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.
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 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.