3 Ways to Support Someone On Furlough or Unemployed

Due to the pandemic’s impact, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment. Perhaps you know a friend, a colleague, or a loved one who has lost their job and you want to be there for them, but are unsure about what you can do. Here are three ways you can support someone who has recently lost their job. 

1. Check in on them

First and foremost, reach out to them and ask them how they are doing.

Do not just ignore them because you believe the conversation will be too awkward. Instead, take the necessary steps to show your sympathy. Think about how much a check-in would mean to you if the roles were reversed.

When you do ask that person how they are doing, make sure to listen. Do not simply nod at everything they are saying while thinking about how lucky you are to still be employed. Show true empathy for their situation and listen to their fears. 

Losing a job not only has an intense financial impact on a person, but also an emotional and psychological one. They may even be hesitant to share their worries with you because you are not in the same situation.

However, as a friend, it’s important that you do your best to understand their situation and figure out if what they want is someone to listen or want advice. The best way to approach the situation is to simply ask them what they need and follow accordingly to their wishes.

2. Remind them of their strengths and be positive

When a person has been fired or furloughed, their self-esteem can take a huge blow even though there are special circumstances that contributed to the decision. For the first day or two after the news, they will likely be in a whirlwind of stress and uncertainty. 

During this time, they may need to be uplifted. Remind them of how they spearheaded a successful project last year or how everyone in the office admires them for their tenacity. Little reminders of their accomplishments can be useful in helping them recognize that they were an asset to the company and they will be an asset again. 

Try to remain positive when speaking to this person. Finding a new job is a stressful, time-consuming experience and they probably don’t want negativity entering their space. Refrain from sharing your own insecurities because they have enough on their plate as it is. If you are worried about possibly losing your job as well, talk to your boss or to other colleagues.

3. Offer your help, if you can

Once your friend or colleague has had time to process this new change, try to offer your assistance if you can.

Ask if they would like help making new connections, preparing for an interview, or reviewing their resumé. Even if you are not a recruiter, there are ways that you can lend your assistance, even if that is simply checking in on them once in a while to see their progress.

However, be careful when offering your assistance. Keep in mind that this is about helping your friend, not the time to boast about your amazing interview skills. Use your experience to give them tips, but make sure to keep the discussion focused on the person and their needs.

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The job market is changing quickly, resulting in a lot of people finding themselves unemployed. Hopefully, you can apply these tools to support the people in your life who need your encouragement during this challenging time.

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