Shock, grief, disappointment, mourning, anger and worry. These are all emotions that come to the surface when a father loses his job. And these are all emotions that will be faced by your family members when you are subject to job loss. What can a dad do to help himself and his family through this transition time?
1. Face reality. Come to grips with your new situation. Get through your own grieving process quickly and assess where you and your family are at this new starting point. The longer it takes for you to quit the blame game, get over it and move forward in the face of the new reality, the better it will be for you and for your job search.
2. Discuss with your partner what has happened. Keeping your job loss a secret may seem tempting, but it is the worst thing you can do. Your partner can offer support, encouragement and direction, all things you will need. Make sure that you and your partner are together and on the same page as you move into this transition period in between jobs.
3. Call a family council. Tell the family that you have lost your job. Remind them that this is a time of transition and that the whole family will need to help in reducing costs and contributing to family financial security. Ask the children for advice in meeting family needs. Reassure them that everything will be OK, but that there may be hard times to go through. You must communicate concern, but also hope and optimism.
4. Involve the whole family. Some families experiencing job loss have children search the newspaper for help wanted ads, for grocery store coupons, or for other money saving ideas. In some cases, children have found lawn-mowing or babysitting jobs that have helped contribute to family income. Remember, just a generation ago, our kids worked on the family farm and contributed to the family income. There is no shame in working as a family to meet the family’s financial obligations.
5. Make finding a job your full time job. Apply everywhere and work your network. Check ads in the newspaper, online and at companies where you think you have a chance. Be persistent, but not annoying, with your potential employers. If you are eligible for unemployment insurance, apply as soon as possible.
6. Take advantage of family time. As you search, there will inevitably be times when you’ll have downtime. Use that time to connect with your spouse and children to help them ease through the process. Time with family can also be a good diversion from the stress of the job search.
Tips for Job Seeking Fathers
- Network, network, network. Most new jobs are found through the process of knowing someone who knows someone who knows about a job. Use online networking tools like LinkedIn as well as personal contacts.
- Keep communication lines open with family members. Share both successes and failures in your job search. This can be a time when family unity can be strengthened as you work together toward a significant family goal. Families can become stronger through crisis, or they can become more divided. It largely depends on the attitude of the parents.
- Be prepared for a little backlash. Children or spouses may say hurtful things under stress. Just let them go and keep moving forward.