Advice: "My wife says I work too much. Should I take a pay cut to make her happy?"

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Dear Quota Team,

I sell private jet services. Our customers are high-net-worth individuals who come to us instead of flying commercial, and instead of buying fractional ownership in private jets. I have been in this industry for over a decade and make anywhere between a quarter million and four hundred thousand dollars a year. It’s a very stressful job, but I am good at what I do.

Unfortunately, in the last two years, my wife has had a major problem with my level of commitment to my job. I work a lot of hours, and am basically on call at all times, since people fly to and from different time zones and flights go off at all hours of the day or night. Also, in this business, there is so much that can go wrong, so there are a lot of fires to put out and rescheduling that needs to happen on a regular basis.

My wife believes that I work too much and that I’m not spending enough time with her and our family. We have been going to therapy over the last year, and she knows that I am taking her concerns seriously, but there really is no way to turn this into a part time job or to work significantly less hours without turning away new clients, giving away current clients to coworkers, and basically forgoing a huge amount of money. It has taken me years to build up my current client base, and taking my foot off the gas seems like it would be wasting all that time and effort I’ve spent building my book of business.

She (my wife) comes from money, so I think she cares a bit less about it than I do, which is fine. But I’m the one paying for the house, and the kids schooling, and our entire lifestyle. The idea of asking her parents for money or having to cut many of the things we value doesn’t seem like it would be the right solution either. I am basically just venting here, but the situation seems to be getting worse. What is the way to go here? I’m not fully convinced that taking a pay cut would make my wife much happier with how things are going than she is now, but I could be wrong.   


Troubled in the Florida   


Dear Troubled,

Take a moment to imagine the following scenario: you’ve picked up a dozen new clients, your income has increased over last year, and you’re on track to hit the half-a-million mark for 2023. Now imagine that at the end of a long day, after you close your laptop, you’re sitting in an empty house – no wife, no kids. Just you and your check. 

How does this sound? Better than the way things are now, or worse? If better, then you should probably keep going down the same road you’ve been on. Sooner or later, your wife will get fed up and leave. Based on what you’re saying, you’re not too far off. 

If, however, this doesn’t sound all that great, then you should strongly consider making some changes to save your family. Money comes and goes. And yes, sometimes it takes a long time to get to the point where you’re making a lot of it. But doesn’t building a family take a long time too? And while you can always make more money, once your family falls apart, it almost never gets put back together again. 

We can’t tell you what to do, but it sounds like you need to make some decisions. And there’s a good chance that this isn’t as difficult of a decision for you as you might think. Just make sure you think long and hard about what you stand to lose. The way you feel about it will give you the answer.  

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