Losing one’s job is often an emotionally and financially devastating experience. It threatens to undermine our identity and to shake the very foundations of our lives – like an unexpected earthquake. Suddenly, with no warning, it seems anyone can find themselves unemployed – no matter how much education or experience one has in a chosen field.
And it is not just the economic devastation that is so difficult. In western society, our idea of who we are and where we fit in is very much tied to the work we do. Sometimes, one needs to transition to an entirely new field. And, for older workers, this can make it especially difficult to find their way back into the employment market. On the other end of the spectrum, new graduates, letting go of their “student” identity, often experience frustrations finding employment in a competitive market at the stage when they are just beginning to shape their “career” identity.
Not surprisingly, therefore, loss of employment can be bad for health – particularly for men. A 2014 study from the UK reveals that unemployed men are twice as likely as women to experience serious mental health problems, such as depression, as well as physical health issues. To counter this inner crisis, many experts in this field advocate counselling, exercise and other ways for keeping upbeat about one’s situation. This may be helpful to some, but really does not get to the heart of the problem – i.e. the feeling that you’ve lost not only a job but also your identity.Continue Reading