Train Your Loved Ones to Support You Better

How do you protect yourself from that dreaded question: “You got a job, yet?”

It’s well-meaning, (unless it’s said with sarcasm, then it really hurts). Good friends or a family member have no idea how demoralizing that one little question is.

You are already feeling frustrated that you haven’t found work yet, and now that awful question makes you want to throw up your hands and give up. But there is something you can do instead. You can train your loved ones and friends. Here’s how:

First, be honest with them. Here’s an example of what you might say: “You know, I know you are concerned, but asking me if I have a job yet isn’t helpful. But I do really appreciate your concern. So here’s what I want you to ask instead.

•    What’s your job search plan for this week?
•    How may I support you?
•    Do you need someone to scream and whine with you for about 5 minutes?

Train your loved ones to ask you if you are keeping your commitments.  Then you can reassure them that you have a plan and are moving forward. You may also want to tell them that you have an accountability partner or career coach that is helping you build momentum.

Find a picture online of a shield that will symbolize that you have a self-protection strategy in place. Put it somewhere where you will see it frequently such as over your laptop.

But training them to stop asking that question isn’t enough.  Ask yourself if you are sucking the life out of the very people who want to support you.

It’s not easy to be around you when you have unlimited permission to vent, dump or despair. While you want them to be there for you, you don’t want to exhaust them either. (Well, maybe a little. Who doesn’t like to tell a good traumatic story?) Tell your friends and loved ones, “Look, I know I’ve been down, and I appreciate  using you as a sounding board. Yet I am also aware of being awfully needy right now.

My fear is if I reach out to you too often, you will go away and not want to be with me anymore. So I was thinking it might be helpful to set some time limits. Is it okay to complain or be discouraged with you for ten minutes a day? Or would once a week for 20 minutes be better? What works for you?” Tell them that they have permission to say, “I can’t talk right now, could we touch base tomorrow?” Then ask permission to remind them NOT to ask the “You got a job, yet?” question.

You are creating mutual support. Your job search will affect others, too. You want to be able to ask for what you need, and understand what they need, too.

My promise is to train my loved ones to only ask me if I am keeping my promises. I will reassure them that I have a plan and am moving forward. And I will be okay, if I ask for support and they say, “No”.  What small action will you make today?

Thank you, God for the opportunity to have mutual support in my life. I know I’ve been isolating and staying away from well-meaning friends. Help me to reach out and ask them for support. Help me to write a letter to the ones I’ve driven away to let them know that I am sorry. Let me also write about what I need if I don’t have the energy to verbally ask. Protect me and comfort me if they don’t respond the way I want. Amen!

Only you can decide when it’s time to bring in an outside career expert, like me.
Let’s talk about your current situation by calling 314-560-1088 or if you are ready to get started now, go ahead and sign up for my two-hour diagnostic session that will pinpoint what’s getting in the way and how to fix it. Advance with a planning intensive. Ready To Get Started?

1 reply
  1. Tim Perry
    Tim Perry says:

    Good stuff Shary! You hit it right on the mark. I have a great circle of friends and family that are my biggest fans and best supporters but when I get asked that question I automatically get defensive. Thanks for putting it out there that it’s just not me.


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