Accompany friends after losing a job

Anyone who has lost their job or has been looking for a job for a long time needs support. Four things we can do for our friends in a situation like this

Especially in times of the corona pandemic, it can happen that you receive an operational dismissal or that the search for a new job takes longer than expected. This is often grueling. It is all the more important to stand by one another in this situation. What can help friends now:

Remind the person concerned that the job is not everything

Resignations often have nothing to do with one's own personality, but are simply operational-related. Often, however, we define ourselves strongly through our job and our performance. Those who lose their job are often hit particularly hard because the person loses part of their identity, explains the psychologist and coach Swen Heidenreich. Then shame sets in because we have the feeling that we have not achieved anything or that we have failed.

Those affected have to deal with the question of who they are without their job, their title and their position in the company. Friends are particularly important at this time because they know us in other areas of life as well.

So if a friend loses their job, they should be reminded that they can and do lots of things that will continue to set them apart and make them a valuable person. After all, we have our skills and talents regardless of the company in which we worked. But sometimes we need friends to remind us.

Listen carefully to the friend

It may sound like a stupid calendar saying, but: The most valuable thing we can give is time. "Offer your friend the opportunity to do things together and listen to him if he wants to talk about his professional situation," recommends Heidenreich.

"There are usually two different types. Some want their friends to just be there and listen, others are happy to receive specific tips and proposed solutions. That also depends on where the person is currently in his processing process," he said Graduated psychologist.

He advises taking a step back in this situation and asking a lot of questions. "It's about understanding the other person's needs and then figuring out what they really need now."

Get out of negativity

An everyday life that suddenly feels devoid of structure and content can be depressing. The famous tip to always have a fixed daily routine suggests a form of stability and performance: Because now my job is to find a job again, explains Heidenreich.

"However, you should still allow yourself a phase of digestion and reflection in order to be clear about where you stand and what you want, what your own values ​​and needs in life are," recommends the psychologist. "You can take a few weeks for this and set a fixed end date." With the clarity gained in this way, the crisis could then also be used as an opportunity for a professional change, further training or even independence.

Heidenreich's tip in the meantime: do sports! That gets you out of the carousel of thought and releases happiness hormones. It is best to offer friends to go jogging together, for example.

Incidentally, after a loss, including the loss of a job, it is normal to mourn for a while and feel a little sorry for yourself. However, it is important to know the limits here.

Do not overdo the helper activity

"It is good to empathize, but not to suffer because you can quickly look into a black hole yourself. You shouldn't overdo it with your own responsibility to help," says Heidenreich. When a friend is barely getting out of self-pity, it is sometimes good to leave them alone for a while.

In very serious cases, you can encourage your friend to tell your agent from the Employment Agency about it, advises Knut Böhrnsen, spokesman for the Hamburg Employment Agency. "Our recruitment agencies are well connected." They could certainly help to establish contact with counseling centers if, for example, depression, drug addiction or debts would prevent you from looking for a job.