Five Ways to Really Help Someone Who’s Been Laid Off

Downtown Chicago. Photo credit: my husband
Downtown Chicago. Photo credit: my husband

With the unemployment rate in Calgary hovering around 8.5%, lots of people are looking for work, including myself and my husband.  This is not a place either of us, at this time in our lives (we are in our 50’s) would have ever thought we’d find ourselves.

What’s said and done by family and friends, while well-meaning,  are often less than helpful.  Advice-giving, sending public job postings from various job search websites, not taking the time to really understand what type of job the person is looking for, or even what they do for a living, and saying things like “I don’t understand why he / she can’t find a job”, are all examples of things that don’t help.

Here are five things that might:

  1.  Take the person who’s been laid off out for coffee.  This is likely a treat they have cut back on to save money.  Being at home and unemployed is isolating.
  2. Ask the person exactly what they do for a living, what type of job they are looking for, and keep your ear to the ground for upcoming opportunities in your company – or other companies and people you are connected with –  before they are published on Workopolis, Indeed, or other job search websites.
  3. Give them a gift card for a movie or a restaurant.  Again, this is something that the one who’s laid off hasn’t been doing to save money.
  4. Think of any projects you have on the go at your home that you could hire your friend or family member to help with such as lawn care, snow removal, renovations, etc.
  5. Now that summer is here and the kids are out of school, child care to attend interviews, networking events, job fairs, etc. could be difficult to obtain and / or costly. If able to, offer to provide child care gratis so those seeking employment can attend important events.

I daresay any of the items on this list would make a real difference to your laid off friend or family member.  I know they would to us.

Five Ways Wasps are Like People

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We have been dealing with a wasp infestation in our home.  They had built a nest in a small opening at the place where the roof and chimney meet and were getting into the home through the fireplace.  The fireplace is located in our family room in the basement.  The family room has no door but the wasps were staying mostly in the basement.   Once I found out where these creatures were getting in at, I contacted a pest control company. I found out how good I was at multi-tasking and thinking under pressure:  I’m on the phone with the pest control company, phone in one hand, and a can of Raid in the other, spraying the wasps as they came out of the fireplace.

As the pest control company couldn’t come out until the following Monday, I was able to seal off the room using some poly plastic wrap & duct tape.  (Ok wasps, I thought, you can have this space and we will take the rest).

I suffered one sting, my first sting ever.  I did react with flu like symptoms and congestion; however I was allergy tested last week and I am not allergic.

It took two applications of chemical to finally get rid of all the wasps.  My husband climbed on the roof and caulked the areas where they were getting in.  This weekend, approximately three weeks later, we were finally able to “take back our family room”.

(This reads so calmly; in reality I was pretty freaked out and it felt like something out of a horror movie.  Hearing that buzzing behind the fireplace glass was quite unsettling).

It got me thinking, though, that there are certain commonalities between wasps and humans:

  1. Wasps attack when they are out of their element (I was stung by one that was in our family room).  When humans are out of their comfort zone, they can do the same thing.
  2. Wasps attack when they feel threatened or their nest is threatened. If someone is threatening us or our nest, we want to attack too.
  3. Wasps are territorial.
  4. The queen rules the nest. Often, the woman is in charge of the home.
  5. I asked the owner of the pest control company why the wasps were crawling on the floor.  He told me they were confused, I guess because they were out of their natural environment.  Don’t people also experience some sense of confusion when in an unfamiliar place?

I guess wasps have a role to play in nature and apparently they do help pollinate but seriously, God, what were you thinking when you created them?