Should I stay or should I go now?
January 18, 2013 7:39 PM Subscribe
Please give me advice on possibly quitting my job. My boss (also my father) has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Long story inside.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in my late 30s and was in federal prison 10 years ago for a crime that's I won't describe in detail here. I served a year and then came to work at my father's small (but successful) business.
I believe my father has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. My parents divorced when I was young and I didn't spend much time with my father growing up, maybe one or two short visits per year, and I've gotten to know him much better in the last 10 years. Although he works from home and doesn't come to the office, he's extremely difficult to interact with. His behavior is usually just annoying, embarrassing, unprofessional, manipulative or inconsiderate, but it's occasionally abusive and hurtful. I've developed some coping skills and have reduced my contact with him out of the office. When he does freak out at me, it's typically related to work and I feel like there's nothing I can do it except ignore it if I want to keep my job.
I could give a hundred examples of how my father has been hurtful, abusive, offensive, accusatory, guilting, mean, mocking, judgmental, condescending, manipulative, etc, but I'm not going to do so here. I feel like I have a good understanding of what's going on here, and I need to figure out what to do about it.
Should I Quit?
For years now I have tried to enjoy the parts of my work that I enjoy and try not to express my opinions, anger, criticisms or embarrassment in front of my father because it just makes him lash out. My approach has been to try to limit my exposure to his unhealthy behavior. But after 10 years, it's not getting any better and I believe staying at this job is proving unhealthy for me and my marriage.
So I would like to quit my job but am concerned about financial security. I am worried that I will not be able to get a job at another normal company because of my record. My wife and I have monthly bills, own a house, have car payments, student loan payments, etc. like most couples our age. We have savings that we could probably live on for 6 months or so. We hope to get pregnant in the next few months and have our first baby later this year.
I'm excellent at the work that I do and enjoy some of it. For the last year, I have been applying to jobs in my field around the country (we would like to move and have a handful of cities we are interested in). After 125+ applications I've had almost no response. With my felony history (and the nature of the crime), it is possible that even if a company wanted to hire me, they would do a background check and back out. (I always lie on applications if they ask if I have been convicted of a felony, so there's also the risk that I get hired and then fired if and when they learn about my record.)
My wife works at a non profit and makes much less money than I do (not enough for us to live on). She feels that any financial security we lose from my leaving this position will be insignificant compared to the benefits we will both gain from not having him in our lives.
Freelancing in my field is an option. A year or two ago I made some attempts to get a freelance business started with no success. I didn't give it 110% like my life depended on it - it was a part time attempt, and I kind of gave up when I didn't get any bites after a few months. (I believe I have the skills and temperament to thrive as a freelancer, I just need someone to hire me and I wasn't able to find gigs.)
Other than getting a real job or starting a successful freelance business, I could get a normal job at a small business nearby. I might even find something I enjoy, but it would be a huge reduction in job status and salary. I could do that for a while while I try to find some freelance work, with the hope that the freelance business grows someday.
So... questions that are on my mind:
• Have you been in a situation where you left an unhealthy job with no prospects for another position?
• Have you ended a relationship with a narcissistic parent? Did you feel any loss from ending the relationship?
• Have you started a freelance business when it seemed really difficult to do so?
• Have you made a decision to stop working a lousy job with great pay and downsized for happier and simpler lifestyle? How did that go?
If you'd rather reach me via email, you can contact me at this throwaway address: firstname.lastname@example.org.