There are many who are thrilled to say goodbye to the year 2013. Maybe it was the number '13' in the way. Whatever the cause, it was a trial. I work with one particular guy who spent a career in business helping others get their start. We'll call him "Jake." He and his business partner would even give someone a job that was out of work and didn't necessarily have the exact skills needed for the position. Jake wanted to help because he could.
Well sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down. Out of work, my client figured that he could call those he had helped who were now in position to help him. Life doesn't work that way. Jake found that not only were people unwilling to help, they were unwilling to even return a phone call. It was a struggle to find those who had the empathy to even care. Perhaps most of you have never had to put on the golden knee pads and beg someone for a job; suffer the humiliation of calling people who used to work for you and try to get them to actually get on the phone. Are they more embarrassed than you are? Perhaps, but there is something missing in the civil way we treat those we know. You might not have a job for them, but you certainly can talk; make suggestions, make a few calls and show that you are a human being and actually care about someone other than yourself.
Jake got to the point where he had to sell his house to cut costs and make ends meet. He again suffered the humiliation of explaining this to colleagues and just ask for a lead, not a job.
We are not talking about the walking wounded here. Jake is very talented and creative at his job. He is a team player, loyal, smart, funny, everything you would want in an employee. How many "Jakes" are out there begging friends to help?
There was no extra money for gifts this year -- for family or relatives or potential and past colleagues. There was no money for gas for a trip to San Diego to see friends. Jake hasn't been out to purchase new clothes in years as his financial world began to crumble. And people do not realize how deep this process goes.
As a therapist, I can care. I can be the holding pen for all of Jake's emotions but I cannot solve his immediate needs. Together, we search websites, apply online hoping a positive sounding job is not a scam. I step out of the boundaries of therapy and call friends and anyone I know to get Jake's very experienced foot in a door. And I will not stop until he has landed.
Santa will arrive in 2014. That is my goal for Jake and his family. I am going to have to put my trust in the very few that answered the phone, said they'd make a call and actually called back with names and numbers.
This is not the time to be selfish. While the unemployment rate has gone down, the figures are skewed because it reflects the government labor force that had been laid off while our government closed. But statistics mean nothing to those who are out of work. If you can help and don't, I trust you do not feel very good about yourself as a human being. And frankly, I think that in 2014, Santa will put coal in your stocking next year.