invisible-2.jpgAre you one of the forgotten? When you lost your job did colleagues and friends start to ignore you?

When someone looses their job, it’s so hard for the people around them to figure out what to say, what to do, some of us just decide to cut the person off. Maybe we don’t make a conscious effort, but we feel uncomfortable and find ways to get around seeing that poor, unemployed soul.

Well, I’m here to tell you all to STOP IT!

Pick up the phone today. Write an email. Do anything you can to connect with your jobless friend. They need you. I’m serious.

This email came from one of my readers this morning. Rebecca felt like she became “invisible” when she lost her gig.

My husband and I used to work for the same company and were each laid off a year apart. During the year which followed my layoff, while my husband was still working, I became the invisible woman. Former coworkers would not even say “hello” when I picked my husband up from work or we ran into each other at the store.

There were no ill feelings when I left; I just think people were uncomfortable that they would be next. It is hard to endure feeling like you have a disease just because you lost your job. Simple things like “I thought of you today, miss you at work, or even better yet a lunch offer or visit would have been nice.

After my husband was laid off it was like we just never existed. Everyone knew we were struggling to find jobs in an area where none existed, and that we had our house for sale and would have to move away with small children. It would have been wonderful if someone had offered to keep the kids for a while or just called to see if we needed anything. It wasn’t like anything they said could have made it worse but being remembered would have helped a lot.

Say something to someone who has lost their job!

Simple no? SAY SOMETHING!

I know what you’re going to ask me next, “what do I say?”

Basically, they’ll just be happy if you say, “hello. Just wanted to see how you’re doing.” And offer to take them to lunch, breakfast. You have a job for god’s sake. You can afford it.

Beyond that, here are some things to keep in mind from Karen Romine, a psychotherapist in Santa Monica:

* The main challenge in this situation is that most of us project onto the laid-off person how WE’D feel if we were laid off. In most cases, this means we see them as a helpless victim who’s in real trouble. Don’t do that. The truth is, while it’s a setback, it’s not nearly as bad as we tend to think.

* Psychologically, this hits us at the survival level, in the primitive brain, so that means the perception is distorted and the stress hormones are out of proportion to the reality. The reality is that we don’t have debtors’ prisons anymore and this person will get another job and recover. But our brains take it more seriously than that.

* Show confidence in them. Say that you’re sorry it happened this way, and it sucks, and then talk about how valuable their skills and experience are, and how if you were an employer, you’d hire them as quickly as possible. Then make them a drink. Acknowledge the setback but don’t take it too seriously. And don’t work too hard to make them feel better. That tends to be an unconscious signal that makes people feel worse.

Be a friend damn it. We all know how to do that, right?

Help us all learn. Make the call now and tell us how it went. What did you say, email? How did they react?

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