How To Support An Unemployed Friend
At the beginning of the month, the most recent unemployment statistic was published. The USA reached double digits while Canada was close behind with 8.8% (as of June). The scariest aspect about these statistics is to think that once you stop receiving unemployment support payments; you don’t count as “unemployed” anymore. Therefore, the unemployment rate might be 10% in the States, but it is even higher in the “real world”. People stop receiving unemployment support but not necessarily because they have gotten a job.
Lucky you! You are still working this morning (you better not keep reading blogs all day during work though ;-) ). However, it might not be the case for all your friends. What can you do to support an unemployed friend?
#1 Be there
Losing your job is definitely not a happy moment in one’s life. We spend so much time working that when a job is lost, an important part of our life is lost at the same time. Our routine is disrupted; some of our friends are still at work and we miss the feeling of being useful to society. This is why it is so important to take the time to listen to your friend and let him talk about his pain, anxiety facing the future even anger. If it ever happens to a close friend, make sure to be supportive; to go out and have a drink with him to lend an ear. Your friend might have lost his job, but he certainly doesn’t want to lose the rest of his life.
#2 Pass the word around
So far in my career, I have had three different jobs. Each time, I got the job from “someone who knows someone”. Networking is always important in career planning but it becomes crucial when you are unemployed and looking for a new opportunity. As a friend, talk about him to every single person in your own network. You never know, maybe a friend of a friend (that you don’t even know!) is looking to hire someone.
#3 Be honest
He may be your best friend but you wouldn’t even hire him to wash windows? This is going to be hard but you are better off telling him the truth. If you don’t think that he is in the right field or that he has an attitude problem at work, you should tell him tactfully. Being unemployed is not always a positive experience. It can be a great opportunity to ask yourself if you want to continue with what you were doing. Perhaps take the time to improve your transferable skills in a specific field. If your friend gets a real picture of the image he is projecting, it will definitely help him in his job search. Since he just lost his job, the point is not to hammer him with all the negative points. Make sure to tell him what you appreciate about him as a colleague and point out his strengths. You don’t want your friend to stay unemployed and risk being depressed the rest of his life ;-)
#4 Lend money?
Aaaahh”¦. I’m not sure I like the idea of lending money to friends actually. I have done it a few times but only to one person and it wasn’t in a context of unemployment. I think your buddy need friendship more than money. And you will definitely help him more by finding him a new job or helping him getting on the right track for his next employer than supplying money. Once someone said: “Give a Man a fish, Feed him for a day. Teach a Man to fish; feed him for a lifetime“. While money will only offer tempororary support (unless you are really rich!), it may become a source of dispute if your friend remains unemployed. Usually, friends and money don’t make good partners.
#5 You don’t have to follow him
You have to be empathic to your friend’s situation but it doesn’t mean that you have to join him during his “black days”. Helping an unemployed friend is one thing, and you must know your limits. You don’t have to feel guilty either. This is called the “survivor syndrome”. If many people in our personal circle lose their jobs in the same field as ours, we may tend to feel guilty. However, it should not become a personal matter and you are not the one (hopefully!) who decided to lay off your friend!
Do you have any other thoughts about helping an unemployed friend? Did it happen to you? What did you tell your friend?
image source : khalilshah