Sympathy Cards for the Unemployed?

“Just think… now you won’t have any trouble losing those 10 extra pounds!”

Would you send a card like that to someone you know who was diagnosed with cancer?

Of course not! It would be tacky, insensitive, offensive… (insert your own adjective here).

Various greeting cards displayed on a table

So I didn’t know what to make of a line of greeting cards that has been recently added to the market. You see, their thinking is that if you don’t know what to say to that friend who was recently laid off, just visit your local greeting card store to find the right sentiment to express your support.

I decided to ask for thoughts and opinions on Google+ and on The Job Quest’s page on Facebook. Of the folks who did respond, the reaction was negative.

Jake LaCaze said, “I think I would be bothered if I received one of these. It just feels pitiful to me.”

Another respondent echoed that comment with, “It’s not funny. It’s rather humiliating.”

And really, those opinions resonated with me. I mean, can you just picture it? You stroll out to your mailbox to retrieve the daily mail. Amongst the bills, junk mail, and catalogs, you find a card-sized envelope. Hmmm, you think, it’s not my birthday. I wonder what this could be for? You tear open the envelope to find a card that reads:

“Don’t think of it as losing your job. Think of it as a time out between stupid bosses.”

Granted, there may be some who find that funny, but when a person’s worrying about mortgages, car payments, and buying groceries for their family, the joke falls rather flat.

I liked Mary Wilson’s take on the use of these cards: “I don’t know that I would send a card like this. Usually I call people or send a personal note, then take my cues from them as to how to best help.”

This kind of approach demonstrates an empathy and respect for the job seeker’s feelings about the situation.

So before you rush out to purchase one of these cards to shore up your friend who recently lost a job, take a little time to show your support by making a more personal connection with the person and then see if a greeting card for the unemployed fits the bill.

What do you think about the cards?

Image courtesy of Richard Moross

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