When I was in the thick of unemployment, I couldn’t afford to go out to eat or have beers with my friends. I was also stressed most of the time and pre-occupied with where my next buck was coming from. I kept hearing people ask, “I know she can’t afford to go out, but we miss seeing her” or “She won’t even let us buy her a glass of wine”. In addition to all that, I often didn’t shower or change out of my pajamas.
When at the mercy of the unemployment office, the jobless can get sensitive about taking money from others, no matter how well-intended. It’s called pride. Pride can also cause them to slowly feel disengaged from their circle of friends. So what can you, a gainfully employed person, do to show that out-of-work pal that she’s not out of luck or out of love?
- Invite him/her over for dinner – An invitation for a home-cooked meal is a low-key way to make your friend get dressed and leave the house without spending money. Also, my UPiC (Unemployed Partner-In-Crime) and I used to make dinner for each other. We got to eat well by sharing the expense, and we had something fun to socialize over
- Drop by with an inexpensive bottle of wine – They may not let you buy drinks while out at the local watering hole, but home is a different matter. And go cheap so they don’t feel like they owe you
- Grab her for a walk or jog – A good gab session coupled with exercise is a great way to socialize, boost endorphins, get out of the house and loosen stress
- Give the gift of flowers – I’m not talking bouquets from 1-800 Flowers. I’m talking deli/grocery store blossoms. And before you think you’re too good for them, I once saw George Stephanopoulus darting across 14th Street in NYC carrying deli daisies (presumably for his fabulous wife Alexandra Wentworth). Brightly colored bouquets can help cheer up any job hunter or the job hunter’s cave (read: home)
- Just listen – No advice. No contacts. No “what I would do if I were you…” (even though I assume you will have gone through that exercise already). Just bend your ear for a while, offer a calming smile instead of tips and end your visit with a big hug or word of encouragement
How do I know these things work? Because my friends are awesome, and they helped make unemployment bearable for me!
Ever since Michael Jackson died – and oodles of times before that, people have ruminated over the fact that he surrounded himself with shady people who were only out for themselves and Michael’s money (well, maybe Bubbles the Chimp or the odd llama) and could have cared less about the King of Pop’s well-being.
I was thinking about that this morning in the context of unemployment. I’ve said before that one thing we can learn from celebrities is how to assemble a team around you that is there for genuine support and assistance:
“Just like celebs have publicists, agents, managers, stylists, life coaches, etc., you should take their lead and put together your own support team. Call on friends who are great at networking, self-promotion, organization, brainstorming and image. Most importantly, enlist spiritual friends and others you can lean on psychologically and emotionally.”
Take a look around. Who’s there for you? Do you trust them? Do they have your best interests at heart? Are they authentic friends? If you’ve been looking for work or are dealing with other life challenges, you need the smartest, most positive, caring people surrounding you. The others are just wastes of time.
If I could assemble my all-pro “dream team”, who would it be?
- God – Duh.
- Dolly Parton – this star of stage and screen came from nuttin’ and has always remembered her roots. Ironically, she’s the picture of “authenticity” for me, and I can’t imagine anyone more encouraging and supportive. She keeps it real
- Jack and Suzy Welch – say what you will about how they got together, but they’re wildly successful for a reason and seem to be nice people. Plus, can you imagine the business plan they’d put together for you?
- Joel Osteen – OK. You probably just cringed. In fact, I felt it. But, this guy makes me feel good. Yes, I have watched many of his sermons on television, and just as I’m about to turn the channel to avoid the glare of his gleaming white teeth, he says something that comforts me and calms my pulse
- E. Jean Carroll – Again, she’s my hero. No-nonsense, yet classy and sisterly. She gives a sh*t about her fellow woman and always looks fabulous while dishing out the most valued advice found in the pages of a magazine
Who would be on your dream team?
From the MPS archives:
Posted in News, Sanity Without Salary
Tagged celebrities, Dolly Parton, dream team, E. Jean Carroll, Friends, God, Jack and Suzy Welch, Joel Osteen, life coaches, michael jackson, shady people, unemployment
I know this has nothing to do with the economy, layoffs, pink slips or surviving the recession. However, for me, TV is a very important escape tactic, so I think it’s relevant to comment on it. 🙂
I never gave “How I Met Your Mother” a snowball’s chance in hell on CBS. But, what do I know? Now it’s syndicated! And it’s on Lifetime. Which is why I’ve started watching it. And I love it! Maybe it’s because I’m sooooo tired of “Friends” re-runs, but darn it, I’m going to go ahead and say it. I think I like “How I Met Your Mother” more than “Friends”.
With that, I give you 10 Reasons I Think “HIMYM” is Better Than “Friends”. Feel free to disagree!
- They hang out in bars. I mean, c’mon: Coffee all the time? Boring! There’s a reason you don’t go to happy hour at a coffee house
- NYC apartments are shown realistically to scale
- Marshall and Lily not nearly as annoying as Ross and Rachel
- They all have real jobs
- Speaking of jobs, at least HIMYM has given Bob Saget a regular paycheck
- Jason Segel. I admit I began developing a crush on him before “I Love You, Man” released
- I hung out with people just like them when I lived in NYC and would willingly choose hang out with them again. Unlike Joey Tribbiani and Phoebe Buffay. Yes, I know they’re funny, but day after day with a guido and flighty masseuse would drive me batty
- High fives and fist bumps
- They actually ride the subway
Wait for it, wait for it…
10. Barney. ‘Nuff said (have you seen the new book, The Bro Code? Hilarious).