Out of work

Dear Guys,

I am in need of advice on how to best help my guy who is dealing with the difficult task of finding a job where there are no longer jobs.  He lives in another city and we have been in a relationship for the past year which is working out great. However, he is becoming more and more frustrated at not being able to locate the kind of job he is qualified for in the area where he lives.  Today he was hoping to get hired at a job which he interviewed for last week and was told today that they hired in-house. I do not know how to help him through this or what to say or do?  I told him I am here for him.  I do not want to say or do the wrong thing to make him withdraw from me.

What are your thoughts…

Thanks for your help,


Dear Pam,

Thanks for your note. These are difficult times for many folks who are out of work.

Men often define themselves by their job, especially if they enjoy what they’re doing, or if they’re making a lot of money. And when things don’t go well, these guys struggle the most. It’s not just a matter of financial security, but also emotional well being, and sense of self. These feelings can snowball into frustration, anger, and depression. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Your guy may, or may not, want to talk with you about his struggles. But your “job” is to listen as best you can. Many guys will just keep it all inside, because to speak it out loud, is to admit weakness and defeat-similar to guys who won’t ask for directions even when they’re hopelessly lost. So be supportive by letting him know you love him, and that you’re there for him. (It sounds like you’re already doing this.)

If you want to actively help, we would suggest doing small things. If you happen to see a job listing he might be interested in forward it to him. Or if you have a connection he might benefit from talking to, mention it to him. But be careful here, this could backfire. He might be very open to it, but he also might think you’re coddling him and resent you.

So the best thing to do Pam, is to talk to him, especially before you try to help him out. Tell him how you’re feeling and ask him what he’d like from you. He certainly doesn’t want you feeling sorry for him, but he will appreciate knowing that you’re there, and that you care. He probably already does, and may or may not be expressing this to you. Ask him if he’d like your help.  And if he doesn’t, drop it. Also keep in mind, that since you’re his girlfriend, he might take his frustration out on you. People sometimes do this with the people they are closest with. If this happens, try to be patient, but also let him know that you’re trying to help, and that his situation impacts you as well, because you care.

And finally we would say, the little things help. When you visit, try to focus on having lots of fun, but without spending tons of money. Maybe plan some outings, like a hike with a picnic, or dinner at home, with something “special” planned for dessert. You get the idea. He’ll appreciate the distraction.

Just be yourself Pam. That’s really all you can do. If you’re relationship is solid, built on trust, respect and good communication, you’ll weather this hard time.

Good luck to you and him. We’re hoping for the best for both of you.

Keep us posted.


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1 Comment on Out of work

  1. I think your advice about listening is on target. Sometimes people just need a person whom they trust so they can vent. These are difficult times, and more so for men because much of their self-esteem is about what they do career-wise. True, it is not gender-specific, but I really think it impacts guys more.

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