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  • In-Transition: The Spouse’s Vantage Point

    couple-1030744_640My intent in using the word spouse is more inclusive, so as to refer to significant other or life partner as well. I’m unfortunately qualified to write on this subject by being a married practicing career coach who has personally experienced a 30-month transition.

    Although I never ask my clients for personal information, many times they volunteer information about their spouse’s behavior during this period of transition, and I am appalled at the stories I hear. For instance, one client mentioned that years ago, while getting herself ready for a morning interview, she felt all pumped up, energized, excited, and ready. Just before leaving the house, she asked her husband, “So, how do I look?” His response was “Well, to start with, you’re too fat.” That assessment ruined not only her day but also her interview. As shocking and demoralizing as such a statement can be, especially from a spouse, it’s not unique or singular.

    How can the spouse help?

    First, remember your wedding vow? It probably included the words for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health—the exact ideas that apply to support of partners through hardships such as unemployment. Most couples face life’s bumps in the road along the way, but it is expected that the partners’ connection to each other involves a team relationship of support and understanding—not only through the fun times.

    A period of employment transition puts a strain on any relationship, including in the area of, say, finances, not to mention loss of identity. People identify themselves by the position they hold at work and in society. When that is lost, people feel as if they’re nobodies.

    When job loss occurs, a couple should sit down, put their heads together, and strategize. Unemployment lasts for an unknown period of time, yet the previously committed financial obligations continue. The situation requires a plan of action. Typically, the duration of unemployment is temporary and should be treated as such. But things can get very difficult when the period of unemployment is extended, and the continued emotional support and encouragement must be there unequivocally and unwavering. Being in transition can make people want to withdraw and isolate themselves socially. The spouse should watch out for such frames of mind and prevent them. If not, such a mind-set can lead to clinical depression, and what employer wants to hire a depressed person? One more thing: please don’t nag by asking why it takes so long to find a job. This is no different from asking an expectant woman in the last weeks of pregnancy, “So, when is the baby coming”?

    It’s OK or even expected that the other spouse will be encouraging, but not become a career coach or counselor. Leave those aspects of job search to the professionals, because if done incorrectly, it can backfire—with destructive consequences. Suggest instead that your life partner volunteer. Although an unpaid activity, volunteering often results in a thank-you, which are two words that people in transition don’t hear frequently. It can also lead to meeting new people—and even a job.

    A few suggestions

    • Facilitate the spouse’s getting out of the house to job search network.
    • Be emotionally supportive.
    • Be positive, encouraging, and constructive.
    • Let the other person communicate and be heard.
    • Encourage your partner to get professional job search support.
    • Remember that this is just a stage in life, and better days are ahead.
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    I am a Career Coach and my specialty is Interview Preparation. I'm known as "The Landing Expert." My clients are 90% job seekers in transition and 10% those who contemplate a career change. CLIENTS BENEFIT FROM MY SERVICES AS FOLLOWS: • Most clients land, on average, within 5 months. • In-office clients are videotaped in an interview simulation followed by a lively discussion. • Clients get "straight-talk" coaching. This "tough-love" approach pinpoints their weaknesses quickly and lets them make real-time corrections (improvements) in performance. • Interview preparation techniques are customized for a wide range of professional backgrounds, age groups and learning styles. • Clients are trained to analyze an interviewer's question then provide a focused response. • Clients are exposed to a variety of interview questions from across many industries. • Audio/Video and screen collaboration sessions can be recorded for future viewing. • Clients have on-demand access to "in-transition" support. SPECIAL ADVANTAGES FOR CLIENTS INCLUDE: • Interview preparation includes both verbal and non-verbal communication (i.e., body language and voice). • Based on 10 years of experience with 600 clients worldwide, new clients are taught how to confront and survive the most challenging interview scenarios. • Clients have immediate access to my network of 25,000+ Level 1 LinkedIn connections. • Clients and non-clients alike may download my free 90-page directory of job search/networking groups throughout NY, NJ, PA, and CT. • To provide the greatest possible reach, I have communication skills in five (5) different languages and offer unlimited e-mail & phone support. Get customized interview preparation and access to my 25,000+ Level 1 LinkedIn connections! Go to http://www.landingexpert.com/ then SERVICES and FEES for detailed information. Contact info: alex@landingexpert.com or ✆ 609.333.8866 EST

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