What to Do When Your Husband Gets Fired

Updated on April 19, 2019
Holly Howard profile image

Holly got a crash course in coping with job loss when her husband was fired from his job in the fall of 2018.

What Should You Do if Your Husband Gets Fired?

  1. Don't blame him. Give him time to process and tell you what happened.
  2. Show your husband love and support, even if you're feeling anxious.
  3. Spend money only on things you have to spend money on and put off large purchases/expenses if you can.
  4. Find out if you temporarily qualify for health care and food and utility assistance.
  5. Find your own support. Reach out to close family and friends who can help you stay positive.
  6. Stick to a routine. Make sure you and your husband get up each morning and begin your day productively. It'll help you both from falling into a slump.
  7. Help him find a new job, look out for good leads and interesting job postings.
  8. Be open to a life change. Maybe it's time to pursue that tiny house lifestyle you both daydreamed about.

Last fall, my husband was “let go” (read: fired with a capital F) from the company he’d been working at for over four years. In the time he’d been there he’d had consistently stellar annual reviews and seemed to be in good standing. That was, until there was a huge change in management. It didn’t take long to see that the new management wasn’t as easy to please as old management had been and, without getting into the finer details of what went wrong, my husband was terminated for “personality differences.”

The timing wasn’t fantastic. I’d recently gone down to part-time work, we’d bought our first home just over a year earlier and I was in the middle of dealing with some minor health issues which were, of course, being covered by my husband’s health insurance.

It felt like the world was falling apart from the inside out.

My husband getting fired wasn’t fun, we didn’t always handle it well and it took some time to bounce back. But, half a year later, I can say that it almost feels like it never happened.

Here’s how we recovered and the lessons I learned (sometimes the hard way).


Don't Blame Him

The first thing you need to do when your husband lets you know he’s been fired is to bite your tongue and make sure that every word that comes out is reasonable and fair.

Remember, he’s vulnerable right now, and so are you, which makes you both prone to saying things you don’t mean or letting resentments make their way to the surface at the wrong time.

No matter what the story is behind his firing, give him a chance to tell his side of the story while you nod and listen. This isn’t the time to remind him that he needs to have a better attitude at work or that he should have gone to HR to report his personal-politics-spewing supervisor earlier. This is the time to show him in no uncertain terms that he may feel like the world just turned against him but you’re still by his side.

Show Love and Support

On that note, you may be feeling lost and scared yourself but for the sake of the unit, you’ll need to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and show your husband love and support while he processes what just happened. The night my husband got fired I didn’t sleep a wink. I laid in bed with a pounding heart and racing thoughts as I traced through each dollar we wouldn’t have in the coming weeks and each bill that was waiting on our kitchen counter. Like most Americans, we have very little in the way of savings.

When I asked my husband what I could do for him while he grieved his job loss, his list surprised me:

  • Have coffee with him in the morning before I left for work so he wouldn’t be up with his own thoughts

  • Let him tell his friends and family about being fired himself

  • Help him shop for a new outfit to wear on interviews

When I wasn’t working we spent more time cooking together, taking rides with our kids and dog and talking about the future and what we really wanted from it. We honestly spent more time hanging out than we had since we’d first started dating almost ten years ago.

It was scary and I had a lot of catastrophic thoughts, but we got through it.

In the busyness of trying to repair the mess, be sure to take time to stop and show your husband how important he is to you and that his worth to you doesn't rely on his job or income.
In the busyness of trying to repair the mess, be sure to take time to stop and show your husband how important he is to you and that his worth to you doesn't rely on his job or income. | Source

If Your Husband Just Got Fired...

...What was your initial reaction?

See results

Spend Less Money

In the interim, while you figure out what's next, cease all unnecessary spending.

This was tricky for me. My husband’s period of unemployment lasted longer than I’d expected. In that time we had to prioritize our spending and cut back expenses that weren’t necessary like:

  • Home repairs. We halted projects until we knew what would fit into our new budget when he landed a new job.
  • Eating out, which we did often. Instead, we cooked at home so we could make what little savings we had stretch.
  • Letting our utilities crank without a second thought. We turned down our water heater, unplugged the gaming consoles and spare TV we hardly ever used and hung clothes to dry instead of throwing them in the dryer. This helped us save at least a little bit on electricity and made us all a little more conscientious of how we used the stuff in our home.
  • Paying for entertainment. While we loved to take day trips on the weekends we utilized our $8 Netflix subscription and visited nearby parks for free.

Find Out What Resources You’re Eligible For

If your husband has been fired he's probably eligible for unemployment. He may also qualify for:

  • Food assistance
  • Health insurance
  • Utility assistance (specifically heating)

To find out what benefits he's eligible to receive and where to find them just Google the state you live in followed by the resource you're interested in. For instance to find unemployment we searched "Unemployment in Florida."

Find Support For Yourself

After my husband broke the news to his own family, I reached out to my mom and brother and let them know about him being fired. While I’d tried to be strong for him, it was comforting to have someone else to cry to.

When your husband has been fired, you need a neutral party in your court to listen to your fears, offer advice and to just say, “It’s going to get better, keep going.”

When your husband has been fired, you need a neutral party in your court to listen to your fears...

Stick to a Routine

Stay busy! Make a plan to maintain a sense of normalcy so that the time he's out of work doesn't become a free-for-all. Here's some stuff that helped us stick to a routine:

  • Getting up at the same time every morning
  • Having coffee together before I headed to work to plot out what he was going to do that day
  • Checking job postings every other morning - and not more. Checking too much became anxiety-inducing.
  • Visiting with family and friends once a week so we didn't feel isolated or alone in our problems.
  • Making dinner at the same time every evening. This helped us wind-down and refocus on what's really important to us.

Help Him With His Job Hunt

I’m not super experienced with job hunting but it turns out that job hunting sites are a mess.

When you’re already depressed from being fired, it can be overwhelming to navigate all of the filters. When I could see that he was losing steam I’d hop on my laptop and shoot off an email with four or five interesting leads.

Here's some places to help you start your search:

  • Monster.com
  • Indeed.com
  • ZipRecruiter.com
  • FlexJobs.com (I really liked this one, it does carry a monthly cost but they curate work-from-home and telecommute jobs here)
  • Facebook (More and more job recruiters are turning to social media to reach candidates)

Be Open to Alternatives and New Adventures

The job my husband ended up taking wasn’t at all related to his former career field. Not only that but it’s one we’d laughed about at the beginning of his new job search. He went from working in a stuffy office where he and his coworkers spent most of the day staring at each other to a fast paced healthcare environment where he and his team band together to help others.

Now, he gets to spend more time helping our community in a job he'd secretly wanted to do but not at the risk of throwing away a solid job.

It turns out that sometimes, it takes a bad situation like getting fired to force you to open up to new adventures.

Reacting to Your Husband's Job Loss

What You Might Be Feeling
How to React
What to Say to Him
He's such an idiot!
Maybe he's an idiot. But maybe his boss is too. Either way, coming down hard on him isn't going to help you. If you have negative feelings you need to express, verbalize them in a way that makes him feel understood and backed by you.
"Even if you were late twice last week it probably didn't help that they had you scheduled for opening shifts right after a closing shift. That must have been hard on you and is a good reason to look for a job with a regular schedule."
We're totally broke, how could this have happened?!
Cut back where you can and accept help if it's offered. Look online for resources to bridge the gap until you can replenish your income.
"Once you're settled into a new job let's figure out how we can save a little more each month."
Get it together, sister! Seriously. You're a grown up, you can handle this. You and many, many others go through this sort of thing. Do some deep breathing techniques and when you've finished remind yourself of the positive things in your life. Gratitude can ease a lot of worry very quickly.
"I'm freaked out right now but I know that this is temporary and we're going to get to the other side of this."
How should you react and what should you say when all you feel like you can handle is breathing into a paper bag?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • Can they really fire you for "personality differences" and if so what does that even mean?

    Yes, they can fire you for personality differences, especially in "at-will" states.

    First, let's go over what it means to be employed in an "at-will" state. To be employed in one of these states means that your employer can fire you for literally any reason outside of something that would be considered discrimination.

    For instance, your employer can't say "I'm firing you because you're a woman and I just don't think you can do this job as well as a man." That's considered discrimination about your gender and is illegal.

    What your employer can do in an at-will state is say, "I'm firing you because your attitude about this project isn't working for the team." On paper, the reason for being fired will probably be "personality differences."

    In our situation, my husband was fired directly after turning down a promotion because it carried a lot of extra responsibility with an only ten-cent raise. On paper, his reason for firing was "personality differences." So, as you can see, this reason for firing can be used as a blanket reason for just about anything.

  • I was fired without warning and am honestly scared to go home and tell my wife. What should I do?

    Go home and tell your wife! If things get heated you can leave or, if you feel like she's going to need some time to cool off, call her and tell her then give her a couple of hours to take it in before you come home. I think my husband was really scared to tell me and wasn't expecting me to react in such a supportive way at first. I'm one of those people that tends to react out of fear instead of logic and why would this situation be any different? This time though, I recognized that fear wasn't going to help either of us and that we needed to bond together to get past the blow. Hopefully your wife will realize that same thing.

    Remember, your worth isn't in your job. Give yourself some time to deal with the shock of being fired than get back in the game and chase something that's important to you. Perhaps this job loss was a blessing in disguise and the chance for a fresh start.

  • My husband believed himself to be wrongfully terminated but when we contacted a lawyer they said there was nothing they could do about it because we live in an "at will" state. How many states are at-will?

    All states are considered at-will except:

    1. Alabama

    2. Florida

    3. Georgia

    4. Louisiana

    5. Maine

    6. Nebraska

    7. New York

    8. Rhode Island

  • I was just let go from my job of over four years for misconduct involving a woman I've only spoken to three times. I believe I was wrongfully fired. What can I do?

    If you're 100% sure that nothing you said to her was sexually inappropriate or that you used your professional power (if you had any over her) to put her in an uncomfortable position then you'd be wise to seek legal counsel immediately.

    This isn't to say that anything can be done from a legal perspective, especially if you're in an at-will employment state.

    Unfortunately with these situations, a rule that's put in place to protect workers can also be abused. That being said, it would be really tricky and unethical for a company to fire an employee for sexual misconduct (I'm assuming they're claiming sexual misconduct and not run-of-the-mill misconduct) without a thorough investigation and proof of the allegations.

    If they don't have these things against you, you likely have a better chance of pursuing legal recourse against the company for wrongful termination.

© 2019 Holly Howard


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      5 months ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience and the positive things you learned from it. Well done!


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