Special Holiday Gifts to Give an Unemployed Friend

talking friends

As more and more organizations rush to cut payroll before the end of the year, a lot of people are facing the prospect of starting 2009 without a job. While losing your job is usually a self-esteem buster, losing your job during the holidays brings with it additional concerns about not being able to give your family the kind of holiday celebration to which they have become accustomed.

Caught in a tangled mess of dealing with bills, trying to find a job in a sluggish economy, and worrying about what to do about the holidays can send just about anybody over the edge. That’s why people you know who have become unemployed at this time of year need some special presents only a good friend can provide:

  • Reach out. If you know that someone has been recently unemployed, you might shy away from phoning them because you feel awkward, and you don’t know what to say. You’re not alone in feeling that way. That’s why unemployed people become isolated — friends stop calling. Instead, pick up the phone and just say you’re sorry to hear that they were downsized, and that a lot of good employees are being let go because of hard times. What this does is affirm for them that this layoff wasn’t the result of something they did, and they shouldn’t be beating themselves up about it. And more importantly, you recognize their worth. It’s the first step on the long road back to reclaiming their self-esteem.
  • Lend an ear. As in any situation in which you have suffered a loss, there is a grieving process that people go through when they lose their job. They need to vent all of the emotions, anger, and frustrations that are pent up. You don’t have to say much, just be there to listen.
  • Help them spread the word. The most effective network anyone has is their friends and family. Word of mouth can get some powerful results, that’s why advertisers try to get a “buzz” going about a new product. Use the same technique, and help your friend get the word out that they are job hunting.
  • Invite them to be your guest at a networking event. Many professional and social organizations precede their monthly meetings with a time set aside for people to “work the room” and make contacts. If you belong to an organization that does this, take your friend along so that they can mingle. Many job leads come from social interactions.
  • Help them revise their resume. If they were in a job for a long time, chances are their resume is out of date. Sit down with your friend and help them reconstruct what they’ve been doing for the past few years. Don’t forget to include any special skills they may have learned from being involved in volunteer projects.
  • Give them an invitation to have some fun. Without any discretionary income to spend on leisure activities, fun is the first casualty of unemployment. Call your friend and invite them to a movie, your treat. Give them the night off from all their problems.

A little TLC is more important to someone facing a life crisis like unemployment than the most expensive gift you can buy. It tells them they aren’t alone, lost, or forgotten, and that they still matter to you.

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