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Talking About Unemployment With a Friend

How to Advise an Unemployed Friend?

This question comes in from our Community Assistant who needs your help in advising an unemployed friend!

I have a friend who is actively looking for a job. Unfortunately, she hasn't had any luck finding one. As a result, it sometimes is hard to get together with her, because she rarely has money to go out, and if she does— she is a little bit of a downer. She is constantly bringing up the fact that she doesn't have a position at her "dream company."  I really try to guide her to job boards, and professional sites as much as possible. However, she is REALLY picky on the company and often times scoffs at what I send over.  I don't know how else to advise her. I am getting a little sick of the pity party, but don't want to be a bad friend. What should I do?

Ask anything career- or budget-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and readers and I will weigh in to support you.




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Choco-cat Choco-cat 6 years
oh, i'd like to add that i, also (as seems to be the case with way too many of us right now), speak from experience. my husband was job-hunting for a year and a half before he found anything. i would say to NOT offer advice unless it's asked for; i think unasked for advise comes across as "i know better than you and can tell you how to do it right" - i know that's not how it's intended, but someone who is unemployed is already going to be sensitive about job-hunting. if the topic comes up, be sympathetic with minimal words - if it gets to be too much of a pity party, try to change the subject.
Choco-cat Choco-cat 6 years
It is really hard out there - and while i understand not wanting to go to a pity party, i think just being willing to listen and sympathize is import for the discouraged. That said, if she is looking for suggestions, i'd direct her to her contact. The job-placement centers are useful. A lot of colleges/universities offer some sort of job-hunting/networking opportunities to their alumni. Unfortunately, particularly right now, it's who you know - so i would suggest networking, networking, and networking.
ShelleyHFan ShelleyHFan 6 years
Oh, and I forgot what if she tries to score an internship? I know she may have already completed one in order to graduate but she should really try for another one in the meantime. If she offers to work for free or less at a company she likes they may think of her when something opens up. Try mentioning that to her as an idea. She can even get a holiday job (ex: the mall) to get mad money so that she can at least have some cash in the meantime while she "waits" for a more permanant offer. Otherwise, I think there is only so much you can do as a friend and she has to be her own advocate and think creatively. You're in a tough spot because you want to be supportive and not abandon a friend in a time of obvious need but if she doesn't at least say thank you or make an effort to change her attitude I wouldn't blame you for puttting some distance between you. Once you have given her this advice and directed her as much as you have it may be all you can do. After a certain time period has passed you can check in to see how she is doing. Good luck and I hope that helps!
ShelleyHFan ShelleyHFan 6 years
I don't know if this will help but I found an article in the NY Times that offers advice to young unemployed college grads. Here it is:
cleegiants cleegiants 6 years
As someone who was very recently jobless, I can sympathize with you! I tried to be mindful of the fact that I didn't want to be a one-woman pity party, and i didn't want my friends to feel uncomfortable hanging around me. For me, and me only, the suggestions that people offered were sometimes the most difficult things to hear because in my mind i interpreted it as "well what you're doing isn't work, so try my way". i know they didn't mean it like that, they're literally just offering suggestions. i don't want to say that's how your friend is feeling, just offering my perspective. i certainly wasn't holding out hope for my 'dream' job, so i hope i didn't give off that impression. being jobless does just kind of consume a lot of thought, so perhaps the best thing you can do is just have her over (no cost involved!) and either let her talk or do something to take her mind off of the situation.
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