Job loss: A family affair

Losing your job and looking for another one can be such a very tricky time in your life. Many of us, for better or worse, retreat into ourselves. Keeping your job loss a secret from your wife/husband or your kids is the worst thing that you can do because losing a job affects everyone in a family.

Knowing how family members can help each other through the crisis is important and your family can be the one element that offers you a sense of stability and eases your concerns in such a time of chaos.  Here are a few ways to get the family involved to stay healthy and strong during a job search.

1. Talk About It.  Talk with your family, partners, kids and friends about your job lose and search. All of the family will be affected by the emotional and financial impact. It may mean one parent is home more, which may affect the daily routine. It can mean that other family members may need to find employment or that several decisions must be made about how the family will spend money. All these changes emphasize the importance of discussing the changes, feelings and concerns. As the job search continues, talk through complications, struggles that you are facing and brainstorm creative ideas to overcome these obstacles. Alternatively, celebrate the successes as a family!

2. Develop a Financial Plan Together.  You are bound to feel anxious and scared financially. Don’t start rationing things, cancel your newspaper, or pull your child out of the swim team. Take time to really determine what cut backs you need, and how it will affect the family. Developing a good financial plan will give you extra time to secure a job. Prepare a household budget, identify income sources, set priorities for expenses, prepare a list of creditors, reduce household expenses and budget for some recreation and special treats.

3. Get the Kids Involved.  Your children look to you to know that everything is okay. Their feelings of security can be affected by your tension and they can be upset. It’s important that you can talk with them – and listen to them – they want to help. Older children can perhaps find jobs to supplement the family income. Decide together how their money will be used – decide whether the money is to cover their clothing and recreational expenses or whether they will contribute to food and other expenses. A younger kids plan might include:
~ I can help more with chores – without being asked.
~ I can clean up when I make a mess.
~ I can be nice to my sister/brother and avoid starting fights with them.
~ I can probably do without some treats for a while. I won’t ask to go to movies, buy toys or ask for things I don’t really need.
~ I can maybe earn some money myself – babysitting, mowing lawns, shoveling snow.
~ I can help prepare meals, care for my younger brothers and sisters, or work in the yard.

4. Facebook –Your Friend.  In 2013, the Jobvite Social Recruitment Survey detailed that 40% of survey respondents reported receiving a job referral from a Facebook friend and 65 percent of companies hiring in 2014, use Facebook to find and attract candidates. Talk with your Facebook friends about your job search  – ask for advice when you are struggling, celebrate successes online and let them know what you are looking for in your next role/opportunity/company. Caution though, stay positive! 93% of recruiters also review online reputations about their candidates. Friends and Family = Your Champions!

5. Take Advantage of the Time at Home.  When was the last time you were home at 5:00 p.m. or could take off for lunch and go to the park with your kids? Yes – job search should be and is a full-time job, but inevitably there are times when you’ll have downtime. Use that time to connect with your spouse and children. Time with your family can also be a good diversion from the stress of the job search. Once you start a new job, you may not be able to take a long lunch to spend quality time with your family.