The 7 Phases of a Single Woman’s “Job Search Pain Cycle”

By Vicki Brackett

smw - the 7 phases of a single woman's job search pain cycle, vicki brackettDo women—and single women especially—have job search pain? Absolutely!

In fact, the job search pain starts even before a single women look for a job and whether they are employed or not. Here is the process, phase by phase. See if you don’t recognize yourself.

Phase 1 – We know something “isn’t right.” A woman’s intuition is better than any radar system. We feel it. We know things aren’t going right at work.

Phase 2 – Catastrophe happens at work. Maybe a layoff, some key executives leave, wages are cut; yet when these things happen, we women do nothing. We don’t question. We stay. Women are by nature nurturers. When we do look at things from both sides, we more often than not make a conscious decision that we “owe it to everyone but ourselves” to endure… and we keep on going, keeping our commitments, keeping everyone else happy. Like the Energizer bunny.

After turning a “blind eye” to the situation developing around us, thoughts begin to creep into our head. “It can’t be us; we’re not the next to go…how could it be? We care, we love, we produce results, and everyone loves us.” After all, we are the ones who have been called “indispensable,” the ones who “make it happen.”

And then we begin to think about how our lives would change should we “have to leave this place.” We’re afraid of what changes will come. We think maybe no one else will want us at another company. What if we have to take a pay cut? Will our family and friends think less of us? What if we have to take a job where the hours will be different and we won’t be able to take Ann to violin lessons or see Bobby’s Little League game?

And the biggie—we feel we’re letting our families down if we lose our income.

For a single woman with one income, this can really shake our core; the fear of not being able to take care of ourselves and doing everything alone can be devastating.

Phase 3 – Our own personal Catastrophe strikes. Our job is cut, the company closes, there is a merger or acquisition and we are “structured out” or, on a personal note, an elderly parent needs us full time, or we have a sick child.

Either way, the unthinkable happens. We are out of work. Now we have no choice.

Phase 4 – The False sense of security. Our family and friends are all supportive about our “taking time off.” We tell ourselves, “I’ve worked hard for years,” “I deserve a break,” “my family needs me,” “I need to regroup and decide what I want to do with my life.” Yes, that is important.