Confronting Unemployment

For many, identity and occupation are linked. Our self-image is often formed by our career accomplishments and how those affect our family's perception of us. It's no wonder, then, that a career change can throw every aspect of life into a tailspin.

Initially, it's exciting to land that dream job or receive a promotion, with a larger paycheck to boot. The new position may afford a nicer house — and maybe a few more luxuries. But how long will the excitement last? Even positive change can be stressful. Will you have to work more hours or weekends? Will you have a long commute? Can you live up to the boss's expectations?

And if that new job is in a new city, you're in for even more stress. Relocation challenges the entire family, particularly where school-aged children are concerned. Leaving friends behind can extend the turmoil.

Unwelcome or unexpected career changes can be even worse. Companies fold and people are fired. In some cases, a working environment becomes so unbearable that resignation seems to be the only option. Depression, fear and anxiety are all common feelings during times like these. You may wonder how your family will pay the bills. Will your spouse have to take another job? How can you regain your self-confidence?

The average American will change careers five to seven times before retirement. That means a lot of upheaval. No matter how many times you change jobs, you never seem to get used to the stress of adjusting.

Keeping the lines of communication open with your family and including everyone in the decisions can ease the transition, providing a sense of security for the changes ahead.