From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Unemployment: A time to sink or swim

Scarcely a day goes by without one company or another announcing its plans to "right size", "down size", or plain old lay off hundreds of workers. Though the news gets old to those who are unaffected, to those who are suddenly faced with unemployment, a very hard reality lies ahead. In today’s fast paced society, workers can no longer afford the luxury of taking their jobs for granted nor can they expect corporate loyalty based on seniority. Even the employee who has devoted "the best years of his/her life" may at any time be faced with a lay-off.

This happenstance then begins a chain reaction of events which are not very pleasant. Much like the break-up of a love relationship, all of the sudden the individual is faced with a sense of loneliness, insecurity, fear, and a variety of emotions. To ease the pain, lovers often rebound into the next available relationship, whether or not it is right for them, and workers often jump into the first available job, regardless of whether it is the right job for them. In both cases, jumping into new relationships or new jobs for the sake of security, often just contributes to our dissatisfaction. Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.

Due to society-wide changes in recent decades, workers can no longer expect to retain the same job for their entire lifetime. As such, we must all be prepared to look beyond a single means of earning a living. Consider where you would like to be in five years. Consider possible future careers that would interest you, and consider back-up plans. Even while you are employed, take time to learn new skills which may be helpful to you in the future. By adopting a mode of continuous learning, you’ll keep your brain sharp and you’ll stay ahead of the game. Since there are no guarantees that our jobs will still be there tomorrow, it is wise to plan ahead.

Most of us have a variety of interests and abilities. Throughout history, great hobbies have blossomed into full-time careers. In this country, we are fortunate to have the freedom to change our career interests at will. In my way of thinking, one’s work should feel like play. For those who agree, it comes as no surprise that people find different kinds of work enjoyable at different stages in their lives. Keeping this in mind, even those who are happy in their work now should give some thought to alternative careers in their future. There are so many interesting things to do!

©Copyright, 2001, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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