Posted by Dave on March 2, 2010
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!