Unemployed men struggle with new roles

January 17, 2011

Male members of the work force facing unemployment — it’s not an uncommon thing anymore. So how do they reconcile their job search with the traditional role of providing for the family?

The Star-Ledger ran a great piece today about unemployed men, who have lost their jobs because of the economy, trying to come to terms with their inability to be the traditional family breadwinner. Men tend to be in job fields that have been harder hit (the story says construction, manufacturing and finance), so some of them are finding themselves doing the housework, cooking and running children around while their wives work full-time.

We’ve come a long way with equal rights for women, to be sure, but there’s no denying that many if not most men still feel they have to provide for their families. Of course, many men do find fulfillment in taking over more household and child-rearing duties. It’s not unheard of to know a stay-at-home dad anymore.

Others find a job that pays less, but still brings some money into the family. Others get involved with volunteering, or join networks that provide support for losing your job, and resources for finding a new one. Still others use a layoff or job loss as an opportunity to pursue a new passion.

I know one man in particular that was actually fired from a bad job situation — but turned it around and built his own successful company. A few years out, he’s now happier than he ever was at the first job. We say now that his unemployment was the best thing that could happen to his career.

Have you been in a situation where you were once the breadwinner, but had to deal with a job loss? Did you fit into a new role for a while? Or were you able to use that downtime to go back to school, or start your own business?

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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