What to Say and What Not to Say When Someone Loses Their Job

Updated on September 16, 2017
AlexisG profile image

Alexis has worked in Human Resources and assisted several individuals in finding gainful employment.

If you’ve been in the workforce for at least a couple of years, you’ve probably experienced job loss. If you’re one of the lucky few who haven’t been laid off, quit or fired, then you probably know someone who has. Regardless of whether you’ve experienced uncontrollable job loss or had a loved one experience it, it’s a soul-crushing experience and one that can affect more than just the individual.

Until a little over a month ago, I had been in the position to only watch friends go through the process of layoffs. I have helped friends network and ultimately end up with positions that they enjoyed. Listening to their anxieties and experiences gave me a window into what it was like, but never did I imagine myself being in that position, until, I was. There’s a mix of support and tough love that can be appropriate, but remember there are right and wrong ways to go about both!

Do

Listen without judgement

Not having a job, even if your job is terrible, is arguably worse in every situation than working in said job. A job loss will come as a blow to someone’s self-esteem and they may not want to talk about it, at first.

Only now, over a month after I lost my job, am I willing to talk about it. Most family, friends and colleagues have been very supportive, even helping me get the part-time job I have until my full-time job starts this coming week. Others have only added to the anxiety of losing a job.

When someone is talking about their job loss and their fears, LISTEN. Withhold judgement of any kind, even if the job loss was because they made a big mistake at work. Do not start rattling off things like insurance loss, paying the bills, because that will only increase their anxiety over finding a job, which could hinder their employment search.

Don't

Remind them of what they’ve lost

Remind them of their $200/month student loan, mortgage, loss of insurance etc. They already are well aware. They also know of the bills that they have and that their income from their previous employer will be ending within the next two paychecks.

Do

Help them network

Virtually every single one of the jobs I’ve gotten has been through networking. Sometimes I’ve been offered the job during the interview and walked out with a new job. Help them connect with someone who has connections or can provide services to make their resume and cover letter stand out amongst the crowd.

Don't

Give them dead ends

  • “Oh XYZ has a job opening." Not.
  • “XQY is hiring.” But the job doesn’t really exist.
  • “Let me talk to Mr. Burns…” But he never does.

Do any of these sound familiar? These can be great if there is an actual job (and a good one) that these sentences are built on. However, telling someone that someone can give them a job or someone is hiring without any grounding is a waste of time. If such advice is built on the foundation of a known job, follow through with it!

Do

Give them positive feedback on their work finding a job

When someone is looking for a job, that should be their job. If someone is putting in at least 32 hours a week networking, applying to jobs, attending job fairs, etc. then praise them. Job searching in itself can be a defeating process. No one enjoys getting rejections or finding out that the job that interviewed for went to the son of someone in the company that’s less qualified or other scenarios.

Don't

Criticize them when they haven’t found a job

Finding a job can be hard depending on a number of factors. If someone is doing all the right things, but still hasn’t found a good job (hopefully with benefits) or even a part-time job to make ends meet until a good job comes along, don’t criticize them. Seriously, don’t. Finding a new job can take only a few weeks or even a few months. Unless they’re watching TV all day and never applying to jobs or networking, why criticize them? Things are tough out there.

It's Not the End

Being laid off ranks pretty high on the list of 'Bad things that can happen to you'. However, is isn't the end of the world and you WILL find another job. There are hundreds, if not more, employers out there who want to hire someone who just lost their job that want to hire someone exactly like them. Remember to reinforce that to someone who lost their job and continue giving them support as they job search and even once their new job starts (because new job anxieties will be there!)

In closing, remember to reinforce these things to your family member, colleague, friend or if you yourself lost a job;

  • Job loss is not permanent
  • It can be a blessing in disguise
  • Everyone has skills that make them a fantastic candidate
  • There are resources out there that can help (recruiters, unemployment etc.)

Most importantly, continue to help them keep their confidence high and if you can afford it, take them out for dinner. That may give them just the boost they need to apply for a job that night that turns out to be their new job.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Alexis

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • AlexisG profile imageAUTHOR

        Alexis 

        10 months ago

        @Marmerto

        Glad you were able to find something in 3 months! I feel like 3-6 months is the average to find a new job after a layoff.

      • Mamerto profile image

        JR Mamerto 

        10 months ago from Cabuyao

        Reminds me of that day our company closed. I'm in hiatus for 3 months until I found a new job.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)