I Have a Job, They Don’t: Use That Living Room

(The previous entry in the series is here)

Want to help your friends and family who are unemployed? Then maybe it's time for you to get a roommate or two. Or three. Move the people you know looking for jobs in with you.

I talked about this previously, here, but that was in a sarcastic and snarky manner. Now that's not unusual for me, but I'd like to be more serious. Okay, as serious as I can while discussing how you can destroy your privacy.

One of the problems our friends and family face when unemployed is that, simply, they're living in an area that has no jobs–at least the jobs they can do. You, in the geek that you doubtlessly are (unless you're here out of sheer curiosity and not geekyness) probably live in an area that has great employment opportunities for your fellow fans. So, move these job–hunters to where you are.

Get out the futon, the inflatable mattress, whatever, and put people up for month or three.

This may seem like an extreme measure, especially if your apartment is small, you're married, or your dog has serious neurotic issues. However the sad truth we've been hammering on for over a year here is that some places are just better for jobs, and geeky jobs at that. You can escape that, and neither can your friends, and family looking for work.

Here's what I recommend:

  • Do this with people you can truly trust. That's a given.
  • Work out bill payments. I normally recommend that, with the person living with you, you cover rent and utilities for the duration of their stay, and they cover other expenses. Just be ready for this to change in some cases.
  • Set a timeline to find work. This allows everyone to have the comfort of the deadline, avoids people feel like they're freeloading, and prevents people from freeloading.
  • Have a success plan–what do you do once they do find a point? Do they stay with you? Do they move out after few months? How long should they have a job before you put this plan into motion? Work something out ahead of time.
  • Have an exit plan if they fail.  This is tough, but necessary.
  • If a person stays with you, make sure you work out a transition plan for when they start paying their bills.
  • Use your connections. You know the area, help these people out!
  • Socialize them. You're the one with friends in your location, you know all the cool spots, hook your fellow geek and current roommate up!

This isn't for everyone, but unfortunately I think activities like this are going to be more and more necessary as the Great Recession grinds on.

Steven Savage