Effects of Unemployment on ME and what I was missing

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As the loss of jobs and unemployment rates are constantly in the news these days the effects of this can be seen in almost all aspects of daily life from the cost of health care to the cost of lost work in the work place.  And I can directly relate to this.  In 2009 I retired from the Army and then went to work for a couple other companies where I continued to work in one of my chosen professions, that being land survey.  Suddenly in 2009 I was placed on long term unemployment and the feelings were crushing to me.  For having been in the military for 21 years and work with a couple other employers with a steady paycheck and job security, the transition really hit home and hard!  In my choice of profession, my person-job fit, or the job satisfaction that resulted from the interactions between my disposition and job characteristics (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005 p 241) was right on track and matched me to the "T" so to say.  However, life seldom goes as we really think that it should at times, and this was one of those times.

Even with this blow to my family it took some time to notice fully the effects that it had on me in the long run.  As I have been working on learning a new community and a new environment as I had been accustomed to every time that I had moved, this would prove no different, new neighbors, schools, churches and even streets.  This was a learning process for me that I knew all too well but as I was unemployed I hadn't really taken notice of others that were on unemployment because with technology, one no longer needs to go to an office and file paperwork because it is all online. 

What I was missing was the sense of community without even really thinking about it.  Even though I kept myself busy with other projects around the house I eventually felt the loss of social support from co-workers (Dingfelder, 2011) which made things just that much harder for me. And yet this phase in my life would not stay around that long as I eventually became employed and once again, productive.  And with that came the realization of the effects that being unemployed carried, the stress on my health and my family's health that were short term as well.

One thought that is commonly over looked is health in the work place.  Most people are happy just to have a job but another factor that is not that commonly heard of is the efforts to increase the health levels in the work place.  Studies towards happiness in the work place (Fisher, 2010, Diener, 2000 & Diener and Diener, 1996) have positive effects and consequences for both the worker and the organization (Fisher, 2010).  Here again even though we are inundated by the media of how bleak the forecasts can be about employment there are numerous websites and originations that have self-help.  Take a look at the webpage for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Guide (2011) on how to deal with the effects of financial difficulties. With great information on ways to manage stress to signs of health risks, there are numerous information for staying healthy during stressful times that all should take a look at even if they are not in circumstances that are stressful.



Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being. American Psychologist, 55, pp. 34-43.


Diener, E. and Diener, C. (1996). Most people are happy. Psychological Science, 96, pp. 181-185.


Fisher, C., D. (2010) Happiness at Work. International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol. 12, 384-412 (2010) DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2009.00270.x


Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2005). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (2011). Getting Through Tough Economic Times. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/economy/

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