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Entering the work force in 30's with no/little experience
Old 08-11-2019, 07:11 AM   #1
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Entering the work force in 30's with no/little experience

My BIL is facing the real possibility of divorce based on some recent developments in his marriage that appear to be irreconcilable.

He is 34 years old, has a Bachelor's degree (I believe in HR), and has 2-3 years of experience running a convenient store prior to moving back to Ohio a couple of years ago. Outside of those few years of work experience it never made sense for him to work full time as he and his wife have 3 small children, and daycare costs are what they are.

I plan to help him get set up on LinkedIn and to update his resume, and have some professional contacts that I think could help him connect with people for positions (after all, it's about who you know). He is in a situation where right now he just wants to find work so he has money coming in based on the possibility of divorce.

For anyone else who entered the workforce late, or took an extended break to parent young children (or for any reason), what are some tips you would recommend for anyone in his shoes? I plan to do what I can to help (mostly in the form of contacts, resume help, and recommendations on skill development). I just want to help him set himself apart as a candidate as best I can, as my gut tells me it is a tough situation to be entering/re-entering the workforce in your mid-30's. Any advice or perspective would be appreciated.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:29 AM   #2
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He is 34 years old, has a Bachelor's degree (I believe in HR), and has 2-3 years of experience running a convenient store prior to moving back to Ohio a couple of years ago. Outside of those few years of work experience it never made sense for him to work full time as he and his wife have 3 small children, and daycare costs are what they are.

He is in a situation where right now he just wants to find work so he has money coming in based on the possibility of divorce.

For anyone else who entered the workforce late, or took an extended break to parent young children (or for any reason), what are some tips you would recommend for anyone in his shoes?

I just want to help him set himself apart as a candidate as best I can, as my gut tells me it is a tough situation to be entering/re-entering the workforce in your mid-30's. Any advice or perspective would be appreciated.
Mid-30s isn't all that bad. These days lots of folks get entry-level jobs in that time frame.

When my wife re-entered the workforce at an even later age, it wasn't hard at all. It likely depends on the profession. She was in a health care related field, and there were plenty of part time jobs available.

It makes a lot of sense to get on a payroll as quickly as possible - even if he is still evaluating a longer-term career move. He shouldn't have any trouble at all finding convenient store jobs - in my locale they are all looking for help. Similarly, almost any retail job should be accessible.

If he wants to get into HR, he may need to go back to school to freshen his skills, then look for an entry-level position.

Sometimes it makes sense to hold down several part-time positions for a while when re-entering the workforce. For example, if he wants to be an HR rep, he may find it easier to hold down a part-time HR or recruiting position, while also working part-time at a convenient store or such.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:16 AM   #3
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Well, since he was a stay at home dad and sacrificed his career so your sister could bring home the bacon, he should do well in the divorce settlement and potentially get some type of ongoing spousal support.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:17 PM   #4
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Well, since he was a stay at home dad and sacrificed his career so your sister could bring home the bacon, he should do well in the divorce settlement and potentially get some type of ongoing spousal support.
This is your interpretation what worlds societal leanings in a equal rights environments divorce?
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:09 PM   #5
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This is your interpretation what worlds societal leanings in a equal rights environments divorce?
Yes, you would think.
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Old 08-11-2019, 11:13 PM   #6
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For anyone else who entered the workforce late, or took an extended break to parent young children (or for any reason), what are some tips you would recommend for anyone in his shoes? I plan to do what I can to help (mostly in the form of contacts, resume help, and recommendations on skill development). I just want to help him set himself apart as a candidate as best I can, as my gut tells me it is a tough situation to be entering/re-entering the workforce in your mid-30's. Any advice or perspective would be appreciated.

I took time off work when our kids were little, and then took classes nights and weekends to update my tech skills. It was probably easier for me because I had a tech degree already and then went back into the same field. Are there any short certifications your BIL could get to make him more marketable? Excel certifications come up often on Reddit for short term resume enhancers, though I'm not sure if that meshes with an HR background.
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:18 AM   #7
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I see that you are from Columbus Ohio, I am from about 2 hours North of you near Findlay. We have plenty of good factory jobs that start out paying pretty decent. With a bachelors in HR, he should be able to have first shot at any company office openings that come up after working a year, or two on the production floor (it builds character, and muscle). Many of the folks now working in our offices came from the factory floor, and appreciate the opportunity far more for having survived the heat, and the noise.

I have been with this company for 20 years, and have been doing prototype engineering work for the last 7)
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:40 AM   #8
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I was a SAHM and then went to college full time entering the workforce at 34 after a very long break. When they asked what I did for all those years I told them the truth. Because I wanted a professional job in my field it took awhile to be successful.
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Old 08-19-2019, 08:58 PM   #9
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I appreciate the thoughts so far. I helped him update his resume over the weekend and have some contacts that I have offered to put him on touch with that I think would be very helpful for someone in his shoes.

A little more context on the situation as it is getting increasingly complicated. BILs wife is bipolar 1 and went into a manic episode a little over a month ago. Maybe 5 weeks or so. She was in inpatient care for 10 days and released. After her release she insisted they go on this trip to Italy they had planned for months. She is Italian and her parents are first generation immigrants. They ended up taking this trip, and apparently the doctor at the facility she was at said it may even be a good idea. My BIL said she was going to go no matter what and take their kids so he felt obligated to go to keep the children safe.

Over the course of the trip she has spent all of their money (except retirement accounts, but I suspect those could go soon). Their relationship has deteriorated so quickly. Granted she is ill and still manic (we dont believe she is taking her meds), but the fighting and deep rooted issues (some of which are irrational) have really destroyed their marriage in a short time. In addition she has now made some accusations against my BIL that are taking things to another level. Today she closed out all their joint accounts and withdrew all the money they had left. Her family seems to be pretending she is not ill, and she herself does not seem to acknowledge her diagnosis of bipolar, which we know is real as we saw the paperwork. My wife, who is an RN, commented on the prescriptions she was given and said there is no way she is taking her medication because the dosages would have had to have some impact on her by now.

It has all escalated quickly. My hope is that she comes out of her manic state and either starts taking her medication (or if she is taking it, the meds kick in since they can take time to build up in the system or so I am told). There is still a lot of uncertainty around what the future holds for them as a lot of damage has been done in a short period of time.

I am also unsure how to handle it from a support standpoint as I suspect my wife is going to want to give her brother money as he is unemployed and in the bind he is. I am not necessarily opposed to giving him some money, but I think some things need to shake out first before we can decide if giving them money would he appropriate. Will they for sure get divorced? Will he move out with his kids (they are all still under one roof currently)? Is he going to start working? Does he even have a plan yet for what he is going to do?

I am assuming yes to these questions, but his wife has not yet seen a psychiatrist since she was hospitalized since they were in Italy for 3 weeks. I am hopeful her follow ups with the psychiatrist will help level things out.

For now we are trying to offer our home as a refuge. We are also completely willing to let him and his children stay with us until he can find work, but they are enrolled in a school district across town (an hour or so morning commute) so that has not been terribly viable for them yet. I have offered to go to Al-Anon meetings and other support groups with my BIL as I have some experience with mental illness in my family.

As someone who watched alcoholism destroy his sister, this is a painfully similar scenario to watch unfold. I find myself applying the same principles from Al-Anon to this situation even though the disease is different.

Anyways, sorry for the rant. I wanted to give a little more context and ended up rambling about all that is going on.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:19 PM   #10
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Good luck. That seems like a tough situation and it is nice of you both to be so involved.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:02 PM   #11
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Regrettably, I have some experience with a bi-polar family member. A few general tips:
1. Lock down the money, don't let it get anywhere it could end up in her hands.
2. If you're going to provide financial assistance, pay bills directly, don't give money to the BIL to pay them.
3. Irrationality and paranoid decision-making is the norm, expect it in every aspect of their lives. Do what you can to limit their range of options in any situation to help contain the damage.

My family member has been dealing with this for 30+ years. While mostly contained, there have been episodes of wasteful spending, decisions made contrary to their long-term interests and damaged friendships and family relationships.

PM me if you have specific questions. best of luck to you, your wife and BIL and family.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:52 AM   #12
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I appreciate the feedback. The next couple of weeks will be telling as they settle in to normal day to day life after this trip and the kids are back in school. As we gain more clarity on what direction things are going we will have to figure out our role too.

I appreciate the thoughts and feedback here.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:04 AM   #13
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I appreciate the thoughts so far. I helped him update his resume over the weekend and have some contacts that I have offered to put him on touch with that I think would be very helpful for someone in his shoes.

A little more context on the situation as it is getting increasingly complicated. BILs wife is bipolar 1 and went into a manic episode a little over a month ago. Maybe 5 weeks or so. She was in inpatient care for 10 days and released. After her release she insisted they go on this trip to Italy they had planned for months. She is Italian and her parents are first generation immigrants. They ended up taking this trip, and apparently the doctor at the facility she was at said it may even be a good idea. My BIL said she was going to go no matter what and take their kids so he felt obligated to go to keep the children safe.

Over the course of the trip she has spent all of their money (except retirement accounts, but I suspect those could go soon). Their relationship has deteriorated so quickly. Granted she is ill and still manic (we dont believe she is taking her meds), but the fighting and deep rooted issues (some of which are irrational) have really destroyed their marriage in a short time. In addition she has now made some accusations against my BIL that are taking things to another level. Today she closed out all their joint accounts and withdrew all the money they had left. Her family seems to be pretending she is not ill, and she herself does not seem to acknowledge her diagnosis of bipolar, which we know is real as we saw the paperwork. My wife, who is an RN, commented on the prescriptions she was given and said there is no way she is taking her medication because the dosages would have had to have some impact on her by now.

It has all escalated quickly. My hope is that she comes out of her manic state and either starts taking her medication (or if she is taking it, the meds kick in since they can take time to build up in the system or so I am told). There is still a lot of uncertainty around what the future holds for them as a lot of damage has been done in a short period of time.

I am also unsure how to handle it from a support standpoint as I suspect my wife is going to want to give her brother money as he is unemployed and in the bind he is. I am not necessarily opposed to giving him some money, but I think some things need to shake out first before we can decide if giving them money would he appropriate. Will they for sure get divorced? Will he move out with his kids (they are all still under one roof currently)? Is he going to start working? Does he even have a plan yet for what he is going to do?

I am assuming yes to these questions, but his wife has not yet seen a psychiatrist since she was hospitalized since they were in Italy for 3 weeks. I am hopeful her follow ups with the psychiatrist will help level things out.

For now we are trying to offer our home as a refuge. We are also completely willing to let him and his children stay with us until he can find work, but they are enrolled in a school district across town (an hour or so morning commute) so that has not been terribly viable for them yet. I have offered to go to Al-Anon meetings and other support groups with my BIL as I have some experience with mental illness in my family.

As someone who watched alcoholism destroy his sister, this is a painfully similar scenario to watch unfold. I find myself applying the same principles from Al-Anon to this situation even though the disease is different.

Anyways, sorry for the rant. I wanted to give a little more context and ended up rambling about all that is going on.
Yikes. That's a tough spot your BIL is in. So sorry to hear. Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment, and there are usually relapses, even when someone takes their meds as prescribed. He needs to get an attorney quickly and find where that money went to. If she's in a manic state, she's very likely to blow it all very quickly and frivolously, and he'll never see it again. He also needs to safeguard retirement accounts. If it were me, I'd be getting a divorce and attempt to get custody of the children. I'd be VERY concerned about her ability to safely raise children.

He needs to find employment ASAP. I would also be very concerned that his wife may have already lost her job or will soon, and then all income sources will be gone. And who knows what she did with the money she liquidated, if there is even anything left.

How long has he been out of the work force? Does he want to work in HR?
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:30 AM   #14
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He has been out of the workforce since 2018. I cant recall if he quit his last job in January or in June (June was when they moved back to Ohio). So not terribly long and the main reason he hasn't worked since the move was the cost of childcare vs potential income.

His desire is to work in HR but right now I believe he is open to getting an income and then trying to find something more targeted.
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:49 AM   #15
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I appreciate the feedback. The next couple of weeks will be telling as they settle in to normal day to day life after this trip and the kids are back in school. As we gain more clarity on what direction things are going we will have to figure out our role too.

I appreciate the thoughts and feedback here.
Recent research implicates diet and gut bacteria as factors in bi-polar disorder. Maybe you could help the family out by buying some healthy groceries or making meals with whole foods and proibotics. A healthy diet can't hurt and it might help - "Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine designed an interesting study to determine if probiotics could help people discharged from the hospital after a manic flare-up avoid rehospitalization....The results were striking. The rates of rehospitalization were 51.1% in the placebo group and 24.2% in the group who took probiotics. "
Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/...-2018062514125

While researchers don't have all the answers yet, there are many web sites with suggestions on how to have a healthy microbiome - whole foods, wide diversity of plants in the diet, high in fiber, and inclusion of probiotic and prebiotic foods.

We had a friend with mental health issues at one time and besides cooking meals (including freezer meals they could heat up on their own) and buying groceries we would invite them on nature walks. This person also had top of the line medical care that included not just medication but things like classes in nutrition and stress management, a support group and therapy. They recovered 100%. I asked them later what they thought helped the most and they said probably not anyone thing - just really the combination of treatments.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:34 AM   #16
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I'm truly sorry he is in this situation. Someone very close to me was just diagnosed with BP II. I immediately read everything I could on the disease and talked to many doctors. If she is having full manic episodes, and it certainly sounds that way, that would be a strong indicator of BP I which on the extreme end can be debilitating. Of course depending on the level of depression in BP II it is arguable that it is any better. We have had a lot of success with both medication and talk therapy. We were told that finding the exact right cocktail for the specific patient can be difficult and sometimes takes a few months of tweaking. Although you probably don't have a ton of influence over her given your situation my advice is that she finds doctors that are very familiar with the disease. BP can be miss diagnosed and miss treated if the doc doesn't have deep knowledge of the disease. Also the combination of talk therapy and meds was night and day compared to just one or the other.

Good luck to you and your extended family
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:51 AM   #17
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It's likely going to be harder for him than someone whose career progression was more perfect.

I'm 41 (also from OH), crossed $1M this year and didn't have a "real job" until 31.

By the time that happened I had a negative bank balance, there was a 3 day notice on my apartment door, the utilities were shut off and my food came from a combo of bulk rice/beans and a mission where I also volunteered to serve dinner. FYI- Krispy Cream throws out perfectly good donuts each night if you can get to the dumpster first.

Be prepared to go on 3x the amount of interviews as the next guy. Accept that fact and anything less will be a surprise.

I'd strongly recommend he decide exactly what type of company/industry he wants to work in. Begin targeting that in his search and networking efforts. Since a rising tide lifts all boats and he's late to the game, targeting a growing industry can be the difference between muddling along and catching up.

I turned down a job with a great comp plan selling office supplies and instead kept going until I got the job/industry I wanted.

Start to work with recruiters as well. They'll get him on interviews and if nothing else it's great practice and coaching so he'll be finely tuned interviewing machine by the time the ONE comes along.

Just get in the mindset to say "IS THAT ALL YOU GOT WORLD?! HIT ME AGAIN!" and laugh while you take a cold shower with your neighbors hose.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:14 PM   #18
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A little more context on the situation as it is getting increasingly complicated. BILs wife is bipolar 1 and went into a manic episode a little over a month ago. Maybe 5 weeks or so. She was in inpatient care for 10 days and released. After her release she insisted they go on this trip to Italy they had planned for months. She is Italian and her parents are first generation immigrants. They ended up taking this trip, and apparently the doctor at the facility she was at said it may even be a good idea. My BIL said she was going to go no matter what and take their kids so he felt obligated to go to keep the children safe...
Sorry I didn't see this other reply before I replied. I'd still recommend
1) targeting the job/industry preferably a growing one
2) Working with a recruiter and
3) being prepared for lots of interviews.

But since the right thing to do is to remove those kids from her then he's probably not going to be able to go all-in and dumpster dive for food while living in darkness. Luckily in OH there's lots of affordable options for renting that you can get by with a hourly job until he finds something permanent.

I also have experience with bi polar from DW siblings. It's incredibly difficult and unlikely to improve. It's basically impossible to force them to change their diet, habits or take their medication.
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