Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tips on How to Support A Friend Who Was Laid Off from Their Job

Recently I was sitting at a table for a dinner for my friend's birthday. There were eight of us celebrating and enjoying each other's company. Finally the bill came to the table. We all became silent and a little uncomfortable. It was then that I realized that four of the eight friends around that table had all been laid off from work. The current statistics are 'California jobless rates leaps to 9.3%'. With the unstable times catching up to us, I wanted to offer fifteen things that you can do to help a friend who has been laid off from their job.

When we are all working we all fantasize about all of the things that we could do if we didn't have a job. Like work out more, take that pottery class we have always wanted to take or travel the world. Well I know that at least my laundry would done and things would be very clean at home:) The reality can very different for people who all of a sudden have a lot of time on their hands. I have spoken to two friends over the last week and they have both said to me 'what do I do with all of this time?"

It is completely normal for a person to go through a grief cycle after they lose their job. The stages are: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Your friend that was laid off will also go through the 'should have, could have and would have' cycle. The faster you can help your friend start to think about their skills the better the outcome.

My tips to support a friend who has been laid off are:

1) Encourage your friend to figure out their expenses and file for unemployment. Unemployment can take up to 3 weeks to process so the sooner they file the better it can be.
2) Suggest that they start to ask their connections and jobs that they are interested in for informational interviews. These interviews can be done over the phone or over coffee. The next time someone has a job opening they will keep you in mind.
3) Offer free gym passes or deals. They can also go jogging or hiking. The exercise will keep their spirits up.
4) They can update their LinkedIn profile to show their network that they are looking for work. A lot of recruiters use LinkedIn as well so this can be a great tool in their search.
5) Continue to plan lunches with these friends. This can really lift their spirits by getting them out of the house and continuing to connect with their social circle.
6) Establishing a new routine is key. By continuing to have a schedule at home it can help keep your friend motivated and positive.
7) Put in searching for jobs every day. Build up your resume and references and start to apply. There is a lot of competition in the job market today so putting in the consistent time can keep them one step ahead of someone else.
8) Help them make a list of less expensive daily things that they can do. They can get out of the house for a coffee, see some sites or even make a weekly menu to make dinners.
9) For a very small monthly fee they can join Netflix. This can really keep your friends spirits up by watching movies at home and not spending unnecessary money by going out.
10) Let them vent and follow their lead. Try to take their calls even if you are at work. Remember it probably took a lot for them to reach out to you and you might want the same if you were in the same boat.
11) Point out your friends skills and talents. It is very easy for them to get down on themselves. Remind them that a bad experience should not define them.
12) Take them to a networking event. You never know who you will both meet.
13) Offer to help look over their resume. You can also connect them to people that you know. People are always looking for good people in the work force.
14) Encourage them to go back to school for a certificate to build up their skill set.
15) Create a support system. Connect your friends to other people that you know who have been laid off to network and vent to. They will know exactly what your friend is going through.

Do you have other pieces of advice to add for a friend that has been laid off from their job? If this has happened to you, how long did it take to get back on your feet? Do you agree with the grief cycle from the loss of a job? Thank you LipStick Diaries for your appreciation about this post.


Debbie said...

I am extremely fortunate in that this has not happened to any very close to me - yet. Great advice.

LipSmacker said...

Oh thank you for this! I am part of California's rising unemployment rate myself and I really appreciate this post! I know I am fortunate because I am in a position where I can take a few months off to take some time for myself and "all those things I would do if I didn't work.."! Thanks for being so compassionate and not referring to us as a "burden"! ;)

Medicated and Motivated said...

This is a wonderful list. I got laid off yesterday, filed for unemployment this morning, and I'm going to meet with a counselor at a local college tomorrow to see about going back to school.

Laura said...

Dear Medicated and Motivated: You are not alone. I saw on the news that 50,000 jobs were laid off in one day in California. Good luck and going back to school sounds wonderful.

Laura said...

LipSmacker: You are not a burden. I think you just got lumped in with a lot of other unfortunate people that didn't see the lay off coming. Tell me what you do on your time off.

Georgie B said...

Yes, I totally agree with the grief cycle, having gone through this agony in 2003 (state budget crisis, much like what is going on in 2009).

For me, it took me about 2 years to get back on my feet: six months to be rehired, 1/2 years to recover financially.

Wish I had these tips around when I was laid off. I think things would have been much more easier on me.

Laura said...

Georgie B: So glad that you are fully back on your feet. Pass on the tips to whomever you think it can help. Thanx for your great comment.

Lori said...

Great post! I have had some friends going through this recently, and felt helpless when they came to me about it, it's nice to have some more concrete suggestions.

phd in yogurtry said...

informational interviews

never heard of these. good tips. thanks.

Pink Peony said...

I was just having this kinda talk tonight with a friend. She is taking the whole economy crunch thing hard. It's sad to see people that went from the top of their game to such low points. Thanks for the blog on the subject. :)