April 03, 2009
4 Ways to Help the Unemployed
When times get difficult, I find the best way to cope is taking action. And times are certainly hard for many of us nowadays -- 13.2 million Americans are now unemployed as of March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So I compiled this list of ways those of us in a position to help the unemployed can do so. Read it and get going:
· Make a Donation: It doesn’t have to be money (but it never hurts). Organizations like Dress for Success help disadvantaged women get the proper clothes and skills for interviews. Got a suit you never wear or time to mentor someone? Here’s how to help.
· Reach Out to Alumni: People you graduated college with are great networking contacts, whether you’re employed or not. If you know of fellow alums in your industry who are out of work, keep your eyes and ears open for them, and stay in touch. You may even want to take them to an industry networking event they may not have been aware of.
· Listen: When any loss happens, from death to a layoff, platitudes don’t help -- being there does. Let your friend or relative know you’re available to talk about anything, not just their work situation. This is especially important when your partner or spouse has been laid off.
· Patronize New Businesses: Some people start their own companies when their corporate jobs don’t work out. You can help by giving your business to someone you know who’s just starting out. It’s a win-win for you and for them.
Here are some more ways you can help the unemployed. And if you have other ways to be of assistance, let us know in the comments below.
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I agree, being there when somebody needs help is a great source of comfort for the individual.
Posted by: Claire | Apr 9, 2009 5:18:15 PM
Nice article. I never had a job long enough to be considered unemployed. I'm looking for help myself and its not easy trying to get it. One of these points should help.
Posted by: sharon | Apr 14, 2009 11:05:09 AM
Great article - practical and helpful.
The most important thing one can do for the newly umemployed is listen, listen, listen.
Much of what they will express is emotional frustration, sometimes anger, and definitely pain.
When they are "talked out" or you're beginning to hear the unemployed internalize the situation and attack themselves, supportively assure and remind them that they are a good person, have valuable skills and knowledge, and a layoff wasn't because they didn't work long enough hours or anything else. A layoff is usually always beyond an employee's control, and as such, the worker already did everything they could do in this situation.
Now is the time to focus on themselves, their needs and their careers...which didn't abruptly stop when the layoff occurred.
I know everyone is nodding their heads thinking, "well of course" but they need to HEAR this from those they trust, respect and love...it may take a while for them to really understand, accept and believe in themselves again but they need this kind of encouragement.
Please avoid "telling them what to do" and "interrogating" the unemployed - this isn't constructive, and is more about power issues than anything else. Don't foist your own baggage onto the unemployed person - it's not appropriate. Pontificating, being insensitive or pushy isn't helpful, either.
Be tactful. Instead of asking them, "Have you found a job yet?" ask, "How's the search going? Any good prospects?" Insensitive people do more damage than they ever imagine.
Other things you can do if you're in a position to help:
1) Invite them over to do their laundry at your place over coffee/tea because "it's more fun with a friend!" is always a great way to extend your invitation.
2) Invite them to a park for a walk with you. This accomplishes several things at once: exercise, fresh air and sunshine, working out some of their frustration, and time out of the house.
3) Tell them it's "dollar night" at the local eatery and to be there or be square! Invite them out to dine with you without making it seem like they are your charity case. An upbeat invitation for "dollar pancakes" at the local diner (or any other little gimick) makes them feel like they can go out and socialize and enjoy themselves.
Remember: you might be the one laid off in a year from now, and you're new employed friend or relative...the one you took under your wing...will be there for you.
Posted by: Eva | Apr 14, 2009 12:35:46 PM
If this makes you feel good that's great. It does little or nothing for the person who is unemployed or their bottom-line. How about writing a letter to your elected official demanding action?
Posted by: Jim | Apr 14, 2009 1:50:09 PM
Nice information. Networking has to be the number 1 way to get help and land your next job.
Posted by: Russ | Apr 14, 2009 5:35:38 PM
My friends are there for me, but after being out of work for over a year, now without income or affordable benefits, I'd rather not sound like a broken record. I am 59, partially disabled and I severely injured the already disabled foot over a year ago. I am not allowed back at my job until I have no restrictions. Does no one understand what "Disabled" means?????
I can't get private insurance, so all that is left is the TX. high risk pool. With no job, how does one pay at least $600 a month with a $7,000 deductible for health insurance? (My husband's job offers no benefits at all, so I'm stuck.)
I began working toward starting my own jewelry design business before I got hurt, but I now lack the funds to complete my plan and make it happen, not to mention as a self-employed person, I face the same insurance stumbling block.
Since I have been self employed in the past, I have a lot of business knowledge and experience, from business, time and money management to marketing and sales and customer service. Despite my success, I find it carries no weight in getting a job.
Add a recession to the mix and I should be ready to jump off a bridge!
What keeps me going is writing my feelings down and the fact that I am blessed with a sense of humor. My favorite quote is, "Happy is the woman who can laugh at herself. She will never cease to be amused!"
Posted by: Margo | Apr 16, 2009 4:13:59 AM
A lot of people are under a lot of stress these days due to work related issues. This has actually given rise to therapy centers where, in some cases, free stress relief is provided to the unemployed.
Posted by: Faryal Humayun | Apr 16, 2009 5:12:11 AM
I love this post and the comments. Couldn't agree more! Those laid off need help - most especially to simply stay POSITIVE.
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Posted by: Brian Kurth | Apr 26, 2009 3:54:52 PM
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