Lay-offs are nothing new.  Imagine this: a friend gets laid off from their job. As an employed person, what do you do or how do you show support? Here's a few ways to help a friend after they've gotten the pink slip.

  • Be a listening ear. Unless you've been there before and have good advice to give, just sit and listen. Even if you do have advice, it's good to listen first. Losing a job takes a major toll not only on a person's income, but on their self-esteem and overall security.
  • Offer to connect them to your networks. If you know the person to be reliable and you happen to know others in their field (even if they're not hiring), introduce them. It will help keep the recently laid-off friend in the circle of their industry and perhaps even lead to something more.
  • Be sensitive about their finances.  Don't leave them out, just get creative. Help your friend's savings last longer by inviting them over for a potluck instead of eating out. Or watch your latest Netflix with homemade popcorn—don't forget the chocolate chips and hot sauce for customizing to your taste. It's okay to pick up the tab every once in a while when you do still go out, but don't make it a habit or it will start to feel like charity.
  • Maintain friendships with laid-off coworkers if you were close before. Being employed while a coworker is laid off is an awkward situation. There is no way to sugarcoat that. If you weren't friends before, you don't have to start now, but if your lunch buddy got axed, don't give them the cold shoulder, too. Just steer clear of employer-bashing or too much work talk, and definitely don't have them meet you at work.
  • Be interested in their job search. Lay-offs are like the giant elephant in the room (or is it the pink elephant? Or the pink gorilla? Cliche schmiche): No one wants to talk about them, but is avoiding the topic doing your friend any good? Don't speak up if you're just reminding them about their situation. But if you know your friend is actively searching, ask them how it's going and encourage them to talk about it. Take the taboo away.