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Psychological Consequences of Being Unemployed

February 18, 2014
  1. Stigmatization: This is something faced by most unemployed people, who become stigmatized as being things such as lazy, incapable, unworthy. When often they have simply not been given the correct opportunities to express themselves and find their calling in life.
  2. Demoralization: It can be very demoralizing to keep on getting negative responses to various attempts to find employment. You find yourself in a position of being at the whim of people you do not know, who have little emotional connection with you. Viewing you as no more than a commodity, a resource to be used in various ways. Who you then have to be willing to work for at the drop of a hat. Drop everything you were currently doing in your life. All your routines and habits, for the sake of a maybe. And then if you get the negative response after all this preparation, you then are left with a void that you once again have to fill with your own routines and habits, while you wait for the next opportunity.
  3. Social Isolation: You can find yourself in a situation of being isolated from your peers, with whom you now share little in common. Or with whom you simply cannot afford to relate and interact with on an equal footing. As you cannot afford the lifestyle that they take for granted.
  4. Victimization: This can happen in two ways. You can begin to view yourself as a victim in a world that simply is not geared towards giving you a fair chance. Or other people may begin to look at you in this way, and not respect your ability to take control of your own life and affairs. In both cases, it is made more of a challenge to take a pro-active approach to life, that can be psychologically very demanding at times.

All in all there are a lot of psychological difficulties an unemployed person may find themselves having to deal with, on top of the basic material hardships. But there are reasons to not be so down if you are in this situation. There is only so much you can do to find work. There are currently only so many jobs to go around. Sometimes you simply have to let go from the whole stress of the situation. Do what you can, then let the consequences of it go, which are out of your control. Stay positive minded in your lifestyle, and in what you believe in, and what matters most to you. Find ways to interact with like-minded people in local community and voluntary settings, and, most importantly, give yourself a break at times.

We are on the verge of a new world, in how we organize ourselves, and live our lives. Employment once seen as a means of improving yourself. Often is just a way of herding people together. A top-down means of controlling people. Back in the early 1900’s were the first hopes of an era when work could be replaced by leisure, and machines and robots could perform the physical and repetitive tasks. The machines and robots are here, but the human work has remained, and been displaced to other domains. It is largely because we don’t know how to organize our own affairs living peacefully amongst others. So with too much time on our hands we resort to ever more violent forms of entertainment to replace the void in our lives of boredom.

Humanity, at one time idealised through grand liberal civilisations, has become domesticated instead. Where the civilised person sublimates their desires into creative directions, the domesticated person represses them at the order of imagined “higher authorities”. This story plays itself out on the small and large-scale day in and day out. We take it for granted as a “reality”, which we cannot change. But it is a reality we are choosing to recreate each day, by submitting to its standards.

It can be changed though, and with the ever greater reflexivity in human affairs and readily available information, brought about by the internet, and social connections formed throughout the world, there is the opportunity for us to learn to organise our own affairs more effectively and sustainably. Such that higher authorities are no longer needed to spew out their spurious commands and orders, based on an imagined authority we give to them.

One Comment
  1. I do think that the value of work to a person should never be underestimated, for the reasons you’ve articulately outlined.

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