Unemployed Spouse (or friend) Driving You Nuts?

Many business owners and executives have spouses and friends who are presently unemployed. They attempt to be the good friend or spouse and help them. Yet, it turns out to be the worst thing they can do!

Have a straight conversation. Have a frank discussion about the changes in finances due to not working.. With a spouse, make changes together as equal partners.  As a friend, be a supportive  and have them over to dinner once a week. Have an agreement about how much time they will expend in finding their next job, or what they will do to find other part-time or temporary work. Be supportive of their endeavors. It is difficult being unemployed, or having to retire too early in their career.

If you hire them. If you choose to hire them on a part-time or temporary basis, be clear and up front. They must do the job as it is currently designed. Many may attempt to show off their job skills, which will only upset your current employees and co-workers. Have them follow the systems. Make no changes. If there are no systems, have them write up the job as you or your employees direct them to do so. Remember, no special favors should be given that are not given to your other employees!

Gift of coaching. Preserve your relationship. Hire them their own coach. A coach can have them do what they don’t want to do – and enable them to find a great job! If you attempt to do the same, they will resent you! Many, who have not had to work to find a job in the past, rely upon blasting out poorly designed resumes to find their next position. Or, they conduct poor networking campaigns. Your attempt to coach them will end up with them being resentful since they don’t believe you understand the challenges they are facing. In many cases, it is true – you don’t know! Remember, they will expect you to be there as a friend or spouse, not as their coach.

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(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2011