Navigating Your Family Through Your Job Search

Looking for a job is often a long and crooked process, many twists and turns peppered with ups and downs, not to mention hopes raised and dashed. It all comes to a screeching halt once that great offer comes in and you turn your attentions from job search to job start.

But one of the most difficult elements to manage during that searching time is your family. The more your family relies on your income, the more stressed everyone will be throughout your search. They may come home every day and ask “did you get a job today”? That’s almost like asking someone who recently embarked on a weight loss plan if they lost all their weight today. These things don’t happen in one day and they don’t happen neatly or without struggle. And they certainly don’t happen better or faster with someone asking you all the time about the result.

At CE we recommend to our job searching clients to do a few key things that will help the whole family get through this stressful time with more understanding, better support, and less fallout when the tide does turn and life gets back to normal again:

  1. Get started right away with a clear and executable game plan for your job search. Write it down. You can hire professional help in a job search coach, or you can try to do it on your own. But write down your search strategy so you know from day to day what you need to do.
  2. Do a budget or review your finances so you can get a clear picture of your financial outlook. Are you going to need to cut spending? How much and how soon?
  3. Sit down with your spouse and share the results of points #1 and #2. Fear and frustration will come between you two if you don’t communicate that you are aware of the situation, you have a plan, and how you plan to execute both financially and from a search perspective. If your spouse sees that you are realistic and committed to the work ahead, he or she will be more likely to pull with you and not against you.
  4. Involve the children to the extent that it is appropriate according to age and situation. We have seen parents try to hide the truth from their kids, but kids are inevitably affected by cost cutting and their response will be different if they know ahead of time and are prepared.
  5. Stick with your search plan and activities every day. Maintain the discipline of an early rise and typical work day devoted to the job search. Your family will feel more secure if they see how serious you are taking the search.
  6. Get out of the house to meet people, build your network, and do other things. Close the laptop at the end of the day and take your kids to practice or the park. Go shopping and make dinner. Go for a run. Avoid acting like a martyr who can’t smile or play until you have a job. Your manner and attitude will tell your family everything they need to know. And right now, they need confidence.
  7. Help your spouse understand the importance of each milestone. From the resume to the cover letter, target list, and actual submittals. Each milestone takes time and effort, and feels so good when it’s complete. Help your spouse celebrate with you when you end the day having submitted several applications, woke up to one or two responses, or were even able to schedule a few meetings.

Celebrating the signed offer is easy. Invite your family to help you celebrate all along the way. The steps that make up a job search are tedious, and few searches go from resume to hire in 45 seconds flat. Your family is along for this ride, so you might as well all put on your seatbelts, share the map, and settle in for a family adventure. Help navigate them through, and your family will be a better and stronger unit on the other side if you do.

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