The Career Doctor™
by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez
Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers?
Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist
specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of
your own, use the anonymous ,
and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here.
Contact in ation is here.
HOW DO I TELL MY KIDS THAT I'VE BEEN FIRED?
Dear Career Doctor:
I lost my job two weeks ago and I have been very, very anxious ever
since. Even though I have a decent severance package and some savings,
I have nightmares about losing my house. I also don't know how to tell
my kids -- I'm afraid of how they may react. I think I can get another
job, but who knows in this economy.
The first thing to do is to stop "catastrophizing" -- scaring yourself
by assuming you will lose your house, or your kids will not be able to
cope with the fact that you got fired. There is a big difference between
assuming a catastrophe is going to occur, (which just makes a person
anxious) and making a rational plan about what to do "if" the worst
happens. So concentrate on rational planning.
It is good for kids to see a parent facing a problem and staying calm
while working hard trying to solve it. This will make you a great role
model for how they can cope when they face a problem in their life.
Tell the kids a positive version of the truth: that you have lost your
job, and you are working to find a new one. If the kids are old enough
to understand about spending money, also say that everyone will have
to begin saving money until you get a new one. Let the family work together
to come up with ideas about how to cut the budget. Kids will feel good
if they can contribute something to the savings. (I have worked with
many people who felt guilty when their parents cut back in hard times
but continued to indulge them.)
If the kids ask about keeping the house, tell them that there is no
problem for now and that the most important thing is that you will always
be together. Kids just want to know that their parents will be with
them and keep them safe. (While no kid wants to lose a home, feeling
safe has much more to do with having loving parents than living in a
Focus on loving each other and trying to have fun together -- coming
up with creative ways to have inexpensive fun with family and friends.
And don't forget to continue to have the family give to people who are
less fortunate than you are. It is a great lesson (and reassuring to
kids), for example, buy some extra groceries to donate to a food pantry
or to give a donation however small, to help "people who need this more
than we do."
The Career Doctor
The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont
psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.
Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.
For more in ation go to www.jacquelineplumez.com.