Q: I worked at the same job for 23 years, and was just recently laid off. It's been so long since I've had to "market" myself, I don't even know where to begin.
Jim: I'm sorry to learn about your unemployment. This is a reality facing more and more Americans.
Greg Pepe and Jim Vigorito, members of the team here at Focus on the Family, have addressed the challenges inherent to a job search. They write: "There's no sugarcoating it -- looking for a job can be one of the most challenging experiences you'll ever endure. It demands mental discipline, emotional resilience and even physical stamina. You'll have days when you are feeling encouraged and hopeful; you'll also have times when you think it's impossible even to get an interview."
But there is hope! For example, Greg and Jim recommend that job seekers ask for feedback about their skills, talents and gifts. You've probably gained unique abilities during your 23 years of employment. Don't be afraid to seek assistance in putting an impressive-looking resume together.
Greg and Jim also suggest doing some active networking. When you were last in the job market, tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Monster.com didn't even exist. It might be tough for someone who hasn't kept up with the latest technology, but using these tools to connect with other people in your field can be invaluable.
Other practical suggestions include making yourself open to temporary assignments until a full-time job comes along; becoming as knowledgeable as you can about a potential employer before an interview takes place; and perhaps most importantly, being yourself and maintaining a positive attitude throughout the job search process.
For Greg and Jim's full list of recommendations for job seekers, visit focusonthefamily.com. Best wishes to you in your search!
Juli: Obsessive gaming and computer use is quickly becoming a common marriage-killer. Although it doesn't appear to be as sinister as porn or gambling, it's a legitimate problem.
Guys get pulled into obsessive gaming because it provides an escape from the stress of real life. Like going to a movie or watching TV, gaming in moderation is a fun form of entertainment and temporary escape. However, it becomes an addiction when it's used to "self-medicate" or to tune out of life. Video games provide a virtual reality that is far more exciting than real life. A 120-pound guy who works in tech support during the day can be a conquering super-stud in the virtual world. Where real life seems mundane and depressing, video games provide endless frontiers to explore and "do-overs" when you fail.
I would start with a serious conversation with your husband about your concerns. Don't just nag him when you see him playing or yell at him when he's not helping out with the boys. Set aside a time to talk about it when there are no distractions. Tell him that you care about him, about your kids and about your marriage. Ask him to agree to some parameters to his computer use and to commit to investing more in the family.
If he doesn't agree, you need to involve a third party. Ask him to meet with a counselor or an older couple to help you work through the disagreement. If he won't see someone, you should meet with a counselor to determine how you should respond.
Dr. Juli Slattery is a licensed psychologist, co-host of Focus on the Family, author of several books, and a wife and mother of three.)
(Submit your questions to: ask@FocusOnTheFamily.com)