I really love Coldplay. I enjoy their music and had the good fortune of seeing them in concert. They are incredibly talented group. I was struck by the last Spring’s announcement of the “uncoupling” between their lead singer, Chris Martin, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Uncoupling is really just a fancy branded word for moving on; putting aside the desire to protect their professional brands and their personal lives. While I’m obviously not a marriage coach, I deal with uncoupling on a daily basis as there are many similarities between leaving a job and leaving a relationship.
When you think about it, your work is simply a series of relationships that are formalized in a professional setting. Leaving a role can be voluntary when an employee is offered a package and they accept it to move forward in a new direction. In some scenarios there is a sudden restructuring and you are impacted by a change that you may not have really wanted to occur.
Even when the relationship hasn’t been working as expected it is still a difficult transition. There is comfort even when it is predictably boring or not working for you; the change of pattern, the community of people that you lose, not to mention your loss of status and income. Layoffs also impact those around you; close relationships, including partners and children.
A British study released by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex found couples who experience job loss are more likely get divorced within a year than their employed friends.
What can a spouse do? I think the key is not to try and fix things, and the best thing you can do is be a good listener and cheerleader. When your partner in is job loss mode the one crucial thing you can help with is confidence. Reminding them of that they still have value, that you believe in them, and that they will land in a new role. The role of a career coach should complement that of the spouse as an additional support system, a neutral perspective, and accountability.
You will want to have conversations around finances and streamlining expenses, as well as managing expectations of how long it will take be re-employed. The typical job search is anywhere from 60-120 days and it can commonly take longer if your partner is more senior or if there is a change of location and/or complex scenarios. Another conversation is with the children, to assure them that their core needs will be met, and also to discuss some scenarios that could evolve such as change of location, etc.
The key with all healthy uncoupling is strong communication, patience, and ensuring you have great personal and professional support. In both relationships and work, if the uncoupling is a success then you will move forward to something that is overall a better fit for everyone involved.
Your career coach, along the road with you!
P.P.S. Join our free Webinar: CareerClass | Get the Right Career Right Now! | Learn.Grow.Succeed! Wednesday, July 9, 2014 – 12:00pm – 12:45pm