The likelihood is high that you have someone in your life who consistently complains about their job. It can be hard to determine what an appropriate response should be in these situations. Here are a few tips to help you support the people in your life who are struggling professionally.

Ask Questions

You’re friend or family member is going to find a way to bring up their job. It’s a fact of life. They feel a desperate need to unburden themselves, but also a need to for validation that things really are bad at their job. A great way to be supportive, and also take back some control is to ask questions. If you bring it up first, you can attempt to navigate the direction of the conversation and avoid a drawn out vent session. An article written for gives the following advice, “Well, it boils down to asking these three questions (in this order): 1. What’s going on at work right now? 2. Is this a new feeling, or has it been going on for a while? 3. How open would you be to starting a job search? These might look like simple questions, and they are. But that’s all it takes to give your friends the freedom to both fill you in on what’s going on, while also giving you a little guidance as to where their head is at.”

Offer Help

Before you offer your help, ask your loved one if they are open to suggestions. Let them know you care about their feelings and want to see them happier at a new job. You want them to feel like you’re on their side and here to support them through everything. If they are open to listening to your ideas, go over them together. You can offer to help them look for new jobs, or create a savings plan that will allow them to quit in the future with ample money saved. If they really hate their profession, maybe a career change is in order. Help them research continuing education courses or any certifications they might need to make a change. Creating a ‘team’ mentality will help your loved one see that you’re committed to helping them find a solution to their problem.

Simply Listen

Unfortunately, sometimes people just need you to listen to them. We can’t change other people’s circumstances and we can’t force anyone into making a change they aren’t ready for. When you simply show up for the people in your life by listening, it can make a big impact. Avoid trying to be a ‘fixer’ and keep your opinions to yourself unless asked. Venting to another person can help alleviate a lot of built up frustration.

Being a supportive presence for your loved ones who are struggling in their professional lives isn’t always easy. However, helping someone navigate through their challenges is one of the greatest forms of service you provide for them.