by Paul Sears
If the job hunter in your household is motivated, connected to good resources, and effectively looking for employment, count your blessings! Your job hunter will get a job faster than others will – because they “get it.” Their job right now is to get a job! But when a job hunter is not effectively looking, is not connected to resources, is not motivated, and does little or nothing on their own work search, the family is left out in the cold. For family members this can be an awkward, financially perilous, and scary situation.
As the family or significant other of someone unemployed, your natural inclination is to offer emotional support and advice to help the job hunter toward a better and timely outcome. But what if your partner doesn’t seem to try very hard? An anxious situation threatens to become a family crisis. As the family finances grow dire, how do you reach your non-job hunter? Those closest to someone “between jobs” can be in a corner, if your warnings and good advice seem to fall flat.
What do you do when your reasonable suggestions are ignored, unwelcome, or even met with anger? If this situation resembles yours, then here are some options:
- Nudge your partner toward, drive your partner to, or invite over someone else for advice. Find someone who is aware of the urgency of your situation. The odds are there is someone else whom your partner respects, and who appreciates that the longer a person is unemployed the harder it is to land a job. They must be reasonable, well informed, honest, positive, but also blunt. Friends don’t let friends stay unemployed!
- Tap a counselor. If your partner has remained in shutdown mode for an extended period, there may be an underlying psychological reason. Apathy and anger both can be signs of depression. Your partner might be feeling a great deal of pain. Counseling or medical treatment for depression may restore your partner’s outlook and functioning. If family dynamics are getting rocky, a family counselor may be appropriate. If your partner won’t go, go yourself.
- See that your partner knows about WorkForce Center (WFC) services. If your partner receives advice better from someone else, so be it. Get this message delivered – all WFC classes are available at no charge. Check out the online listings of WFCs around Minnesota and a schedule of workshops on a variety of job search topics. You can even register online.
- Get your partner a list of job search support and networking groups. An updated list of Twin Cities metro area networking groups (pdf) is available online. Otherwise contact your local WFC for options in your region.
- Get rid of distracting toys. If your partner spends most of the week watching DVDs or playing video games, it might be time to limit or eliminate electronic gadgets, video games, TV, and even the computer. Remember that local WorkForce Centers and libraries have computers for use.
It’s also important to take care of your relationship and take care of yourself!
This article first appeared in Career Connection, a newsletter of the WorkForce Center System.