Monday, November 23, 2009

What to say to an unemployed person

Aieeee…..Not “think positively.”

OK—that is out of my system.

William Arnold, a former prof at ASU, writes about this in his Strategic Aging column. (What is aging strategy, doesn't it sort of happen?)

He quotes one expert as saying what to tell the person depends on whether it is a man or woman.

Men often think of the old paradigm of themselves as the bread winner. They feel they are not doing their duty, what they should be doing.

Unemployed women have a different set of demons. Sexism may be declining (according to this), but women will still run into it—as in “her husband makes a good living, she doesn’t need the job.”

Women often have a strong support group of friends and men may not. This can be a job hunting network, as well as a supportive one.

If you know a man who is unemployed, emphasize the “challenge” presented. But understand, he may feel he is failing in some basic way.

Best of all: Listen and don’t give a lot of detailed advice.

Incidentally, one thing people say to me which is losing in appeal: "You will think of something."

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