Friday, January 23, 2009
SURVIVAL Part 6: Providing Support For Others
by Jim Davis (Print complete Job Loss Survival Guide)
Providing a Support Structure For Others
Here are some suggestions for helping anyone who is going through job-loss grief:
Remember that grief takes time. The death of a loved one normally requires a grief period of about two years. Job-loss grief also often takes a substantial amount of time.
Encourage the person to talk, and listen openly and actively. This not only lets them know that you care, but it is also therapeutic. Talking about their emotions and feelings helps them to vent emotions and also to accept the reality of the situation.
Avoid pat answers and clichés. Such "helpful" comments as "some things are just meant to be," or "every cloud has a silver lining" may be more frustrating than they are helpful. Even offering advice about possible job alternatives with statements such as, "Hey, I bet you'd be good at . . . . " may be better unsaid unless they really reflect the person's abilities or interests.
Be available. People have as much trouble knowing what to say to someone who has just lost their job as to one who has had a death in their family. Just being there is important. This can help them overcome the fear of what others think of them due to their job loss.
Help them to "regrieve." It's usually easy for them to dwell on the shortcomings of the former job, but remembering the achievements and the fun times is important, too. Also, if they can overcome the tendency to dwell on the negative aspects of their former employment, as well as their termination, they will be better prepared to interview for new jobs.
Practical day-to-day help, such as helping with chores or errands, is important. Rather than just asking if there is anything you can do, offer to do things you know need to be done. This eliminates the tendency to avoid asking for help for fear of imposing. Also, particularly in the early stages of job-loss grief, people may even be unaware that some tasks are not being done. Or, they may simply be too overwhelmed to care.
Being part of a job search network can be very helpful. Networking is the most effective way of finding a new job. However, be careful not to appear that you are trying to take over the job search.
Offer to be a job coach. Offer to listen to ideas, help do mock interviews, help form job search strategies, and help find areas where changes might be helpful.
End of Part 6