3 Things To Say To Someone That Just Lost Their Job

In the past three years alone, I’ve seen what seems like “everyone I know” go through job loss, quit a job, or completely change industries all together.

I’m including myself in this. I quit the radio industry in October of 2018 after “working my way up” for nine years. I chose to leave because I found radio to no longer be a beneficial environment for my mental health. Sure, I had a hell of a lot of fun in radio — but there’s a lot of corporate shit (and one too many interpersonal struggles within the industry) going on behind the scenes that you don’t see or hear about… and that’s the side of the business that forced me to choose to leave. Will I ever go back? Right now, I doubt it.

Anyway – that’s not why you’re reading this blog. You might be reading this because you or someone you know is also changing industries. Maybe a friend or loved one just lost their job. Maybe they’re struggling with the idea of quitting.

Whatever the circumstance (choosing to leave or being forced to), job loss sucks.

There’s a mourning period that comes with it which we don’t often talk about. Think about it; you’re undergoing a lifestyle change. We literally build our routine around our employment schedule. When you lose or change jobs, your schedule is different, your friends change, and you miss co-workers that you actually enjoyed spending time with – it’s a life change. Anytime we uproot that, a healing period has to follow that major adjustment. It’s just too much to ignore emotionally and mentally. Hell, if you’re a laborer, you might be annoyed at physical changes after job loss or change too.

In business, we’re always told “it’s not personal – just business,” but it’s never “just business.” That couldn’t be further from the truth.

What we’re forgetting when we make that statement is the relationships that we’ve built with clients, co-workers, and managers. They can be built on trust, anger, frustration, loyalty, or camaraderie; and regardless of whatever they’re built on, they meant something. That’s just something we observe as humans. We remember shitty bosses we’ve had, and we remember amazing ones. The same applies for co-workers and clients. We don’t just forget them because our experience was “just business.”

Job loss (and change) is a sensitive topic. So, when we’re talking about it with a friend or loved one, I think it’s best to remember some things.

  1. Don’t say, “I’m sure you’ll find something!”: Trust me, someone that depressed is in no mood to hear that, and they’re definitely not on that same positivity train. I know you want to comfort them, but the truth is we can’t predict when the next gig will come along. Why not ask them about their goals or what they’re hoping for in the future instead? Focus on something to look forward to.
  2. Help and networking goes a long way: Remember how relieved you were when a mentor helped you out in your industry? There’s no reason why you can’t be that positive influence in someone else’s life too. Help this person out of their rut by giving resume tips, constructive criticism, or helping them build a portfolio. You can always offer to help, but be respectful of their reply.
  3. There’s more to life than your job: Why the hell are we constantly asking about work anyway? Discussing hobbies, animals, interests, music, culture, movies, and fashion, are fun topics too! My point: make their experience (and yours) more than about who you are in your career. We did this as kids before we started working, right?

If you’re reading this and experiencing job loss or change right now, know that I’m right there with ya, boo.

Hang in there!

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