Yesterday my currently unemployed 24 year-old son stopped by for a socially distanced, masked up visit before an interview. Now, imagine for a moment that you’ve got an interview lined up and your mom is a career coach…think that sounds amazing? In truth, not so much. Not for either of us.

Which got me to thinking how job hunting can impact the job hunter, and everyone who cares about them.

The Truth About Being in Relationship with a Job Hunter

Did I give my son some unsolicited advice? Of course I did. And he, predictably, gave me a look. So I said, “Do you know why I said that?” and he replied, “Yes. Because you feel like you don’t have any control.” Exactly.

This is beyond uncomfortable for me. And, not just because I’m a career coach and thinking about the job application process, or the interview, or the power of a thank you note. It’s difficult for all of those reasons AND because:

  1. I love him and want him to be happy
  2. I’m concerned about his future, and everything feels scary right now
  3. I’m concerned about his finances and what that means for us as his parents. When do we step in, what does that look like? What are the consequences of those decisions for us and for him?
  4. Numbers 1-3 above motivate me to seek information and reassurance from him, an instinct that I try to repress whenever I can for the sake of our relationship

I know I’m lucky because my son keeps me in the loop and we both make an effort to speak honestly about the situation. A sense of humor helps too!

I also know that my job right now, and your job if you’re in a similar situation is to:

  1. Be a cheerleader.
  2. Save advice for when I am asked.
  3. Assume I will get news if there is any.
  4. Find other things to talk about.

How Job Hunters Can Make it Easier for Those Who Care

Now to you, job hunters, if words like, “Why don’t you trust me,” or “I know what I’m doing,” are your reactions to even the most innocent questions about how your job search is going, you may want to consider a different approach. Here’s what you can do to make things easier for those who care about you:

  1. Provide regular (weekly) updates on your search without being asked. This is especially important if others depend on you financially, or if you may need to be reliant on them.
  2. Be really clear about what you are looking for and why so that you can smile through the unsolicited advice. Just say “thank you.”
  3. Assume people who offer advice are coming from a good place. Listen. You may learn something.
  4. Find something else to talk about.

I’m very aware that this is all easier said than done. Just remember that with all the challenges out there right now, the most important things are the people in our lives. Put your relationships first, and everything else will eventually fall into place.


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