How to Talk to Your Spouse Who Says You Work Too Much

Strong marriages and relationships require attention from both partners. This balance of attention to spouse versus earning a living or furthering your career can be difficult to find. And, once you have found a balance that works in your relationship, things change and you have to find the balance again.

Why do some people overwork? The Overworking Spouse may be under considerable stress on the job, or may have a boss that demands long hours. Or maybe there are layoffs coming up and the less productive workers are the first to go. Maybe one partner has to work long hours just to support the family. On the other hand, the overworking spouse may be strongly identifying with career advancement to the exclusion of the marriage. Of course, we should be involved in work that is worthwhile, fulfilling and financially rewarding but over focus can put the marriage at risk.

What can happen when you put your work/career first? Your spouse may be feeling emotionally disconnected from you and lonely. There may be a buildup of resentment which can lead to anger and finally bitterness-towards you. This situation often leads to unhappiness and discord for the entire family.

As a psychologist who has worked for 20 years counseling couples in my therapy practice in North St. Paul, MN, I met with Amy and Josh with just this complaint. Amy was complaining that she was overburdened because Josh worked too much and left her with the responsibilities of home, children, and her own 40-hour job. He knew she was right but he felt defensive when she tried to tell him how to manage his work schedule. He’d started complaining that when wasn’t very affectionate lately and always blamed her disinterest in their physical intimacy on fatigue. He asked to meet with me individually after Amy had had a session to talk about her “side”of the problem. He was appreciative that she was not as naggy as she had been in the past, but he still felt blamed and criticized.

When Josh and I met, we talked of the reasons that he was spending so much time at work. The usual reasons people overwork is that they are feeling under considerable stress on the job, or may have a boss that demands long hours. Or maybe there are layoffs coming up and the less productive works are the first to go. Maybe one partner has to work long hours just to support the family. On the hand, the overworking spouse may be strongly identifying with career advancement to the exclusion of the marriage.

Drs. John and Julie Gottman, in their book 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, suggest the following questions:

1.What does your work mean to you?

2.What pleasure or satisfaction does work bring to you?

3.What need does working fulfill in your life?

4.Does your work related to some personal legacy you would like to contribute to the world?

In a discussion with Josh, he pointed out that he was trying to make headway in his career now, while he was still young and had the energy. He knew his wife was doing a good job parenting their two small children (3 years and 9 months) so he wanted to focus on earning good money for his family. At first, he couldn’t understand why Amy was complaining so much because he was doing all this work for her and their children. He felt it was his responsibility. He wanted to provide his children with a fund for their education.

I suggested he consider the questions listed above. He said that his work is very satisfying in that he felt very confident and capable at work. He also wanted to meet his father’s expectations who had had a successful career. His older two brothers had moved from job to job and he knew his father was disappointed that they had difficulty supporting their families.

It was important for Josh to understand the underlying reasons for his excessive hours at work. He did not have a demanding boss and he was in no threat of a layoff. He just wanted to do the right thing. He had not thought of himself as having value over and above that of a worker and wage earner. He resigned himself to have a discussion with Amy. He said he would try to listen carefully about what Amy was longing for when she complained to him. I suggested he try to imagine the experiences she wanted to have with him and not to focus on her criticisms.

When Amy and Josh came for the next couple’s session, they wanted to further discuss the overworking situation. (They no longer saw the problem as residing inside one of them but as a problem the two of them need to figure out.) Any was able to explain to him what she missed when he work so much. He came to get a sense that his contribution to their family was not solely a financial responsibility. He heard her tell him he was also loved, appreciated, and needed as a friend, confidant and co-parent. She especially enjoyed his easy humor with their children and felt he was the only one who would be able to provide that.

This was a difficult issue for this couple and it was not resolved quickly. They were able to discuss their needs and wants in a different way when they addressed the questions about the underlying reasons for their positions.

Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"

Recruitment Video is an Important Part of an Employment Branding Strategy

Video is the # 1 form of Internet communication and can be one of the most effective medium organization uses to build its employment brand. Recruitment videos posted on an organization's career site, distributed via podcasts and posted on YouTube and social networking sites can create excitation for the organization by allowing potential candidates to experience an organization's corporate culture, values, see multiple employees' passion for the organization and see what it's like to live and work in the organization. Google's recruitment video "An inside look at Google" as been viewed over a half million times on the Internet. Other organizations such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, JP Morgan, TiVo, the US Army and Home Depot have found great success using recruitment video. I recently read that studies have shown an effective recruitment video can increase passive candidate flow by up to 30%.

An organization's recruitment video is not a commercial and should not be scripted. The goal of the video is to give an inside look at the company and employees doing real work. A recruitment video should show real employees telling real stories about the organization. The video should also include a message from the CEO or an executive in the area of ​​the organization the video is targeted. The more real the video is the more effective it will be. An effective recruitment video should be 2 to 4 minutes in length. Remember you want a potential candidate to take action so make the video compelling and fun. When you create your recruitment video give potential candidates an avenue to respond by including a link to the organization's career site and if possible an e-mail address for candidates to forward their resume.

Recruitment video is a great way to increase employee referrals. Encourage employees to include a link to recruitment videos in their e-mail auto-signatures and individual FaceBook, LinkedIn, Ning, MySpace and other social networking site pages. We've discussed using viral marketing techniques to build employment branding. Ensure that those writing about the organization include a link to the organization's recruitment video.

Remember that your recruitment video is only as good as the employment site it directs potential candidates to. Potential candidates will visit an organization's employment site to confirm if what they hear about the organization is true, read detailed information about the organization, and submit their resume. The career site should clearly identify the organization's culture, values, vision, current job openings and benefit programs. The site should reflect an organization's brand and strengthen a candidate's desire to consider employment opportunities with the organization. Included on the site should be testimonials from employees that reinvigorate what potential candidates viewed in the video.

Does Body Jewelry Make You Take Extra Risks?

Body jewelry is usually associated with body piercing. There are lots of styles available ranging from cute and sexy to exotic and tribal. The places that can be pierced and the type of jewelry worn are naturally endless. It seems that when a person moves beyond a traditional or conservative earlobe piercing that other people tend to think that this non-traditional self expression is a sign of rebellion. However, is the presence of body jewelry an indication that the person is willing to take extra risks?

That is a question that parents of teens battle with as their kids approach them for permission to get a piercing. They fear that piercing such as a belly piercing, nose piercing or tongue piercing may be an indication that their teen is rebelling against their own parental values.

This is true in some cases; however, many teens simply say that the desire to wear different types of body jewelry is merely a form of personal preference and expression. Not a rebellion against their parents, just a sign that they want to have their own look even if they will keep their parents value system.

What risks youth may encounter in their quest to wear body jewelry is trying to do the piercing by themselves with a needle and a prayer. This is often not the best road to travel. The risks for infection are far greater than the risks of not gaining permission from your parents. Many teens see self piercing as the only alternative when their parents "just do not get it."

Does this mean that parents should open the gates and permit their kids to wear any type of body jewelry that they desire? Will this lead their kids to continue that push into getting permission for other behavior such as under-age drinking, smoking, or drugs? In other words, is body piercing the "gateway drug" for a rebel youth?

Probably not. But that is what many parent fear when their teens ask them about body jewelry. Youth often believe that nothing bad can happen to them. They are young, resilient and can handle anything including the risks of a self-piercing. As a parent you have the ability to less some of the risks that youth will consider. Most experts would agree that by educating yourself about body piercing and by understanding your child's motives and desires for this trend, a solution can be formed that will keep harmony in the house and enhance the relationship with your teen.