Dear J.T. & Dale: How do I tell my spouse that his new job is ruining our marriage? It’s a big job with a big paycheck, but he now works 60 hours a week, and when he’s home, all he talks about is work. If I can’t fix things, then I will want a divorce so I can search for the kind of love we had before. Every time I try to discuss this with him, he shuts me down and says I should be grateful. What should I do? — Eva
DALE: Please understand that this is not your husband making a decision to shut you out. Rather, this is him being sucked into a common executive lifestyle. I remember a friend who worked with high-level executives saying to me, “You could never be the CEO of a major company.” Naturally, I stiffened at that. Then he added, “You have too many interests.” Hmmm. Many corporations now require that their highly placed executives — and many times their middle managers — put the company above all. That sounds like an awful life, but the truth is, it’s seductive. It isn’t just the salary; it’s the camaraderie, the buzz of energy, the thrill of competition and the oh-so-fine ego massage. It’s hard to compete with that.
J.T.: You need to have an honest conversation with your husband, one in which you don’t give up the moment he gets upset — because he will always be upset by this conversation. Here’s one workaround: Write it out and give it to him as a letter. Say, “I put on paper what I’ve been unable to convey to you in conversation. I hope we can talk about this when you’re ready.”
This will give him time to process the seriousness of the situation. I also would suggest getting professional help. Even if he won’t go with you, marriage counseling could help you clarify what you can and can’t do. Lastly, be open to his feedback. While you feel certain that this is all his fault, there are always two sides. Perhaps his need to achieve has been fueled by his need to earn your respect. Be ready to hear about his perception of your role in his career decisions.
DALE: Good idea. But before you confront your husband, spend some time with the other spouses and get them talking about their marriages. Your husband is just learning how to be an executive. Perhaps the company has an executive who’s a role model for being a great executive and a great husband.
Dear J.T. & Dale: Does a picture really matter on LinkedIn? I don’t like photos of myself, but I’m looking for a job, and everyone says I need one. — Craig
J.T.: Yes, a picture matters. Studies show that people are seven times more likely to click on a profile with a picture, and that includes recruiters. You don’t need to have an expensive professional head shot taken. Just follow these rules:
1. Pick a bright area with a plain-colored wall behind you.
2. Take the pictures from your shoulders up.
3. Look into the camera and smile a natural smile.
4. Take dozens of pictures using an HD camera or phone till you get one that looks good.
Also, take a look at a new site called PhotoFeeler.com to test the likability and credibility you project with your photo. You just upload your photo and see scores. If you don’t get high-enough numbers, go back and take more photos.
DALE: OK, I know what many of you are thinking: “Employers are going to use my photo to discriminate against me on age or race or appearance.” True. However, do you really want to waste your time concealing your appearance just to earn an interview with a bigot who’ll reject you anyway? Meanwhile, I’d suggest that you forget that website J.T. suggested. The way it works is that you get rated by the site’s users — in other words, by insecure strangers who have nothing better to do. Who cares what they think? Instead, ask people you admire to help you choose. It’s a great way to draw them into your job search.