The Coronavirus pandemic brought much more than a deadly virus and the loss of innocent lives with itself. The COVID-19 crisis also brought layoffs and pay cuts, leaving thousands of people stranded with something else to worry about over the virus outbreak.
While many people still don’t seem to be taking the coronavirus crisis seriously, for those who have lost their jobs amid the pandemic scare, this is as real and scary as it gets.
Imagine feeling anxious to get a life-threatening infection and complete without a fixed income, even though bills and responsibilities just keep piling up.
Sounds a lot, right? It feels too overwhelming to even imagine living in these times, but worrying about getting a new job when most businesses in the area are just laying off more employees is really too much.
Now think about that friend / relative or even your partner who recently lost his job and what it must have been like for them.
We understand that you may not be quite sure what to say around you now, so let us help you with 5 things you definitely shouldn’t be saying to your friend (or partner) right now:
1. Don’t play light in your sense of loss
No one needs to be told how vital financial security is today. We may be able to go without buying new clothes for a while, but daily necessities, medications, and bills still need to be taken care of regularly. Therefore, try not to minimize the magnitude of your situation.
According to psychologist Robert Leahy, director of the American Institute of Cognitive Therapy, the first thing to do is to give credit to your fears and normalize the concern you feel.
Don’t say this: “This too shall pass”, “This will not last forever”.
2. Don’t try to hit the boss / organization
Even if you say it with good intentions, and especially if you still have your job and work to attend to, this may seem insincere, because you don’t know exactly what the other person may be going through.
This job loss was not personal, they simply became victims of unfortunate circumstances, where they ended up being the most affected. So criticizing the boss or the organization for firing them makes it look like they were fired because of some lack of them, which makes it personal.
Don’t say this: “They didn’t deserve you anyway,” “You belong to a better place.”
3. Don’t try to force a “silver coating” on them
Many people who suddenly lose their jobs also go through a
lost sense of identity.
This is because, in today’s world, we are known for what we do and for the company we work for. So trying to tell the other person that losing a job doesn’t take away their skills and credibility doesn’t work in this situation.
Do not say this: “You are not your job”, “The title of your job does not define you”.
4. Don’t feed your anger
You may feel like you need to “get it out of your system” to feel better and control your situation, but constantly starting a conversation in the hope that they will talk or vent, is not a great idea.
Instead, offering quiet support and being around would give them strength, which will eventually help them open up as well. Feeling angry is normal, but bursting will not help here.
Don’t say this: “How could they do this to you?”, “It’s their loss, not yours.”
5. Keep that joke well-intentioned
You will want to make them feel better. It’s natural. But right now, none of that will matter and no amount of “positives” will improve your situation.
So keep those more lighthearted jokes up your sleeve related to how your job sucks, or how his company was fighting anyway and stuff like that.
Do not say this: “At least you don’t have to deal with your boss anymore.” “Your company may not even survive too long.”
Think before you speak, especially now.