Encouraging the Unemployed
By Constance B. Fink
Unexpected job loss is in many ways like coping with death. Similar emotions may be experienced – shock, anger, sadness, guilt, and grief. The jobless person may feel betrayed or abandoned by his employer and everyone else, including God. Your friend will remember who stood near and who turned away.
What are some ways to show you care?
DON’T keep asking, “Have you found anything yet?”
DO engage him about other areas of his life – hobbies, interests, and relationships. When one area of life is lost, the other areas play an important role in keeping one motivated and energized.
DON’T forget the spouse.
DO give opportunity for the wife (if the husband lost the job) to express how she is feeling. Take her out for lunch. Encourage her to share her personal fears, concerns, and needs. Often the details of adjusting to unemployment and looking for a new job consume much of a couple’s time. Trying to remain stable are additional stresses not only on the individual but also on the marriage. It is important for each to have an encourager.
DON’T give advice like, “You may have to take whatever job you can find” to someone who lost a career job.
DO give encouragement. Remind them of their strengths and their contributions. The jobless person has some shame and embarrassment. Be careful not to rub salt in an already painful wound. Even though your trying to help, insensitive advice often adds pain. Unless he asks you for advice, don’t give it. This unexpected turn in his life may be part of God’s plan to redirect him.
DON’T push. Don’t force him to be where you think he should be or to do what you think he should be doing.
DO offer support. “I am praying about your job interview next week.” Each person deals with job loss in different ways, depending on their emotional foundation, spiritual perspective, and physical health. Be careful not to expect him to respond the way you would. Rather, meet him where he is and walk with him on his path.
DON’T expect the unemployed to accept invitations where he will need to spend money.
DO include him and treat him. Unemployment often causes a person to become frugal. Small things, once enjoyed regularlyare now special treats. Look for opportunities to give something simply for enjoyment.
DON’T think that all his time must be spent looking for a job.
DO encourage him to play. Sometimes the unemployed person feels guilty if he takes time to play. He may think that each minute away from the job search is lost time. However, time spent in a physical activity is healthy not only for the body but for the mind and heart.
DON’T give false hope. Don’t say, “You’ll find something better.”
DO remind him of God. Instill confidence by saying, “God will always be with you and provide for you.” There is no guarantee of a better job, a better home, a better boss. Be careful to not raise expectation for something you have no assurance of. No one, except God, can guarantee the future. He guarantees that He will keep His promises to His children.
Will you stand with God close to your friend?