What to Say to Someone Who has Been Fired

job loss Losing a job can be almost as traumatic as losing a family member for some people. After all, most of us spend more time at our jobs working than we do interacting with loved ones, and a job often defines the way we feel about ourselves and how the world views us. When someone you know is grieving over a job loss, you don't want to take that lightly.

"People are very uncomfortable when they try to comfort someone who is grieving. If you say the wrong thing, you can actually make matters worse," said Aurora Winter, founder of the Grief Coach Academy, and author of 'From Heartbreak to Happiness,' a free ebook.

If you are at a loss for words, there is nothing wrong with being authentic and simply stating, "I don't know what to say," Winter says.

Here are some tips that will give you some ideas on how to talk about it, and keep you from saying the wrong thing:

Do say:

  • You're not alone -- I'm here.
  • I can't imagine how painful this must be for you.
  • My heart goes out to you.
  • What specifically can I do to support you?
  • Grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss.

Don't say:
  • Don't feel bad.
  • Be grateful you had the job so long.
  • At least your husband/wife has a job
  • You're young. You can get another job.
  • It just takes time.

"Time alone does not heal," says Winter. But talking about the loss can. Just listening can be a tremendous help. Winter suggests that listeners a) acknowledge their feelings and the situation; b) listen without fixing; and c) give hope and encouragement.

"Healing is a process, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel," Winter says.

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