea, its hard but its not rocket science. My parents choose to have kids – they would never accept special treatment because of their personal choices.

    2. shawn*

      Not sure where you live, but here, and the RNs I know elsewhere, make serious bank. Even those just starting out make great money compared to entry level jobs in other fields. It also sounds like you are naive when it comes to the norms of the work world. I understand you might not have really like what you were doing, but there will always be performance expectations and hours you are expected to keep, and there won’t be someone there every step of the way telling you how awesome you are doing, how great of a person you are, and just how much they appreciate that you keep taking money from them in exchange for your time. Those parts of working never go away.

      Regardless, that’s good that you realize your husband made a huge error in sending the email. However, I also think it’s weird/odd/bad that you think everything would be fine had he just written the email for you and signed your name at the end. That’s not really any better, from a personal or professional standpoint. Yes, you wouldn’t have committed the error of having a spouse contact your company (on the surface), but it’s still really strange that you can’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t handle your professional life in the way you saw fit. Maybe you hated the job and wanted to quit, cool. But that’s for you to do, not him, and not in an email that sounded anything like your original letter.

      Anyway, this has to be hard to read hundreds of comments on your own life. Maybe this has been slightly helpful, maybe not. Best of luck.

      1. Nikki*

        “there will always be performance expectations and hours you are expected to keep, and there won’t be someone there every step of the way telling you how awesome you are doing, how great of a person you are, and just how much they appreciate that you keep taking money from them in exchange for your time. Those parts of working never go away.”

        Take this to heart OP, there’s no cheerleading squad on the job. Office politics abound…Perhaps when you find your field of choice, you will feel better about work but remember, we’re all replaceable…

        It seems now you spent so much time doing what other people said and here are a bunch of other people imposing ideas on you and maybe you cracked. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe now you will be able to find the path to where you want to go.

        If you are overwhelmed at home, perhaps there are social services that can help. If you are bored, maybe a hobby to take your mind off things while sorting things out.

        The fire has been lit, find some small step to take, you seem unhappy and sad…

      1. N.*

        Actually I take that back… oh no I can’t. I really wish you had responded with this before discrediting your self with the sarcastic remarks previously mentioned in the thread. (Like I just did). Only you know you, take the advice that is useful to you and ignore the rest.
        Seek help if you need it, and how you need it. If not needed then don’t seek it.
        I have said my pieces thank you for your indulgence, let us lay this thing to rest.

    3. Amouse*

      I am also pissed off at the world for assuming that well, for this to happen, that means she MUST be in an abusive and controlling relationship!

      This is key. I don’t think a single person here assumed you were in an abusive relationship and I think almost every single statement about that was qualified with “We can only go by what’s on the letter but this could be a sign of an abusive relationship.” acknowledging the limitations of what we have to go on and not knowing you personally.

      I really encourage you to take a step back and ask yourself why a bunch of responses from an anonymous group of people would incite such anger in you and why it strikes such a nerve. Only you know why and if you can take a closer look at that it might help with what is really at the root of this. I strongly encourage you to find a good therapist as well. This can make a world of difference.

      Lastly I am sorry about your husband’s health but as someone who is the sibling of a sister with severe Cerebral Palsy (she is non-verbal, in a wheel chair, legally blind to name a few aspects) and having seen what my parents went through and both of them have full-time jobs and full lives, I really take exception to you using that as a crutch. Get counseling if you need it but do not use having a child with a disability as an excuse for you to get stuck where you are or not excel professionally and personally. My parents had a lot of help and needed to make a lot of tough decisions about my sister but they got through it and were tremendous examples to me and to others in doing so. I know it can be hard to see the forest for the trees but please don’t limit your potential.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      OP, you wrote in asking why your husband’s email was perceived the way it was. I explained to you why. I did not say that you were in an abusive relationship — I said that his email would raise that concern in your manager’s mind, whether or not it was true, and explained why. Many commenters echoed that.

      If you had replied with something like, “Ah, I see why it came across that way, but no, that’s not the case with us,” that would have put it to rest. But because you didn’t do that and instead seemed pretty defensive, you made people even more concerned that you were missing the point.

      Your messages since then have seemed increasingly hostile, even though no one here has been hostile toward you — they’ve simply been concerned. I’m going to suggest that you put this all away for now and perhaps come back and revisit it in a couple of months. Sometimes distance helps you see things more clearly, and right now, I think the emotion of the situation is coloring your perspective.

      Good luck to you. It sounds like this has been a difficult and frustrating experience on many levels.

    5. Stella*

      “After taking the job, I recognized how unimportant I was to the hospital…I could be replaced in a second. ”

      Very rarely will you find a job where you will be recognized within 90 days as irreplacable.

    6. fposte*

      “Maybe she could of asked me a question about why he felt he needed to send in the email if she was so “concerned”?”

      And maybe she would have, if HR had suggested that to her as the next step. But there are two problems there. Firstly, denial of abuse is common among abuse victims, so a responsible mandatory reporter isn’t going to just say “Never mind, then” if an employee says there’s no abuse–she would still have reported her concerns to HR. Secondly, what does it matter? The problem wasn’t that she was concerned and told HR, the problem was that she received an inappropriate communication. It wouldn’t become more appropriate if she talked to you first. You’re making it sound like she was tattling when she was just appropriately keeping people informed of relevant information.

      Ultimately, I get that the job ended up not being right for you, and I take your point–if you’re not working for the money, might as well find something you really enjoy. But the things you’re treating as unreasonable on the part of your employer weren’t actually unreasonable–which is okay, because you can decide the demands aren’t for you, even if they are job-appropriate.

  83. I wish I could say*

    I haven’t been able to read all the repsonses to the OP’s sarcastic post re: the Mercedes Benz, etc… BUT…my gut instinct tells me that her husband may have written that *for her*. . .

    1. Gorilla Radio*

      Yeah, he figured out how to cover his tracks by posing as her this time! Yay, they finally learned something from all of this, just think of how this WHOLE situation could have been avoided if he just signed her name in the first place!

  84. PO*

    I appreciate all the helpful comments. The majority of comments have been really negative and spiteful.
    It really does not matter what others think…and yes…I do not want to be a floor RN even if I banked a million dollars per year.
    My point is…I have much to be thankful for. The working world is not family friendly no matter how you slice it.
    And we will never AGREE about any of this; that is obvious. Its wasted energy. Time to move on…and thanks for the overwhelming concern! I will keep my eye on that EVIL husband of mine, he MUST be up to no good today….plotting his next move to destroy my future career or life or whatever .

    1. Amouse*

      I’m regretting being so kind in my last response. You must not get around the internet much. These responses are incredibly kind and it was only when you yourself became hostile that any even tipped in that direction. It’s a shame you can’t see that.

      1. SJ*

        I am tempted to feel the same way, but I think of something that just happened to a friend of mine. She knew her friend was in an abusive relationship, said friend called her to say she was scared of her husband because of the fight they were having. So my friend drove over with her husband and called the cops, and when they got there, her friend denied anything was wrong, got angry at my friend, cursed her out, accused her of stalking/harrassment/etc. These are not the reactions of rational, healthy people. This is the type of reaction that comes from someone who is in trouble but can’t (for whatever reason) take steps to help herself. It’s not personal. It feels like a slap in the face to express genuine concern for someone else only to have it be met with disdain, ingratitude, and dismissiveness…but no one thinking rationally (and who is not a complete a-hole) would respond that way. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when using rational thought fails – but it’s all you can do, and better to try and fail than not try at all, especially when someone’s safety is on the line.

        1. SJ*

          *not that someone need be both irrational and an a-hole to respond that way…I just mean, someone could be thinking rationally but be an a-hole and thusly still respond that way.

          1. Amouse*

            That’s very true and as frustrating as it is to be in the receiving end you do have to know it isn’t personal. I don’t take the OP’s tone personally I just think it’s a shame more wasn’t gained from this for her. But like others have said maybe she’ll come back to this in the future and have gained some perspective.

            You’re right, compassion is always a good idea even when it doesn’t seem “deserved” because sometimes when a person needs help most is when they are least rational.

            1. SJ*

              Yeah, I say all this not as a castigation, but as something intended to relieve the bad feelings reactions like hers (understandably) produce in you. When you stop thinking of irrational people’s responses as coming from a rational person, it’s much easier not to feel that face-slapped feeling. :)

              1. Amouse*

                I agree, however, people in that state also do need to realize that it doesn’t entirely excuse treating people badly either. While we can be compassionate and understand their state of mind that doesn’t mean that we ourselves should tolerate an unreasonable amount of abuse from them.

                Think of a psychologist dealing with a patient. They may be compassionate about why that person keeps missing appointments without notice, however, they still have a job to do and a policy in place to protect them against the financial loss. That’s a professional example. On a personal level, in my experience with friends who were going through clinical depression I realized at a certain point that enabling them to completely negate personal responsibility when it came to my relationship with them (not calling to cancel a hang-out, flying off the handle about things etc) was not doing them any favours. Instead if you are compassionate, yet also honest “Look I know you’re going through a lot and I’m always here to listen but I would really appreciate it if you would text me when you want to cancel so I’m not stuck hanging out outside the book store waiting for you not knowing whats going on,” gave them a sense of normalcy in their lives that they needed.

                It depends on the situation obviously and varies widely but it is possible to be compassionate and still respect your own boundaries with yourself. In this case I felt I had to let the OP know “Hey, that response was not very gracious” because I feel that even if she’s not fully processing that now she may at some point in the future and even if she never does, I needed to say it to respect my own boundaries of what I consider acceptable with regards to how she’s treated complete strangers who’ve taken the time to be compassionate. But I’m by no means personally offended. How could I be? She and I do not even know each other.

                If that all makes sense.

                1. Amouse*

                  also in some cases treating an irrational person rationally can bring them back to rationality. Think of a parent yelling back at their child who is having a temper tantrum vs. one who calmly deals with it. usually the calm parent is more effective.

                2. SJ*

                  Oh sure, I’m not suggesting the behavior is excusable; indeed, allowing it to continue toward you is enabling the other person. I just mean you can still be kind, even if it’s when you’re saying something incredibly unpleasant (but necessary) like, ‘I can no longer be your friend/discuss this with you/be in a relationship with you because of x/y/z’ or whatever – back to your original comment about regretting being so kind.

                  BTW I’m not suggesting you were unkind, just weighing in on the abstract idea of kindness in response to jerkiness. If it hasn’t always served me to my own benefit, it’s never done an actual disservice to me – worst case scenario, an outcome neither beneficial nor harmful, and that’s not bad. So, I personally have yet to regret it, and IMO you shouldn’t either!

                3. Amouse*

                  I’m all for the kindness too. I suppose saying I regretted it was a poor choice of words. It was just hard not to feel that way initially under the circumstances. I’m just weighing in on the abstract as well. I find the topics that emerge from letters here are always very interesting to read about and discuss.

    2. Listmoney*

      I was wondering if there’s some cultural/linguistic differences here that might have accounted for your perception of all the 400+ comments here being so off.
      Now you just come across a bit deranged. Sorry.

    3. Anonymous*

      It can be family friendly but when you are starting a job in the medical sector you can’t expect to get your dream schedule.
      But your sarcasm and bad attitude make it obvious the employer is better off without you.

    4. SJ*

      It’s clear you’re comprehending things only the way you want to, instead of in the way they were obviously, BY THE HUNDREDS, intended. Everyone is telling you ‘no no no that’s not how we meant it’ – as though the actual content wasn’t clear enough! – and you’re saying, ‘OH YES YOU DID YOU THINK MY HUSBAND IS EVIL YOU’RE ALL CRAZY AND JUDGMENTAL.’

      When someone voices genuine concerns about someone else only to have it turned around and thrown back categorized as a hysterical overreaction, it does little to allay fears. Like when one spouse says to another, ‘are you cheating on me?’ and the spouse replies, ‘what? no! why would you think that? how could you say something like that? are you okay? you’re just being jealous/possessive/making a mountain out of a molehill etc etc, you sound crazy right now’ – anything to deflect the reality and shift the focus to the OTHER person as being unreasonable. It happens all the time. Maybe that’s what you’re doing, maybe not. IMO, you should take a step back and be more objective about what people are saying here – we’re just a bunch of strangers on the internet. We don’t know you or your husband, so there’s no reason to take anything anyone has said personally. And yet, defensiveness and strawmen abound.

        1. SJ*

          I’m so glad to have a name to put to it, I never knew what it was called and it took me a long time to identify that pattern when it happened to me. Then I got pissed. Thank you!

    5. Eve*

      OP, we do get that you don’t want to be an RN anymore and that’s perfectly fine, but listen, I’ve been in a SITUATION not necessarily the same relationship as you before.

      I thought my partner’s behaviour was okay too. I didn’t realize how much his influence impacted my life and choices until much later. Two years later, I realized it actually was an abusive relationship, but I felt it was completely “normal” for the entire duration. I think some alone time will help you a bit – just to recollect your thoughts by yourself and meditate.

      This isn’t a personal attack. We’re just hoping that you take a step back for yourself to reflect upon the situation.

  85. I wish I could say*

    This situtation reminds me so much of a horrible incident that happened at a party in my home. I invited a friend and her family for the first time. Her husband turned red, YELLED and got up from the table and walked out because I ran out of hot dogs. (“Oh just GREAT! Now there’s nothing left for me to eat!!!”) (I had PLENTY of other food options.) He also scolded his wife for not putting their son down for nap that day. This, in front of my family & friends; all told, about 35 of us.
    The next time I saw her, I tried to address his behavior w/her (Something like: “Gee, I’m really sorry your husband was so upset that I ran out of hot dogs.”), she said he was joking and we (all 35 of us. . . ) didn’t understand him.
    Uh. Huh.
    That was also the LAST time they got invited.

    1. N.*

      You have officially freaked me out… Does everyone have “this friend”? If anyone feels they are missing out by not having this friend, I will let you have a few of mine! Seriously thank you for your post I used to think only I knew people like these!

  86. Liz T*

    Sigh. I wish there were more to say here. But everyone’s already said,

    -No, we’re not being hostile.
    -No, we don’t think you MUST be in an abusive relationship.
    -Yes, HR had reason for concern.

    I wish you’d responded to specific comments, so we knew where you were getting your reactions, but as it is all we have left is, “God luck and God bless.”

    It makes me sad, though–we could’ve had a productive conversation about this, and about SAHMs transitioning into the work place and how to make your situation work.

  87. Marie*

    Since people are still chatting in here, I wanted to raise one more point, for the benefit of the commenters. Bit of a teaching moment here.

    I see a lot of people suggesting couples therapy. Most people don’t know this — and, unfortunately, not enough couples therapists know this — but couples therapy is a terrible thing in an abusive relationship. It’s absolutely ineffective at diminishing the abuse, and can often accelerate it.

    In my case, my husband would be after me the day of therapy, browbeating and gaslighting and yelling and threatening until I was sobbing, and when the session finally started, he’d slap on his normal person face, and I would look absolutely hysterical. He snowed that counselor so well that by the time I told them about death threats he’d made, they only responded with pointing out that sometimes I was really unfair to him and pushed his buttons, and this was a pattern between *both* of us that I had to take responsibility for. My husband also developed a brand new vocabulary to abuse me with: codependent, enmeshment, attachment, compromise, etc.

    There’s some good quotes about the damage couples counseling can do in an abusive relationship, and why it doesn’t work, here:

    I know you all were offering this out of good intentions, so I hope none of you take this as criticism. It’s something most people don’t know, so I like to educate when I can. There may be a lot of problems in an abusive relationship that aren’t abuse that could be solved with things most of us use, like couples counseling, but none of those issues can be addressed until the abuse is gone. Until then, most attempts only give the abuser new ammunition, new allies, and new ways to scare the victim into silence.

    1. Lils*

      Thanks for giving us this perspective, Marie. I have found my (solo) counseling experiences to be so productive and healthy, I never considered that it could turn out as you’ve described. I’m glad you’re a) out of that relationship, and b) here discussing things with us.

  88. Lana*

    I hope that OP revisits her own post a few months later and sees what everyone has been trying to tell her. She is obviously angry and blaming everyone else for the facts of her life she disclosed! The hospital was wrong, nobody cared, this and that.
    I’m not sure what you expected to hear back and why you got so hostile. If you are so adamant about being a full-time stay at home mother, it’s your choice. I’m not sure I understood any of your reasoning about going back to work, quitting and your family… Overall it sounded very distant from reality and childish. Good luck.

  89. Cindy*

    Yikes… I am wondering why you are even asking this question, unless you are alarmed as well. Your husband has no business contacting your employer. Your employer was right in sending it to HR. I would seriously consider some counseling for yourself. It sounds a bit abusive. And that might just be the proof you need in the future. Good luck.

  90. CG*

    I’ve been reading this blog forever and I swear, this is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen here. If this all had happened and the OP was asking for advice because she’s mortified, I would understand and feel for her for being in a abusive relationship. The fact that she thinks her husband’s email is ‘out of the box thinking’ or remotely OKish behaviour is truly astounding. You bet I’d be contacting HR about this!

  91. Anonymous*

    Wow! this is unbelievable, concerning and extremely sad; cannot understand how the wife doesn’t seem to be alarmed by her husband’s actions and comments. :(

  92. EA*

    While I agree with all the comments saying that this situation is an indication of a possibly scary situation, I have to disagree with AAM’s comment that a spouse should never involve themselves in anything relating to the other person’s work, including vacation requests.

    I work for a very large (well over 50,000 employees) company. My wife works in a completely different department of the same company. My wife was in the process of trying to plan a long weekend mini-vacation for us as a birthday present to me. During the planning stages, she sent an e-mail to my manager (who also creates my schedules), explaining that she was trying to surprise me, and is there any way that I’d be able to have that particular Friday/Monday off.

    In this particular case, I felt that what my wife did was fine, and my manager thought it was cute. (And yes, I enjoyed the weekend)

  93. sai*

    Ok – guys this might sound funny to a lot of you, but again there are people who have weighed in with ‘cultural issues’ so I will give my 5 cents on this – I am an India, working in India, mother of two, middle level maanger, doing very well for myself careerwise..We live in an apartment complex and there are many other mother’s who have quit work because of children- they cite the reason as ‘My husband doesnt want me to/ his family doesnt want to’- now this from highly educated people in a country where abundant house help is available – but what OP says on ‘how the children will turn out’ though absolutely unjustified is what most non working mothers actually say and believe in – it used to hurt me a little when I had to hear things like ‘for our children’s welfare we decided to quit my job’ (I used to take offence thinking that they make it sound like we working moms dont think of our kid’s welfare!!)
    The point am trying to make is
    – In some cultures it’s seen acceptable if a person accepts her husband’s decision for herself. In fact it is even seen as admirable!
    – Maybe this whole angle of children turning out terrible is a way they justify it themselves. No am not judging them – but heck even if Iam that’s what they are revresely doing as well!
    – On OP’s supposedly ‘abusive’ husband – again cultural – dominating husband’s are a norm here – It is very acceptable if a husband question’s his wife’s decisions in public..Am not justifying them at all…

    I have had multiple discussions with my husband on this – Luckily for me he is normal by western standards (westernised in Indian standards heheh) he wants me to do what will make me happy..simple But his views on these issues is that this sort of male dominance is very strongly entrenched in our culture – this is a society that is seeing women stepping out to work only since the last two decades – maybe things will be different in our daughter’s age – amen to that –

    On a seperate note I am so glad I stumbled on this site – you are all so thoughtful and now I know where to go to with my professional doubts and problems if any :-)

    1. sai*

      Hold on let me just add one point, but professionally sending resignation letter through anyone else is absolutely wierd and unacceotable..!

  94. Kitty*

    I know this is late, but OP is an embarrassment to not only RNs but to women. I am a RN and I am treated with respect. Maybe you aren’t treated with respect because of your stank attitude.

    My question is-OP said she didn’t want her husband to contact her boss (which I doubt), so how did he get the boss’s email address but if not through OP herself?

  95. MB*

    Oh sure, it’s always the guy’s fault isn’t it. Everybody wants to blame the husband. If a wife talks to her husband’s boss on his behalf, everybody’s ok with it. But, if a husband talks to his wife’s boss on her behalf, all of a sudden everyone is ready to shout ABUSE, ABUSE, ABUSE, and call him controling. Just because her husband sent an email to his wife’s boss, complaining about how her job was starting to stress her out, it doesn’t mean that she is being abused. He even said that she was under excessive stress due to the longer hours, when he said, “I now have a problem with Jane’s full time schedule, which
    is producing unnecessary stress and financial burden on my family.” All he was doing, was showing that he was concerned for his wife’s safety and well being. Its possible, that her boss is a tirant, and maybe she was afraid to approach him herself, so her husband stood up to her boss for her. This guy had every right to be concerned. Let’s face it folks, some bosses are just plain impossible to work for.

    1. Kerry*

      Haha, wait, is this a real comment?

      If a wife talks to her husband’s boss on his behalf, everybody’s ok with it.

      No one ever said this. Let alone “everyone.” There are exactly two (2) commenters who said their wife spoke to their company directly: one was regarding health insurance, and everybody jumped down the guy’s throat and said it was weird and unprofessional. Another dude had his wife set up a surprise vacation. That’s it.

      I know no one’s reading this thread anymore, but I just had to say something.

  96. Heather*

    Mmmm, no. I wouldn’t be okay with anyone – male or female – contacting their spouse’s boss under any circumstances outside of emergencies. The husband overstepped some serious boundaries, and I’d say the same exact thing if the sexes were reversed.

    I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but I’m pretty sure my take on this is a common one.

  97. Cimorene*

    Also, can I just say: OP, we don’t know you or your husband. We’ve never met you, and nobody knew you hated being an RN until you commented that you do. Nobody knows how to contextualize your relationship with your husband, and so all we can go on is what we read here. So the response is concern that it’s an abusive relationship, because it sounds like it MIGHT be abusive. You say it isn’t; maybe that’s true. But if it were abusive, and nobody mentioned that there were red flags, then we’d be horrible people who ignored abuse. If there’s even the potential for abuse, decent people have the responsibility to bring up that potential–which is all anyone did on this thread.

    That said, the mean-spirited responses of the OP are seriously in line with the response of abused women who aren’t ready to deal with the reality of the situation, so your responses really didn’t assuage anyone’s fears. I recommend that you think long and hard about whether you’d want your daughter to be in a relationship with her future husband like the relationship you have with your husband. Good luck.

  98. Lanya*

    Wow. I have thought about this post frequently since it was originally posted. I came back today to see if the OP ever responded. I was very, very sad to see her gradually-deteriorating comments. It’s a shame the conversation turned out the way it did.

    But at the same time, it’s nice to see how so many digital strangers cared enough to be concerned in the first place.

  99. Ruffingit*

    Reading the archives today and just spent a couple of hours going through the responses. I am in agreement with all of them regarding major red flags and the fact that OP’s responses didn’t help her case whatsoever.

    That said, something the OP stated a couple of times makes me think about something that didn’t seem to be mentioned – the OP said that everyone wants to get away from their children sometimes and that if she divorced her husband, she’d leave the kids with him and backpack around the world.

    I have no issue with children being raised by their father so that’s not a problem. What is a problem is that OP seems to be overwhelmed and/or not enjoying motherhood. Nothing wrong with that either, not everyone does enjoy it, but I think it’s a problem she needs to explore. It sounds to me like she may see her children as more of a burden than a joy. Again, feelings are feelings so no judgment there. I’m childfree by choice so I get why she may be feeling like that. Still, she has the kids now so I think it’s worth exploring if some of her unhappiness is stemming from how she feels about motherhood.

    She mentioned not feeling valued as one of the reasons for returning to work so that adds to my thought that perhaps the SAHM gig and the needs of the children are too much for her and/or not something she’s really content with.

    If so, some time with a therapist might be helpful.

  100. Jake*

    On the off chance that OP or PO comes back after cooling off,

    You were wildly off-base. You kept trying to direct the conversation away from what was being discussed, which is all the more concerning. The simple fact of the matter is that him writing the letter was wildly unprofessional, and them handing it over to HR was due to concerns of abuse.

    Nobody here said you were being abused. They simply stated the fact that his behavior and email language contained a lot of things commonly associated with abusive relationships. Anybody not concerned would be callous. I was hoping to see in your comments an acknowledgement of what was being said followed by, something like, “I can see how it can come across that way, with this one wildly inappropriate action, but this was an aberration, and I can assure you that this is not common.”

    With your current responses, it only makes people more worried because you are being defensive when nobody is on the attack, which makes people wonder, what is she so defensive about?

    The weirdest thing (for a minute or two I actually thought this was an elaborate troll or prank) was when you said you found it is normal for a spouse to contact an employer. In fact, you found the opposite. Such a warped interpretation of reality does not help your case.

  101. azvlr*

    I found myself in a similar situation about five years ago. I was scheduled to have a “talk” with my supervisor. I was not told the reason I was being called in, and based on some other dealings I’d had with this supervisor, A union rep advised me to have a second person present. The meeting ended up being in regards to some comments that a customer had made regarding my performance and that I had singled them out based on race. 100% not true, but my supervisor was under obligations to bring me in and discuss it. I feel it could have been handled without the secrecy, but whatever.
    The morning of the meeting, my husband showed up and stated that he was going to be part of the meeting. According to him, he wanted to not only to be my second (even though I already had one), but also to hear both sides of the story to see if what I was telling him in confidence at home was in fact true! To make matters worse, my supervisor did not send him away (I think this incident help connect some dots, which is why I think he went along with it). I was extremely humiliated by this whole event and it was one of the final nails in the coffin of my marriage. Mine was an abusive situation. This post struck some very deep chords with me.

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