Many people rely on their family when they are going through a difficult time to give them the emotional support they need to move forward. While we should all consider our families a vital means of support during difficult times, sometimes our expectations of their support can be unrealistic because the members cannot always relate to the stress of our experience. This happened to Karol Frank, after she found out that her daughter needed a kidney transplant. Her extended family understood very little about what she was going through, but by building an on-line network for information and moral support she quickly found a whole group of strangers who could empathize with her plight.
Career transition can be an exceptionally emotional time (psychologists rate it as one of life's most stressful events after death of a loved one and divorce). Family members want to help, but unfortunately their "help" is often interpreted as nagging by the person in transition. This leads to additional stress and a damaging breakdown in communication.
In addition to beefing up your professional network, find opportunities to connect with others that can relate to your current search. Networking groups for professionals in transition are about more than sharing leads. They are about building a community that understands the unique needs of the job seeker. Relationships formed through career transition services, the unemployment office, and seminars geared towards the job seeker can form the basis for lifelong friendships and an extended support network.
Sometimes it takes a village to support a job seeker. I'm continuously impressed by the willingness former job seekers display to give back to the "in transition" community. Many are passionate about helping others find meaningful work because they identify with the struggles the job seeker often faces. By building relationships with others in career transition, you may find a strong advocate, an accountability partner, or a lifelong friend. The experience will make you a better networker and a better person, because you can give back to the community in a meaningful and authentic way for years and years to come.
Posted by Barbara Safani