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How your family can survive a job loss; The effects of the recession mean that many people will be out of work before Christmas. Here's how the family can help if it happens to you.

Byline: Tanith Carey

If you've been made redundant

Let yourself grieve

"Redundancy can be almost like a death," says Janet Davies, author of Rebuilding Your Life After Redundancy.

"Don't sweep how you feel under the carpet. You need to allow yourself to go through similar stages of grieving: shock, denial, anger and acceptance."

Get into a routine

In this tough market, you may have to wait a while before you get another job. Owen Morgan, expert at human resources firm Penna, says establishing a routine will help.

"Putting some structure around your week will give you direction. For example, choose Monday to apply for jobs, Tuesday for networking, Wednesdays for volunteering, or education and skillbuilding and so on."

Expect a bumpy ride

Accept that there will be ups and downs, says Janet. "Life after losing your job is not like a straight line. You will have little aftershocks.

"Remember there will be a million tiny indignities along the way - the spotty youths half your age interviewing you, or the employers who don't phone back. Be prepared."

Don't beat yourself up

Losing your job was probably not your fault. You were most likely just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Christine Northam, of Relate, says: "There's no stigma attached to redundancy any more. Meet with others in your situation with a positive attitude."

Get some exercise

"Stress and anger can paralyse you, so it's essential you let those feelings out," says Janet. "Have a good walk every day, take the dog, go to the gym. It gives you thinking time about new directions you might want to take in life."

Be constructive

"Go to the library, not down the pub," says Janet Davies.

"It may be tempting to drown your sorrows but that way lies ruin. You no longer have the excuse that you are too busy to do that thing you have always wanted to do."

Call old friends - word-of-mouth is a good way to get a job.

A partner's role

Sort out your finances

Take the pressure off your partner by offering to reorganise the family finances. Suspend gym memberships, cut back on non-essentials like satellite TV and try to reduce food bills.

Up your income

Stuart Parkin, of Kensington Financial Management Consultants, says a partner can help by developing sidelines. "There are lot of ways to make extra cash, such as decluttering your home then selling items online or at a car boot sale."

Be honest

Set aside five minutes each day to tell each other about how you really feel.

Say I love you

Your partner's ego will be bruised - so give them extra reassurance. Celebrity life coach Nik Speakman says: "As love doesn't cost anything, spending time together at home watching favourite DVDs can help strengthen the relationship and re-ignite old passions."

Help for the kids

Hold a family conference

Psychologist Nik says: "The situation should be presented to kids in a positive way like, 'Just to let you know Dad's been made redundant so he may be at home a bit more until he finds himself an exciting new job'."

Teach them a life lesson

"Use this as a chance to teach kids how to have fun without expensive days out by playing board games or free visits to museums," says Relate's Christine.

Look for signs

Keep an eye out for stress coming out as bad behaviour. "Remember you may be more distracted," says Christine "so explain that to your children - but try to remain available. Tell their teacher the situation, so they can spot any behavioural changes."

Tell them they can help

Make them feel more in control of the situation with ways they can help - such as turning off taps and lights.

REBUILDING YOUR LIFE AFTER REDUNDANCY - THE NEW LIFE NETWORK HANDBOOK, BY JANET DAVIES, PRICE pounds 10.99. www.newlifenetwork.co.uk.

Money worries cause niggly arguments

Katie Day's husband Lee was made redundant from his pounds 35,000-a-year job as a mechanical engineer in May. The couple, both 27, who live in Rugby, Warks, have three children Leah, nine, Ryan, five, and three-year-old Aiden. Katie says:

"The arguing is definitely the worst part about redundancy. The lack of money means there are lots of little niggles and I end up shouting at Lee.

One morning, I had a go at him because he overstuffed the tumble dryer. I felt guilty afterwards - deep down I know Lee feels rubbish about himself.

As a family of five, we are now struggling to get by on pounds 260 a week. Because there's nothing left at the end of the week, I sold the kids clothes on eBay so we could afford a tax disc for the car.

I've cut the pounds 60 weekly food bill in half. We've cut out meat and we fill up on potatoes and rice - and I cook everything from scratch. There's no more McDonald's or takeaways.

For the kids, we try to keep it as normal as possible. When Lee was made redundant we sat them down and explained that daddy hasn't got a job any more.

Ryan thinks having a bank card means you can get money out of a wall whenever you want to. So it's tough on them. To find extra money for treats and Christmas, I have become a Body Shop At Home consultant because I can do flexible working while Lee looks after the kids.

Lee is also retraining to be an HGV driver and we hope that will lead to a new career.

It's not always easy but we're trying to see this as an opportunity that will open doors."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2009
Words:939
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