Do you know someone out of a job? Is your neighbor out of a job? Maybe your brother or friend? Did you ever think what they are going through? Did you ever sit down and really think if there is anything that you can do for them?
I am currently out of a job for a long time already. I went to school and obtained a degree, but there is simply nothing out there. Nothing. I have friends, neighbors and, worse yet, very close (I mean biological) relatives who all know I’ve been looking for a job for all this time. Some people will try everything they possibly can to try to get me a job. Unfortunately, a larger number of people seem completely oblivious to my situation. What’s most surprising is which people are in which group. The people who are most helpful and will stop at nothing never knew me before I began looking for a job. The people who do nothing are the neighbors, friends and relatives! Yes, they ask me what’s doing with my job search. They even feign sympathy. However, their “sympathetic” looks and tones don’t mean much when they don’t do a thing to help me.
Now, I know some of you will say that maybe I’m taking my bitterness out on people who really care. The truth can sometimes hurt, but in my particular case, I know for a fact that these same “sympathetic” relatives have had clear opportunities to help me out, but have turned their heads the other way. Why would they do such a thing? The answer: They will not “put themselves down” to ask someone they know if they have a job for me. It is beneath their “dignity” to ask people for a referral.
In one case, a relative was best friends with the sister in-law of the president of the firm I interviewed at and yet never asked her best friend to put in a good word for me. I never got the job there. Yes, I will get an e-mail here and there with some obscure job that has been circulating on the internet for about six weeks already. But to ask a former employer, to ask a friend, a boss….that they won’t do. Again, we are talking about people who “care” for me.
As for neighbors and friends, I think they simply never put much thought to it. I go about my daily routine, so why sound any alarms? When someone, chas veshalom, gets sick or passes away at a young age, everyone gets a jostle. When there’s a dead person walking amongst you, not much thought is put into it.
Please don’t get me wrong. The chessed in the frum community is unbelievable and any charity done elsewhere in the world pales in comparison. I do not mean to chip away at that in any way whatsoever. One would need to be utterly blind to not see the amazing chessed done in our communities. I am merely trying to make a point by saying that an unemployed individual doesn’t call as much attention to their plight, because they still walk around healthy, boruch Hashem. Their day still has some semblance of normalcy to it (at least to the public’s eye). In reality, this person is in a coma. His life is one of misery, one of despair. The pressure in the house is palpable. The piles of bills and tuition don’t stop coming and there is no end in sight.
So why did I sit down to write this letter? This is clearly a letter written by someone with bitter feelings. Why would I do it?
I am doing it to bring awareness to people out there about the opportunity as well as responsibility that they have when faced with someone they know being out of a job.
How many people do you know who got their degree, spent fortunes of money, and now cannot find a job? Is your brother out of a job? Your neighbor? Do you ever wonder why your neighbor doesn’t seem himself? Maybe he doesn’t shmooze as much as he used to. Maybe he misses minyan here and there. Do something! Yes, he and his family may put on a show as if everything is going just fine. As I said, in virtually all instances it is a show. Don’t fall for it! They are likely struggling terribly and are just keeping quiet.
Go over to him or her. Say a nice word. Make them feel that you truly care for them. Don’t make them feel uncomfortable, though. Don’t be intrusive. But don’t for a second think that because everything is the same as last year on the outside, it is the same when they close their doors at night. And most importantly, do something with actions, not just words. Sit down with your spouse and try to brainstorm. Maybe there’s a contact you forgot about that can be of help. Maybe your father in-law’s neighbor who has a successful business knows of something. Even if they don’t need anyone themselves, many times they will know of something elsewhere. Don’t forget: Businessmen have friends and acquaintances too. Trust me, if you put your head to it, you’ll be surprised at how many people you know, directly or indirectly, who may be of help.
We should all merit to always have enough parnassah and we should not have to come onto one another.
Stuck Without a Job
The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on Matzav.com that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.