Helping loved ones cope with a career transition
At a time when so many people know friends, family, and former colleagues who are out of work, we turned to Jean Baur, author of Eliminated! Now What? for advice on how to help someone close to you stay upbeat and motivated during their search for employment.
When comforting your loved one, or simply discussing his or her sudden job loss, Baur suggests saying something such as, 'I'm so sorry this happened,' or 'I know this has nothing to do with the quality of your work.'
According to Baur, saying things such as, 'How will we pay our mortgage?' or 'Oh, you'll have a job in a week,' are detrimental for many reasons. "Critical or overly optimistic statements aren't helpful as they're not grounded in the reality of the person facing job loss, [the just] add pressure and make him or her feel even more alone," she explains.
Another no-no Baur cautions against is asking questions, such as 'Do you have a job yet?' She says it's much more supportive to ask, 'How's your search going?' instead.
What You Can Do to Help
Lending your loved one your support and a listening ear is one of the most important things you can do to aid him or her, says Baur. A few specific things she recommends you do include:
- Asking 'How may I help?'
- Making a list of all the people you know who may also be able to help your loved one.
- Taking your loved one to a networking meeting.
- Offering to practice interview questions with him or her.
What to Avoid When Trying to Help
Baur advises against becoming overly involved in your loved one's search process. She explains, "They are in charge. They hopefully have a plan and it's not your job to run the show. Be respectful of their way of doing things."
Selena Dehne is a book publicist, freelance writer and lifelong Hoosier. She is a regular contributor for FabulousLiving.com and has published dozens of other articles on MSN.com and AOL.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SelenaDehne.