Tips On How To Handle Someone Elseís Job Loss Donít let a job-loss be the third wheel in your marriage. BY DEBBIE MANDEL
Don't let a job loss sap your marriage, follow some simple tips.
We all complain about our job: how tired we are, how bored, how busy, how unfair our boss is, how competitive the environment, yet at the same time we know that we are really lucky to have work and get a pay check. Someone you know is probably out of work at this very moment whether it is a neighbor, friend or family memberómaybe it is your spouse. You tiptoe around the laid-off person not knowing how to interact, what to say or not say. Losing a job is a great stressor. A job loss is like a death, not a physical death of course, but the death of an identity.
Most people donít separate who they are from what they do, so when they are out of work, they feel invisible or like nothing at all. A stern inner critic whispers the word, "Failure," and for a spouse, keep in mind, this is tantamount to a Greek chorus chanting, "Bad Provider." In addition, memories of old losses come to mind like being kicked off the team or not getting the lead part in the school play. Old hurts get attached to this job loss.
Obviously the focus is not on you, but how do you navigate this kind of loss? How can you help? First, you have to accept that you are not responsible for everyoneís happiness. You do not possess a magic wand to change the situation. You need to have a healthy sense of who you are and what your role is here. If you offer too much sympathy, you are exuding a weak energy instead of support.
Do not feel guilty that you are working because this will darken the dynamics of the relationship where you absorb negativity and the other person senses your suppression and actually feels worse. You have a right to claim your joy as long as you donít flaunt it. In fact, the latest research proves that happiness is contagious. Therefore, help your spouse or friend catch the wave of happiness by bringing him out to socialize with othersónot just you! Form a "happiness club" with your friends and acquaintances to create happiness synergy.
Job Loss Etiquette
* You have the ability to be a great listener. Listening helps a grieving person unburden the heart. You donít need to say a word. Simply, listening to the person sharing his reality will help him feel better. Resist the temptation to interrogate and find out the missing pieces because you are curious. Note: To fuel your spouseís communication, perform another activity together like clean out a closet, cook a meal or take a walk together and your spouse can speak side-by-side without having to make eye contact. Women tend to like eye contact, but many men donít when they feel un-empowered. Do not interrupt even if it is a lengthy monologue!
* You have great power to say something genuinely inspiring when asked for your opinion. Be careful not to hurl platitudes and proverbs such as, "Iím sure youíll find a better job real quick." Donít make false promises because when you donít deliver, people feel worse, more isolated and resentful. People are not in the mood for unrealistic cheerfulness, which can grate on their nerves. Perhaps, you have been laid off or fired in the past and know how to regroup. Maybe you have read a study about the subject and can present the research. Or you know someone who can help find a new job or can suggest how to update skills to be more marketable.
* You have fun and humor to offer. Just because someone has a problem, experienced a loss or is grieving doesnít mean that he or she canít laugh or have fun. Donít dwell on the loss like you are watching a fire. Instead, suggest a fun activity you can do together. Exercise together to release stress, create empowerment and feel better. When you are laughing, playing or relaxing, great inspirations and solutions come to mind. Tease out the inner child who is playful and daring. It is difficult to find a new job when one is depressed and beaten.
* You have movie therapy to offer. Check out films where the main character has lost his job and recovered, like Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man. Watch the video together, discuss it and see how the character finds his path. Cinderella Man happens to take place during the Great Depression.
While there are big stressors in your life you canít control just yet, make sure to deal with the little ones because stress is cumulative and inflammatory.