Let’s take a look at the situation when the male partner has been laid off and the female spouse or companion is bringing home the bacon. According to this site, 82% of the people who’ve lost a job have been men. While we may wonder at this amazing disproportion, let’s not forget that males are still the vast majority of the workforce. When the responsibility falls on the woman’s shoulders, the relationship may suffer or be strengthened, depending on each partner’s reaction. Words like “emasculation” or “Mr. Mom” jump to mind when describing the new roles, and few men relish the change.
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When The Breadwinner Loses His Job
One of the ugly consequences of facing a job layoff, especially for those who used to hold high-level jobs, is the risk of depression. The more specialized the person is and the higher the position, the greater the difficulty to find employment. Take the case of this unemployed fellow, who at first tried to find another job, but over the past few months has grown more and more depressed, such that he no longer bothers to look for employment anymore. There aren’t many open slots for vice-presidents in financial institutions (they are mostly broke), and unless the guy who’s laid off is lucky enough to receive a golden parachute, his life style and his self-esteem are going to be severely affected.
Manage Job Loss When Gender Roles Are Changed
Among traditional families and older generations, the typical role of the woman, even those working all day, has been to take care of the house. One can still find a few examples among recently married young men who had a mother who took care of everything, from cooking to keeping things in order. One of my younger female colleagues has been bitterly complaining about her husband who made the mistake of reproaching his lack of clean clothes at home. She didn’t contest this matter; in fact, she resisted the temptation to argue, knowing that a bitter dispute would follow otherwise.
But with job loss, things can become more complicated. I do remember losing my job on a couple of occasions during my 40’s and 50’s, and feeling more and more hopeless the longer I stayed at home. My feelings of worthlessness back then were accentuated, the longer I hung around at home doing nothing. One time was just before Christmas and the whole family could feel my angst. I now realize that without their total support, I would have wallowed in self-pity for much longer instead of looking for options.
Put The Family First
Many thousands of Americans who are still working, live with the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, threatening to fall at any time. The family life is thus disrupted and children suffer the most since they don’t quite understand why their father is in such a bad mood every day. Hence the need, guys, to take a good look at yourselves and stop the downward emotional spiral. Feeling sorry for your precious ego isn’t going to help. Your family comes first, no matter what; if you have to wash dishes and mop the floor while the Mrs. brings home the bacon, then so be it. You’ll finally understand that house chores involve heavy work that must be shared. There is no shame at all in assuming what used to be feminine roles, since the end result will be emotional harmony in the family. After all, jobs will return! So let’s be thankful for the loving support of our loved ones.
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