Adapted from a recent online discussion.
DEAR CAROLYN: My husband just quit his job. Again. Third this year, sixth in four years. He’s sort of a jack-of-all-trades, but mostly works in restaurants. I’ve always been the higher earner, so we’re stable enough, and I don’t really mind about the irregular income. But it affects everything at home, every time: He’s unhappy in the job, which brings down the atmosphere at home. Then he quits and feels insecure and tense about being jobless, so everything at home is also insecure and tense. Then he eventually gets a new job and things get better.
Right now, we can’t make plans to see family, for example, because who knows if he’ll have to work and he won’t have built up any vacation time. I tried to talk about this after the most recent quitting, but our conversations about it have been unproductive, because he’s so tense and ratty.
We have no kids, and we learned from experience a few years back that he can’t just stay home and not work, because that’s so much worse than what we’re going through now. Any suggestions?
DEAR ANONYMOUS: A neuropsych screening, if he’ll agree to it. Your question pings like an old pinball machine: jack-of-all-trade-ism, job-hopping, restaurant work, anxiety, ping, ping, ping. I’d guess there’s a diagnosable condition in there driving a high need for stimulation and a low tolerance for tedious/repetitive tasks.
I’m not saying it’s ADHD — layman, not my place — but CHADD.org, an ADHD information site, has a good section on evaluations here that would apply to anyone with a possible neuropsych issue: https://chadd.org/for-adults/diagnosis-of-adhd-in-adults.
The point of a diagnosis would be less about fixing it, and more to help him understand how his mind works and how to make choices that suit his nature better.
A job that has less repetition to it and more built-in novelty, for example, could hold his attention longer. If that’s a unicorn, then maybe a circuit of recurring seasonal jobs would allow novelty and stability both.
DEAR CAROLYN: Everybody talks about political arguments lately. I’ve been thinking I literally cannot imagine any circumstance in which I would ever change my mind about any issue. I’m happy to hear people explain their beliefs, but I am so confident in my beliefs, and the opposing view is just so foreign to me, so irrational, that I honestly don’t see how I could ever change my outlook. Is that normal, or am I closed-minded?
— Change My Mind?
DEAR CHANGE MY MIND?(b) Closed-minded, definition of.
Credit for candor, though.
You are confident in your beliefs, yes, because they work for you. To have no conception of how other beliefs could be right for someone else is to fail to understand that other people can have an emotional makeup, cultural history and/or set of life experiences that differ from yours, and that’s just … well, so foreign to me.
I hope you take this as motivation to start talking to and reading about — or even better, living among — people whose lives are dramatically different from yours, specifically to see how their experiences brought them to the position you disagree with. You don’t have to change your position; all you’re going for is, “I disagree, but I see how you got there.” Baby steps. Please.