CIO - No one likes to talk about their job search, especially when they're not making much headway, which is unfortunately the case for most unemployed professionals these days. But talking about your job search with your immediate family can be particularly frustrating. After all, they're the ones who have the most to gain or lose from it.
Several of the unemployed IT executives interviewed for the story, Can You Survive Unemployment, said that they didn't like talking about their job searches with their families because their efforts weren't going well. Plus, they didn't want to worry their families any more than they already were.
Another reason they didn't want to discuss their job searches with their families was because 'fessing up to the fact that they weren't getting anywhere made them feel even worse about themselves. They already felt inadequate because unemployment robbed them of their ability to provide for the material well-being of their families. Not making progress in their job searches-and having to share that with their families-exacerbated their feelings of failure and incompetence. Consequently, many just stopped talking about their job searches with their spouses.
The IT executives' partners (most of whom are women) generally reacted in one of two ways: Either they asked their husbands every day how their job search was going, or they didn't ask at all. Neither reaction is ideal, say career coaches.
"If your significant other is constantly asking, What have you done today? Are you getting out there?, it makes you feel like you're being judged, like you're not doing enough," says Michael Thompson, an executive coach and career counselor. "That becomes more destructive than not getting a job or an interview because it sets up a cycle of more yelling, more judgment and more negativity."
Yet job seekers need to take it upon themselves to communicate with their families, says Lisa Caldas Kappesser, a career coach and author of The Smart New Way to Get Hired: Use Emotional Intelligence and Land the Right Job (JIST 2010).
"Communication is so important," she says. "Letting each other know what you're doing and how your job search is going will help you gain your family's support and help them understand what's going on."
Kappesser advises newly unemployed professionals to set expectations with their families about their job search early on. Let them know that, with the economy still so uncertain and unemployment still so high, finding a new job may take a year or more. You don't want to scare them, but you need to be realistic. Reassure them that you'll do everything in your power to land a new job ASAP.
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