How to Talk to A Friend Who Has Been Laid Off

I got a call from a friend yesterday. She is losing her job as her company cuts back expenses. Thought it would be a good time to round up some resources for her, and me, on dealing with job loss.

“It’s normal to be anxious and to feel a certain amount of guilt,” said Dr. Nancy Molitor, a clinical psychologist in practice in Wilmette, Ill. “Also, most people that are left behind are having to work harder, and that leads to a tremendous amount of anger, irritability and stress. Take stocks of your feelings, recognize it’s normal, and don’t panic.”

But most of the time, the people laid off will appreciate you being there, making sure they have your contact information, and just being sympathetic.

How to talk to the newly unemployed
Penelope Turk is the founder of Brazen Careerist, a web service to help companies find candidates. She has an excellent essay on talking to your laid off friends.
Her first piece of advice, Don’t start the conversation with “how’s the job hunt?”

“Do you know how many times a day someone hears this if he is unemployed? Ten. And even if it’s not ten really, it’s ten in his head”, says Turk.

Turk says to focus on hobbies, kids, and their health. Tell a co-worker who’s been laid off that you miss him or her. And what you miss. It’s hard to keep up morale when you’re looking for a job. And so often we forget what we are talented at because rejection makes us feel totally un-talented.

Read Penelope’s entire article – How to talk to a friend who’s been laid off – here.

Encourage them to re-connect with their network of colleagues and friends.
While LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t going to get anyone a job by themselves, that feeling of connectedness is important, especially if you don’t have a job to go to.

READ: Using LinkedIn in Your Job Search

One of the things I’ve found in the social networking world is that people are pretty understanding – you thoughts matter more than your job title.

READ IF You Are Laid Off, Here’s How to Socially Network.

Make one good contact for this person
And hope, sometime in the future, the favor is returned to you. This will do as much for you as it does for your friend.

Schedule time, now, to regularly check in on your laid off friend
Follow up with your friends, even weeks and months after the layoff. In this economic downturn, some people could be unemployed for some time. Trust me, Week 4 and Week 10 are going to be a lot harder than those first few shell-shocked days.


2 thoughts on “How to Talk to A Friend Who Has Been Laid Off

  1. Maria Espositofrom the LinkedIn Group: ThoseinMedia (The Who’s Who in All of Media)
    The first thing to do is to remind them they’ve lost a job, not been excommunicated from the human race.Then offer to sit down and let them openly discuss what happen, giving them the opportunity to vent, express anger, fear, and ultimately grieve. The next step is to offer some constructive help. Be a sounding board if they need to update a resume, bring them with you to events where they can network, brainstorm ways to find jobs in the hidden job market, etc. Above all, let them set the pace for moving from one phase to the other. We lose so much of who we are when we lose a job, it truly is like grieving for the loss of a loved one. Finally, give them an opportunity to take a break from being unemployed. Treat them to a movie where all you two do is discuss the film, or the weather, or anything that doesn’t have to do with finding a job.

  2. Make one good contact for this person

    …that is great advice. It is so simple, yet it is probably one of the best things you can do for someone. Instead of social networking, real networking has it’s merits.

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