Dear Carolyn: My husband, “Bill,” heads a research lab at an academic institution. We met when I was working there my first year out of college. He stayed in academia and I moved on to the biopharmaceutical industry; I’m now head of manufacturing at a small company.
My in-laws believe that Bill’s Ph.D. means his job is much more important and lucrative than mine when actually I make quite a bit more than he does. We never felt the need to correct them, but my mother-in-law has been a royal pain about me working ever since I had my daughter, “Sara,” two years ago. I recently got an earful about how I’m neglecting my daughter, how I don’t need to work with Bill’s salary and so on. I usually let this go since I’d work whether we needed the money or not, but I’d had a miserable, stressful couple of weeks and I snapped and told her to talk to her son, since I’m the main breadwinner and he should be the one to stay home.
Of course she doesn’t believe I make more money since I “only” have my master’s, and she told Bill I was telling lies about him. Bill is now ticked off at me because he says his dad would be “devastated” to know that I out-earn him.