Should Your Job Affect Your Life?

Shane Warne cracks it
Shane Warne cracks it
Shane Warne cracks it

Shane Warne cracks it

By now you would have heard about Shane Warne flipping out at the MCG. For his dramatics Warne copped a $4,500 fine and a one match ban. While I understand the severity of the penalties, and I understand that what Warne did was unacceptable, this got me thinking about things we’ve all done in the workplace and whether or not some jobs are held to a higher sense of accountability than others.

I am a teacher’s wife. This is a fact I am generally proud of as I believe teachers contribute greatly to society. My best friend is also a teacher and I see first hand every day how incredibly undervalued a teacher’s job is.

However, being a teacher’s wife means that, while not directly employed at a school, my behaviour directly affects my husband’s job.

Let me explain.

A friend of mine put up a status on Facebook that said “On Wednesdays we wear pink”. I responded to it with “You are wearing sweatpants. It’s Thursday. You can’t sit with us.” to which his friend wrote “Boo, you whore” and I replied “Fine. You can walk home, bitches!”

Anyone reading this who is familiar with Mean Girls is probably laughing right now as they see what we did. That friend who wrote the original status found it hilarious. But it was a day later when my husband was approached at work by a colleague “Um… Is this your wife?”

Turns out said colleague is the cousin of my friend on facebook. He was pretty shocked that I was engaging in such a rude discussion, and that anyone would call me a whore. I received a phone call a few moments later and tried to explain the conversation.

I could never pull a Demi Moore

I could never pull a Demi Moore

I have had my photo taken a lot. For a lot of different photographers for a lot of different reasons. I am very comfortable with myself and, despite a long journey, accept and love my body. However when I’ve been involved in these shoots, I have to be careful about how I’m photographed and what I’m wearing. Why? Because my husband could get in trouble for photos of me. We all heard about the teacher who was fired for having raunchy photos floating around the web or the teacher who was fired for having a sex tape. Their partners are not exempt from that scrutiny.

There are things I can’t do because of my husband’s job. There are photos that can’t be taken. I could never have a nude pregnant shot taken, write about my sex life, perform a burlesque act, become a stand up comedian.

There are topics I can’t write about. There are things I can’t say. Meet me in life and you may be surprised at some of the things that come out of my mouth when I’m not being published on the internet. When it can’t possibly reflect back on my husband in any way.

At what point does it become too much, though?

Does a cricketer need to be held to higher standards because they’re a role model? Should a teacher’s wife be expected to adhere to a strict code of conduct despite not being directly involved with the school? Or is this the minimum we would expect from those who are moulding our children’s futures? Either leading through celebrity, or in the classroom.

What could you be fired for? Do you think it’s fair for some jobs to have stricter codes of conduct than others? Should your job affect your lifestyle?

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  • Hayley Ashman

    I don’t think there is a lot (within reason) that you can’t do as a teacher’s wife. There is a difference between ‘I can’t do that’ and ‘I’m not brave enough to do that and defend the choice to others.’ What I mean is you can certainly pose (tastefully) naked when pregnant. Your husband can’t get fired for that. It’s more whether you are brave enough to do it and not worry when others may judge it as inappropriate given your husbands profession. In saying that, I certainly wouldn’t. I’d take the path that makes my partner’s work life easier, so I get the ‘can’t bit.’ I certainly don’t think it’s fair though.

    What bothers me is the standard of what is considered inappropriate. I don’t think it’s inappropriate for a police officer to have a full sleeve of tattoos and a beard, but clearly others do. So, in answer to your question; nope, in general, I don’t think some professions should be held to a higher standard.

    • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

      He works at a very high profile, conservative Christian school. I guess that makes things a little different. So what would probably happen if a naked (even tasteful) photo of me got out is that he wouldn’t be fired on the spot, but they would then wait for anything they could use as a reason to fire him.

      I really do think it’s a case of “can’t without risking his job” not just defending my choices.

      • Hayley Ashman

        I see your point. I’m not sure if I could handle that. I don’t agree with you having to censor yourself, or anyone else having to for that matter, because of your partner’s job. It’s such a grey area though! You’re right in asking at what point does it become too much.

        If you don’t mind me asking, does it bother you much?

        • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

          Well, I don’t NEED to run around naked, but I don’t like the idea of anyone telling me I can’t. But that doesn’t bother me too much. I think what bothers me more is that there are topics I can’t write about on here.

          But then the Viking has been a teacher as long as I’ve known him, so I can never be totally sure what of those topics (sex, for example) would still be off the table if he wasn’t a teacher because he just wouldn’t want me writing about it. And when you consider that everything we write on the internet stays there forever, and one day I’ll be old and grey and my grandchildren (assuming I have any) may read it – that might not be a bad thing.

          I think what bothers him is that he can’t have a lunatic beard. So this Summer he’s shaved it in an Abraham Lincoln cut and we tried to dye it red (it didn’t stick).

          • Hayley Ashman

            I get the writing on the internet side of things. It’s there forever!

            Why no beard? Who does it hurt? I honestly don’t get all these silly rules people impose upon us. Society needs to lighten up! (And embrace awesome red beards!)

  • Jess88

    I’m stunned that your husbands colleague felt the need to approach your husband regarding your Facebook conversation, while I get where you’re coming from regarding censoring yourself to make your husbands work life more comfortable, it sounds like his colleague is a bit of a fuddy-duddy and kind of made a mountain out of a mole-hill with the whole thing. But, in saying that, I suppose offense, like humour, is a matter of personal opinion.
    I’d honestly never even considered how someone’s actions could affect their partners job, this was a great post Tamsin.

    • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

      Thanks Jess! I think it’s something a lot of people forget about.

  • Maree Talidu

    As an actual teacher, I’m appalled that the Viking’s colleague brought this up as an issue- I don’t think you really have to censor yourself and see no problem with you doing a tasteful nude photo if you wanted to! It’s art, after all. I have to wonder where the pressure to not do so many things comes from: if you felt so inclined, I’m sure you could be a stand up comedian, or take a burlesque class- people do pole dancing as exercise: I truly don’t think some of the things you mentioned should or would impact on your husband’s job.

    Your husband should only truly get ‘in trouble’ if the photos were sexually explicit or offensive. You shouldn’t have to live within the boundaries of his job to such a strong degree- like I said, you know I’m a teacher and of course I’m careful what I do myself, but if I was in a relationship, my partner’s behaviour (as long as it wasn’t racist, bigoted, politically incorrect, offensive or openly disrespectful) would not impact on my employment. I DO understand that you can’t blog about certain things, as I can’t either.

    You are not racist, bigoted, offensive, disrespectful- therefore you should just be yourself and while it’s good to err on the side of caution, you need to also continue being yourself 100% and not let the Viking’s employment hold you back from being who you are all the way. Cos who you are is pretty damn special.

    • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

      I should clarify, his colleague didn’t bring it up as being a problem or reprimand him, it just wasn’t an easy conversation for the Viking who, not being familiar with Mean Girls, was also confused about.

  • Rachelle

    Teaching is a particularly frustrating profession on this topic. While there are many people out there who respect and value the work that teachers do, there are many others who seem to have a twisted ‘indentured slave of society’ perspective of it.

    By that I mean, they seem to have a ridiculously unrealistic set of expectations about what teachers should be like/ what they should be able to accomplish, while simultaneously expecting to undermine and use them as scapegoats.

    As a teacher I have often felt like I’m under a microscope (even though I live a pretty PG life anyway).

    I think it’s fair to expect certain standards of people who might be in a position which others are likely to look up to, but at the same time we would all certainly benefit from learning to be less judgmental of others, especially those we don’t really know that well.

  • Mazi Gray

    Teachers are not allowed to talk to the Press without Permission from Head office sometimes. Have to get permission for second jobs and have to follow a whole stricter set of laws. Would be fine if this resulted in more respect for the job but most people don’t care. Quite frankly I just think it is executives in far off places not wanting to be made to look stupid by their employees or to have more control over them in general.