Thanksgiving and Christmas are meant to be a time of celebration, family, and joyous fun. For some, the holiday season can be melancholy or sad, as loved ones are far away from home, or have passed on. Not since the Great Depression has there been so much uncertainty and worry heading into the holiday season in respects to the economic and employment situation.
Young professionals are not immune to this. For many, we’ve been through this before and we have become veterans at it. For a few, this might be their first time they have been let go. They’re scared, nervous, and confused about what they should do next in their lives.
For the unemployed veterans, this is a chance to reinvent themselves and find the careers than best fit their personality, skills, and abilities. A few others will utilize their networking channels for new leads and to ask their colleagues about how they were able to segue into a career they enjoy. The newbies will, unfortunately, have the perception that “it’s the end of the world” or the “I failed” look in their eyes. Much like our grandparents and parents, those of us who are fortunate should not be afraid to reach out to those who are out seeking for work again.
“How can I do that?” you say? Simple. Call them up, ask them how they are doing. Encourage them to keep the daily routines that they had before being let-go. Give them ideas that would stimulate them to look at other ways to find or even create a job. The most important thing you can do is listen. Be a sounding board for them. Don’t answer all of their questions, let them vent and talk about it.
The shame of being unemployed should not be so drastic, but to a few, it’s something they have never encountered in their lives. There is no formal manual to handle unemployment and the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of it. The Des Moines Register recently reported that the suicide rates have increased from 331 in 2007 to 376 in 2008. It’s imperative that we continue to connect with our peers during this holiday season. The unemployed may smile and say things are okay right now, but inside, the pain can be unbearable and despondent.
Invite them to dinner, encourage them to talk about it and give them support. It will makes us humble and appreciative for what we have in our lives and in turn receive the same gesture when we’re having a difficult period in our lives.
The following song from Marvin Gaye, titled “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” symbolizes the feeling of despondence and the fight to survive.