Nothing To Stress About

My wife got into fight with her boss last week (not initiated by her), which lead to him sending her home for two days (Thursday and Friday of last week) with pay.  Not knowing very much about worker’s rights (neither of us had been remotely close to a situation like this before) we didn’t really know exactly what to do – we didn’t feel that an employer should be able to suspend someone for what was essentially not having the answer her boss wanted to hear. While not an ideal situation, her “suspension” lead to an interesting conversation that I thought I would summarize as a post.

Although her job was threatened, we were not very stressed about the situation money-wise at all for the following reasons:

  1. We have an adequate amount of savings to allow my wife (the lower-income earner of the two of us) to not have to work for a significant period of time (approximately 8-12 months) without a huge change in our lifestyle.  Although this length of unemployment is not ideal, the main result would be a delay in our early retirement plans, not necessarily a financial disaster.
  2. We (as a couple) have discussed in the past what would happen if one of us no longer had a job.  Although somewhat pessimistic, having these kinds of discussions allows for ideas and expectations to come up before the whole financial system is put on kilter.  I’m not sure how many people have these kinds of talks, but for us, they alleviate a lot of the fear of job-loss and decrease the level of stress in our house.
  3. We both feel that we are very employable in some sort of job.  I don’t think it would take either one of us very long to find a new job of some sort, perhaps not for the current level income, but something to keep money coming into the house.

As a result of previous financial planning and having savings to draw on if need be, what could have been a stressful long weekend for my wife turned into a relaxing four days off for her.  Without having a plan in place, the weekend that we spent planning how we were going to finish our basement at the Home Depot, bowling and cheering for the Canadian Olympic team (all very enjoyable activities) would have had a very different tone to it.

This morning my wife met with her boss.  She explained that she didn’t feel it was right for him to essentially “ground” her like a child because he did not agree with what she was saying.  He agreed that he was out of line and apologized and the situation seems to have settled, her job seemingly stable now (as stable as it was before this incident).  She still has applications out for other jobs she applied to while off, and may interview for them in the near future.

That was our reaction to possible unemployment – have you had talks like this with your partner?  Do you have a plan in this circumstance?  I’m interested in hearing your thoughts!

11 thoughts on “Nothing To Stress About”

  1. Sounds like she handled the situation well and that you have your finances well in hand. Sounds like a good boss to get the hell away from.

  2. What timing on this post about work and preparedness. I just wrote about it. We got our news yesterday that D is getting downsized in a month.

  3. @Jordan – if that’s the case, then maybe Dave was the boss and ‘grounded her’! LOL…just kidding.

    @ Dave: In all seriousness, it seems as though your wife handled herself rather well and explained how she felt about the matter after the incident. From a disciplinary perspective, and from what I can gather, an organization is supposed to allow an employee a reasonable opportunity to correct an issue, and if this is not the case, there could be grounds for wrongful dismissal if the boss decides to go all out nuts about it all and take things a lot further.

    The great thing is exactly what you mentioned; because you have a frugal mindset and are organized in your finances, you both are ready to weather a storm regardless of what happens to one of your jobs. This is a good thing as it led to a very less stressful weekend because of it.

    Personally, I think these type of things can happen to the best of us. All it takes is some manager going on an power trip from hell and downloading all the pressure on the closest person around.

    Before leaving the workforce in January, I had an altercation with a co-worker (manager) and it wasn’t pretty. Some people just ‘have it out for you’ in my view.

    One thing I do enjoy is the TV show, ‘The Office’ as it takes place in an office setting and it made me reflect how insignificant things really are at the workplace when it comes to one’s personal life.

    Sometimes a job with less pay that gives more happiness from Mon-Fri can be worth the move.

    Best of luck
    The Rat

  4. I will be laid off in the next couple of months but other than the inconvenience of having to look for a new job we are financially prepared and that means this is more of an inconvenience than a disaster.

    We’ve worked hard to make frugal lifestyle choices and live on 55% of our take home pay with the rest going to RRSPs, TFSAs, extra mortgage payments, and travel. If I haven’t found a new job before I’m notified we’ll just temporarily stop the savings and travel until I find a new job.

    My company is in bankruptcy protection so I won’t get any severance, but I’ll be paid for any vacation owed. At this point I’ve got 4 weeks owing and don’t plan to take any. I look at that as my DIY severance package.

    We didn’t always live so frugally. We used to spend every cent that came in (but never racked up debts), and made a only a minor RRSP contributions. We lived in the present with no thought to the future. When my husband was laid off briefly 3yrs ago we made major modification to spending habits. He was back at work in a couple of months but the changes we made turned out to be fairly painless and became permament. Being forced to evaluate how we were living and how much we were wasting was the best thing that could have happened to us. Now we’re on track to retire at 55 instead of 65 (sooner if our investments bounce back quickly) and have taken several great trips which we would have thought impossible in our old wasteful days.
    We could retire even earlier if we didn’t travel so much, but we’ve consciously decided that travelling with our kids before they leave home is more important than retiring a few years earlier. Living below your means is great for reducing your stress levels and gives you more options on how you live your life.

  5. @ DLM – It definitely gave some incentive to not want to work there.

    @ Middle Way – Wish D luck in his job hunt – it sounds like you have organized everything quite well if there is trouble in the job market.

    @ Canadian Money – So what that is saying (If I read it correctly, where it says life expectancy from actual retirement) is that if I’m successful in retiring early at 45, I may only live until 65? That is not overly comforting….

    @ Jordan – I’m a part-time poster, Tim’s (who owns the site) wife runs an at home daycare – my wife works in an office setting.

    @ The Rat – I’m not sure whether even if her boss knew the rules if he would have reacted differently – his method of management leaves a lot to be desired.

    Well said about ‘The Office’ – at the end of the day, I like just leaving work and doing what I want to do, there’s nothing that I’ve done there that should really follow me home.

    Also, nice work on your site – the changes you recently made look awesome and you’ve had some really good posts.

    @ JMK – Sorry to hear about your job.

    It sounds like you have a good setup, and things shouldn’t get too bad but I hope you’re able to find a new position quickly (or as quickly as you want to if you want to enjoy a break between jobs).

    It sounds like you’ve been having a good time on your travels with your kids and you have found a path you are comfortable with to retirement.

  6. The only plan that I have in place if I was to lose my job is to sell my house. In 3 more months though, my wife will be done school and making more than me, so we can start working on a better plan. This is a stressful situation to be in, so I’m glad you’re not in the same situation. Oh yeah, I already receive my pay cheques late, so the company is not in a great financial position.

  7. A very interesting post. I know that many people put up with a lot of crap at work. I’m impressed by the way Dave’s wife handled her unfortunate situation. I especially like the fact that she’s looking for other job opportunities, whether or not she needs to move.

    This also underlines one of the benefits of trying to be ready to retire early. Even if you don’t ever want to retire, knowing that you don’t depend (at least for a few months) on a paycheque makes it easier for a person to leave an unpleasant situation at work, or at least stand up to abuse. It can really shift the balance of power.

  8. Sounds like your wife has decided to check out of that job. Doesn’t matter much how she handles this conflict because she’s going to leave. It is VERY good that she didn’t just decide to stay but grumble about it, that’s the toxic way that many people handle their work troubles.

    One thing to understand though is that she works for the boss. To some degree, it is up to her to adapt to the boss; more than the other way around. Also, perhaps the boss was right? Did you discuss that? Around here, everyone is way smarter than the CEO and VPs in their own minds for example.

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