It’s tough to find the right words and actions to convey to someone who has lost their job—even more so if that person is your partner. Losing your job is a difficult reality for some and is hard for even the most rational beings to navigate. As the person they’re looking to lean on, this may feel like unfamiliar territory. What do you say and what do you do? You don’t want to pity them, yet you don’t want to seem nonchalant either. Here are a few suggestions to help you support your partner in their career transition.
Come From a Place of Love
Remember, when you decided to commit to your partner, the main objective was that you would be willing to face tough times with them; and getting laid off is part of that commitment. Of course this is easier said than done. In fact, financial problems are a huge stressor on relationships. Career transition coach Cheryl Stein explains, “It tends to flare up any problems that are just under the surface.” So when your significant other comes to you with the news of their layoff, remember to keep your relationship in its entirety in perspective. Money woes are often temporary. Money can be replaced, but finding a solid partner is not as easily replaceable.
Let Your Partner Grieve
While no one has died, your partner has lost part of his or her identity. Considering that the average worker puts in 47 hours of work per week, it’s not surprising that people often view their jobs as part of who they are. This is going to be an emotional time for your partner, as they have to figure out how to regain part of the identity they lost when being let go. Allow them to mourn and come to terms with this life change. Psychcentral suggests letting your partner vent and air out their frustrations, fears, and any other emotion they may be feeling. If needed have them seek out counseling if you are unable to bear the brunt of the stress.
Keep Up Morale
When you’re on the bad side of a layoff, you’re ego takes a bruising. Your significant other is likely feeling a host of emotions ranging from, humiliation, suspicion, despair, and insecurity, among others explains Parenthood. As their partner, you can best aid in this tough time by aiming to keep their spirits up. You can do small gestures like having them help with tasks to boost their ego or sending them an assortment of flowers as a sign to let them know you understand they’re hurting at the moment. Be the symbol of encouragement for your partner so they can rebound effectively, dust off the experience, and feel confident when getting back into the job market.
Have a Plan
Perhaps the biggest consequence of having a partner get laid off is the loss of income. It’s difficult to say when your significant will return to the workforce, so it is imperative that together, you come up with a plan to safeguard your finances. Help your partner sort out their financial options such as, severance package, COBRA insurance, and if they qualify for unemployment. After you sort out the monetary aspect, when they are ready, come up with a game plan to help them seek out employment. This could mean updating their LinkedIn, networking with contacts, and looking within your network to put feelers out for potential prospects. Try not to appear critical and keep their feelings in mind when discussing these topics. Your partner may be feeling sensitive and vulnerable, so it’s best to have a gentle approach.
Getting let go from a job is both mentally and physically draining. One can feel as though they lost a part of themselves. Your partnership may feel the strain of this job loss. Remember when handling the loss of your partner’s job; be supportive, proactive, and patient. By keeping these tips in mind, you can help your partner get back on their feet while maintaining your relationship at the same time.