Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finding a Job in the Midst of a Divorce (Preparation for Job Re-Entry)

For many people, getting divorced coincides with a sudden re-entry into the job market. There are a number of legitimate reasons why one party to a marriage has been out of work for a while. In long-term marriages, the period of unemployment is often many years. It may be because of staying home with the kids, moving with a spouse whose job transferred him or her or getting laid off. Sometimes, it's a matter of changing interests -- an old career is no longer attractive. For these and other reasons, it is fairly common for one spouse in a long-term marriage to suddenly have to shift gears and start or re-start a career to be self-supporting.

The resulting job search is a common feature, especially in Collaborative divorces. While I can't give you a perfect answer to the question of how to find a job, I can help you get started in discovering the answer for yourself. Fortunately, in a Collaborative divorce, you are more likely to get cooperation from a spouse and you won't be facing the time and scheduling pressures normally associated with litigation. If education is needed, that can usually be provided for.

Here are some suggestions for getting started. These were inspired by a recent post in a blog called "Attorney at Work". It's a (very good!) blog for lawyers, and the post is about lawyers, but the approach is sound and useful for someone transitioning through a divorce and new job search.

No Idea?
If you have no idea what kind of work you want to do, you should begin researching how to identify your career preferences, interests and abilities. You should also look for opportunities, such as fields that are currently hiring in your locale (or wherever you want to live). Consider whether you want to return to a prior career or try something completely new. You can do some reading and try to figure things out yourself, or you can meet with a professional who can help you in your search. To find someone to help, look on line and ask others for recommendations for counselors.

Some Ideas.
When you have some ideas about what kind of work you want to do, you should explore the possibilities. Investigate with an open mind! Here are some steps you can follow:
  • Think. If you have an idea of what you might want to do for a living, you can start to prepare for a job search by thinking through your options. Do you want to work full-time, part-time or flex-time? Do you want to work from home or go in to an office or other job site? Do you want to stay in the same city or metro area or state? What pay level would you start at, in a perfect world? Think about such details so you can start to define what job or jobs you would consider.
  • Talk. Visit with people in the field you are interested in. It's hard for anyone to find a job, so don't feel bad about talking with friends and acquaintances about your job project. Ask for help! Put the word out that you are looking. You never know what will show up.
  • Train. Having been out of work for a while, you will need new training and updated skills. You will become more marketable if you broaden your knowledge about your chosen field. Get advice. Find out what's needed and what others are doing. Find successful people in the field and ask for their help.

I will do a follow-up post to this about what to do next. Be patient. It's extremely unlikely that you will find a great job quickly. Think it through and prepare before you really get started. It's the old "Look before you leap" approach. That helps, even in a job search.


NC Family Lawyer said...

The first step that you should take is to assess your skills/education. Only then you can try to match those skills to particular jobs that you might find desirable.

Charlotte workers comp said...

Very thoughtful post, I am sure it will help more than one!

Rebecca Hartstrom said...

Going through a divorce is already hard and having to look for a job makes it harder. This post will surely help people going through something like this. So nice of you.