Well we are coming down the home stretch in our examination of job loss and the world around us. Yesterday we talked about the impact on the family, and in Part 1 we explored the impact on the marriage. Today we are going to look at what happens to even Normal Males when they lose their job and their social circle dwindles. Some have found that the loss of space males inhabit together (check out great post on men and their spaces) has had a significant impact on male bonding. One could theorize that this doubles the impact of losing ones’ job because it limits our opportunities to connect. Whether we feel we have lost “real estate” or bonding opportunities with our peers, most Normal Males allow certain fears to seep in…
1. How do I tell my friends?
2. Do I shrug it off? Blame others?
3. Will any of my friends check-in with me?
4. Can I even spend time with my friends when I am out of work?
5. How do I ask for help? Connections?
Losing a job for a man can be like taking his manhood, his plot of land in this world, his ability to show off his talents. For many, these are the very things that launch male friendships. A common ground and skill-set, a place to show off talents without comment, and a place to strut his acquisitions (house, car, etc.) and successes. Without the “bedrock” of a job men can fear a loss of these relationships as well.
A fear based not in reality, but in fear that their social circle isn’t facing the same fears and/or job losses. Do friends leave when the “chips” are down? Yes…they often do. Not because they dislike you anymore, but because they are terrified to face or even slightly think about how they would survive in your shoes.
It is a problem for the men who have lost their jobs, their friends who don’t know what to do or say, and their children who are watching to see what happens.
Normal Males are left to wonder if anybody cares? If anybody will reach out? And if they do…what do I say or do? Should I act like I have everything under control? That is how I and the rest of my gender have been raised…”yeah, maybe that will work.” Short-term…maybe. Long-term…you have built a house of cards.
For those males that can set aside ego and machismo there are a wealth of opportunities to connect with your friends and peers in meaningful ways. And, for those men what they will find is a depth to their relationships that will outlast SuperBowl Sunday, broken romantic relationships, and job pursuits that sputtered.
The proof can be found in the “puddin” as one might say. Normal Males can be very loyal to their group of friends. Why? Because once a man has shared his fears, imperfections a bond is made that comes from normalizing and sharing each individuals experiences.
Lesson…Normal Males need to access those out there that are struggling to share Normal thoughts and feelings. Be available. Be supportive of their spouses and continue to keep the lines of communication open. Karma swings both ways and sharing now leads to sharing later when you might be struggling.
I will end with this. Be responsible. Don’t act or behave in ways that only subvert your intentions and provide poor leadership for your family. Understand that your friends may be thinking and fearing the very same things as you are. We would like to think we are the only ones because that would imply a degree of “special” or unique…we aren’t in the jungle and we aren’t trying to win the harem because we think we are the Silver-Back male that is “special.” Leave competition out of it. Share what you would like shared in return and we all prosper.