How to Lead Your Family through a Job Loss

Job Loss

Before he was elected President, Donald Trump hosted the reality TV series The Apprentice. On this show, potential businessmen compete for a one-year contract. Each episode famously ends with Trump telling one of them, “You’re fired!”

The show is wildly popular. It has run for fifteen seasons and produced several spinoffs. This is ironic because losing a job ranks as one of the most stressful experiences. Too many Americans already hear the words, “You’re fired!” in real life.

I heard these words nearly a year ago. This job loss was especially difficult because we relocated 1100 miles to accept the position. And we lived in a house provided by my employer. Not only did I lose my job; we also lost our home!

It’s embarrassing to admit, but this has happened regularly over the past decade. So I’ve gotten used to the feelings associated with losing a job. And I’ve had lots of practice at managing the transition period that comes afterward.

Most people will have to manage this crisis at some point in their lives. It’s important to remember that a job loss doesn’t just affect you. It affects your entire family, especially if you end up moving!

For the sake of our families, we need to handle job losses well. Here are a few ways I led my family through our recent transition:

Clean House
As we packed, we got rid of as much stuff as possible. We hosted a yard sale and made several donations to Goodwill. We moved to NY with a 27-foot truck, but we moved back with a 20-foot truck. Even now, my wife continues to sell our surplus at a local resale store.

Moving is the perfect time to get rid of extra stuff. If you don’t need something, donate it, sell it, or throw it away. Less stuff means lower moving costs and a less cluttered home.

Take What You Can Get
You’ve heard the expression, “Beggars can’t be choosers”? That’s especially true during a job loss. Now isn’t the time to be picky or proud. Your family needs a home, and you need to make money. So take whatever is available.

We moved from a house into an apartment. And I went from a full-time salary to two hourly jobs, neither of which require my training or experience in ministry. But you know what? We have a place to live and I’m paying the bills. And that’s all that matters.

Take Care of Yourself
Losing a job is tough. It can make you feel angry, confused, depressed, and lost. So be sure to take care of yourself. Use the extra time to rebuild healthy habits that were lost in the daily grind. This will sustain you through the job loss and strengthen you for the difficult task of finding a new job.

(For some tips on taking care of yourself, click here!)

Take Care of Your Family
It’s important to take care of yourself during a job loss. But it’s just as important not to become self-absorbed. Understand that losing a job affects your family as much as it affects you. Your spouse and kids will have similar feelings to yours, and endure the transition with you.

Be available to your family. Talk to them about how they’re doing. Include them in the decision-making process. Let them vent their feelings without taking it personally. And remember that time heals all wounds.

Reconsider Your Career
Losing a job gives us the chance to reconsider our career. It lets us evaluate whether we are headed in the right direction. Did you truly love your job? Was it what you do best? Or might there be something that suits you better?

I spent the past decade pursuing ministry. My personality and my convictions usually put me at odds with church leadership. So now I’m looking for other ways to serve the church that won’t put me at risk of losing my job.

I’m good at handling the fallout after a job loss. But that doesn’t mean I want to do it again!

Subscribe to my wife’s blog to receive her follow-up post on supporting your husband through a job loss!

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