Your friend, colleague, or family member may have been laid off or fired. If your friend has been looking for work for a long time, an identity crisis can start to take hold that sends them into an ego-crushing downward spiral that can go on for years. We want to stress this isn’t always the case- that for some, job loss can finally mean time in the garden or on home improvement projects. But did you read the latest statistics that suicide among unemployed Baby Boomers is at an all time high? This can be serious. It’s hard on the person, and also their family members. We want those of you who can to help us with research by participating in our survey or emailing us so we will have more to say here. But here is what we know so far:
- If your friend was fired or let go, reach out! Don’t shirk away because you feel guilty for still being there.
- Let your friend know their awesome personal and professional qualities and remind them of their accomplishments. Email, a card, lunch. A person who was let go CANNOT HEAR this enough!
- Network your former colleague with leads. Remember, this might be humiliating for your friend. Stress that they don’t owe you anything. A classy job referral we like is, “I thought you might know someone who would be interested in this opportunity.”
- Patience. It might take a while to find a new job, and the more “senior” the work the harder it can be to find something else.
- If finances are becoming a problem, offer up a few freebies. Dinner. Bring the wine over. Your pad in the country. (Are you lucky enough to have that?!) And scale down on expensive activities.
“The sense of failure was so hard to shake. I hated being asked about the job search every time someone saw me, and yet, I was also really struggling with this issue.”
NO, NO, NO!!
- The main no no: If you liked your colleague, don’t let their exit out seem like they’re going to come back from lunch. REACH OUT or they will feel shunned by you too. This quote from New York City Mayor Bloomberg says it all:
“I have always had a policy: If it’s a friend and they get a promotion, I don’t bother to call them; I’ll see them sometime and make a joke about it. If they get fired, I want to go out to dinner with them that night. And I want to do it in a public place where everybody can see me. Because I remember when I got fired from Salomon Brothers—I can tell you every single person that called me. That meant something. When I was made a partner? I have no recollection of that whatsoever.”
“Perspectives can’t be handed to someone on a silver platter. If someone describes learning a lift lesson, say you are glad to hear it, ask about it, but don’t dish it out yourself.”
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