When Your Loved One Is Struggling to Cope With the Loss of Employment

Here it is!  The final week in the Ask Dr. McCale series.  I hope you've enjoyed reading.   I know it's been an honor to have Dr. McCale here as a guest the past 6 weeks.   Thank you, Christina!  :)

If you haven't checked out her book yet, click on the image for more details.

Also, if you missed any of the previous posts from this series, here are the links for your reading enjoyment:

Think It Won't Happen To You?

The Inspiration Behind Waiting For Change

Getting Over the Embarrassment:  Food Stamps and a Trip to the Food Bank

Making Big Decisions After a Layoff

Coping With Unemployment:  A Mother's Perspective


Q:  With 23 million Americans out of work right now, it seems the emotional impact of unemployment would be more readily understood among social circles of family and friends.   

What advice would you give someone whose loved one is having a difficult time coping with the loss of employment and income? 

I think the problem they face is often one of a lack of knowledge.

Close family members and friends often don’t know what’s happening – because their loved one might downplay the situation. Only when the situation becomes so critical – repossession or foreclosure – when the evidence of their situation becomes public, do people know.

Close family members and friends often don’t know what to say once they do. Telling the unemployed person to “buck up” or to “just get back out there” often discounts what the person is also feeling, the emotional trauma they’ve lived through.

Being laid off or fired is more like a death than people give credit to.  Our work lives are a part of our very character – a vital part of our psyche.  Many of us derive our entire identities from work – I’m a carpenter, I’m a manager, etc.  and so when that identity is lost, that loss is a death. We wouldn’t (or shouldn’t ) tell a widow to “just get over it” or “move on”… and job loss really is no different.

Close family members also often don’t know how much to reach out. And that’s a tricky one. On the one hand their loved one needs their support; on the other hand, the loved one will often do anything and everything to keep from getting hurt or being judged again and so may inadvertently push a way or even drive away those who love them.

And of course our own lack of emotional or mental health understanding often clouds what we think we might do for others.

In short, there is no easy answer.

But I would tell them that the panacea-like responses of “just get back out there” don’t really help. Be there. Listen. Invited them to dinner at your house. Find “free” things to do with that person that will also keep that person out and doing something.

Make gentle offers when the person seems receptive: offer connections to your network; offer to review their resume; if you hear of a job that might fit them, let them know.  If you read about a resource that you think might help them and their situation – send it. But also understand that your friend is grieving. Don’t discount their grief.


Q:  What other books have you written? 

In addition to Waiting for Change, I’ve written three books on how college students can (and should) prepare to market themselves in order to successfully enter the “real world” of business, such as Self Marketing Plan: Teaching marketing concepts for career planning.

While these books are more “academic” – directed to other marketing or business professors – the basic ideas could be used by anyone. In a joint project with my long time research and writing partner, Dr. Richard Moody, we did a series of 11 annotated classics that many students need to read (such as The Count of Monte Cristo, A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations).

More recently, Dr. Moody and I started, coordinated, and edited a series entitled Start Your Internet Business Now. Currently there are two compendiums of written works –essays – from well-known and successful Internet Marketers.   36 Things You Need to Know compiles the top three things that 12 internet marketers wished they had known or thought of when they first started their businesses.  This book is available in both e-format as well as print.

The second book, Lightbulb Moments:  Life Lessons for Business Success, looks at the life experiences we all have – natural disaster, death, divorce, etc – and relates how these entrepreneurs learned valuable business lessons from these situations as well.  It is currently available in e-format and should be available in print shortly.


Q:  Do you have any new projects in the works?    


I’m currently writing and researching 3-4 new books. One will be a “follow up” to Waiting for Change.

A second book is exploring life lessons gleaned from other experiences. A third book discusses some of the lessons I’ve learned from a teaching opportunity I had with Chinese college students. The fourth book is one that I’ve had in the works for a while now – and is about the marketing trends that affect business.

My writing and research partner and I are also exploring continuing the Start Your Internet Business Now compendium series.


Waiting for Change is available for sale via paperback and Kindle formats.


Thank you so much Christina!   I have loved having you as a guest here at Unemployed Faith and I know your words have been powerfully encouraging to so many who have visited throughout the past six weeks, not to mention all the future readers who will also be blessed by what you've shared.

Now dear reader, it's your turn.

Do you have a loved one going through unemployment?  How have you helped them cope?   If you have any questions for Dr. McCale, please share in the comments below.





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Do you have your copy of the book UnEMPLOYED Faith yet?   It's only $4.99 and is available on Kindle, NOOK, and PDF.

You won't want to miss reading the raw details of my story, plus be encouraged by the 10 tried and true coping tips for enduring your spouse's season of unemployment with strength and dignity.  Plus there's a challenge at the end of each chapter to help get you moving productively.

Also available for FREE is this (click to download) - Praying Him Through Unemployment: A 6-Week Prayer Guide