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Helping Your Fired Friends.

January 8, 2011

It’s becoming all too common to have my list of jobless friends growing. Having and keeping a job these days seems to be getting harder and harder. I know so many people who have college degrees or spent years at their previous employment with nothing to show for it now. It’s sad that this epidemic is becoming normal. For those people going through it (being a former member of the group myself-one no one wants membership to) I fully understand the feeling. Aside from going on countless interviews with no avail, even worse are the unknowingly insensitive comments made from friends and family.

I read an article  in The New York Times that clearly distinguishes the fine line between aiding and offending our fired friends. Whenever someone is going through a hard time the best thing for a friend to do is to be a sounding board and refrain from judgement or criticism. Sympathize but don’t give pity. The last thing someone who has been out of work wants is the woe-is-you pity act. Please don’t state the obvious either. When I was a member of the jobless the last thing I wanted to hear was, Have you sent out resumes? Have you called anyone? Thank you captain obvious. Being unemployed, especially for those long-term, does not suddenly make you lazy. Instead, say things like, So where should I look so I can help you? What can I do? Most importantly be understanding. Don’t complain about how bad your job is either. No out of work person cares how bad you have it at your office. For those who are long-term unemployed, which is now over 40 percent of the 15 million jobless Americans, finding work can be even harder. Employers tend to hire people who have been out of work for a few months as they look more desirable. How does that resonate with someone who spent 20 or 30 years at their place of employment and got let go at the height of economic crisis?

Another helpful tip is to see if there are any job openings in your company, as many companies offer referral bonuses. For those with children, offer to babysit while they are out on interviews. If they don’t have a means of transportation, offer a ride every now and then. The best way to relate is to ask yourself how you would want to be treated and spoken to if you lost your job. It’s the seemingly small actions that truly help to make a difference in a very difficult part of your friend’s life.

At GAI (www.gunwel.com)  we promote a judge free zone policy and would love to hear your thoughts on this! Call us as 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit! See you soon!!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 8, 2011 4:58 pm

    Excellent blog Natalie!

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