Educated and Broke: The struggle of having an un(der)employed spouse


I recently married (December 12, 2015) my college sweetheart, F. He has been struggling to find a job with his aviation degree for two years. Apparently, aviation is an extremely difficult field to get into these days. Last year, we had “the talk” about giving the job search another year and if it didn’t pan out, choosing another career path. At the time, he was working full-time for a small factory while I finished my undergraduate degree. We both knew that I was going to graduate school out-of-state so we planned for him to move wherever he could find a job while he continued working in our home state. Well, lo-and-behold he decided to come move with me to New York State. Fast forward to today (February 20, 2016) and he still has not landed even so much as an interview in aviation and it has been two years.  Since August, he’s worked seasonally for a photography company.

In December, “they didn’t have any work for him” so he had to go on unemployment. Since then, he has tried (to no avail) to find a job. He’s had many interviews but as soon as someone sees that he has a B.S in Aviation they immediately tell him he’s overqualified for the position. Fortunately, his job “started back up” this week but it is still only a temporary solution. What will happen this summer  when I leave for my internship? How will we pay the bills? What about when I graduate? I would like to have the same time to find a job in my field, just like he was given. Will I even get two worry-free months during my job search? I’m unsure.

While I feel for him, I know that something has to change. We can’t go another two years like this. It is clear that he will not be able to find a job in aviation so it’s a dream that must be deferred…hopefully for another day. In our latest “talk”, we discussed the fact that he needs to go back to school and choose a career path that has more job security and develops transferable skills. This isn’t the easiest discussion to have with someone who feels defeated. All week I’ve tried to reassure him that the only way that I will consider him a failure is if he continues to do the same thing with no results. I know he is dreading returning to school but what else can he do?

To be honest, it’s overwhelming for me because I’m not a career coach or anything. Yet, I feel like I’m trying to map out his life for him while working on my own. I believe in building together but each partner needs their own tools. Maybe, I’m being harsh but he needs to not only work with the tools he has, but also get some new ones. He can’t have mine. I worked way too hard. With that being said, I gave him a two-month timeline to choose schools/programs to apply to this fall. I refuse to support and enable someone who is otherwise a very capable, motivated, hard-worker. He has to pull it together.

JUNE 2016 UPDATE: He found a much better job which he no longer overqualified for.Thank goodness.


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