I’m a male professional who prides himself on his work and being able to afford the luxuries of city living. The problem is, I was laid off more than a year ago. In social situations, it’s uncomfortable when people inevitably ask me about my career, and I feel like I’ll never land a job. It’s also very difficult in the dating world to be unemployed. Girls expect me to pay, and I’ve always done so. How should I handle this?
This is a sign of the times. With unemployment rates hovering around eight to nine percent nationally, you’re not alone. Being unemployed is an opportunity for you to re-evaluate what’s important to you. Although “being able to afford the luxuries of city living” once existed, for now it doesn’t. By making adjustments to your current reality, you’ll be able to feel better about how you interact with people when they ask about your career. Given that you’re between jobs, think about the luxuries that you need and those you can live without.
Rather than wallowing in self-pity, see social situations as networking opportunities. If someone asks about your career, he or she is taking an interest in you in some capacity. Every person you meet is a contact, lead or potential job. Don’t be afraid to ask people if they know of anyone who might need a guy like you.
As for dating, make a distinction between someone dating you for your riches and someone dating you for your rich character. The latter sets the stage for a healthy relationship, while the former leads to financial ruin. Be honest about your situation from the start, so she understands money is tight. Then, be creative and think of the many ways you can have a good time that don’t involve an expensive night on the town.
–Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. E-mail him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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