This has been a tumultuous year for a lot of people. As a result, they’re struggling to make ends meet. If your friends or family are in that situation, what are some ways you can make a difference?
It’s easy to feel helpless since you can’t offer a full-time job or a large amount of money to help them get through. However, there are a lot of things you can do – and coordinating with others multiplies your impact.
Here are some ideas for supporting friends and family through job loss.
Consider Your Loved One’s Needs
It’s easy to think that money is the most significant need for someone that loses their job, but the truth is more complex. Not all problems can be solved with money, and there’s a lot more to being a supportive friend than a check.
Think about your friend or family member’s current situation. What do they need? Start with the basics – food, shelter, and clothing – and then think bigger. Make a list. This list will help you decide how you can make a difference.
You might create a Give InKind page and use the Care Calendar for things like child care, transportation to interviews or doctor’s appointments, or even simply a visit. There could be house cleaning or home repair needs, yard care, and more. Or you can offer emotional support and a listening ear as well.
People who lose a job often need time and space to grieve. Don’t be too eager to offer new ideas right away – instead, listen and make a note of their actual needs right now.
Organize a Gift Card Shower
While many people aren’t able to donate a huge amount of money to a loved one who is without work, you can often do something smaller. However, a little thing multiplied by many people can make a big difference.
When someone is having a birthday, a friend often organizes a “card shower" where friends from all over mail birthday cards to help them feel loved. Why not do the same with a gift card shower?
You can even coordinate it virtually. Think about what kinds of gift cards make the most sense – gasoline cards, gift cards to a favorite grocery, and things of that nature. You can even throw in a few restaurant gift cards to make going out more feasible for those on a low budget. Get their friend’s email address and tell others to email their gift cards and well wishes.
Having a lot of gift cards to useful places will make a big difference to your loved one in a time of need.
Use a Care Calendar for Rides and Childcare
If you want to offer actionable help to your friend or family member, you might think about offering rides to interviews or appointments or even helping with childcare. This is another area where working with others can multiply your efforts.
Use a Care Calendar on GiveInKind to set up slots for friends and associates to sign up for. Whether it’s scheduling a weekly meal delivery, arranging childcare, or organizing transportation, having a calendar with open slots allows everyone to pitch in.
GiveInKind allows you to create a page for free, and you’ll have access to situation-specific content and suggestions for your calendar. It’s easy to set up and simple to invite others to join you.
Spend Time With Your Loved One
Sometimes just being present is the biggest gift you can give. Invite your friend or relative out for coffee, for dinner, or over to visit. Allow them to speak their mind – about their job situation, or something completely different.
You may also be able to find events to attend together that you’d both enjoy, from a wine-and-paint to a concert. Giving them some social time to get their mind off their pressures may be precisely what they need to rebound and land on their feet.
The key is not to automatically go into problem-solving mode about finding new work until they’re ready. Many people need time to decompress after a job loss, and it takes them a while to think about what they may want to do next.
When They’re Ready, Help Them Find New Work
After a period of decompression and evaluation, your friend or family member will be ready to start looking for work again. Don’t rush them, but be available to help when it’s time.
You might be part of conversations helping your loved one decide what’s next. Do they want to return to the same career or move into a new field? Do they need more formal education, or can they get a certificate or learn on the job?
If you have the skills, help them revamp their resume and coach them about introductory emails and cover letters. If not, connect them to someone who does or point them toward a career center in your area.
Are you going to any networking events soon? Or do you know of any happening in your area? Connect your loved one to these events and help with introductions if you can. You may also have access to discounts on software or other services that would be a big help to your friend as they look for work.
Job searching can be exhausting, so be sure you provide support without hounding your friend about their every move. When you get together, don’t be surprised if your loved one wants to talk about anything but the job search. Be prepared to have fun in a variety of ways.
Being Supportive is All About Thoughtfulness
Someone who is going through a job loss is under a lot of stress and needs friends and family to rally around them. When you use the suggestions in this article, you can make a big difference even if you don’t have a lot of spare money.
In the end, it’s much more about thoughtfulness, support, and camaraderie than money. And when things get better, they’ll remember you as someone who walked closely with them through a difficult time.
Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.