Staying sane is all in a day’s work for the jobless - GulfToday

Staying sane is all in a day work for the jobless

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes. File

As has repeatedly been reported, since the financial crisis of 2008, one of the most common health complaints from people who lost their jobs was severe depression.  Sales of mental health medication went through the roof as mental health professionals prescribed mood enhancing drugs to more and more patients.

The unusual thing is that, whereas some people take the loss of a job in their stride, others go through a horrendous grieving process, almost like they are grieving for someone who passed away.

No it’s not as bad as someone who passed away, not in a million years. But it’s an extremely significant life change, especially if you haven’t got another job lined up. Some people do because they either get advanced warning or they see the writing on the wall and, of course, because they are realistic. However, some people are deniers and don’t see the signs at all.  

That being said, in today’s economic climate, it makes little or no difference if your eyes are open or closed or whether you’re paying attention or not.  If the jobs aren’t there you could pay all the attention in the world and still end up sitting at home, jobless.

Unemployment can ruin a marriage or family life.  You can get under each other’s feet, you can get on each other’s nerves and, on top of that, you now have to worry about how you’re going to put food on the table and pay your rent and bills.  It’s natural that finances are your immediate worry. They are your immediate problems and everybody cares about it because it directly affects everyone living under the roof.  And the person who lost his or her job feels awful about it even though it wasn’t their fault; it was the climate.

But people don’t realise that, along with an income and stability,  and in some cases a visa, the person loses his or her self-esteem,  dignity and respect.  It’s about a routine, it’s about talking to people about work-related matters rather than nappies, shopping, cooking and cleaning. It’s about attending meetings, it’s about managing people and projects and it’s about meeting deadlines. It’s about a five-day week and looking forward to Fridays and Saturdays.  

It’s about every day not being a weekend.  It’s about not turning into a couch potato.  It’s about not knowing, or wanting to know, what happens on the next episode of some daytime soap you’ve started watching. But most of all,  it’s about not running into people who keep asking you where you work or, more to the point, why you’re out shopping on a working day. I can assure you it can be very awkward. I was once shopping in a supermarket and, because I am a regular there, the cashier once asked if I was shopping for the office pantry! I wasn’t.

Depression, insomnia, oversleeping, loss of appetite, changes in bowel activity, headaches and negativity are all symptoms often displayed by people who have been unemployed on a long term basis.

People in that position are willing to take what they can get. A five-day weekend, 4-day week, 3-day week, even a one-day week.  There comes a point in an unemployed person’s life when they’d settle for a one-day week rather than a no-day week. In fact, research shows that working for even a handful of days a month makes a person feel better about themselves; it improves their mental and physical well-being.

However, these researchers also found that, if there was a tossup between being out of work and mentally stressed out or having an awful job that equally stressed them out, people preferred to be out of work because that was the lesser of two evils; the latter caused more stress than the former.

From my perspective, if it were a tossup between the above two scenarios, I would opt for the job even if it were a one-day week or a couple of days a month. Unless, of course, there were some aspects of the duties within the role that were untenable for me personally such as excessive travelling. Otherwise it would be good to feel good, like I’m doing something with my career. Fingers crossed!

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