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Dealing With A Lay Off - It's A Family Affair

Thursday, 19 Feb 2009 | 11:11 AM ET
CNBC.com

Individuals aren’t the only ones dealing with the range of emotions that a job loss can ignite: shock, fear, paralysis, disappointment, anxiety, and more.

These potent emotions affect the individual initially, but quickly affect the spouse, and certainly the children.

Here are some strategies for helping relieve that anxiety for you, your spouse/significant other, and your children. But first things first – you need to be ok before you can assure others.

YOU FIRST: Only when you are centered, confident and ready to move forward, will everyone else in your family be ok. So you first need to concentrate on finding that inner courage to move forward. Being unemployed should be treated as an objective problem because it doesn’t define you. It’s an event / something that happened, which in turn, redirects a lot of your energy. Treat it as an experience. I know – this isn’t easy - but do what you can to not take it personally.

Another way to decrease your stress is to review your finances, and determine how many months of cushion you have financially. If there isn’t much of a cushion there, take action NOW: decrease expenses, sell things on ebay, tap into a HELOC if possible, take on temporary employment.

Perhaps this perspective will give perspective: Truly, you have a job. Your JOB is to find a job. So set aside 3 – 5 hours a day to WORK on your job search by: researching companies, networking, and following up.

If you still cannot find your inner strength, perhaps talking to a professional will help.

FAMILY SECOND: OK – you are ready to go, focused on your job search, have a smile on your face, but your family still feels the pain. Here are some strategies to help them deal. You can’t look for a job 10 hours a day, but 3 to 4 hours is a good amount of time. So during some non-search time, spend time with the kids doing productive things that don’t cost anything. Clean out that garage/attic! Getting organized makes everyone feel great! Instead of spending $100 per month on lawn care, get the kids into the act and make it a family affair, which saves money, makes your home look beautiful, and everyone benefits from the exercise. Get involved in the PTA, the community and your children’s sports activities. You’ll have fun, and you’ll meet a lot of new contacts - not a bad way to invest some time, AND build your network! Ninety five percent of this country believes in a higher power, so strengthen your family by praying together. It brings a lot of peace to a lot of people so try it!

JOB SEARCH THIRD: Whew! That was a lot to deal with. Your job search is a huge topic, so I will include this in my next blog for next week … tune in for a six step job search plan that will absolutely propel your search forward!

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Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio is a career coach and co-founder of SixFigureStart and has worked for the bluest of blue chips for the past 25 years. Her companies include Citigroup, Pfizer, and most recently as the COO of Campus Recruiting for Merrill Lynch. Connie also co-authors a career blog for Vault.com.

Comments? Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com

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