Being There for an Unemployed Friend
Unemployment rates have been getting a bit better, but the fact remains that many of us still know a person or two who is searching for a job – oftentimes someone with whom we used to work. While we may have the best intentions of keeping up with a former colleague after she has been laid off, sometimes we put off that call or email because of potential awkwardness. As this article notes, however, making an effort is better than the deafening silence that can make the person feel like she’s lost not only her job but also her friends.
Here are a few things to consider when interacting:
Don’t ignore the elephant in the room.
Both of you are aware of the situation, so it doesn’t make sense to pretend nothing has changed. Tell the person how sorry you are that she was let go, ask how things are going, and listen compassionately. Go ahead and talk about work and people you both know, if she brings up the subject.
Offer to help, but don’t take over.
Ask if there is anything you can do to be of assistance. Perhaps she’d like another set of eyes to look over her résumé or would love you to forward any potential leads. The person may, however, need time to emotionally adjust or would like to use this situation as an opportunity to reevaluate educational, career, or personal goals. Let her proceed at her own pace.
Be aware of possible financial problems.
The hotspot the two of you used to frequent after work on payday may now be out of her budget. Consider low-cost or free options instead, such as going for a walk together, attending a library exhibit, or meeting for coffee.