This sounds like a joke, but what is the difference between David Petraeus and Christopher Kubasik?

To find the answer, review the facts: Petraeus, then the director of the CIA, announced in 2012 that a) he was resigning his job because b) he was having an affair with his biographer. Kubasik, as reported in Forbes—same year, same month, same day—resigned from his position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lockheed Martin, because he was having an affair with a subordinate. Both men clearly were locked in bad marriages; both felt the sting of job loss when they handled their bad marriages badly.

Affairs of State: Getting Busy at Work

The difference between the two married men and their affairs: Kubasik was schtupping a coworker; Petraeus was boning his biographer.

The similarity? Both lost their jobs. 

An affair is only one reason a declining marriage could lead to job loss. The most dismal divorce that keeps you gainfully employed is preferable to maladjusted matrimony. Being driven from the marriage bed to a bed you rent by the hour in a sleazy motel is not a way to handle problems with your wife. It can lead to getting fired, even if you are not known on a national scale.

Kubasik made the mistake of having his affair with a co-worker, and worse, an underling. Had his board of directors allowed him to stay, the environment at Lockheed Martin would have become toxic. Issues abound:

  • Suspected favoritism
  • Poor work performance
  • Tainted job reviews
  • Pressure on managers to overlook issues and indiscretions
  • Lousy office morale

Perhaps the greatest corporate sin of all—decreased profits—could be laid at the… feet…of the office philanderer who is getting laid by another office worker.

Abuses of Power: Bringing Your Home Life To Work

A company may overlook problems from a bad marriage when two unhappy coworkers of equal standing visit the supply closet a little too often. A company may even overlook the occasional disheveled morning arrival that came after a sleepless night that came after a long fight. A company will not overlook abuses of power or defalcation (taking your company’s money).

The inverse of having a rough day at work and going home to “kick the dog” (never kick a dog!) is to have a rough night at home and go into the office to abuse coworkers. Your bad marriage reflects not only in your work, but in your attitude, and could get you fired.

Defalcation: Stealing from Your Company

We are lawyers; we like saying words like defalcation. If your bad marriage causes your wife to run up the credit cards, you may be tempted to borrow a little from petty cash, or transfer the money in the Schnitzengruben Sausages advertising account to your checking account. Taking your employer’s money is defalcation, and a quick way to lose your job. Likewise, using your employer’s equipment—like borrowing the bucket truck to do weekend tree trimming to try to trim your bills because your wife went dollar daffy at Dillard’s—can get you fired.

Under the Weather: A Bad Marriage Can Make You Sick

Believe it or not, a bad marriage can make you physically sick. Everybody’s favorite internet doctor, WebMD, reported on a study that showed two key findings:

  • “Married people in distressed marriages are in poorer health than those in nondistressed marriages.”
  • “People in low-quality marriages show greater health risk than divorced people.”

While an employer cannot fire you for taking sick days you have rightly earned, continued bad health will definitely have an impact on your work performance. The work performance, not your health, will be the “reason” given for getting fired, but the result will be the same: you lost your job due to your bad marriage.

But Baby Will Fix It

Some bad marriages lead people to desperation, like thinking a new baby will fix the miserable matrimony. Babies are not Band-Aids®; they take tremendous work. A common side effect of childbirth is depression, countered in most cases by the strength of a solid marriage in which two people love the new child.

When the marriage is bad, that postpartum depression will show at home and at work. Productivity falls; absenteeism increases. As the husband and new father, you try to slog on, knowing you will be returning to a hostile home, a mediocre mom and a bawling baby. How long can you hold up before the strain of her depression, the baby’s demands and your chaotic home take their toll at work?

The solution to a bad marriage is not to have an affair, lash out at coworkers, steal from your company, call out sick or crank out a kid. The answer is a divorce. At The Firm for Men we cannot tell you when the time is right to seek a divorce, but when you are ready, we are here. Contact our offices at 757-383-9184 to speak with a divorce lawyer for men today. It is one call that could save your job.

family law attorneys