Near the end of 2008, I had a great work-from-home freelance job while my husband had a great 9-5 job working for a big media company. Then the economy tanked, the funding for my job went away, and my husband (along with over 1,000 of his co-workers) was laid off.
We didn't worry much at first... in our former industry it's common to go on hiatus (out of work) for a few weeks to a month or so... not a big deal.
Except this time, it took over three years -- yes, years -- for my husband to get a new full-time job. Here's what I learned along the way:
Be honest with your kids
I think one of the hardest conversations to have is this one, depending on how old your kids are. Our sons were almost 7 and 11, so we told them in basic terms what happened. We explained daddy wasn't fired for doing something bad, just that his company no longer had the money to keep him (and lots of other people) employed.
We reassured them everything would be OK, and told them while we may need to cut back on special things like eating out often or taking vacations, they'd have everything they needed. It sounds so cliché, but when your spouse is unemployed it puts things into perspective. What do you and your family really need?
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Long term unemployment takes its toll on everyone -- financially, emotionally, even physically. Whether you need professional help figuring out finances, counseling for your family or your relationship (especially now that many things have changed), or even just asking a neighbor or friend to watch the kids so you can take a long walk to clear your head... do it.