You’ve heard the saying… “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” It’s meant to put a sarcastic spin on the idea that friends will call you for help, but ONLY call when they need help. Now the definition of the word “friend” has been stretched even more broadly by Facebook to include people you may have only called “acquaintances” in the past. Heck, it’s not even a noun anymore… you probably got friended twice in the time it took you to read this sentence.
I digress. Let’s get back to the “friend in need” part. Friendship, like love, is more about giving than taking, but what’s wrong with taking when you’re in need? I think far too many people let pride get in the way of asking for help, especially during hard times. I understand. I’ve been there before. I was twice laid off from good jobs that I was good at. And I remember feeling embarrassed to tell my friends, as if it would imply that I was weak in some way. Yet both times, I was lifted out of my unemployment by referrals from friends.
That’s right. When I was finally able to ask for help, it came quickly. Neither friend who helped me would be considered “close,” but I had worked with each of them in the past, and treated them with respect… enough to be remembered and recommended. And it meant the world to me and my family at the time to get that assistance.
To pay it forward, I am jumping at the chance to help anyone who is looking for a new job these days. We’re coming out of the recession very slowly and I know many people are still hurting. If you’ve got the ability to mentor, edit resumes or cover letters, role play interviews or just give general pep talks to your friends, do it. Choose whichever definition of friend you like. And let’s agree to shorten the old saying… “A friend in need… is a friend.”
I’ve done a fair bit of business writing in my day, and have been happy to help coach those who ask. Fitting it into my busy life is not easy, but worth it. I just ask “How can I help?” and then do my best. Even providing the email address of a key contact is valuable to a job seeker.
Is it time to check in on your old buddy? You’ve got more to offer than you think you do.