Collaborative divorce and vocational coaching is often a positive and transformative experience for divorcing women and men, usually an overwhelmed and vulnerable group. Men and women who are angry at being left behind after sacrificing their futures, career wise and financially, are inspired by connecting with a sense of purpose that also pays the bills. Partners who felt isolated and demeaned during their marriage begin to feel less depressed, hopeless and start taking positive action.
The stay-at-home spouse, who threw time management out the window to be available to her higher earning mate and the family, sees a reason to prioritize her time and get organized.
Assessing ones’ deeper interests and values in career counseling fashion, brings clarity to what matter’s most. Considering career options that are a match for your findings and that allow you to build a life and community in relationship to those interests can change everything.
When a particular career life option starts to make sense to my client; they are coached to research what it takes to succeed in those fields, to consider potential salary and benefits, along with the required education and training.
Self-esteem grows as my clients play out their deeper values and interests; it feels good to know and remember what’s truly important, then plan and act accordingly. When they find others who share what matters most to them, they develop confidence that things may turn out all right after all. Connecting with a community that allows you to develop and apply your preferred skills, qualities and talents towards a sustainable future can feel like a miracle, in the midst of a devastating time.
The positive impact of finding a paid and purposeful career direction for the stay at home spouse ultimately benefits every family member. Lowers the blood pressure and financial risk for the earning spouse long term, increases stability and security for all and provides positive role modeling for kids — Inspiration to find a job and educational path that is both personally meaningful and bankable.
Raising a family for 15, 20 to 30 years, carrying and executing the mental load of the stay at home parent is skill building. These abilities can transfer nicely to the business world, but divorcing and getting back into the workplace is a huge call. It involves understanding and learning to manage the overwhelm baked into the process. There are a lot of pieces to put together. You’ll gradually move back into the driver’s seat you used to know, though it’ll feel different, for sure.
Let’s try managing the overwhelm around going back to work while divorcing, the way your hairdresser approaches your hair cut, by creating sections. Take time to consider each item separately and how they overlap. Create a plan for how you’ll address your needs in each area and develop a sense of readiness to develop and consider career options.
- Are the kids OK, have the support they need?
- Time management; learn to prioritize time for yourself.
- Transportation adequate?
- Need a computer and/or computer classes?
- Wardrobe; what do you need to be school or job ready?
- Health good, exercise and self-care routines established?
- Personal support in place; friends, family, therapist, group?
- Co-parenting schedules drawn up to support you going back to school and work? Perhaps extra support during finals week and/or job search.
It can be hard to think clearly about work choices, if your ideas and values were put down by your soon to be ex-. Do you doubt being successful at work because criticism and undermining during the marriage took a toll? Not that it was constant and maybe it wasn’t there in the beginning. It’s been enough, though, to leave you struggling to trust yourself to make the complex decisions you find yourself walking towards today.
To get started, volunteer and get your confidence back. Many of my clients feel surprisingly strengthened by their interactions in the world outside their homes; in entry-level jobs, community and volunteer activities. Sharing key values and interests is eye opening and gives rise to hope that a good future can be made, if one just has the chance. Determination creeps in as the network grows. Persistence overcomes obstacles as the way forward comes together with a plan. Developing organization and structure that supports you and your goals brings added assurance.
There you are, now talking to an advisor at PCC about the requirements to obtain a certificate or associates degree, or at PSU to obtain a bachelors. Or perhaps typing up a resume for an opening in the organization you’ve been volunteering for. The overwhelm is still there at times, but so is the delight and excitement about the road ahead.
Gail Jean Nicholson, MA, LPC
Divorce Coach / Personal and Career Counselor
1020 SW Taylor St., Ste. 550
Portland, OR 97205