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25 Ways to Help Someone Who's Been Laid Off
A gratitude list
In my last newsletter I talked about how I was impacted by the DoorDash downsizing, and what to say to someone who’s been laid off. In the month since, my LinkedIn page has been INUNDATED with similar announcements. Perhaps you know someone who’s lost their job, and perhaps you’ve followed my advice and said these magic words:
This sucks. You’re awesome. How can I help?
But how CAN you help your friends who’ve been laid off? Below are 25 ideas, along with shoutouts to people who have helped ME in my job search thus far. (This is a gratitude newsletter, after all.)
P.S. If you are the one who’s lost their job, I have a message for you at the bottom of this list.
Repost the person’s LinkedIn announcement about getting laid off. (Jeremy, Wendy, Wendy, Mollie)
Comment on that post, ideally with over-the-top compliments. (Liz, Michelle, Sarah, Ro, Kate and more)
Ask for a blurb about the person’s background and ideal role, and send it around to your network. (Mollie)
Tell someone they’d be great at a related job, send them a series of articles about the field, and get on the phone to talk it all through. (Tracy)
Schedule a Zoom to talk about your career trajectory since you last worked together, and offer advice on breaking into your company. (Michael)
DM them relevant job openings. (Cindy)
Repost an article they wrote (about getting laid off, say) along with lots of flattering things about their writing skills. (Colleen)
Comment on an article they wrote with something kind and personal, perhaps about how that person helped you through YOUR layoff, once upon a time. (Emily)
Offer to jump on a quick call to explain your career pivot and suggest at least five concrete tips for doing the same. (Colleen)
Write a LinkedIn post about four people in your circle who are looking for work; make them sound as incredible as they are and include their pictures. (Ben)
Introduce them to someone in your network who is building a new business/potentially hiring soon. (Ben)
Offer to write up bullet points for their resume, especially if you’re still an employee at their former company. (Kelsey)
Send them your personal phone number, if you’re a bigwig at their former company, and offer to jump on the phone for a brainstorming session. (Kofi)
Check in via text to commiserate and information-share if you’re also someone who’s been laid off. (Alison Pantano)
Write super flattering LinkedIn recommendations that might cause that person to make weird face expressions because they’re not the best at receiving compliments. (Liz, Nick)
Reach out and offer to meet for lunch or a call, even if you haven’t been in touch in awhile. (Patricia)
Pick up the phone and call them when you hear the news. It’s nice to get a phone call. (Nick, Sweta, Maura)
Extend an invitation to happy hour when you hear the news. (Jesse)
Audit their LinkedIn profile. (Nina) (BTW this post is NOT sponsored by LinkedIn! It’s just the place where I’m at these days.)
Schedule a drink + brainstorm. (Maile)
Insist on a dinner date. (Emma)
Invite them to a show, if you find yourself with an extra ticket (to A Strange Loop, for example). At dinner beforehand, let them gripe about the job search. Bonus points if the night ends with a walk in Bryant Park. (Laura)
Offer them fun, steady work while they look for a job! (Theresa)
Get on the phone to strategize an upcoming interview, even if you live abroad. (Veronica)
Tell them it’s your New Year’s Resolution to run into them in your company’s elevator. (Fred)
Believe it or not, this is not an exhaustive list! I named 18 people off the top of my head in my first draft, and then went back and added some more. I am sure I am forgetting people.
This exercise reminded me of the career mentor month of my Thank You Year. I When I sat down to write a list of mentors to whom I’d write gratitude notes, I thought I would think of maybe 8, maybe 9 people. Instead, I went down my resume and came up with 30 names, no problem.
Now, moving on to the folks who’ve been laid off. Hi. I’m sorry that we are in this weird little (not-so-little) club together. This is frickin’ hard. It sucks. Staying positive and energetic can be a challenge. It takes a lot of pep talks, from yourself as well as others. Here are a few pieces of advice, for what it’s worth.
Come up with a job search mantra. Mine has been, Trust yourself.
Choose a job search theme song! (Cheesy? Maybe.) Mine is the very danceable “Rush” by Big Audio Dynamite, which I play before every interview. (When I was up for promotion at former job, it was Spoon's “The Underdog.”)
Take walks! Turn off the podcast and even the music. Listen to the sound of the thoughts in your own head. They are interesting right about now. Some of them will be scared or mean or unhelpful. But some will be insightful.
Keep a list of the people who are helping—so you can thank them later and update them on your new job or new pivot or whatever amazing thing is next for you. They are in your corner; they are going to want to know. Thanking these helpers feels good, as I can attest after writing the above list, not to mention an entire book on the subject. Surveying the list will act as a quick boost when you need one. (And you will need one.)
Remind yourself that this is a transition. Life is full of them. This one will end. Look at this time as an opportunity to take a breath and articulate for yourself…
*what you do best
*what you’re looking for in a company
*what lights you up
*what drags you down
*what kind of people you like being around
*what kind of environment you thrive in
That’s it from me for now. Except to say, it’s not a bad thing to be humbled. Humility comes from the Latin word for lowly, or near to the ground. It’s good to be close to the ground sometimes. That’s where things grow.
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