According to figures from January 2010, there are more than 14.8 million unemployed Americans, that’s a rate of nearly 10 percent.
A staggering figure.
Unless of course, you compare it to the rapid rate of divorce in this country.
I recently read one report that said the divorce rate in the U.S. for first marriages is 41%. The divorce rate for a second marriage is 60%. The divorce rate for a third marriage is 73%.
Now I got a 620 on my SAT math, but those numbers just blow me away.
My wife and I have been married for more than 15 years, which seems like a world record based on those stats.
I have been out of work for the last 15 months, which doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment at all considering the current unemployment numbers.
During those 15 months, I have had several conversations with a former boss of mine, who I have worked with three different times.
From day one, 25 years ago, right up to our most recent conversation about a week ago, he has taught me about life, taught me about the working world, but most of all, he has taught me how to treat people.
Even though I don’t speak to him as much as I would like, I still value every conversation we have.
He still works at my former company, in another city, and is doing quite well. He always has plenty of thoughts on where I could go with my career, but unfortunately nothing has happened yet.
Last week when we spoke, we started talking about my life, but the conversation quickly turned to a major change in his.
Three months ago, my good friend learned that his wife was cheating on him and now their marriage is over.
Whoa. I didn’t see that coming.
Then again, it was his second marriage, so that should have been my first clue.
When we worked together, he always held himself accountable when something went wrong, even when it wasn’t his fault.
So I really shouldn’t have been that surprised that he pinned the divorce on himself.
“We would still be married if I had paid more attention to what she needed. If I had spotted signs earlier on, we’d still be married. I could’ve done little bits and pieces that would’ve made the difference.”
Slow down, this water is getting a little deep for me.
The more we talked, the more I realized that he was in a losing battle from the start.
It was nothing he actually did at home, but rather the fact that he was NEVER at home.
He has always been a workaholic and probably always will be.
It has earned him many awards, a very nice living and two divorces.
Of course, we can’t necessarily tie the long hours to the end of his married life, but as somebody who used to work 60+ hours a week, I definitely know the strain that it causes at home.
The fact that my marriage has survived, so far, through three jobs, in three cities, in three states, is a good sign.
But now as a stay-at-home parent, I have a true appreciation of what my wife really went through when I was not around.
I am not proud of what I am about to say, but honestly, I never put a whole lot of thought into all the chores and daily duties that my wife was doing at home while I was at work.
I guess in my mind, I justified all of my long hours as a way of supporting the family. My commitment to work provided us with a bunch of benefits, but little did I know the price that was being paid in my own home.
Someday, hopefully soon, I will be working again, but I know as sure as I am sitting here, that I will look at things a different way.
I may still have to work those 60+ hours and depending on where we live, I may have a longer commute, but I will make sure that whether I am physically home or not, my mind will be there.
My wife and kids deserve that. I deserve that.
One thing I have learned in my 42 years is that there is no rule book to life and there is no one way of surviving.
Marriage is no different.
The bottom line is you've got to do what's right for you.... and your family.
Unfortunately, my friend learned that the hard way.