I think I'm doing all the right things on my search, but my husband has been highly anxious and, therefore, highly critical. He keeps telling me that I need to "knock on doors" or "close the deal." He doesn't understand that when I'm working at home, I'm researching and creating emails to potential networking contacts and trolling through LinkedIn for more of the same. I'm finding that his constant anxiety and sometimes angry behavior are counter-productive for me. Frankly, he's never had to look for any job and is clueless about what I'm doing. Any suggestions?
Over the years, I've found that a significant other (or whatever you want to call them) frequently becomes yet another barrier to successful search. The anxiety of the other person turns into anger with the person on search, out of insecurity, financial fears, and loss of structure. Obviously, this is not helpful or supportive - something that is required for anyone on any search.
I have a few suggestions that usually help. First, the person on search should try to explain everything that they're doing, and what a state-of-the-art search consists of in 2013. That it's not a matter of "knocking on doors" or calling everyone you know and asking for a job. Explain why those techniques don't work well, that successful search these days is far more sophisticated than that. And lay it all out carefully.
Another technique for defusing a new, difficult dynamic in a relationship is to try and get out of the house as much as possible, possibly to a library, to do a lot of the grunt work - research, letter writing, et al - away from the person who's getting more and more anxious.
Keep the conversation going. Explain what you've done in the previous day. Show you're being proactive.
Search puts a strain on relationships. Period. Recognizing that it's a natural part of this difficult process will help you confront it rather than reacting to the other person's anxiety.
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