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We all love our spouses for who they are regardless of their job title (for the most part).
However, if your spouse is in a certain profession, over time you might notice certain traits and behavior that are peculiar to their occupation.
Mr. FAF and I first met when he was a second-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in Computer Science.
He started his new job as a Software Engineer at a tech giant in the DC area in late August, 2017.
Over the past 4.5 years of being together, I have observed certain behavior patterns from Mr. FAF and gotten similar feedback from others regarding Mr. FAF’s field of studies and profession.
As you might have noticed, many well-known personal finance bloggers and/or their spouses such as Mr. Money Mustache, Lily at The Frugal Gene, Mrs. Frugalwoods, and FIRECracker and Wander at Millennial Revolution used to or still work as software engineers.
What is it about this profession that enables such bloggers to amass such wealth and retire when they are in their 30s?
Instead of doing a survey of all software engineer personal finance bloggers, today I will give you an insight into what it’s like to be married to a husband who is a software engineer based on my own experience.
I have to qualify the post by saying that Mr. FAF does not represent all the software engineers in the US or in the world. And I do not represent the wives of all male software engineers.
These observations are based on my own observations of my husband, his colleagues, my friends and their spouses.
1. He rarely talks to me about his work.
Mr. FAF doesn’t usually discuss his work with me. For one thing, I have no idea what he talks about when he mentions some jargon in his field.
When he does mentions his work, it will be followed by either a nonchalant answer from me if I’m tired or a series of questions if I feel energized and eager to learn.
I think Mr. FAF has decided not to discuss the details of his projects with me to preempt an hour of him answering my follow-up questions.
However, he will tell me about his colleagues and his interaction with them. I haven’t met all of his team, but I have a pretty good idea of everyone’s work styles and personality based on Mr. FAF’s description.
2. He wears simple clothes to work.
We bought Mr. FAF a $150 black suit for interviews three years ago. However, when he passed the screening phone calls to attend the on-site interviews, the recruiter told him to dress comfortably.
Mr. FAF took that advice to heart and showed up in his 4-year-old worn out jeans, a T-shirt, and a hoodie. He ended up getting three offers. I would never be able to pull it off if I dressed like that for an interview.
In fact, when Mr. FAF showed me what he was going to wear for the in-person interviews, I was shocked and begged him to wear the black suit. Later on, my worries proved to be unfounded since Mr. FAF mentioned that all the interviewers were dressed almost like him.
When Mr. FAF started working, we bought some new shirts for him at least to make a good impression as a new employee. However, Mr. FAF would occasionally wear T-shirts and one time even shorts to work since he couldn’t find his jeans.
He said that some of his colleagues also wear shorts to work. I was appalled! That helps save us a lot of money by not buying business attire maybe for the rest of his career.
One time Mr. FAF showed me a picture of his team. I jokingly said “I think software engineers are the few people who make six figures but dress like they haven’t gone shopping for years.”
Related: How We Save On Hubby’s Clothes
3. He’s simple.
Besides the love for eating out and video games, Mr. FAF doesn’t have any other hobbies that cost money.
He’s a simple man who happily eats at home most of the time, wears old clothes that have lasted for ten years, wears his one favorite jacket in the winter, cuts his own hair at home, and doesn’t believe in staying at fancy hotels or eating out at fancy restaurants.
4. He gives me updates on his company and big tech players in the field.
I am not a tech-savvy person and do not follow new technological developments. However, having a husband working in the field, I know what an OK (Google) glass does, how Google is developing driverless cars, the differences among stocks at tech giants such as Google and Amazon.
When Mr. FAF finds out about new developments in the software industry, he would be sure to give me an update. Sometimes I find those updates interesting. And sometimes I am just tired and not particularly interested.
5. People say “He can get a job anywhere.”
I got this response a lot when I told my colleagues and friends that we were in a long-distance marriage.
At first, everyone seemed concerned about whether we could finally stay together in one city. However, after I told them that Mr. FAF was getting a doctoral degree in Computer Science, they breathed a sigh of relief and told me not to worry: “He can get a job anywhere.”
Related: How To Deal With Spousal Envy
6. People say “He makes very good money then.”
Software engineers are in great demand in the US, and the compensation package reflects that fact.
According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for software engineers in the US is $109,087/year, and the number is $118,073/year for those with a PhD. That’s not to mention the sign-on bonus, the annual bonus, overtime pay, and stock shares at many tech companies.
When I tell people that Mr. FAF is a software engineer at a big tech company in the DC area, they usually respond with “Oh,” “Wow,” and other similar exclamations.
They usually follow up such impression with “He should make very good money then” and/or “He must have a great benefits package with stocks and such.” One of my colleagues once told me, “You married the right guy.”
I also wonder if people think I married Mr. FAF because of his salary. When we first started dating, he barely made enough to live on. If I were a gold digger, I definitely wouldn’t want to wait for four years to reap such benefits.
Maybe I’m just overthinking it. Although I’m proud of Mr. FAF and what he has achieved, sometimes those remarks make me a bit uncomfortable and even envious of Mr. FAF.
Sometimes Mr. FAF jokingly asks me if I married him because of his major (Computer Science), and I jokingly say yes. Sometimes I do wonder what I would have thought if Mr. FAF if he had studied another field.
On the one hand, I shouldn’t care about what he does for a living and should want to be with him for who he is. On the other hand, it is somewhat true that I later took more interest in him because he’s good at hard sciences and I’m not.
I admitted in a previous post that I used to get attracted to guys who are good at what I’m not: hard sciences. I find it admirable and respectable that they can do something so well that I can’t. But I wouldn’t marry just anyone because they are good at Physics or Chemistry.
Although Mr. FAF and are have different personalities, we share a love for frugality, our family, and our future goals. Those are the things that actually bond us together in a long-lasting marriage.