Being unemployed and on the job hunt can be pretty rubbish. It’s stressful, your bank balance is running low and frankly you become pretty sick of the sight of the inside of your house. So the last thing that somebody who is out of work wants to hear are patronising comments and do-gooders sharing their two pennies worth.
You probably only mean well when asking your unemployed friend how their job hunt is going or offering them advice, but I’m afraid this is probably just going to make them want to give you an almighty shove!
When talking to somebody who is out of work be tactful and avoid these phrases.
“How’s the job search going? Still unemployed?”
If it was going well, they would probably be sharing the good news of a job offer. Unless you can help in some way, leave them to it.
“I don’t know why it’s taking you so long to get a job, I found something within a week of looking!”
Oh get you with your employability and career luck! Talk about rub it in!
“I’m sure things will look up soon!” *Insert patronising tone*
Oh so you can tell the future now can you?
“A friend of a friend of my brother’s ex girlfriends sister is in exactly the same position as you.”
Oh really? Great. Good for them.
“I wish I had as much free time on my hands as you.”
Unemployment isn’t just one big fun holiday you know? Sitting at home can get boring and the person you’re talking to would most likely rather be spending their time earning a living.
“So what exactly do you do all day?”
If you were on the job hunt, what do you think you would be doing each day? Perhaps looking for a job?
“They probably think you’re overqualified.”
Suggesting they have just wasted years of education and put themselves in a heap of debt has put them in a worse position for employment will not help, trust me.
“Maybe you need to aim a bit lower.”
Though the reality is that there just aren’t enough graduate jobs to go around, suggesting your friend applies for a job as a dog walker when they have a law degree may not go down well.
“Let’s go on a super extravagant, expensive holiday!”
Not having a job means that they probably do not have an income, so unless you expect them to rob a bank, I’d put pricey activities together on the bank burner for the time being.
“I’ll get these.”
It’s a nice gesture, but if you offer to pay for things to often it can come across as a bit patronising.
“I know how you feel.”
If you’re currently employed, then you can’t really know how they feel at that time and saying this can sound like you’re diminishing how hard the job hunt really can be.
“Sorry I missed your call, some of us have work at 3pm on a Wednesday, you know!”
This is a probably a punchable offence.
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