Ask LH: How Can I Comfort My Recently-Demoted Boyfriend?

Ask LH: How Can I Comfort My Recently-Demoted Boyfriend?

Dear Lifehacker, My boyfriend just got demoted, and I was wondering how I could make him feel better, and help him re-transition easier into his old job so that it’s not so stressful for him? Any hints? Thanks, Demotion Derby

Consoling girlfriend picture from Shutterstock

Dear DD,

You can find all the advice you need on cheering up your boyfriend here.

Kidding aside, it sounds like he needs to look at the wider picture and gain some perspective. In today’s economic climate, various industries are looking to clean house in a bid to stay in the black. This means that demotions, redundancies and involuntary pay cuts are practically becoming standard practice. At least he’s still employed.

Try to convince your boyfriend that the demotion was likely the result of company restructuring rather than his work performance. This might not necessarily be true, but he’ll be happier believing an explanation in which he is largely blameless.

That said, crawling back to an inferior position in front of existing colleagues can’t be great for one’s self-esteem. It might be time for your fella to start looking for employment elsewhere. You can help your boyfriend by reviewing his resume and assisting in updates — there are plenty of useful tips on resume creation in our careers section.

Above all, remember that your main job should be to lend a sympathetic ear instead of trying to take over and fix the problem. Likewise, try to cut the guy a bit of slack when it comes to those small irritations that you usually bite his head off for. Don’t nag. (Before we get cries of sexism, we would apply the same advice to the male partner in a relationship.)

If you find nothing is working, it could be more than just a case of being down in the dumps. Click here for some advice on dealing with depression in people who are close to you.

We’d also like to throw this question open to our readers. Have you ever had to help an unemployed or unhappy partner get back on their feet? What kind of advice worked best? Was there anything that backfired horribly? Let DD know in the comments section below.

See also: Five Ways To Improve Your Outlook On Life.


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  • LOL… you guys are all class… 🙂

    This happened to me about 15-16 years ago. I was picked out of the ranks to form new Dept, headed by a new senior hire from outside the firm. All was good for couple years… moved up a couple rungs.. then my boss and the big boss had a falling out over direction and structure of Dept. after about 4-5 months resulted in my boss walking out and then a couple weeks later the Dept was “restructured” eg: disbanded and I found myself back in my old position with my previous workgroup… some of whom had been reporting to me. Was just one of those things… wrong place at the wrong time. I ended up leaving within 6 months and have not looked back.

    My takeaway from it all was to try and stay classy. And build self character. Don’t be bitter and do a crappy half-arsed job and come to work with a negative attitude. It achieves NOTHING and you’re only doing yourself harm. The company DOES NOT CARE how you feel. All they and the people you work with will remember is that sad sack who nobody wanted to talk to and eeryone hated being around. Best thing here is to suck-it-up, be a man, stay positive and do the BEST quality of work you can in the position you have. OWN the position you have. Show “the man” how stupid they were to recognise your talents. Use the hurt to drive you onto bigger and better things.

    But the first few weeks are going to SUCK big time… there’s no getting around that… you have to work through it. That’s when he needs you just to be there for support and positive reinforcement.

    And an occasional excerpt from the link in post #1 won’t go astray either 😉

    • This. I heartily endorse this. But not the devils threesome. That’s just for her enjoyment. Unless he’s into that, then have at thee!

  • Not sure what industry he’s in, but redundancy is fairly common in IT. I know that’s not demotion, but the knock to one’s confidence is similar. I’ve been made redundant 4 times (twice the company was about to go bust and twice it was an international company “refocussing”). Each time it’s lead to better things, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel crap about it. It may be that it’s best *not* to talk about it at all (us blokes ain’t good at emotional subjects) but just keep positive and help keep him busy. Whatever you do, don’t do as my wife has done – say it’s because he must be crap at his job. That isn’t supportive.

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