I was thinking a lot before should I write this post. I know my (unwanted) unemployment due to previous visa-related issues had an impact on this whole situation. I feel guilty and I feel like an ass that I still complain.
I don’t usually talk about our problems, there’s pretty much no point in making them public, they are pretty boring and can be solved just between us. Unless it goes to ‘If you can’t clean the litter box how could you possibly change a diaper‘ – I will probably have to take him to those Maury-type shows and make people force him to do that. But the problem we’re having is with us for the past two years and I don’t think me on my own can change anything.
And I have no idea if it’s only our problem or other (not only) AMWF couples have the same problem. All our Asian friends keep saying that if only they worked ‘in white’ company they would get much more benefits, more free time and more mental comfort. Can’t speak for every single company, but when Sing and his co-workers do overtime everyday and get calls after 10PM our other friend could use all the goodies in his LinkedIn office, enjoy free snacks, drinks, play table tennis or use the gym. Of course that’s just an example, people can treat you like a modern slave everywhere and I can see it by my friends, working for a really low salary like mad dogs. But the difference between my friends and my husband with his coworkers is that they actually seem to accept it like it was a totally normal thing.
I know our Hong Kong friends work hard, but they also play hard and enjoy their free time to the limits. I know Eastern ethos of work is bit different than the Western one, but it breaks my heart not to see my husband.
It all started two years ago. Sing got his first (and current) job as an industrial engineer. I came to America, helped him move from Los Angeles area all the way to San Francisco Bay Area and me myself became a housewife and a non-profit blog writer. That’s just a really nice name for being bored at home.
Technically his job was suppose start at 8:30 and finish at 17:30. Of course at the beginning I didn’t see anything wrong. He was newbie on his OPT, so scared of getting fired – in that case we would have to leave the country as soon as possible. He was also starting from the same position and at the same time as his other coworker so naturally both of them wanted to show they are better than the other one. And I have to say Sing achieved it. He was the first one to get the salary increase, first one to get the offer of Green Card sponsorship. He was the one who’s project was used to build the current Irish office. Later on he got promoted to Project Manager. All that in less than two years of employment. And I’m extremely proud of him, how smart and hard working he is. How much he did to make where we are and what we have, but the sacrifices he’s making are too big.
He has never been a hard-worker. Momzilla taught him to work smart, not hard and that’s what he was doing. On his English class in college instead of reading ‘Macbeth’ in English he found a Chinese version of it and wrote his essay based on that version instead of struggling with the non-native language. But WahWah, his father, was always away. Always in the company, Sing has seen him less and less. Every weekend, every other weekend, once a month. Currently he haven’t seen him for almost three years, since our wedding day. WahWah is workaholic too. And Sing becomes one too.
We went to Hong Kong – he spent most of his time either working on his PC or replying e-mails on his phone. He even used the time I was doing my hair to reply some e-mails, sitting next to me on a client’s chair, having his PC next to hair equipment (as seen on the photo). He wakes up and checks his e-mails, he goes to sleep and all I see is his phone shining or Biscuit’s crazy-devil-shiny eyes staring at me, saying ‘FEED ME AGAIN’. Every 3 months I actually don’t see him – during quarter end he goes out before I wake up and comes back after midnight. He has over 250h of paid overtime hours. He could go for 3 months long holidays and still get paid, but he cannot and DOESN’T WANT TO take a single day off. Sometimes he will even go to work voluntary on weekend just to check on.
I’m currently in Poland but we hardly talk since there’s a quarter end and 3 days off coming due to Easter so they need to speed up with the orders.
I really feel awful for complaining about it – we have a nice place to live, we’re not hungry, technically we have money to buy new TV, Sing just got PS4. But so what? We are money-(not that)-rich but time poor. He has that PS4 but no time to play. When he has time he has to make a choice – me or the game (controllers are expensive, 55 Euro for an extra one!). We have money to go on holidays, we have a huge variety of countries we could visit even for a weekend, but he cannot take a day off. Even if there’s a day off he might get a call and start doing his work.
He earns 25% more than a person with his experience and position earns but I would give up all that money just to be able to eat a meal with him, go on a small trip, don’t have him so stressed out when he hears the e-mail notification. I wish we were able to visit my family together, I wish he wouldn’t chose his work over everything else.
I blame myself for putting on the pressure on him, I blame his father for the example he gave, I also blame Sing for some of his choices. Money won’t buy the time and experiences we lose. I keep talking to him about it every week, but all I hear is ‘Sorry, I will change it’. And it haven’t changed for past two weeks. Hopefully someone can help us, because I feel like being married to an invisible man. I miss him so much.
Any advice you can give me? Do you know anyone in similar situation? Do you think workaholism is more common around AMXF couples than other interracial couples or maybe you have different opinion on this topic? I know I won’t give up on Sing, but I wish things were different, I don’t want us to grow apart.