Could be any of us. From the New York Times.
Ways to Help a Friend Survive a Job Search
Amy Baker, a partner marketing specialist in the technology industry in San Francisco, was pushed into an unexpected job search last year and was the recipient of many thoughtful supportive gestures, which she has itemized below.
When I hear a friend has been laid off, I do at least some of the following:
1. I invite them to lunch.
2. I present them with a “job search survival kit.” This includes a notebook for writing their ideas/interview notes in and a Starbucks card for the networking they will do or simply for a treat.
3. The first piece of advice in the notebook is “Always accept a free lunch. You will do the same when you are in their shoes.” Most people don’t know how to be on the receiving end of generosity and forget it makes both sides feel good.
4. I tell them the first thing they should do is sign up for unemployment, and I explain how it works and what to do (many are not familiar with the system, but it was a godsend during my search) .
5. I make sure they are on LinkedIn, offer help with their résumé and offer to be a recommendation.
6. I tell them that even if it sounds new age and hokie, they need to write out a “vision statement” about the kind of job they are looking for. Sometimes even articulating it starts the ball rolling. “In my vision, I am working for a (fill in the blank), doing (fill in the blank), where the senior management (fill in the blank). …”
7. And I advise them that part of every day should be spent looking for work and part of it should be spent doing something they normally would not do during a work day — say, going for a walk in the afternoon, or seeing a matinee, or taking a nap. They’ve got to enjoy the freedom too.
8. I brainstorm with them about options they have and directions to go in.
9. I encourage them to come up with a short paragraph about what they are looking for and send an e-mail out to everyone they know.
10. I tell them that on the other end of this will be another job and that they will go places they hadn’t expected.
Alternatively, here are some things people did for me that I thought were amazing:
¶Contract work: Not everyone is in a position to offer contract work, but if you can steer a friend to a job to apply for, or a project to bid on, it can help keep them going.
¶Access to the arts: Most memberships allow you to bring a guest. Getting invited to see the Chihuly exhibit in San Francisco last summer was stunning and completely lifted my spirits, or sometimes friends had an extra ticket to the opera or to attend a lecture I really wanted to hear.
¶Even little things, like picking up the bill for hot chocolates, or offering me a ride so I didn’t need my car, made a huge difference.
¶A few relatives managed to offer more substantial help in the guise of birthday money.
¶I did have friends offer bridge loans — if I knew, for example, that money was coming in soon but the property tax bill was due even sooner — although I never took them up on it.
¶I also had friends offer not just to baby-sit but to baby-sit during an afternoon, so my husband and I could go see a matinee and not have to leave dinner money for them.
It is a dark and scary time, when you’re looking for work and don’t see anything on the horizon. A little support goes a long way, even if it is just checking in.