There is no doubt about it, for professionals in job transition job search is tough, frustrating and seemingly endless. Much is written about riding the emotional rollercoaster for the job seeker. But what is often overlooked is the family members reaction and role in job search.
In speaking with family members of job seekers, they often cite their own fears and frustrations. They feel completely helpless in the process. Often the family member wants to help but their well intended efforts can be counterproductive to a job seekers progress.
Outlined below are common concerns from family members and tips to help them bolster a job seekers progress.
1. “Why is this taking so long?” The job search process, even for job seekers who dedicate a full time effort, takes longer than anyone anticipates and hopes for because perspective employers dictate the pace of hiring. It is not uncommon that from the time an applicant is selected from the pile of resumes to the time of interviews up until an offer is made can easily be 4-6 weeks and can be as long as a few months. Just for one job. Hence the reasons job seekers need to always have many opportunities in the pipeline.
2. “Why aren’t they out actively interviewing?” It takes a great deal of time to uncover, apply for and network into job opportunities. The number of interviews shouldn’t be the only measure of progress. Look at number of jobs in the pipeline and number of networking connections the job seeker is making on an ongoing basis.
3. “Why don’t they appreciate the job leads I give them?” Job seekers who have a well planned and executed job search should be laser focused on the types of jobs and organizations they want to pursue. Anything outside of that focus is only a distraction. There are many good jobs in the job market, not all of them are the right job.
4. “What do they do all day?” Again with a well laid out plan the job seeker should have their weeks mapped out with a balance of networking, identifying and applying for leads, research and preparation of interviews. It is also important that the week includes time to recharge their battery, so they stay fresh as a job seeker.
5. “Why don’t they talk to me about their search?” Often job loss includes a period of working through the grief, loss, shame and shift in identify. I encourage job seekers to share those feelings with their family. I advise families not to be problem solvers but to listen with compassion.
6. “What can I do to help?” Ask the job seekers what they need from you for support. Honor that request, whatever that may be. Let them know you are not there to judge but to love them and support them during this difficult time. Trust they have a good plan to approach their search, don’t be an armchair quarterback for their job search plan. Share your feelings with them so they know how this time is impacting you as well. Job loss affects the whole family.
Remember you are in this together.