August 14, 2003, our country experienced its most significant power outage. It impacted about forty-five million people on the east coast and another eight million in Canada.
When everyone’s power suddenly disconnects, nearly everything stops. Nothing works right without electricity.
Connectivity is essential to our personal lives, too — connection to others. Too often, though, we don’t notice how much we need it until it’s gone.
Just like a power outage.
When you work, you have plenty of connections that come with a job. When you’re unemployed, you lose connectivity.
Here’s this week’s question, why it’s vital to the unemployed, and what the answer is.
1. Who will stay connected to me throughout this journey?
Unemployed people can be lonely for two fundamental reasons.
Too much time alone – You are by yourself much of the time because your family maintains its rhythm of activities and your friends are working, and you are not. The house is quiet, your phone doesn’t ring much, and you don’t receive much email. You are alone and we aren’t built to be alone.
No one understands – You long for people to talk about things with who understand your experience, who get what you are going through. Often you say to yourself, No one really understands.
The antidote for loneliness is connecting with others. If you’re unemployed right now, you need to spend time with people. Not occasionally, but regularly.
If you know someone who’s unemployed right now and want to help, connect with them often. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been unemployed, reaching out shows you care.
And if you’ve ever been unemployed, you’re in a unique position to give back.
Consistent connection is crucial for the unemployed person. Why? Because job loss is similar to a death in the family. Here’s what I mean.
Immediately following a funeral, a lot of people pay close attention to those who are grieving. But with each passing week, fewer and fewer people check–in.
It’s the same with a job loss. People pay plenty of attention to you at the beginning, but it trails off. And unemployed people need friends who will stick with them for the entire journey.
If you’re trying to help an unemployed person, you don’t need to connect with them the same way every time. Variety is good — both of you have other commitments.
Try different levels of connecting:
- Send a short text saying, “How’s it going?” or, “What’s up this week?”
- Call them. Leave a voice message if they don’t pick up. (Merely hearing your voice might make their day.)
- Get breakfast, lunch, or a cup of coffee.
The method is less important than the fact you showed you care.
If you are the unemployed person and feel someone’s connecting too often (which I’ve never heard happen, but anything’s possible), just say you’re doing fine. Then hint you need a little more space between contacts.
If you appreciate hearing from them and want more, remember to say, “Thanks! It means a lot to hear from you.”
The more appreciation you show, the more you’ll hear from others.
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2 NLT
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.