Here's What NOT To Say To A Person Who Lost Their Job


So many people have been laid off, or let go lately, and have lost their job because of the corona virus pandemic. We're all going through a tough time now, but it's worse if you've lost your job. Here's what NOT to say to people who are going through it.

"Everything happens for a reason." Really? What's the reason? A global pandemic is the reason. It's out of our control, and it's making us all a little crazy, so skip this one. When you lose a job, sometimes reason goes right out the door. There's no good reason to lose your paycheck.

Or, ‘When one door closes another one opens,’ or other lame cliche phrases about how their job loss was meant to be. You may believe this, but your friend doesn't want to hear it. Just listen and acknowledge their experience without rushing to find a door opening. Sometimes it stays closed for a bit.

Don't say "That’s horrible news!" Of course it is, and this will only ramp up the tension the unemployed person is already feeling. Another phrase in this category is "They’ll regret firing you." Stoking negative thoughts is counterproductive. Focus your friend's energy on future opportunities.

Don't say "Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll find a new job soon." They may not, especially not right away, and not during this uncertain time. None of us can predict the future and honestly, you have no idea how long it will take your friend to find a new job. Although you want to provide reassurance and hope, it may actually make them feel worse.

Please don't say this one. "Lucky! I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow. Enjoy the time off!" Really? Avoid making someone’s misfortune about you and your situation. Know that and recognize that when someone loses their job, they are probably worried about how they provide for themselves and their family. Unemployment is not a vacation!

Don't ask "What are you going to do?" They don't know yet, and you don't need to fill them with anxiety with a question like this.

And really...what good would it do to say this? "Things could be worse. At least you have your husband/wife/family to support you." While there may be some truth to this, don't invalidate the person's worth. Losing a job already makes you feel null and void. Yes, things could be worse, and this comment could make it so.

If I sound a little angry, it's because I have lost a few jobs in my career, and while people mean well, some of these cliches just don't help.

Photo:Getty