Most job seekers have a separation story that would make a clown cry. And, it is told far too often when the seeker is given the opportunity. Thereby shrinking the possibility of a friend or stranger wanting to know more about how to help in the job search.

Sad separation stories are utilized by job seekers to introduce themselves when networking because they have not prepared concise, informative 5-, 10- and 30-second commercials for such occasions.

While it provides some therapeutic relief to get the painful separation off the chest, it sets a doom and gloom tone that makes others want to flee, rather than listen to how they could be of help. So, there is never a good time to tell the negative aspects of losing a job unless it can benefit other job seekers in a controlled environment. Triad Job Search Network conducts a workshop twice a year to provide job seekers the opportunity to share their sad story. It is limited to only two minutes per story. This gives the seekers an opportunity to hear other stories and put their misfortune in perspective.

Never succumb to the temptation to tell the sad story in any networking situation. Formal networking events such as Guilford Merchants Association are primarily attended by company representatives looking for more business. Everyone carries their best smile and plenty of business cards. A sad story is not welcome.

Making new friends in companies of choice gains access to jobs not advertised in the open market. These insider contacts are made utilizing informational interviews with current employees. A positive attitude and energetic appearance will be required during these interviews in order to get further interviews. No sad stories allowed here either.

Another forbidden place is in a formal job interview. While this should be obvious, a job seeker could fall into a trap when asked about their last job separation. With no prepared statement to deal with this difficult question, the seeker will grasp at straws and possibly default into a negative report on how the separation was handled. This could be interpreted as a slam against the company to shift the blame away from the seeker. This character flaw could take you out of contention for the job.

So, where is it safe to tell the sad story about losing a job? Most would say that it would be appropriate to tell the spouse and kids about the hurt you feel. Yes, to an extent. But, once is enough and only after the original sting is gone. Rehashing the details time and again only reopens the wounds of anger and anxiety without any compensating good news. The family cannot do anything to help the situation other than feel sorry for the seeker. Spreading the hurt and anger to others is self-serving and egotistical. Spread hope and good cheer to the family whenever possible. They need not suffer more than necessary.

One other place that the story can be told is to a career coach or accountability partner. This can be done by invitation in order to help the coach determine the best approach to use in starting job search training.

In summary, the rehashing of the sad circumstances surrounding a job loss need to be buried with a formal funeral so they do not keep resurfacing at the wrong time and place in the job search. Replace them with positive, rehearsed statements about what you are looking for and the companies you are interested in joining for future employment.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Glenn Wise is owner of Right Hire Solutions. Contact him at 336-509-5606 or

Load comments