How to Support Your Unemployed Friends and Relatives

Recent news of layoffs at eBay, American Express and other large companies serve as a fresh reminder of the many ways in which losing a job impacts a person’s life. Friends and relatives of the long-term unemployed want desperately to help the people they care about. Unfortunately, our best efforts often have the opposite effect, adding additional pressure and making the person without a job feel even more helpless.

Last winter we provided eight tips for supporting loved ones during their job search. Today we offer additional suggestions for helping unemployed people find balance and happiness as they continue to seek their next opportunity.

Don’t Let Them IsolateHow to Support Unemployed Friends

Job loss, especially when followed by extended unemployment, can lead to a loss of self-confidence and the urge to isolate oneself from other people. While it is understandable that a person who is sad would wish to withdraw from company at times, intense loneliness is unhealthy and dangerous.

Reach out to the unemployed person on a regular basis to let him or her know that you care. Even if the person doesn’t take your call, share things that are going on in your life. Little updates from you will help the job seeker feel connected to a larger community.

In addition to calls and e-mails, invite your relative or friend to activities and outings. Even if he or she has declined invitations in the past, keep asking. Keep in mind that someone who is not working may be very cost-conscious, so an invitation to a picnic or hike may be more appealing than dinner at an expensive restaurant.

Encourage Them to Make Time for Fun

The burden of extended unemployment can become the lens through which a person views his or her entire life. Help your friend or loved one to regain balance by letting her or him know that job hunting should not be a 24/7 activity. Explain that reliving the past and worrying about the future inhibit us from living in the present moment, and encourage your friend/relative to enjoy life on a regular basis. If he or she has stopped participating in a favorite hobby, suggest you do that activity together. If normal pastimes have lost their appeal, discover something new. The San Francisco Bay Area is a center for unique events and cultural experiences. Go out and enjoy!

Inspire Them to Contribute

When faced with the financial uncertainty of unemployment, it’s easy to forget that our true worth is not measured by our bank account balance. Remind your friends and loved ones that it’s possible to make a meaningful contribution without involving money. Is there a personal task or community project that is especially suited to their skills and temperament? Identify opportunities for them to volunteer or contribute, and inspire them to get involved. Through the process of activity and accomplishment, they will remember how valuable and special they are.

Get Them to Laugh

We tend to take ourselves very seriously, especially when facing major challenges. Physiologically and emotionally, laughter is powerful medicine and one which cannot be taken in excess. Schedule a visit with old friends, or simply set up a night to watch re-runs of a beloved TV comedy. Find ways to make your friend/loved one laugh.

Menlo Partners is Here to Help

If you have a copy of your friend or relative’s resume, we invite you to send it to us. Our dedicated team of professional recruiters is committed to assisting Silicon Valley job seekers in finding opportunities that are well-suited to their skills and strengths.


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