I was taught early in life that the most meaningful form of charity is to help someone help themselves. The ability to provide a level of guidance or support to another human being that improves their situation is better than any form of charitable giving. A recent dinner with a friend of mine proved how true this actually is.

My friend Adam (pseudonym) was one of many who lost their jobs during the COVID pandemic. His job loss wasn’t because he was underperforming. It was budget-related. 

Like many others who were laid off or furloughed, Adam worried about his and his family’s future. He hadn’t been with his new company for very long and therefore, his severance package was limited. Meanwhile, jobs in his field were few and far between. 

Adam remained resilient. He started each day browsing through LinkedIn to see if any new opportunities arose. He also began reaching out to people in his network, myself included.

A little effort went a long way

Now I have to be honest. I spent a grand total of 30 minutes of my time sending his resume to people I knew who were looking to hire. Thirty total minutes.

Think about what else happens in your day in 30 minutes. This past Sunday, for example, I wasted four 30-minute blocks of time watching Friends reruns. On Tuesday, I spent 30 minutes on the phone with my Internet provider negotiating a new price for my service. Needless to say, there are very few days where every single 30-minute block of your time is well spent.

So I was stunned to hear that I had such a positive impact on Adam. The 30 minutes that I spent forwarding his resume to others helped him land multiple interviews. While he ultimately accepted an offer to work at another company, he told me on multiple occasions that nobody in his network put the kind of effort into helping him like I did. He has thanked me at least 15 times for being there for him.

I still don’t think I deserve that level of praise. In fact, I want to use my platform to thank Adam. His story is an important reminder that we can all find 30 minutes in our day to help someone help themselves. 

What will your next action be?

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