Learn How To Say You Are Unemployed

I have a friend who is in a job search.  My friend is mad.  He’s hurt, wounded, depressed, sad, and feels incompetent.

But really, he’s MAD.

He’s mad at the people responsible for him being in this job search.  (You might not be mad, but if you are overly hurt, wounded, depressed, sad, etc. and it shows, this post is for you)

Okay, I get it.  I’m mad too, and it’s been almost FOUR YEARS!  The problem with him, though, is that everyone knows he’s mad.

And people feel bad for him, and some get mad with him, and no one blames him for feeling MAD.

But no one is ready to really help him.  No one is ready to spend their “relationship capital” on him for one simple reason: they are not willing to risk their relationship capital when it might backfire.

Since he is so mad, the introduction might backfire.  You see, when I spent time to nurture a relationship, I don’t want it jeopardized by someone who is MAD… someone who I “highly recommend that you chat with.”

I would not give an intro to someone who will ruin my relationship capital.  This person needs to figure out how to talk about what has happened with him  Here are some key thoughts:

  • Be concise. What happened to you has happened to… well, almost anyone who has been working for a few years.  I don’t want to hear every detail… just sum it up and let me know that you are in transition.
  • Don’t be negative. As you tell “your side” of the story you might make yourself look like a risk. Was there a reason you were let go?  Was it performance-related? Where you a legal liability?  And, if you are talking this way about your old boss, how are you going to talk about ME?  You should be able to figure out a way to explain why you are in transition that does not make you look bad, nor does it make you look like a whiny gossip, nor does it make you look like you are anxious to spread the bad word about your past employer (which I might one day become).
  • Make an impression about YOU. You have a few seconds to make an impression and share a message – why would you take precious time to talk about something that really doesn’t matter, or help you in any way?

I know that it sucks, and I’m not suggesting you have to be a Pollyanna, but beware of how you communicate your why, let you turn off your network contacts.

7 thoughts on “Learn How To Say You Are Unemployed”

  1. Love this post. I want to write a sequel on my blog, that’s how good it is. So many people are MAD and they don’t know how to step out of the MADNESS and into a place and space where they can be productive again. It is completely unproductive to be MAD about what has happened. By no means do I mean to suggest that being MAD is not valid when it comes to being laid off or terminated, but if you remain there in that place, the only person being hurt is you.

    The other thing I want to say about this post that is powerful is the term relationship capital. That is a powerful way to frame the importance of strong relationships. I am very careful about who I recommend in any and every sphere of influence I have. People who are not cognizant of how their MADNESS affects others will not stop to get it together when meeting new people. They are leaking from the pain of the situation they are in.

    My suggestion – choose out of the MADNESS. Be MAD about what happened, but at some point choose out and choose to create a new opportunity that works for you. How do you do that? Let go of the anger that has you caught and develop a strategy for your new future. So many job seekers believe they are at the mercy of this economy. That is not true. We have much more control over our destiny than the economy we live in. Again not to minimize the real struggle that is out there. But there are jobs out there and they are available to qualified job seekers. Understand what you want to accomplish, where you want to work, what you can contribute and begin to network, research, and get yourself in front of the right people that will help you get where you are going.

  2. Bravo Jason on an excellent post. The source of the madness is really with the person you see in the mirror. We are each responsible for managing the business of our careers. When people freely relinquish control of their career management to their company, their manager, the human resources dept. etc., it’s easy to play the blame game. The bottom line is it’s our own fault solely, if we become so naive to expect a corporation to look out for our best interests. We are each responsible for our situation. Only each person has the power to change that situation.

    It’s normal to be mad for a little while. As you mentioned, the minute a person willingly changes their mad attitude to a positive one, more people will be willing help and make referrals. The longer a person stays mad, the longer it will take to land your next great opportunity.

    Nobody loves you, more than you!! When you love you, other people love you back and are willing to help.

    Carl E. Reid
    Developer of Career Management Swiss Army knife w/Smart Radar

  3. Jason, thanks for writing this post…it sounds like your friend could really benefit from some solid one-on-one career help from someone (preferably in his local area so they can visually “see” him) who could offer him some tools and resources to move through his “madness” to another place of greater “gladness.” I work with all types of people who are intially “mad” as can be and slowly, but surely, they begin to let go and unravel their anger, hostility, and decide (choose) to move forward instead of looking back, staying stuck, or feeling sorry for themselves or harboring negative feelings that spill over into relationships where people won’t go out on a limb for them, simply because of their negative attitude. The market is very very tough, however you just have to find a good way, a constructive way to be even tougher. It isn’t easy, and quite honestly, your friend may not even know that he “acts” mad or gives off that vibe to others. If he isn’t in a financial position to hire help, have him contact his local chamber (among other places) and inquire about “free resources / services” for persons in transition. Thanks for writing about this subject.

    Billie Sucher

  4. Jason,

    Excellent topic. I always counsel the angry with really simple advice, ” Get over it.” A good interviewer can smell MAD a mile away and they know it is a personality trait they don’t want in their organization.

    Hiring an ANGRY and Mad person will do nothing for that company because the individual that hasn’t moved on, won’t move on. Most people I have counseled that are still carrying an axe, are self-centered and ego driven as well and they don’t exaclty exude many positive traits such as teamwork, balance, understanding and so on.

    Most employees are out of a job for a reason. They might not like the reason and so they point fingers and blame someone else but I’ll tell you that in my 10 years of doing this, I usually find that 90% have some character flaws that led to their unemployment.

    There is the occasional person that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And there are those that were let go under what might seem petty circumstances but remember that still waters run deep. My suggestions to the MAD and ANGRY person is accept life for what it is, deal with it, go outside and scream until the feeling has passed and get on with your life.

    If you can’t move forward, you are going backwards relative to the rest of the world. Evolve or perish. Get some counseling, take up a hobby, meditate, eat chocolate and seek honest feedback and move forward. Life is not fair but why give it an even bigger advantage by walking around with a 100 lb chip on your shoulder.



  5. Hi, Jason,

    Good post. Anger itself is not wrong…if you channel it the right way. Letting anger consume you to the point that you emanate anger to others, makes anyone wary of trusting an angry person. Anger used the right way can be a powerful motivator to change, go after a better path, right a wrong (appropriately), or make you want to do better, ask for what you need, etc.

    Anger is one of the stages of grief in a loss; in this case his job. Normally, after following healthy ways of acknowledging and dealing with the anger, a person is able to pass through that stage, and ultimately arrive at the stage of acceptance and forgiveness. I seems many have lost their way when it comes to the virtue of forgiveness. But it certainly goes hand-in-hand with healing, growing stronger, and moving on.



  6. What is scary about having an angry person at the job interview, is realizing that the internal work of being hurt, feeling angry, learning the lesson and letting go is not done yet…Emotional energy will be needed to finish this process, this is energy taken away from the energy needed to adapt to the new environment. And, there is always the risk of the person with unfinished anger issues to blame a new target for his hurt, slight or previous humiliation…
    We are always invited by life to learn our lessons and move on (to the next one!) with grace….I would not make a job offer to a person who can’t do this life learning and develop some maturity along the process, because I’d be afraid of founding an angry, aggrieved and revengeful child underneath the grown up cover.
    If you can’t manage your anger (for whatever reason generated), and do the corrections necessary to manage your life in the right direction of self growth, how can I trust you with a shared work project?

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