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The times they are a changing for men. Over the past few years with the economic downturn 8.4 million men in the United States have lost their jobs. Canadian stats show that we have a like percentage of males who through no fault of their own are now unemployed.

Over the past few months I have counseled a number of men in their forties who were terminated. It seems that downsizing is in vogue with large corporations cutting staff to improve the bottom line in profitability.The Human Resource Department has the pink slips delivered to you and you are asked to gather up your personal affects and leave the building forthwith. Nothing personal, it is all about money.

After many years of service to the company you find yourself cut adrift. If you are most fortunate there is a severance check that can help with the immediate expenses. Welcome to the world of unemployment.

Losing oneís position can have dire consequences for many men. The loss of employment has left them with an uncertain future prospects. They have always described themselves looking at what they are instead of who they are. Position and salary for many is more important then happiness and job satisfaction.

In to-dayís society men are still looked upon as being, driven, rugged, brave and the principal provider for the family. If you are not a good provider you may not look at yourself as a ďreal manĒ worthy in the eyes of your family and community. Oneís masculinity is in question and the longer you are unemployed the more your self-esteem can be diminished.

For many years middle class men have felt comfortable with a sense of entitlement that they were indeed privileged to be part of a prestigious company with a guaranteed future leading to ďFreedom 55" with a pension cheque to cover their winters in the Caribbean. Wrong.

With the stroke of a pen you find yourself cut off from your present/future aspirations. It is sure hard to invest the necessary time to re-invent yourself when you are middle age: structure and work deadlines have been part of your whole life. With the terrible loss of ones work a manís pride can be put asunder. Often times depression takes hold and the numbers show that eighteen percent of marriages end in divorce when the husband loses his job.

Males are not supposed to need/ask for emotional financial support from your spouse. Itís not masculine to cry and admit you need help.

There are solutions to help a man overcome the loss of his job. Unemployment can give one time to better assess: where you have been, where you are and most important where do you want to go with the rest of your life.

With no longer the dead line constraints of the job fathers can change their family time with their wife and children into quality time spent at home. Many men over the years have sacrificed their health for money. Expensive cars, vacations and upscale homes donít bring forth true happiness.

Wives can be a wonderful source of encouragement for their husbands in their time of need. They can try and understand the difficulties that their spouses are going through and be supportive or they can walk away from the marriage.

Men can adapt their many strengths into different viable role models. Employment patterns have changed and the new definition of what makes up a manís work is positive for both women and their men.

Often times it is necessary to return to school to upgrade/learn new skills. Krista Prokopick, Data Analyst, Fanshawe College (web site: www.fanshawec.ca) sent along the stats for retraining for men age 30 plus for 2010. The top programs for the 287 males were: Pre-technology, Electrical Engineering Technician, Human Services Foundation and Social Service Worker.

As you can see many men are exploring new interesting careers/life styles where they can make a difference. With their new skills they can do good for society and financially well to provide for themselves and their families.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com