Dear Tell All: Four years ago Gov. Scott Walker "dropped the bomb," as he callously put it, by ending collective bargaining for public employees. Unfortunately, the bomb dropped right on my house. The budget cuts that accompanied Act 10 led to my husband losing his job as a public schoolteacher.
We made ends meet, thanks to my job in Madison's private sector. Meanwhile, my husband looked for other work in a variety of fields while also exploring a return to school to learn another profession. This went on for quite a while. A half-dozen times he got to the interview stage in a job search, only to lose out to someone else. As a former schoolteacher, he didn't have much chance of beating out a candidate with actual experience in a different field.
I admit to getting frustrated with him. It's no fun having a husband who brings in no money, especially over an extended period. Our relationship was getting more and more strained, until finally he landed a low-level administrative job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He felt proud to be back in the workplace, and I felt relieved. Our marriage started picking up again.
And then, this week, guess what: Gov. Walker dropped another bomb. This time he's set his sights on the University of Wisconsin, proposing an unprecedented $300 million cut. Once again, as the low man on the totem pole, my husband is in danger of getting laid off due to budget cuts.
I know I shouldn't blame him, but I'm frustrated having a partner who's proved to be such a bust as a breadwinner. I can't help thinking that he's falling down on the job.
Through Thick and Thin
Dear Thick and Thin: I understand that you've lived through a lot in the last few years. But aren't you being a little hard-hearted? After all, your husband hasn't exactly rolled over during this difficult period. He's continued looking for a new job, and against all odds (recession, employment history, Walker), he found one. Rather than obsessing on how hard it's been for you, how about showing more sympathy for him? He's the one who's had to suffer blows to both his ego and his career ambitions.
I hate to say it, Thick and Thin, but I think you're the one who's falling down on the job -- the job of being a supportive spouse.