heart wrenching situation: need advice, sorry - long

Joined Apr 14, 2004
OK, I know this will be long, so thanks for taking the time to read this.

My husband and I are both executive chefs.I am extremely happy with my career where it is and the management team I work with is the best I have ever known. My husband feels the exact opposite with his job. I won't go into all the details, but one of the smaller reasons is that his company "suggested" to have all units shut off the air conditoners in their kitchens- and they did. We live in Wichita, Kansas and are going through a major heat wave- so bad that streets are literally exploding from the heat. His staff keeps calling in- can you blame them? The GM messes with my husband's food cost- last week it was 28 percent, verified by the F&B manager. My husband was called into the GM's office to berate Kyle (my husband) over his 38 percent food cost! WTF??? The GM tried to tell Kyle that he is charging too much to back the hotel- hello- this is product they ordered and therefore should be paying for. (We know the hotel side didn't do what they forecasted, so they took it from food cost.) OK, I know in the real world, this happens, but don't blame it on him, like it's his fault. Say, "hey this sucks, we know you did a good job, but this is the way it needs to go down". So basically this guy is asking for an 18 percent food cost.

The problem is my husband wants to take a job in Kansas city,which is 3 1/2 hours from here, and rent an apartment or find a roomate situation, with me staying in Wichita and getting my experience. This is terrible- I would never see him unless he worked for B&I , I work in B&I so I have weekends off. I hate to see him so, so, so miserable and he says he will not ask me to give up my job- even my boss said I am doing a great job, but there is much more to learn and grow from- I have only been there 15 months and will be elegible for a transfer after I have been there 18 months, but I should stay at least one more year before transferring. I do know how miserable he is, his last job he loved but there was no room for him anymore. He has been going through this **** for a year and simply cannot take it anymore. He has inquired in over 30 establishments, and no one is hiring (I know tons of chefs in this town looking for work right now)He is so talented and creative, not to mention wasting his education at this place (we are CIA grads)

Professionally, I am not ready or willing for a transfer yet. But I don't want to lose my husband over this. We have a terrific marriage- we will have been married 2 years this August. For backround info- I am 34 and he is 29. We have talked about him doing this before, but I was so against it, but seeing him so hot, angry, lifeless, bitter, exhausted, night after night- I told him we will talk about it again tonight. We talked about a putting a one year limit on the situation and then both moving out of the Midwest. I eventually want a transfer to to US Virgin Islands, and then our dream is to eventually open a "lolo", which is a beach BBQ/smoker shack somewhere in the Caribbean. He said he'd follow me anywhere, which makes me feel more selfish, but he says he feels like the selfish one.

I guess my question, has anyone been through this before? I know our marriage is strong, but this absolutely terrifies me. It is a lose/lose situation.

Any advice would be highly appreciated.
Thanks, Cheffie :(


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Sounds like you and your husband haven't discussed and agreed on priorities.

From your description, I read it that you are both more committed to your careers than to your marriage. At a minimum, you perceive it that way based on your message (from my perspective as a reader.)

Talk together with each other, not at or to.

Figure out and agree on priorities, whatever they may be. This will probably take multiple sessions. Make sure both of you really agree on them and can live happily with those priorities.

Proceed with amicable actions towards those priorities.

If you can't agree, then there are deeper problems than employers and job locations. And you can then proceed with proper actions on that issue instead.

Marriage and financial counselors should be considered as options as needed, even singly if one spouse isn't willing.

Joined Oct 13, 2001
Phatch,have you been in charge of people for awhile or what? Great advice!
Chefmeow,remember you are at a job and happy!If you look at our profession this is sometimes a rare thing.Your spouse Kyle has more options than you know!Take a break,chill out and perhaps work for a local place as a cook or sous.Most times you change you still find the same s$$t so make sure its the direction you want to go.GMs in hotels can be brutal and stupid.
Perhaps being able to surmount this is a better option for him?
Who knows but glad to hear your job is going well!Peace to you,Doug.......
Joined Nov 29, 2001
This situation is EXACTLY the opposite for my husband and me. He is a corporate chef, worshipped by his firm; I work for a payroll company and could not be more miserable. Lord knows, I'd love to have a food gig (my preferred career) but just about every op that comes up wants night hours. My husband works early and is on his way home from work at 1:30 p.m.

The unfortunate reality is: There is going to have to be a compromise. One of you will be "less than fulfilled" but a decision has to be made as to whether the marriage or the job opportunities take precedence. I know I'll get flamed for this "fly in the ointment" "elephant in the corner" statement but it's absolutely true. Unless one of you can find something where he wants to go or he can find something where you are now - something's gotta give. :(
Joined Apr 28, 2003
I don't think you'd get flammed for this statment at all. Your right that in a marriage with this kind of situation, sacrafices must be made to make the relationship work. As much as its about happiness, its also about giving up things to create a new life. This is were most couples fail at their marriages, they selfishly want happiness for themselves without much though of what will make their parnter happy as well, thats were the 1/3 marriages ends up in divorce statistic comes from.

To find 2 happily married couples with a working relationship is quite rare, to find one in our career field is even more so. All I can suggest is to work things out, go seek consoling, whatever, even if it means 1 of you making a compromise. Good luck...
Joined Apr 14, 2004
Thanks for the replies. We have been talking seriously, with each other and with family about our options and are leaning towards to the solution of him taking a job in Oklahoma City instead, which is not quite as far as Kansas City. His brother lives there and he would be able to stay there during the week, commuting home for a few nights and coming home on weekends. After his required 18 months are up, we will transfer to another city together to an even higher postion. (we would like the positions of Regional chefs- they often come in pairs for each region and then decide on our Caribbean move from there. )

Our careers are by no means more important than our marriage, but are a very high priority. We discussed this all before we even got married, through a pre- marital 12 week program through our church. We also decided not to have children and to maybe adopt later in our lives.We knew it might come to this one day, being in a city that offers no upward moves, just lateral (and even lateral move jobs are unavailable). As it stands now, we rarely get a day off together -only 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas and vacation days- and we knew that entering this marriage, and we have lived with that just fine. I love my husband very much and want him to be as happy and successful as he can and he wants the same for me, so I think this will be our compromise. One final note, his parents (who are our role models for marriage) worked opposite shifts their entire careers and lived apart in different cities for almost a year because of jobs. They are the most loving, happy couple I know.

Thanks again for your responses.
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