I’m picturing today’s thirty million unemployed people singing the Beatles hit song, “Help!”
(Help!) I need somebody
(Help!) Not just anybody
(Help!) You know I need someone
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors
Last week, I indicated three questions in the conscious or unconscious mind of anyone who’s unemployed. We covered, “Who wants to know?”
This week our question is about “help.”
2. Whocares enough to help—and does help?
We are independent creatures and really don’t like needing other people. We want to do everything on our own and our way (sing it, Frank!).
That’s how we feel, anyway, until we realize we can’t do everything on our own. At some point, those who are unemployed discover they need others to help them find a job.
Tell the World
It starts with letting people know you are unemployed. No one can help you if they don’t know what’s going on. Don’t assume the word will get out on its own.
It doesn’t work that way.
In my first experience with unemployment, I didn’t tell many people. Some would see me ten to twelve months after losing my job and say, “I just heard you aren’t working at…”
That’s because I let the hurt of being unemployed (and maybe a little pride) get in the way of “telling the world” about my unemployment.
The Difference Between “Wanting to Help” and “Helping”
Once people learn you’re unemployed, many will say they want to help, but not everyone will. Don’t be disappointed. They mean well and probably care, but they either don’t know how to help or just never got around to it.
Then there are those special people who not only care, but they help, too.
I was blessed to have so many helpers I could fill this article with their names.
If you care about someone who is now unemployed, do you want to be one of those special people? Here’s how they helped me, and how you can help others, too.
1. They reached out.
I didn’t have to initiate the conversation. They’d contact me and said things like, “Let’s get together and talk. I want to learn what you’re looking for and figure out what I can do for you.”
They’d also call periodically to see what else they could do. And whenever I saw them, they’d ask again: “How can I help?”
2. They encouraged me.
They encouraged me with periodic notes, emails, and phone calls. They were positive and praised me for my efforts and attitude. I needed that kind of encouragement because I couldn’t control the results.
3. They included me.
They’d invite me places — a luncheon, workshop, baseball game, or golf outing. Being included helped keep me from feeling forgotten.
4. They introduced me.
When you’re unemployed, you need to meet and get to know new people. You need the opportunity to share what you’re looking for so they can keep their ears open for you, to speak on your behalf, and make introductions to others.
The helpers in my life introduced me to others, but they reached out and made certain the person would meet before they connected me. This small kindness made setting an appointment much more straightforward.
Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to him.
Hebrews 13:16 (TLB)
Resources for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them
- Here’s my devotional for dealing with the difficult emotions of unemployment
- Pastors and small group leaders, here’s a six-week study covering the same material but is expanded for groups
- If you take part in a B-B-T group, consider In the Waiting for your group
- Check out my resources page for free articles explicitly created for those in transition and their families
And if you don’t know who turn to or need someone to speak to your group, feel free to reach out.