Q&A: Husband Depressed After Layoff

QUESTION: My husband was laid off in 2010 from his job as a factory floor manager. He worked for that company for 22 years. It took him several months to get over losing his job, even though he didn’t like working there anyway. The problem now is that my husband doesn’t seem too motivated to find a new job. I make enough money to support us – barely. But it would be great if he would make a serious effort to find a job. What type of job leads do you have for a 55-year-old man?

ANSWER: I am sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, in this economy, your family’s story is common. You are anxious for your husband to contribute to the finances. I bet that he wants that, too. Also, he might not show it, but he probably wants to be active and productive, like he was when he was working.

Your husband is probably feeling a bit lost and discouraged. He is likely still grieving the loss of his job, like many people who are laid off. Losing your job after decades of working for the same company is especially hard. It can feel as heartbreaking as the end of a marriage or other long-term relationship.

The truth is, if your husband is having a hard time getting over losing his job, it will affect all of his job search efforts.

  • He might resent having to job search and won’t be happy with any new options.
  • His lack of confidence will keep him from networking and meeting employers.
  • He won’t be able to focus on the future because he is stuck in the past.
  • Employers will sense his anger or sadness.

Remember, your husband did not just lose his steady paycheck, he lost contact with his coworkers and friends. He lost his identity in the workplace, as well as his identity as an income-provider for your family.

Even though he was laid off two years ago, the emotional bruises might take more time to heal. If your husband is showing signs of depression, have him talk to his doctor or a counselor for tips and resources to move past this difficult situation.

When your husband is ready to reevaluate his career identity and look for new opportunities, you can send him to CareerOneStop’s Worker ReEmployment portal. It has job search tips, networking resources and training options for dislocated workers.

An important section of the Worker ReEmployment portal is the “Considered Overqualified?” section that has resources to help your husband to redo his resume and succeed in job interviews.

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Author Bio: Denise Felder is a writer and career adviser encouraging everyday people to make positive life and career choices.

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