Women who've been laid off can be trapped at home

WORKING WOMAN

November 17, 1991|By Niki Scott

If you're a working woman with a family and have been laid off from your job, you're probably facing all the trauma that all people face when they lose their jobs -- and more.

Like them, you're dealing with shock, disbelief, anxiety, anger, depression and embarrassment.

But unlike a man's family, yours may not be at all upset by your loss.

"When I lost my job, I spent an entire day driving aimlessly around the city agonizing over how I was going to break this terrible news to my husband," wrote a Raleigh, N.C., reader.

"I needn't have worried. The first thing he said was, 'You've been laid off? Great! I know you're upset and your feelings are hurt, but I can't pretend to be sorry that you don't have to go to work anymore.'

" 'This family needs you at home,' he said.

"Niki, somehow I can't imagine anyone saying this to a man who'd just lost his job!"

And a Waco, Texas, woman's recent letter began, "If a man gets laid off, his friends and family gather round and offer sympathy and support.

"If a woman gets laid off (me, for example), her friends and family gather round and tell her it's probably for the best because now she can stay home for a while -- where they think she belonged nTC in the first place, I suppose."

Not only do we women frequently feel misunderstood when we lose our jobs, we often find it harder than men do to gear up for the full-time job of finding another one, too.

As soon as a woman becomes unemployed, she's likely to find every minute of her time filled with the available work of parenting, housework, caring for older relatives, etc.

If you've been laid off, keep in mind that this is not the time to beat yourself up. Instead, this is the time to reach out to people who will give you understanding, encouragement, sympathy and support.

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