It’s Time to Tell your Friends and Neighbors that you Lost Your Job

Pride is a strange thing.

When someone loses their job it can be a very traumatic experience. Whether you knew it was coming or not the resulting emotions can include anger, shame, fear and anxiousness. These are all perfectly normal emotions in this case and ones that can only be quelled by talking it through with others and executing a solid job search plan. It’s that “talking it through with others” part that I’d like to discuss with you today.

If you are like most people, you trumpeted every advancement in your career with friends, family and neighbors. Raises, promotions and new job offers are often part of conversations at parties and dinners out. Most people can’t wait to share this good news with all of the people in their lives that care about them. With great vigor you tell the tale of all of the work that went into receiving this opportunity and the challenges that await you. They patted you on the back and told you that you worked hard for this opportunity and that you “deserved it”. But a funny thing happens on the way to the unemployment office…

Many job seekers that I work with keep their job loss a secret from friends and family. Some even go out of their way to avoid parties and outings where they may have to answer the question: “So how is work going?” Job seekers spend hours crafting the exact wording that they would use if they met someone that they know and then travel anxiously about their day on the lookout for their friends so they don’t run into them. Think of that. The friends that you have shared each and every joy of your life with and have shared their own joy and heartache with you are now people to be avoided. You don’t really want to run into them for fear of being judged by them about your job loss… I have a secret for you; you’ve already been judged by them.

Your friends are not just your friends during good times. They have likely shared the difficulties with their children or parents with you in a time of weakness. My guess is that you thought nothing of it and were actually quite honored that they trusted you with that information. Why is this any different? Of course, it’s not. Yes, your friends and family have already judged you and it had nothing to do with the job you had. They like you because of who you are- not what you do for a living (if they do you need new friends!). My guess is that sharing the information about your job loss with them will make them want to help you more than ever before. Friends are friends in good times and bad.

The most important thing to remember is that these people care about you and are very WILLING to help you look for your next opportunity. They can’t help you if they don’t know you need their help. My guess is that they will spring into action and ask, “What can I do to help?” As long as you are ready to guide them on how they can help you with your job search research project this will be a uplifting conversation. The only question you may have to answer is “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

So take a moment and make a list of all of the people that you would have shared positive job news with. Everyone that you would have shared your promotion or awards with. This is the group that is waiting to help you. If you are worried about pride…don’t be. They will be very PROUD to help you on your search.

“Be humble, be sincere, ask for help…”


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