Ask Jess: Coping with nagging

Some timely advice from a career/relationship coach and adviser

Being open and honest about your feelings may help others (and yourself) understand you differently (photo credit: TNS)
Being open and honest about your feelings may help others (and yourself) understand you differently
(photo credit: TNS)
Dear Ask Jess,
Due to COVID-19 I have been out of work for the past five months. I have been looking for work and now I just feel stuck. My wife has been on my back about finding work and she won’t stop nagging me. What should I say to her to get her to stop?
Nagged in Jerusalem
Dear Nagged,
I’m sorry to hear that you are one of approximately one million unemployed Israelis due to this pandemic. I know it is not easy. But know that you are far from alone in this situation and that you can find support from others in the same position.
As for your question, please realize you can’t change anyone but yourself. The problem is not your wife nagging you. The real problem is that it bothers you that you aren’t working. Not feeling whole with yourself is very common when you can no longer do things the way you used to do them.
It isn’t your fault that you are not working. It is not your fault that you are not bringing in much money. It is important for you to feel good about yourself during this trying time. Have you been taking advantage of the cooler weather and getting outdoors? Have you been taking up any hobbies? The more you enjoy yourself the better you will feel going into the job search.
How have you been looking for work? Are you looking in the same field or something different? This is a great time to reevaluate your skills and strengths as well as your interests. Do you want to stay in the same field or do you want to branch out? Can any of your hobbies apply to a job in a new field? What are your long-term goals? When you start to look at yourself differently you may be able to see more opportunities.
If you still want to speak to your wife about the unemployment comments, I suggest sharing your feelings. Have a vulnerable conversation about how joblessness feels to you. It is very normal to feel embarrassed and ashamed about not having a job. You are the man and usually feel you should be the breadwinner in the family. Having an honest and vulnerable conversation with your spouse may seem scary but it will actually enhance your marriage by expressing who you really are.
Again, you cannot change your wife or anyone else, but being open and honest about your feelings may help others (and yourself) understand you differently.
Email your career or relationship questions to Ask Jess at [email protected]