Quit My Job & Work for Boyfriend, Good Idea or Bad Idea?
September 26, 2011 2:36 PM   Subscribe

I hate my job. I want to quit. Cannot find another job. My boyfriend owns a company. I could work for him. Need advice! I'm 27 and have been with my boyfriend and current job both for almost ten years. My job has been 4 years full time after I graduated. I do not make good money. There is no reward. I hate coming to work. I have started to do a bad job and am afraid I will get fired if I don't quit first. I am thinking about quitting to work for my boyfriend's company.

I have a degree in english literature, and work in property management. I got hired out of college and was happy to have a job, did not think much about it. I do not know how to start in a new field. I am thinking if working for my bf does not work out (we kill each other, i hate it - both possible) then i will jumpstart my real career.
posted by kmr to Work & Money (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe you should quit your job, take a temporary job with the boyfriend, if he can offer you one, and work toward your "real career" in the meanwhile.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:38 PM on September 26, 2011

Start by putting together a cv- list your educational experiences and skills. Think about how you can use these skills in other office situations. Print it out, and start sending it to places where you would like to work. Get hired at another place, and quit your current job.
posted by pickypicky at 2:40 PM on September 26, 2011

has your boyfriend offered you a job? is it a position he actually needs filled or is he offering it out of pity?

i've worked for my mom before. i probably wouldn't repeat working for close family. all personal problems become work problems and work problems become personal, even if you do everything you can think of to keep them separate.
posted by nadawi at 2:41 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

job with your SO should be transitional ONLY, but it is very hard to avoid getting pulled in to a more permanent role, once you start.

some people can make it work..... but I've had bad results personally, working for (in my case) an SO-related family business. It damaged our relationship, for sure.

that said, if you can't tolerate your current situation one more day, it deserves serious consideration, as an option, given how hard it is to find work right now. just be aware that you are choosing to go into a very tricky situation, and be alert, have a plan, and good luck
posted by thelonius at 2:44 PM on September 26, 2011

I've worked with friends before, and nothing puts more stress on a friendship than work obligations. I'm at the point where I have a lot of trouble talking with at least one friend about even totally non-work things because the work baggage tends to intrude, and on the whole we have a very successful collaboration (ie, it's not a problem because of failure, it's a problem because it's work).

I have also had a very successful business relationship with a family friend, but in that relationship, business comes first (IE, I would not discuss my personal life or problems with that person except in very particular circumstances, and the majority of our relationship was employer/employee).

I'd think very closely about what you stand to lose/gain here, since this seems more like the former than the latter.
posted by Alterscape at 2:51 PM on September 26, 2011

Make sure that you guys define the boundaries and expectations for this job. Communication is going to be extremely important.
posted by pyro979 at 2:51 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

nadawi: "has your boyfriend offered you a job? is it a position he actually needs filled or is he offering it out of pity? "

This, emphatically. Is the job with your bf's company a real job that someone else would be hired to do, if not you?

Whether or not you can navigate working for your bf is a highly personal question, though answers tend to skew toward "avoid if at all possible", since the potential for boss/boyfriend abuse runs high. What can ensure it goes badly is for the job to be not something you're a natural fit for.
posted by mkultra at 2:54 PM on September 26, 2011

The number of couples that can make this work in the long term is pretty small - a working relationship is not the same as a personal relationship, and a failed working relationship will typically mean that the personal one fails as well.

It's not impossible, and if it's a last resort then do it as a transitional measure but understand that it puts unique stresses on a relationship and the stakes are high.
posted by mhoye at 2:56 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

While I agree with the caveats above, I just want to share that my parents met when my father (small business owner) hired my mother, so it worked out for me! It's worked for them, too - first as employer/employee and dating, and then as partners and married, for going on 40 years. YMMV.
posted by violinflu at 3:16 PM on September 26, 2011

The best relationships, IMO, consist of two independent people choosing to be together.

Dealing with a difficult work situation is part of an independent life. How would you deal with this if the BF's company weren't an option?

If I were able to imagine an ideal scenario, it might be that you determined your problem with your current job, decided what type of new job might offer what you are looking for, surveying the market to see if that job is available, competing for it, obtaining it, and leaving your current employer in a non-destructive way. That is an ideal outcome.

It might not be possible for you to do that. You might just not have the strength to pull it off without going nuts. If your BF recognizes this, it would be a wonderfully loving thing for him to offer to help you out, but perhaps that's not with a job. If I were in his shoes, I'd pay you NOT to work for me so you could have the freedom to find a better path, because when you work for the boss, you become a disruptor to his organization. Now, there's a family member infiltrating normally 'safe' places. Now, there's someone you have to act differently around. Don't think for a moment you're just another employee.

Perhaps there is something he needs done he can contract you for independently.... Research, writing, whatever, as long as it's separate from the workplace.

Last suggestion for making work tolerable... change your attitude. Knowing you are fully intending to leave, perhaps you can concentrate on doing the best job possible in your current circumstances. It's good practice for doing the things you don't want to do in your next job. You'll have some of those, for sure. How will you deal with them? Why not find out? See how to make a bad place a good place.

Good luck. You can do it. This is the way life is sometimes. You're tough. Ten years of working there prove it.
posted by FauxScot at 4:14 PM on September 26, 2011

"I hate my job. I want to quit. Cannot find another job."

Hating your job is a very dangerous place to be. It often leads to a downward spiral in your attitude and production. You need to work hard at maintaining your relationships with your current employer whilst looking for opportunities that will provide you with the variety and challenge you need. Prospective employers are interested in seeing how you have performed in your current job and what your interpersonal relationships were like with your colleagues and boss.

Looking for a job when you are already in one tends to make you more attractive to an employer than someone who is unemployed - usually. The exception to this may be for people who have relocated with a spouse/family or those that go back to school to upgrade their qualifications. I won't lie, I've been in jobs I really didn't like but the key was to hold my head high and make sure I kept all options open. During an economic down turn it may be more challenging to find a new job and a new direction but it may be much harder if you quit your current job.

You have been working for your current employer for some time and need to leverage your relationships and abilities in that familiar environment. Listen for projects or tasks that need to be done that may be outside of your position and offer to take some of these on, particularly items that will help develop your skill set. You may find this breaks the monotony that you are currently feeling and will also let you beef out your resume a little more.

Perhaps you could consider changing some of the things you do outside of work to help with your disposition. It is easy to stagnate when you have been locked in a routine for a while. Do you have skills that would be useful for a voluntary board or community group? Employers do look at this type of experience as they strive to hire people who fit with their company culture.

And finally, for what it's worth, how about considering trying to make money outside of work doing something you enjoy? If you like to write try submitting something to a local paper or magazine. If you are good at organizing put ads out to help others get their affairs organized. Even volunteer work at your local arts centre or leisure complex may open up new opportunities as you meet new people who may work in an industry in which you are interested.

Good luck.
posted by YukonQuirm at 4:22 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's easy to fall into the positive feedback loop of "I hate my job. It's miserable here. I want to kill everybody" But trust me, once you realize that you are not going to be there forever, your attitude will improve. It just seems hopeless because you don't have any other options. So build that escape hatch, and I guarantee that you will be much happier for the rest of your time there.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:25 PM on September 26, 2011

I am currently working for my boyfriend and, though it absolutely its perks, I do not recommend it at all. The strain it puts on a personal relationship can be permanently damaging. Ymmv, but my advice is to avoid it if at all possible.
posted by allnamesaretaken at 9:17 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Appreciate all of the responses.

The job being offered is a real one. It's a small company that needs someone to organize their accounts via transitioning them to quickbooks. I would also do some other organizational things there. I would like to use it as a way to jumpstart my "real career" or possibly use it as a way to work, not look "unemployed" for a future employer, and go back to school for either teaching or nursing.

I am worried because I have great relationships with my employer at my current job - they take care of me here and I have moved up in the ranks to an agent position. The only way to move up further is to take on more accounts. As it stands now, I am overwhelmed with my work load, and just generally unhappy as noted in my first post. I have asked for less accounts, asked to be put as an assistant mgr on other accounts in hopes to learn more therefore improve my performance and confidence. But no matter what my workload is, or the accounts I am on, I find it miserable.

I also tried to leave last year around this time, gave my notice. They ended up sitting me down, head of co and my boss, and convinced me to stay, not with money but with a good talk that also made me feel insecure about my decision to leave a "real" company to work for a smaller one where my bf signs my paycheck.

I guess this is just life.
posted by kmr at 7:06 AM on September 27, 2011

Is there any way you could get an entry-level job in a school or hospital in preparation for going back to school? That would be the best thing.

I worked part-time in Property Management until I was let go ten days before my wedding. I wasn't trying to make a career of it, but I hated the job, the industry, and my boss was an extremely unpleasant person. The experience of being fired at that particular time was awful and traumatic, but looking back it needed to happen - spending more of my life doing a job I hated would have been worse than getting the sack. So I encourage you to be brave and stop letting this job make you so unhappy.

I, too, wanted to learn new skills/gain a qualification and enter a more rewarding industry so I got a somewhat demeaning, low-paid job in a new sector I was interested in - and still liked it so much more than property management! Now I am back in school funded by my employer. You can do this, just bite the bullet and get out of there.
posted by wigsnatcher at 9:51 AM on September 27, 2011

what does your boyfriend think about being your stepping stone? does he want to hire someone on a temp basis? again, if you weren't his girlfriend - would he want to hire you for this job, for the shortened amount of time you're looking at?

that's the thing about working with family/lovers - you have to try really hard to make decisions as employer/(potential) employee and not about the relationship.
posted by nadawi at 11:05 AM on September 27, 2011

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