Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Help The Unemployed Even Though They Are Worthless Scum

Most of us have friends who are in serious financial / employment / career meltdown.  I have at least six such friends, seven including myself, at various levels of distress.

Most of the working elite are apparently not aware that there are things they can do to alleviate their friend's plight, should they wish to do so (and for an essay on whether or not they should help, see this.)

Yes, most people are not aware of the techniques described below.  Why?  Perhaps this esoteric knowledge has been hidden by our government who is plotting to force everyone to have health care and give up their automatic weapons.  Or it might just be that the labor market is subdivided into those who work nearly all the time and those who do not. The former do not relate to the latter, and do not give it much thought.  Or maybe people just don't give a fuck. Yes, I suppose that is a possibility too.

In general, people who are out of work can be subdivided into the following broad categories (a) out of work for less than six months, (b) out of work for more than six months but less than a year, and (c) those who have been out of work for substantially more than a year. As time passes, the situation gets worse and worse, and (c) seques into (d), those who may never work again.

The longer your friend goes without a job or a serious project, the more the following ideas can probably help him.

The ideas/topics/whatever are: 

1. Access to current tools and processes.
2. Information and Guidance about Corporate America
3. Affiliation with a player in the field.
4. Recent work credential, even if it is minor.
5. Positive spin, Reccomendations, etc
6. Information about meetings, conferences, events, parties and activities.
7. Transportation, housing, and other.

1. Access to current tools and processes

The longer the subject is out of work, the further they are from what the field is using currently. Many of those things, software, hardware, whatever, are not available to an individual in normal circumstances. If you can arrange for a way for your colleague to have access to some of these tools and processes, and/or watch people work, there is a lot they can pick up to keep them current. (1)

2. Information and Guidance about Corporate America

As the various fields that we all helped invent morph over time, they seem to converge on a small number of very large corporate players, a few medium sized players, and numerous, but fragile, small players. Whereever you are working, you know more than anyone outside how your company works, what kind of people they are looking for, what projects are going to need help. By acting as an intermediary between management, human resources, and your friend, you may be able to help your friend present him or herself at the right time to be considered. Or you might do nothing more than report back on whether a listed open position is real. I have never found that getting this sort of information has any potential negative implications. The worst that happens is that nothing works out.

3. Affiliation with a player in the field

Even the simplest affiliation with a player in the field, even one that does not receive money, can help tremendously towards showing current participation. Lets say you make your friend a $1.00 / year consultant to advise your company in new technologies in some area. Well, that gives your friend something to say at trade shows ("I am a consultant to so and so at this company, trying to figure out where some of this stuff is going. It is very minor"). It gives the subject something to do that looks and sounds good, and who knows, maybe they will have good advice about something.

4. Recent work credential, even if it is minor

Use your imagination, it doesn't have to be much, and there does not have to be any money involved. It just has to sound plausible and it doesn't hurt if you actually need something done and have some money to pay for it, but that is extra credit.

5. Positive Spin, Reccomendations, etc.

By definition, your friend can not be there to defend themselves. Nor can they be there to promote themselves. So if you say something nice about this person, or in other ways create positive spin that keeps the name alive, you may indeed be helping your friend. If you know of a job or a position, or a little project, and your friend can do it, recommend him. Or call your friend and tell him who to call to ask about it. Generally if your friend is having trouble getting work, there is usually some sort of image disconnect (this is what he does but this is what we need) even though in fact your friend can probably do a lot of things. Recommending him, reassuring people that he/she can do the work, can help a lot.

6. Information about meetings, conferences, events, parties and activities.

By definition, your friend is not in the loop. He/she doesn't hear about or is not invited to events that might be of interest and which, by showing up, will help them to be considered part of the mix.

7. Transportation, housing, and other.

Many of the people I know in this situation are seriously hurting for money. Some are physically trapped where they are. If you are driving somewhere and can give them a lift, consider doing so. If they do not snore too badly and you are not meeting your mistress at a conference and you can offer him a bed or a place on the floor, consider doing so.

All of these techniques mentioned above cost nothing out of pocket, should not take much of your time, and yet can be extremely helpful in helping your friend sell out to corporate america in his or her search for a living wage.

No doubt you will be rewarded in a future life.


1. It goes without saying that the subject will sign a nondisclosure to keep your proprietary information and client information confidential. There may be minor insurance and other issues, there may need to be a release form, etc, etc.

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