Confessions of a House husband

househusbandA speech delivered to Mosman Toastmasters in 1990.

Most of you in this room work for someone else – you have to report to a boss. And we all know what bosses are like!

When you apply for a job, how do you know what the person will be like? Can you interview him and ask if he tolerates long lunches. Does he give unreasonable deadlines? And if you are happy in your present job and a good boss gets replaced with a bad one – that really kills the satisfaction.

It seems to be a law of life doesn’t it? There’s always one turkey in every flock of eagles.

Have you ever wanted to tell your boss what to do with his job? I had the opposite experience last year – I didn’t tell my boss where to go – he told me! The day was my birthday – December 20th – and I received a lovely present from my employers.

They could see that I wanted to have a great holiday and help pay off my mortgage. In addition they felt I should take another step in my career path – they retrenched me.

I was given a birthday cake, a cheque and a guide on preparing resumes and how to attend job interviews.

I had feelings of grief for almost two days mainly because a large part of my waking hours were cut away from underneath me. I had shown loyalty to the same company [Prime Computer] for six and a half years, so I was feeling hurt. It was unfounded loyalty although it did help with the pro-rata long service leave I received. Once the cheque was deposited in a high-yielding cash management fund, my wife and I flew to Japan for a three weeks holiday.

Upon my return to Australia I was not too worried about job hunting as the pay cheque was earning high interest and my wife was working. I had important matters to attend to such as having lunch with people I hadn’t seen for over a month, and enjoying the Sydney summer. Of course, I had to get the resume in order and think about what I would like to do, but what was the hurry! The days were sunny and warm and had become used to lying in the sun and reading. I became very used to the lifestyle of giving my wife a lift to the station, buying a newspaper and enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee back home.

It was at this point that I realised I was a house husband. My wife was at work and I was expected to cook and other domestic chores normally done on the weekend. As word got out to our friends with young children I was starting to get telephone calls from women with irresistible offers … to baby-sit them while they played tennis. I was never invited to play tennis!

When you go shopping on Thursday night or Saturday morning and it is so busy, don’t you wish you could do the shopping during the day when it is quiet. Wrong! Have you ever been to the supermarket during the day? The aisles are nearly deserted and the only hazards are a few pensioners buying cat food.

Don’t go after three o’clock or you encounter mothers with hyperactive children. But the real problem is when you go to pay as you will find one or if you’re really lucky two cashiers open out of twelve. The delays are worse than the weekends!

Gentlemen, being a househusband is not recommended and I will give you further examples.

You may think that you can do lots of things during the week such as visit shops which aren’t open on the weekends. What you will find is that the road is full of people who don’t know how to drive, ladies driving to bowls, trucks, couriers and tour buses who are lost. It is definitely quieter on the weekend.

And don’t think about having lunch with your working friends as you will be greatly disappointed when they have to return after the regulation one hour break.

By this stage loneliness and depression set in and unless you want to paint your masterpiece, write a book or if you decide o renovate your house, an urge will arise.  The urge for social interaction around the coffee pot at the office and the Monday Morning gossip. There is nothing like working as it gives you something to talk about at home or complain about.

You can participate in office romances (spectator or player) or settle for good old fashioned job satisfaction.  I confess that I was glad to rejoin the workforce after my four week sojourn as a househusband but I was pleased to have painted the gutters, tidy up the garden and recharge the batteries.

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